Crash Course in Vaping, Part 3

Crash Course in Vaping
Part Three

Disclaimer: The recommendations and information provided here are gathered from my personal experiences with vaping. I am not a professional, scientist, doctor, or all-knowing. You choose to read and use this information of your own accord, and agree to not hold myself, Shoe Queen, responsible for your decisions and actions regarding this information. Also, I own the images contained within this document. These images are provided in this free document to educate new users. If you wish to use an image for anything other than personal blogging and sharing pro e-Cigarette purposes you must contact me for permission.

I whole-heatedly support you sharing this info on to others.

There are numerous support groups on Facebook – it has become the 2nd home for many vapers that have moved on from ECF (http://www.e-cigarette-forum.com) and with so many different groups you should be able to find a local or state group of your own! Connecting with vapers is possibly the best thing you can do if you are serious about using e-Cigarettes.  The one thing I will mention about joining ECF or ANY forum is make sure to read their Code of Conduct.  Use good judgment and be polite – after all, you are asking for their help.

Other great Vaping Groups on Facebook include:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/VAPORSLOUNGE/
http://www.facebook.com/groups/VapersUnited/

Connecting with vapers is possibly the best thing you can do if you are serious about using e-Cigarettes. The one thing I will mention about joining ECF or ANY forum is make sure to read their Code of Conduct.  Use good judgment and be polite – after all, you are asking for their help.

Another great resource on everything from an eJuice review to How To fill a Cartomizer is http://www.youtube.com/

There are hundreds of videos out there on everything to do with vaping, so if you are having an issue, or just need a visual on how a Vivi Nova Tank is set-up… When in doubt, check You Tube to find out!

One last thing to mention on the subject of purchasing ANYTHING e-Cigarette related. If a vendor uses Paypal, Never Ever, EVER mention anything about e-Cigarettes in the notes section. Paypal does not like anything e-Cigarette related, and while most vendors have moved their transactions to Credit Card processing, there maybe a few out there still using Paypal.

And Now, The Juice…

After you’ve picked the PV (personal vaporizer, aka e-Cigarette) of your choice you will need to think about eJuice. This is the final installment of Crash Course in Vaping, and is probably the longest. I’ve included a lot of helpful things in this document, and as much as I hate to say it, yeah, you’re going to want to read the whole thing. So here we go.

eJuice, or simply Juice, is the liquid used in e-Cigs to deliver the nicotine to the atomizer when the liquid is heated to a vapor state. This vapor is the what the user inhales and exhales when puffing on an e-Cigarette.

“And, so what? I’ll just pick up some tobacco eJuice and I’m set” is what your probably thinking… Unfortunately, you couldn’t be more mistaken.

The actual e-Cigarette is simplest part of the equation. All e-Cigs work on the exact same premise. There’s a Battery, an Atomizer, and a Cartridge/tank that holds the juice. Or a battery and a Cartomizer (combination of Atomizer and eJuice cartridge). On a high level all of these items work exactly the same. The battery powers the Atomizer, the liquid contacts the atomizer and vaporizes. That’s it.

It’s the eJuice that gives you the flavor and experience of “smoking”. The eJuice is what holds the nicotine and is gives you the satisfaction in Vaping rather than smoking a traditional cigarette.

So, it all comes down to the Juice.

(Addendum: Well, mostly. There is a lot to be said a the type of atomizer, or cartridge versus tank, or the type of Cartomizer. And sometimes the power of battery… But that’s the Advanced Course. So we won’t get into it here.)

Even with my little Addendum above, you could have the best personal vaporizer unit, Attys, Cartos, etc., but if the eJuice is crap, regardless of how awesome your e-Cig setup is it’ll still taste like Vaping sweat-socks. (Or it’ll taste like that one time you accidentally used Bengay for toothpaste. Or when you inadvertently got that cleaning stuff on your hands and touched you mouth and that made you want to hurl – for about a month… Well, you get the idea.)

Now that you understand why the eJuice is such a big deal let’s get into details.
eJuice is available from a wide number of distributors. The focus here will be on USA producers. And to answer the question that you pondering – YES, there is eJuice that is made in China that is available for sale here in the United States. Why am I focusing on US made and sold eJuice? Because, China, does not have the greatest track record for food safety. Yup, I said it. I don’t trust their quality control standards. There may be absolutely nothing wrong with Chinese produced eJuice… I’m just not willing to bank on it.

The Juice: It’s all in the percentages

Regardless of where you buy your eJuice, all eJuice consists of pretty much the same thing. A combination (or straight 100%) propylene glycol (PG) and/or vegetable glycerin (VG), nicotine, and flavoring. While that all seems relatively simple, there is a lot of room for interpretation to the eJuice “recipe”.

Here is some information, directly from ECF (http://www.e-cigarette-forum.com)

Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerin ( VG)
Both are water-soluble viscous liquids used in e-cig liquids to deliver nicotine and/or flavors.

Produces the vapor and provides a similar sensation to inhaling tobacco smoke.
They are humectants* (attract moisture) and may dry your throat and cause it to feel sore. Drinking more fluids will help.

NOTE: Some people experience allergy-type symptoms to one or both. If so, stop using and/or switch to one of the other two and see if the symptoms go away.
If severe, it is recommended that you see your doctor.

Propylene Glycol (PG)
Propylene glycol – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Most commonly used, more throat hit, more flavor.
Slightly sweet and colorless.
USP approved propylene glycol is used in cosmetics, toiletries, food colorings, cake mixes, salad dressings, soft drinks and more.
It is also used in the smoke / fog machines found in theaters and nightclubs.

Vegetable Glycerin ( VG)
Glycerol – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Smoother.
Slightly thicker and sweeter.
Produces more vapor.
USP approved glycerin is used in 1500+ applications as an additive to food and drink.
Glycerin can be found in the baking or craft areas in grocery, hobby and department stores. It can also can be found in pharmacies.”

So to paraphrase:

VG (vegetable glycerin) is much thicker and produces far more vapor. It vaporizes at a lower temperature and is a little sweeter. Since it produces a somewhat cooler vapor it has less throat hit.
PG (propylene glycol) is thinner and produces less vapor, but gives a stronger throat hit. Flavors also seem to be stronger in PG based eJuice.

*A QUICK NOTE: “Humectants” – as it is being used in the above description is misleading… While you Vape, you need to increase your intake of Water. The “Humectants” in both VG and PG actually dry YOU out. So in the words of a very wise man by the name of Hbomb… “If You Vape, You Must Hydrate!” Seriously, start drinking more water!

The Mysterious “Throat Hit”

Now… what exactly is “Throat Hit”? Throat Hit is that sensation at the back of your throat, that little tickle, when you smoke a regular cigarette. It’s the sensation that lets you know you’ve just taken a hit off a cigarette. While this might not seem important to you right now, when you start vaping it will become immediately apparent to you if it’s missing. Some people prefer a soft throat hit, some people prefer a strong, knock-your-socks-off throat hit.

Which do you prefer? The only way to answer that question is to try them out!

RECOMMENDATIONS: When starting out in vaping, I recommend the following – Buy 1 bottle of PG Based, Buy 1 Bottle of VG based. Buy 1 bottle of 70%PG/20%VG based or 80%PG/20%VG based, this is the common “blend” to provided you with great flavor (the high PG) AND great vapor (low amount of VG).

SPECIAL NOTE: If using a eGo Tank system – A blend of 80PG/20VG or 70PG/30VG is highly recommended. While you can vape any percentage you like of PG/VG in a Tank, the longevity of the Tank atomizer can be extended with these blends, which seem to few issues with wicking.

Nicotine: How much do I need?

Another thing to consider when buying eJuice is how much nicotine to get in your eJuice. This is another area that has no hard and fast rules. There a 3 Pack-A-Day (PAD) smokers that can only vape 12mg, then there 1 PAD smokers that need to vape 24mg. It all comes down to personal preference. When I started Vaping, I started at 18mg for nicotine… and very quickly realized that I could vape like mad, but was still edgy and wanted a regular cigarette. I bumped my eJuice up to 24mg, and that resolved all of my nic-fit cravings. About 3 weeks later I returned to 18mg eJuice, and had no issues stepping down.

**IMPORTANT NOTE**: This is my CYA Clause – I am not a medical professional. I am only re-iterating what I have learned from my experiences. I am not liable for what you order in nicotine strength. This document is a recounting of my observations. If you use e-Cigarettes, you do so at your own risk.

For many smokers the first few weeks of vaping are the hardest. Some experience withdrawal symptoms. Why? It’s not that you’ve given up the nicotine, because you’re getting it in the e-Cigarette. Instead it’s all the other ingredients in traditional cigarettes. The Big Tobacco companies have taken a simple process, (i.e. tobacco rolled in paper) and added all sorts of nasty little ingredients, stuff to make traditional cigarettes burn slower or faster, interesting 18 syllable chemicals compounds to make the tobacco “taste” better, and other additive ingredients to insure that you continue to smoke…

And yeah, that first week, your body may still crave that crap. I know, it’s tremendously unfair, but Big Tobacco has had a lot of time and billions of dollars to ensure that you will continue to be a smoker.

How do you even out the odds? Make sure you get eJuice in 2 (maybe even 3) different nicotine strengths. From the reading I have done, here are some general guidelines about nicotine strength: (Note: Again, these are what I have learned for my reading – I take no responsibility for your fool *censored* if you order really high nicotine and make yourself sick.)

If you smoke…                Try this strength in Nicotine
Less than a Pack A Day    Between 6mg to 14 mg
A Pack a Day                   Between 12mg to 18 mg
A Pack and a Half A Day    Between 16mg to 24 mg
2 Packs a Day                  Between 14mg to 24mg*
*32mg is available, but it is VERY high nicotine, and I can’t recommend that high of nicotine to anyone. Again, you order this at your own risk!

Now that you’ve been armed with all of this invaluable information, you’re ready to place your eJuice order, right?

But Wait… there’s no eJuice out there in the flavor of “Xyz” cigarettes…
Now what?

The Flavors: Or, Why Would Anyone Want to Vape Baby Back Ribs?!?

The most important lesson that you will learn when you begin Vaping is that “Taste is Subjective”. There can be no truer statement in all of Vaping than this.

As smokers we have spent years deadening our taste-buds. Since this has been a continual ongoing process, none of us even noticed that it was happening. When you move to e-Cigarettes you will no longer will coating your mouth and throat with the 2000+ chemicals found in traditional cigarettes (aka Analogs). As discussed previously, those chemicals – in addition to the nicotine, are what your body craves. And as disgusting as it is, some of those chemical have a flavor and a taste to them. And our taste-buds decided we like the flavor… which is a little gross and a lot horrifying.

When we vape e-Cigarettes our taste-buds are getting a whole lot less to deal with than when we smoke Analogs. In comparison, the vapor we’re getting consists of PG and/or VG, nicotine and flavoring. With that in mind, even the craziest flavor of eJuice is a whole lot simpler than smoking one Analog. Yet, eJuice’s flavor can be amazingly complex and infinitely more satisfying than an Analog. Which just goes to prove our taste-buds are stupid, and have been duped all these years into think that a burning stick of 2000+ chemicals was actually “tasty”.

The second most important lesson you will learn when vaping is this: There is no eJuice created that will ever taste exactly like that nasty 2000+ chemical ridden Analog that you think tastes good.

This is perhaps the biggest hurdle new users of e-Cigarettes have to overcome. Some users begin using e-Cigarettes and set themselves on an impossible and never-ending quest – “I need to find an eJuice that tastes exactly like my Xyz Ultra Light Arctic Menthol 100s Supreme cigarettes, or I’ll never know happiness again!”

Uh, really? Your that sure that your Analogs are that tasty?

I’ve been vaping for 2 years, I made a conscious decision to vape this long after some rather stressful events in my life. If it had not been for vaping I can say, hands down, that I would have returned to smoking last year after some life-altering stressful events. Instead I have been Analog free since 3 days after receiving my first kit.

So, to make my next point valid I conducted a very scientific experiment one morning in my pajamas and fuzzy socks. I took 1 Analog cigarette from the pack I stored in the freezer… my Just in Case This e-Cigarette Thing Doesn’t Work Out pack. Fresh pack, Menthol Ultra Light 100s. I took my smoke and my coffee outside. Mmmm, coffee and the first smoke of the day – a once much enjoyed ritual.

I had to search for a moment before hand for a lighter… I don’t have much use for those anymore these days. I flicked the lighter, and inhaled… burning, chemically, menthol crap. So I took a sip of my morning blend coffee, surely this would improve my experience, and tasted… burning, chemically, menthol crap, morning blend coffee. I had another drag off the Analog and got a strong hit of… New and Improved burning, chemically, menthol crap with a side of what exactly is that nasty under-flavor?

I stubbed out the Analog, went back inside, brushed my teeth and used some mouthwash. I located my Berry Berry eJuice, got a fresh cup of coffee and then threw out the Just in Case This e-Cigarette Thing Doesn’t Work Out pack of cigarettes. Out of this whole experience of my highly technical, scientific experiment I discovered that I did indeed missed something about smoking analogs… the sound the lighter makes.

The point of my rambling story is this: Don’t get hung up on finding the Perfect Cigarette flavored eJuice, because in 1 month you’ll realize that Analogs taste like crap.

Instead of burning, nasty flavored crap you will have an opportunity to vape much tastier concoctions like; Berry Berry, Vanilla Bean, Spearmint, Chocolate Hazelnut, Cherry, or any other myriad of flavors.

eJuices produced here in the States are available from a great number of suppliers. Some companies are large, producing and shipping hundreds of bottles of eJuice daily. Some are much smaller operations, where only 1 or 2 people mix and ship orders. The size of a company does not guarantee that you will like the flavors they produce. I’ve had eJuice from large vendors that I would classify as only ok, and eJuice from a two-person company that completely rocked my fuzzy socks.

As you get into vaping, you’ll be facing the same learning curve that we all have faced, the What is this suppose to taste like? and the Dear Gods, this is Hideous!, and the rewarding Wow, that tastes Amazing! curve. As I stated previously, Taste is Subjective. When placing that first eJuice order try out flavors that appeal to you. Check out ECF for reviews of different flavors, You Tube or Facebook which is becoming a real network for vapers.

You won’t know what you’re going to like until you actually try some different eJuices. There are many, many different flavors out there. From the simplest Ka-mel Tobacco (a Camel-cigarette-tobacco-like flavor) to yes, you guessed it, Baby Back Ribs (which to this day baffles me as to why anyone would want to vape that, but it’s out there!).

So have fun picking out some eJuice flavors to try. Just remember that it all can add up quickly, and as a new vaper you are going to want to try a few different vendors, so be conservative when ordering. Here are some tips and tricks to help avoid making a costly eJuice mistake…

Tips When Ordering eJuice:

1. Samplers or 3mL to 5ml is a good size to start with for any new to you eJuice. This will give you anywhere from 2 to 3 refills in your Cartos or Tanks, dependent on size.

2. A 30mL of eJuice that you got for a bargain, but you ended up hating, is not a good deal regardless of how much you paid for it. Only order a larger quantity of eJuice after you’ve tasted it, and confirmed that you like it.

3. As a new vaper, you may need to Double the Flavor or have Extra flavor added. Your taste-buds need to recover from years of smoking. Increasing the flavor of your eJuice can help compensate for that. It’s usually only $1.00 more per bottle, and it is worth it. You an always cut flavor by adding PG or VG yourself (also available from many vendors), but you can never increase the flavor without getting into the science of DIY and mixing your own.

4. If you’re purchasing eJuice, and you’re not using a coupon code or ordering during a sale, then you’re spending too much money.
Head to Facebook, and become a member of these Groups:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/vapedeals/
Become a member of this, and check out the Files tab, there is housed a document called “Vaping Coupon Codes (that do not expire)”

Also check out Vapor Joe: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Vapedeal/ for great sales and deals on all sorts of eJuice and equipment.

Not on Facebook? Then catch the above deals from Vapor Joe here: http://vaporjoe.blogspot.com/

Or go to ECF, www.e-cigarette-forum.com,  and Join.
On this free forum you will find sales and specials from a wide variety of vendors.
Search for “Coupon Code Master List” and you will find a list that gives codes for a great number of vendors.

The exception to this is probably going to be your first order. As a new vaper you’re going to end up trying the juice from vendor you are ordering your equipment from and a few other vendors. Chances are that not all of them are going to have a sale or coupon code. But always check Facebook or ECF before you place the order, because every little bit helps, even if it only means your discount eliminated your shipping costs.

5. eJuice prices can fluctuate wildly between vendors.
A realistic price break down of eJuice costs should be as follows, not including sale pricing:
3mL Samplers should be between $1.25 and $3.00
5mL should be less than $6.00
10mL should be less than $9.00
30mL should be less than $17.00
Note: It’s always more cost-effective to order a larger quantity (once you know that you like a flavor).

If you are paying more than this you’re probably getting taken, or someone has a highly inflated opinion of their work.

6. When possible get Samplers.
Sample sizes vary from vendor to vendor. They can be between 3mL to 5mL. Due to the nature of Samplers the price can vary between $1.25 and $3.00. Check how the Sampler size compares to the 5mL size, it maybe more cost-effective to just pick up the 5mL. Samplers often do not come with a PG/VG choice or Nicotine level choice. Most vendors seem to do samplers in either 18mg, 12mg or 0 mg Nicotine levels. Just pay attention when ordering, and try to pick up samples near the level you want to use.

Another hint to mention here is since you are new to vaping, when you place an order with a vendor TELL THEM. Almost every vendor has a “Notes” section in their Order Process. Include a nice note, explaining you are new, and would appreciate a few eJuice samples to try some of their flavors. The worst that will happen is the vendor doesn’t send you any. Vendors have no way of distinguishing between new or veteran vapers. Every vendor out there is looking to make you a returning customer, and they want you to find your favorite eJuice from them. A nice note, and a sincere Thank You can go a long way.

7. Be aware that Dekang liquid is produced and imported from China.
Dekang (also know as “DK”) liquids can be very cost-effective, but as I noted in a previous email, it’s a personal choice that you need to make about whether or not you want to use Chinese eJuice. What’s the big deal? FDA approved and certified PG and VG, which is used by most US suppliers, probably isn’t being used in Chinese eJuice. Again… it’s a personal choice.

8. Be mindful of your stock.
On average a user will go through 2mL to 4mL a day, dependent on how they vape. This is only a rough estimate.

The issue with transitioning to e-Cigarettes is that more than likely you will not have a local store where you can pop into get more juice. Since most US manufactures of eJuice are custom mixing that can be a few days delay before your order is mixed and shipped.

9. Some juices require a Steeping/Aging period.
Since most vendors are fresh mixing batches of eJuice to your specifications, sometimes the eJuice benefits for a time period of Steeping. During Steeping the eJuice is kept in a cool dark place, and usually give a good shake every day or every other day. Steeping period can be a short as a few days, or up to a month. Most eJuices can benefit from a 3-day Steeping. Some are perfect right after you receive them. Most Samplers will already be Steeped, unless it was a custom mix that you ordered.

Sometimes eJuices allowed time to Breathe, during which time period once again they are stored in a cool, dark place with the cap removed for a day or two. Most of the eJuice that I use has had some amount of Steeping time, as I rotate through eJuices. The only time I have ever allowed an eJuice to Breathe had been a last ditch effort for a Wild Berry Champagne eJuice. Alas, it was a complete fail, and regardless of Steeping and Breathe time, the eJuice was just a lost cause.

10. Have an emergency? Need eJuice now?
You have a few options for quick ship eJuice and Supplies. Go to http://vaporsearchusa.com
Click on your state, and you will find a number of vendors in your state, including a few with “Brick and Mortar” stores (aka, a real walk-in store) where you can go check out and pick up stuff immediately!

