Walking into a vape shop for the first time was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I didn’t know anything about vaping. What was I supposed to ask? What if the employees thought I was an idiot? Where did I even begin? All of us have been there, and I imagine that many of you had similar thoughts when you began vaping. It’s intimidating to walk into a specialty store and not have a clue about anything in it. What’s even more intimidating is the overwhelming amount of stuff: RDAs, coils, clearomizers, tips, mods … What does all that even mean?
To all vaping newbies who are reading this right now, I want to say this: I know what it’s like. Of course, we all do, since everyone was a beginner at some point (though a lot of people seem to forget that, I’ve noticed). But I especially know what it’s like because I, too, am a vape newb. Please, hold your gasps of shock. We here at VAPE Magazine decided that it would be a good idea to offer a column for us (well, me) to show our beginner readers the ins and outs of the vaping community, and create a guide of sorts, as we go along, to hopefully help people who want to or are just getting into vaping because, as I said, it can be scary. And who better to assume this role than someone who has only recently, herself, gotten involved with the industry?
So, what’s my story?
I began working for VAPE Magazine in October of 2014. I stumbled across the job incidentally while searching for a potential career following my graduation from college the December before. I applied, not because I knew anything about vaping, but because it was a job with a magazine, and seeing as I graduated with a B.A. in English, it seemed like a pretty ideal job. I began working as the executive assistant, but soon took on additional responsibilities as well, including writing. Shortly after being hired, I thought it would be in my best interest to learn a bit about the industry. How foolish would I look when trying to converse with people at a show if I didn’t have a clue what I was talking about? So, one day, I popped in to a local shop, and the rest, as they say, is history (or in this case, the rest is yet to be revealed—this is going to be a recurring column, after all). I’m still learning, and I definitely have a long way to go, but that’ll be part of the fun of this column. So, come share in my vape-venture with me.
It all starts by taking that first step into the vape shop. In my experience, this is the make-it-or-break-it moment— fight or flight. Reception is everything, especially for a new customer. Shop owners and their employees understand A Guide To Newbie Vaping Words and photos by Erin Hedrick 20 with Leaf iStick with an Aspire Nautilus mini tank vaping’s potential in the world, and they’re eager to draw in new customers. For an article in our last issue, I called shops all across the country, and most of the people I spoke with were very passionate about spreading the word about vaping. So, while I fully understand that it can be nervewracking to approach an expert on the subject, don’t be nervous. They’re there to help you, and any reputable shop will be more than happy to. I visited a shop (Kaleidosmok) in Rolla, Mo., not too long ago, and noted something different that they do for their new customers. Perhaps it’s something that other shops offer as well, but it’s something that I had not noticed until I visited them, and it’s something that I think is a really good idea. Kaleidosmok offers starter kits at a discounted price that include a battery, a tank and up to two bottles of e-liquid at a further discounted rate. The display was set up in the center of their counter so that it was in plain view. I think this is a great idea, because it offers first-time vapers options without having to ask a bunch of questions, because if any of you are like me,
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It all starts by taking that first step into the vape shop. In my experience, this is the make-it-or-break-it moment—fight or flight.
you hate asking a bunch of questions that you think sound silly. They offered simple eGo starter kits, as well as more hands-on mod kits, so they really went above and beyond to make a new customer feel a bit more informed without releasing a vocal tidal wave of information upon them.
You’ve taken the first step: You’re in the shop. Now what? Yes, the employees will be helpful and happy to make suggestions, but how do you know what is the right setup for you? What if you decide that you don’t even like vaping? As a newb myself, I recommend starting off with a eGo vape pen and tank. After everything is said and done, you will have probably invested roughly $40, so if you come to realize that vaping isn’t your thing, you don’t have to worry about having invested a large sum of money in a larger setup. An eGo pen also is small and easy to tote around— they even make lanyards for them!
If you’re interested in something with a little more power for your first kit (maybe you’re a long-time smoker or don’t care for the look of the eGo pens), the employees at my local shop, along with a large amount of people on various e-cigarette forums, recommend the eLeaf iStick topped with a Nautilus mini clearomizer. The iStick is a smaller box APV that comes in four colors (pink, blue, silver and black) and three different wattage levels: 20 w, 30 w and 50 w. It is a self-enclosed system, so in order to charge it, all you have to do is plug it in with the accompanying charger, like you would your cell phone. The tank I mentioned is from a well-known company (Aspire) and fits the size of the iStick nicely, making for a pretty attractive device. It’s made of stainless steel and Pyrex glass, and hosts a bottom vertical coil. It’s design makes it easy to carry, install and refill.
The sky’s the limit, though! In the vaping community, there is something for everyone. While being a brand new e-cig user can be intimidating, it’s also very exciting; there’s so many new things to experiment with. And don’t even get me started on fla vors … That will be for next time. Until then!
Erin is VAPE Magazine’s executive assistant. New to the vaping scene, she loves long walks on the beach, comic book conventions, cats and her Doge RDA.
Technical jargon can be a lot to take in, even for people who are in the know, and as you have probably noticed, there is plenty of it in the vaping world. Here’s a short vocabulary lesson to help get you started!
Analog: (slang) An ordinary tobacco cigarette. The implication is that as the electronic version is the e-cig and that the analog version is the cigarette. Atomizer/RDA (Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer): Also known as an “atty,” it consists of the heating coil, bridge, threaded connection (where it attaches to the mod), air holes and an open end through which you inhale.
