Whether you’re new to vaping or have been using vapes for some time, we can all agree that the world of vaping can be a bit confusing!
There are so many specific terms and acronyms to learn, so many different principles to understand and so many options on the market that vaping for beginners can be overwhelming.
Not to worry though! At TABlites we’ve been helping our customers make the transition from smoking to vaping for over a decade, and have all the answers when it comes to the right starter vape for you!
Keep reading our handy guide to get an introduction to vaping and to get our tips and advice for picking out the right first vape - you’ll be a pro in no time!
Vaping101: What Is Vaping And How Does It Work?
Vaping refers to the use of a vape, also known as an e-cigarette.
Vapes and e-cigs allow you to inhale nicotine in a vapour made from heating an e-liquid, which usually contains propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerine (VG), nicotine and flavourings. Unlike traditional cigarettes, vaping doesn’t involve burning tobacco, which means there is no tar or carbon monoxide in vapour, two of the most harmful compounds in tobacco cigarettes. This is why vaping can be such a useful tool when it comes to quitting smoking.
In the earliest days of vape retailing, electronic cigarettes looked like tobacco cigarettes. The first ever modern, mainstream vape was designed and created by Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist and entrepreneur. In the early 2000s, it was released for sale in China, before being distributed in Europe and the US around 2007.
Since then, vapes have proliferated all over the world as an alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes, and the vape industry has grown massively in popularity. Today, a wide range of vapes and e-cigarettes are available in the market, varying massively in design, functionality, power and features. However, the basic functions of the e-cigarette remain almost identical to Hon Lik’s original vape design!
The Components of Your Vape
All vapes are made up of primarily the same components. They can look very different or have additional features added, but the core components will almost always be the same.
- Battery – Vape batteries can range anywhere from 180mAh up to 2500mAh (milli-amp hours), and can be built-in or replaceable. In disposable vapes, you’ll get a single-use battery, while reusable vapes tend to utilise rechargeable batteries.
- The E-Liquid Tank – This is the reservoir chamber that holds the e-liquid. In disposable vapes, the e-liquid tank will be pre-filled and fully sealed in the outer casing so it can’t be reused. Pod vapes will have a replaceable e-liquid tank, and more advanced vapers will have refillable and replaceable tanks. In the UK and EU, devices sold with refillable vape juice tanks are limited to 2ml of e-liquid.
- Atomiser Coil – The atomiser coil or resistance coil, as it's sometimes known, is the heating element in your vape. When the vape is turned on, the battery heats this coil, which in turn heats the e-liquid and creates vapour. Some coils can be removed and replaced with a different type of coil - this produces a slightly different vaping experience. Coils are generally built to last up to 2 weeks before they become clogged or burned out and need to be cleaned or replaced.
- Wicking Material - Around the atomiser coil, there is a cotton wicking material that delivers e-liquid to the coil. When the e-liquid contained within the pod cartridge or vape tank is heated, it produces this vapour. If you are running low on e-liquid in your tank, it’s the dry cotton that gives you a “burnt” flavour from your vape.
- E-Liquid – The e-liquid in your tank is absorbed by the wicking material to be heated. There is so much variety of e-liquid on the market today, with incredible flavours, different nicotine strengths, different PG and VG compositions, and options of freebase nicotine or nicotine salt e-liquids.
- Mouthpiece – The mouthpiece (sometimes known as the drip tip) is the part of the tank, pod or vape device. It can come in many different shapes and sizes to suit different preferences. Many mouthpieces are also ergonomically designed for a comfortable vaping experience.
- Charging Point and Charger - most vapes will use a simple USB-C charger, but it is recommended that you don’t use any other charger for your vape other than the one it comes with. This prevents poor charging or overloading the battery, which can be dangerous. Disposable vapes are not rechargeable.
Some more advanced vapes might have removable batteries, LED screens, indicator lights, various resistances of coils, bubble glass extension tanks, adjustable airflow, and a whole host of other features and accessories. These can be incredibly helpful for more advanced vapers looking to better customise their vape experience or expand the capabilities of their device. When you’re just getting started though, there are lots of bells and whistles you simply won’t need!
The great thing about simple beginner vape kits is that they are very affordable, which means that when you want to move onto an intermediate or more advanced device, you won’t have to worry about losing a significant amount of money. If you start your vape journey by dropping money on a wide range of advanced devices, e-liquids, and accessories only to find it’s not quite right for you, that’s when things can start getting expensive!
Disposable vapes and single-use vapes will not have removable or rechargeable batteries, as they get thrown away and recycled once they’re finished. You also probably won’t be able to switch out the tank/flavour of your e-liquid without buying a new device, and you aren't able to change any of the settings on a disposable. If you’re looking for a quick, easy way to vape for the first time, however, then disposables can be a really good option. They come in a wide range of flavours and designs and are exceptionally affordable upfront.
How to Vape
The way you vape will be slightly different based on your vape device and preferred vaping style. However, the principles are largely the same no matter what - simply inhale, hold, and exhale!
If you are vaping mouth to lung (MTL) the experience of vaping will be very similar to that of smoking a cigarette. You take a puff, hold the vapour in your mouth and throat for a moment before inhaling to the lungs, and then breathe out. Like cigarette smoke, the vapour is very quickly absorbed into the lungs so you don’t have to hold your breath for more than a second or so. This results in a nice nicotine rush and pleasant throat hit.
If you’re vaping direct to lung (DTL), your experience will be slightly different. As there is more airflow when you breathe in when DTL vaping, you’ll need a deeper inhale, and you will need to use a low-nicotine, high-VG-based e-liquid..
MTL vs. DTL Vaping
Mouth to Lung vaping is the style that most beginners will start with. It’s the style of vaping that is most similar to smoking tobacco cigarettes, and feels the most “natural” for most people. When you vape mouth-to-lung, you “suck” the vapour from the device into your mouth, and then breathe it into the lungs from there.
This is the best way to vape lots of beginner devices, including disposables like Elf Bars and Geek Bars, due to the small amount of airflow these devices have. It’s also much more familiar for the majority of ex-smokers, which makes vaping a much more natural transition when starting your journey to stop smoking.
Direct to Lung vaping is slightly different and is much more popular with more experienced vapers or “cloud-chasers” (vapers whose primary aim is to create big fluffy clouds when they exhale). In order to create those big clouds, you need to use the right type of e-liquid, the right coil resistance, the right level of airflow and the right inhaling technique.
DTL vaping requires much more airflow to create this large volume of vapour, so you simply “breathe in” the air directly from your vape, instead of holding it in your mouth first.
You might find that devices designed for DTL vaping have wider mouthpieces to allow this inhale-style breathing, while MTL vapes are more likely to have narrower or circular mouthpieces.
Picking Your First Vape With TABlites
Since 2011, the team at TABlites have been at the very forefront of the vaping sector in the UK. With both an online store and brick-and-mortar shops across the UK, our team pride ourselves on our expertise when it comes to the world of vaping.
Vaping is now recognised by the NHS as a recommended way to help people quit smoking which is something we’re passionate about at TABlites. The switch to vaping can be such a useful harm-reduction tool for smokers and is an effective way to get people off cigarettes not just quickly, but in the long term too.
Whether you choose to shop with us online or in-store, we can help you choose the right vape, e-liquids and accessories to help you on your journey. Just come and visit us or feel free to chat with our customer service team for support. We’re on the other end of the phone, or you can reach us via email or through our contact form, and we’ll be happy to help you with any questions you have about your first vape!
We stock one of the largest ranges of vape products in the UK, including leading vape brands like Elf Bars, Geek Bars, Aspire, Smok, Innokin and Vaporesso.
We also have an extensive and diverse range of affordable e-liquids, including our own TABlites brand, as well as IVG, Vampire Vape, Just Juice, Nasty Juice, Dinner Lady and many more! Plus, with our multi-buy deals, you can feel confident you’re getting safe, high-quality and authentic products from leading brands at the best possible prices.
All orders placed before 2:00 pm are dispatched on the same working day and we offer a range of tracked shipping options for your convenience and peace of mind. Orders over £20 will also get free postage!
Choosing Your First Vape For Beginners
When you’re buying your first vape, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There is just so much choice on the market today that it can feel impossible to know if you’re buying the right vape for you, or if you’re wasting your money!
Fortunately, at TABlites, we’ve got the experience you need to help you pick the right beginner vape for you, at the right price!
Disposable vape kits are probably the easiest way to get into vaping! They’re small and discreet, easy to use and very affordable, making them a great starter choice.
With a disposable vape, there’s no messing around with e-liquid refills, internal battery recharging or replacements - simply inhale and go, and then when your vape runs out, dispose of it and start a new one!
Advantages of Disposable Vapes
- Disposable vapes have the lowest upfront costs - £5.99 each or £10 for two at TABlites.
- Disposable vapes are so easy to use - simply inhale and go, no refilling required!
- Disposable vapes are small and discreet - take them anywhere with you and they’ll fit comfortably in a pocket, bag, desk drawer, or glove compartment.
- There are a wide range of flavours and nicotine content disposables on the market - whether you want an authentic tobacco flavour or something sweeter, it’s easy to find a flavour profile you love!
- Disposable e-cigarettes are very similar to tobacco cigarettes - the MTL vaping style, small size and simple draw-activated mechanism make the experience of vaping disposables the most similar to smoking a cigarette. This makes the transition period nice and smooth and makes it less likely you'll revert to smoking out of convenience.
Disadvantages of Disposable Vapes
- Disposables can add up over time. This means that disposable vaping is the most expensive type of vaping. If you’re vaping long-term, you might want to switch to a pod vape or vape pen eventually to cut down on costs. For example, you can expect to pay around £5 for a disposable vape with 2ml of e-liquid, or between £3-5 for 10ml of refillable e-liquid.
- Disposables are single-use and go in the bin or get recycled when they’re finished. This isn’t great for the environment as the entire device, including the built-in battery, circuitry and casing is only used once, and will usually end up in landfills.
- Disposables keep you stuck with one flavour unless you want to buy a new device (which is always an option!). With disposables, you have to stick with your vape until you’re finished with it - between 400 and 600 puffs on average.
Pod vapes, like disposable vapes, are designed to be small, convenient and easy to use. However, pod vapes can be reused and will have a rechargeable battery, as well as a removable or replaceable tank. Pod vapes are a great middle-ground as they allow you to try new flavours and brands of e-liquids without needing to buy a new device.
Pod mods - a subset of pod vapes - offer excellent power and performance in a small pod-vape-shaped package! Many advanced vapers find pod vapes a great way to use a powerful vape while they’re out and about due to their smaller size and more compact design than traditional box mods.
Advantages of Pod Vapes
- With pod vapes, you get the versatility of a more advanced vape with the convenience of a disposable!
- Pod vapes are available for both MTL vapers and DTL vapers.
- Pod vapes are easy to use - just pop in your tank and you’re ready to go!
Disadvantages of Pod Vapes
- Pod vapes do require you to refill the vape tank yourself. This isn’t difficult but can be fiddly the first few times you do it.
- If you’re using pre-filled pods, it’s easy to change the flavour of your vape, but you’re probably still restricted to one brand of e-liquids, as they make the pods that are compatible with your device
Vape pens are probably what most people think of when they think of a vape. These small, compact devices feature refillable tanks that can be filled with whichever e-liquid you choose!
They come in a wide range of designs and with assorted features, but the simple, cylindrical shape is probably the most common and the most recognisable. They’re also affordable, hassle-free and easy to use!
Advantages of Vape Pens
- Vape pens are affordable. Lots of vape kits with vape pens will contain everything you need to get started for less than £30.
- You can easily replace your coil, tank and e-liquid without having to buy a new device! This is cheaper and less wasteful in the long run, making vaping with a vape pen potentially the most budget-friendly option long term, particularly when compared to smoking tobacco cigarettes.
- Vape pens are compact and portable, making them easy to take with you on the go.
Disadvantages of Vape Pens
- While being able to refill and replace your vape components yourself will save you money in the long run, it can be tricky to get your head around to start with! Cleaning your vape, using replaceable coils and refilling your tank can all be time-consuming and difficult the first couple of times you do it.
- If you don’t replace your components properly you can run into problems with your vape such as dry hits or e-liquid leakages.
- Vape pens are smaller and less powerful than more advanced vapes, like pod mods or sub-ohm vapes. If you want to upgrade, you might be better off with a more advanced device than a vape pen.
Vape Mods & Sub-Ohm Vapes
Vape mods and sub-ohm vapes are some of the most inventive, innovative and high-end vape devices on the market. They’re what you need if you're a heavy vaper and want variety and flexibility from your vape, and don’t mind spending a little more to get it!
However, they can very quickly become complicated, with variable wattage, sub-ohm vaping, sub-ohm coils different airflow settings, replaceable batteries, coil resistance, different wattage settings and much, much more. For this reason, we don’t usually recommend vape mods and sub-ohm vapes for beginners.
If you want to find out more about vape mods and sub-ohm vapes though, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the TABlites team, visit us in-store or check out our range of high-quality vape mods and sub-ohm vapes on our site!
What To Do If Your Vape Isn't Right For You
One of the great things about vaping is how many options there are out there. That means that if you’re not getting on particularly well with your vape, there is always something you can do!
For example, if you don’t like the flavour of your e-liquid, you can always empty your removable tank, switch out your pod or try a different disposable before you finish it. While it might feel like a waste of money, in the long run, this will save you far more money and hassle than giving up entirely and going back to smoking, after all!
It’s also easy to try a different nicotine strength, and we have a range of different nicotine levels available on our site! If you’re finding your vape isn’t satisfying your nicotine cravings, a higher concentration of nicotine might be a good option for you. Alternatively, if you’re finding your vape is scratchy or uncomfortable to vape or is making you feel dizzy and lightheaded, a lower strength might be right for you!
If you’re struggling with your vape, there can be lots of reasons behind it. As a new vaper or beginner vaper, you might not be able to identify the issue. However, at TABlites, we have a whole host of vaping knowledge and experience to help you find the problem and get you back on track! Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our customer support team, or visit us at your nearest TABlites store!