Final eJuice Recommendations

I know, it’s been a long hard road that we have traveled together – For me and the typing up long documents, and for you having to read through those long documents. I get dizzy just thinking about it…

But here’s something to remember… The world of e-Cigarettes is constantly evolving. After months of vaping I have not even made a dent in the number of suppliers that sell eJuice. I have however come to find a few that I really like. As I’ve stated numerous time, the whole taste is subjective, blah, blah, blah. However, there is eJuice that is just poor quality. The result of poor quality can come from a number of different variables. It could be something as simple as the base PG or VG the vendor is using. Or it could be more insidious, like the vendor is being stingy with the flavoring. Or it could very well be that the flavor concentrate is of a low quality/not very good, or the possibility that the vendor does not have the “magic touch” or experience to create truly amazing eJuice.

My recommendations here, of various eJuice suppliers, are my own opinion. You might think they rock – or you may think they suck rocks. Hopefully you will find a few of these vendors worth your while.

BEST PRICING

https://www.mtbakervapor.com/
15mL $4.99, 30mL $7.99, 50mL $10.49 – Extra Flavor shots only 25¢

http://www.ecblendflavors.com/
5mL $2.50, 15mL $5.95, 30mL $8.99, 50mL $14.65 – Extra Flavor shots only 25¢

http://www.gourmetvapor.com/
5mL $3.95, 15mL $10.35, 30mL $15.15, 250mL $79.95, 500mL $127.95 – Extra Flavor Pricing varies dependent on size. Listed here under best pricing because they are almost always having a 40% Sale – check out their Facebook page for the most recent deal. This site also allows you to customize your OWN flavors.

http://www.vaporrenew.com/
http://www.vaporrenew.com/index.php/e-juice/nu-juice-30ml-1oz.html
There is only one size at Vapor Renu, and it is a large 30mL, but at $7.49 per 30mL it is a place to check out after you have gotten your feet wet trying different eJuices. Note to Menthol Smokes: Candy Cane flavor from here is a nice true-to-taste burst of peppermint candy cane. There are more advanced options when picking out you eJuice here, so just make sure you read everything when ordering.

FANTASTIC FLAVORS According to me 😉

https://www.vapedudes.com/
10mL $5.99, 30mL $16.99, 50mL $27.99, 100mL $52.99 – Extra Flavor No Charge

http://www.vixenvapors.com/
6mL $3.49, 10mL $5.49, 30mL $14.49 – Extra Flavor $1.00

https://www.pbdragon.com/
6mL $4.99, 10mL $7.49, 15mL $9.99, 30mL $16.49. 60mL $29.99, 120mL $54.99 – Extra Flavor Not Available

HIGHLY REGARDED IN THE VAPING COMMUNITY

http://www.rawrvapor.com/
10mL $6.50, 20mL $12.00, 30mL $16.50, 55mL $27.50 – Extra Flavor Not Available

http://www.mstsbakery.com/
6mL $5.00, 10mL $8.00, 15mL $11.50, 30mL $20.75 – Extra Flavor Not Available
SPECIAL NOTE: While Ms. T’s creates some awesome flavors, there is almost always a long wait time to get your order. Use this place AFTER you have already gotten a small eJuice stock pile.

Final Words

The list of vendors could go on and on, but the few I have listed above are all good eJuice providers. To find more investigate on Facebook or ECF, or stop by one of the groups I mentioned before and ask around. There are always new vendors and vapers love to recommend their favorite vendors.

This concludes the Crash Course in Vaping and I wish you good luck on finding your perfect vape. Discovering the world of e-Cigarettes and Vaping should an adventure, one that I sincerely hope you enjoy!

Good Luck and Vape On!

6 thoughts on “Crash Course in Vaping, Part 3”

  1. Q, I heard a bit about your blog on VapeTV last night. I’m glad I checked it out. This is an interesting and well done blog…good reading ahead for us that are on your mailing list:)

  2. I’m pretty new to vaping. This was very informative and entertaining at the same time. Thanks

  3. Having read this I thought it was extremely enlightening.
    I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this information together.
    I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and commenting.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  4. I’ve been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never
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  5. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you
    penning this write-up plus the rest of the website is extremely good.

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