Cigalike: These are the e-cigs that you can pick up from most convenience stores. Typically, they’re disposable and resemble a traditional cigarette.
Clearomizer: Also called a “tank.” It’s arguably the most popular trend in vaping at the moment, with the improvements that have recently been made. It is a tube-like cartridge that holds e-liquid. A wick is generally used to deliver the juice to the coil. There are top-coil and bottom-coil setups. They commonly hold 1.7 ml to 3 ml of e-liquid at a time, which is great for vaping on the go, as you don’t have to worry about constantly dripping. On that note … Dripping: The act of adding e-liquid to the cotton of a rebuildable. Dripping requires a lot more effort, as you typically get a handful of hits before needing to drip again. It is never recommended that you drip and drive. Please, for your safety, pack a tank if you plan on being out and about.
Mod/APV (Advanced Personal Vaporizer): APVs are available in two main formats: box mods, which resemble a cigarette pack with a mouthpiece attached, and tube mods, which remind me, personally, of small flashlights with a mouthpiece placed on top (the mouthpiece in both referring to either a RDA or tank).Vape Pen: A small, thin, pen-shaped battery that attaches to a small tank and operates by the press of a button.
Newbies Old and New Give Advice
Everyone was a newb at some point in the vaping journey. We asked our faithful readers what they wish they had known on day one.
I would say do your research. I went into one vapor shop and they tripled the price on a $9 product. Be aware of pricing.
Dorothy Parker – Maryland
You’re going to have to spend some money to get started. $50 eGos are great for the first week, but that’s about all they’re good for. Once you get used to inhaling vapor, they will leave you discouraged and unsatisfied. Spend the money; buy a good mod like IPV Mini, MVP or iStick. Get a good tank like a Nautilus or Subtank Mini. Buy plenty of extra coil heads. Have plenty of backup batteries and a good smart charger. Put together a travel case that holds all your gear, so you won’t be forced to buy a pack of smokes when your coil goes bad or your battery dies out on the road.
Vaping works. I smoked for 22 years; the last cigarette I had was on the day before I started vaping, and I’ve never looked back. Spend the money and do it right; otherwise, there’s a good chance you’ll get discouraged and turn back to analogs.
Nate Van Vleet – Champaign, Illinois
If you’re trying to quit smoking, don’t dance with the tobacco flavors because it makes it harder to quit smoking. Sample, sample and sample ’til you find your flavors.
Jerry Iozzo – Minnesota
You get what you pay for; take the time to educate yourself.
Daniel Gallinetti – Kokomo, Indiana
The best is to go cold turkey and throw away those horrid smokes. In two weeks you will have forgotten that you used to smoke.
Kyle Venter – Cape Town, South Africa
If you are new to vaping, I would suggest going ahead and investing in a nice quality tank and mod. The iStick with the Atlantis 2 tank is awesome! It really makes a difference in the flavor and the amount of smoke you vape. It is night and day compared to the eGo-t and Viva Nova tank I started with. Plus, you only need to use a max of 6 mg nicotine with this type of product. Once you vape and find the flavor you like, you will be in heaven, and the cigarette will be only a bad memory! I am a vape addict now and have only been vaping two months. Do some research and know what you are buying before you buy it.
Kristy Cordell Wiggins – Georgia
It’s illegal to use nic now in Queensland, Australia. Talk to people and find out about their trials; spend a reasonable amount on quality hardware and forge a good relationship with an overseas, nic-supplying sympathiser! That’s what I would do if I was going to use nic.
Jody Clack – Queensland, Australia
Take your time and make sure you select a product that handles your needs. Purchase different nicotine strengths to find the one that cuts your craving for an analog. Try multiple flavors and buy multiple flavors; what may be good for a few puffs may not be good for all-day usage. Don’t buy a pen style to start.
Jason Williams – Medford, Oregon
Do your own research! The guy behind the counter may not always have your interests at heart.
Bryon Raper – Fernandina Beach, Florida
Definitely invest in good equipment. Also, go to more than one site or shop before you buy, because there are too many shops out there looking for that quick $50 rather than a long-term, recurring customer base.
Mike Anderson – White Plains, Maryland
It’s OK to spend a little more money for a product that will take you through the vaping experience. I started with cigalikes, quickly moved to vv with ce4 then Evod tanks then the air flow type atty. Now I have a couple high-end box mods and few sub-Ohm tanks, tried the rebuilding, naw but I’m OK with that, and e-liquid has no bounds. It’s what tastes good to you. Saying all that, I wished I would have started with something like the Eleaf 30 watt/Nauty Mini; would have saved me a lot of grief and money. Been vaping/cig free 19 months. Introduced my hubby and daughter to vaping and they profited from my journey.
Patricia Wms-McDonald – St. Paul, Minnesota
Just because you normally like a certain flavor, doesn’t mean you’ll like vaping it. Also the reverse, so don’t be afraid to try new flavors, because your taste buds will come back to life since you put down cigarettes, and you will be amazed what you will find you like and dislike.
Amanda “Mandi” Cabrera – Horn Lake, Mississippi
Take your time. Don’t rush in feet first. Look at reviews and try before you buy. Think safe, and don’t feel pressured to buy something you’re not comfortable with.
Michel Standen – Hereford, England
It would have been nice to know what shops around me were there to help people trying to quit smoking, not just making a buck. How about having a shop that would inform people with proper information, like best bang for the buck? Not just an iTaste with a Nautilus.
Aaron Black – East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania