Over the last decade or so the term vaporizer has become a regular part of conversations. In fact, you’ve probably noticed more and more people inhaling and blowing smoke from a small device, without ever noticing a distinct tobacco smell or seeing any ignition. But it can get a little confusing trying to figure out how vapes work, what they are exactly, and who uses them.
Vapes, e-cigs, JUULs, e-liquid, e-juice – the bar for entry can seem pretty high for this modern hobby. Don’t sweat it! We’ve got you covered with how vapes work, what they’re made of, and even a bit of history.
So, What Exactly Is Vaping?
Vaping is simply a phrase used to describe the action of someone using a personal vaporizer or electronic cigarette. More often than not, these devices are used as alternative nicotine delivery devices over traditional tobacco products.
The term vaping, then, is used to distinguish between the two. Just like you’d say someone is smoking when they light up a cigarette, in the same way when someone uses a personal vaporizer (with or without nicotine) they’re simply vaping.
Are E-Cigarettes and Vapes the Same?
Kind of. The terms are mostly interchangeable, the difference usually lies in the style and power of the device. E-cigarettes are often built to resemble the slender cylinder of an actual cigarette, meant for short term use. While vapes, mods, pens, or other similar devices might come in larger, battery-like shapes that can be modified and refilled with e-liquid (more on that later!). They often come in a variety of interesting flavors and users can usually control the level of nicotine they intake, which is why vapes are often used as alternative means to quit or taper down a smoking habit.
However, most personal vaporizer devices work in the same general way. In some form or another, a lithium battery in the vaporizer heats a wire coil. E-liquid (where the flavor and nicotine comes from), made from a combination of vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, natural and artificial flavors, is drawn to the coil through a wick.
Once the e-liquid is heated by the coil, it vaporizes, and can then be inhaled by the user. Users can inhale similar to how a smoker would, and the vape mimics the look and feel of smoking, without the stench or harshness of real tobacco.
Where Did Vapes Come From?
Vapes have been used throughout history in one form or another for hundreds of years, just not in the way we think of them now. It’s thought that the ancient Egyptians used a construction of hot stones to vape herbs, though it wasn’t as efficient as today’s pocket-sized vaporizer devices.
In 1963, Herbert A. Gilbert invented a silver tipped, black aluminum vapor delivery device he called “the Smokeless.” Just like modern builds, it contained an internal battery that would heat liquid and turn it into inahalable vapor.
Gilbert believed his device could save lives and revolutionize how people consumed new flavors. At the time, Americans were burning through record number cigarettes. But the surgeon general’s “Smoking and Health” report wouldn’t be out for another year, and the general public was hesitant to link tobacco use to cancer and other diseases.
So despite his efforts, no company was willing to take a chance on Gilbert and send his “Smokeless” invention into mass production. And though the patent was long expired, over 50 years later Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik used it as a blue print to create his first vaporizer in 2003.
Now over 15 years later, vaporizers are a billion dollar industry that have helped many people quit smoking tobacco. Companies large and small throughout the world create new and innovative devices, parts, and accessories for vape enthusiasts everywhere.
How Vapes Work: Breaking Down the Components
While the industry today has really changed and there are countless ways in which vapers modify and customize the different types of devices they use, there are still some basic components that remain consistent in any device. Most devices are made up of some combination of:
- A battery
Devices might change in shape, from traditional cigarettes or pens, to larger boxes and tubes. But they are all built to house a battery to power an atomizer. The difference usually lies in personal style and delivery power.
The battery, as you might have guessed, supplies power for the device. In many ways, it’s the most important aspect of a vaporizer as it provides the “spark” for the actual function. Batteries might come in the form of non-replaceable or replaceable, rechargeable, or even multiple batteries.
It depends entirely on your device type. What’s best for you will depend on your personal habits and preferences. We suggest trying a few out different devices out, and weighing the pros and cons of each.
The atomizer protects and helps distribute power to the other components of a vaporizer. It’s heat-resistant, housing the e-liquid reservoir as well as the wire coils and wicks. The different styles of atomizers are what distinguishes different devices and builds, from conventional Cartomizers to Hybrid Atomizers, and are entirely at the discretion of the user.
This aspect of customizing vapes can be a little overwhelming, as newcomers might not know exactly what they prefer or what kind of atomizer will best suit them. Consult your local vape shop and try a few different builds out if you can to really weigh the advantages and disadvantages.
You might notice a spring-like component on a lot of vape devices. Those are coils. Usually made from Kanthal, NiChrome, and Nickel, they’re the resistance wires that are powered and produce the heat for the e-liquid. The amount of electricity needed to power them will depend entirely on the resistance of the wires – their diameter wire and the number of coil wraps.
Though not like the wick of candle that’s “lit,” wicks in vapes are just as important. As a delivery method, they carry the e-liquid from the holding tank to the coils to be heated. Wicks can be made from cotton, eko-wool, stainless steel mesh, twisted silica cord, or ceramic – again it depends on your device type.
Ah, the good stuff! E-liquid, also known as e-juice, is the actual consumable part of the process. It’s the substance that’s heated and turned into vapor for the user to inhale. The solution is made of some combination of vegetable glycerin, flavorings, and propylene glycol.
The flavors are what make e-liquids so unique. E-liquid companies, like us, can create an almost endless amount of flavors. From outrageous fruit combinations, mint, cinnamon, even natural tobacco flavors and inventive new tastes.
What about nicotine?
Nicotine can be present at differing levels, from as much as 24mg/ml to none at all. And different e-liquid producers often use different ratios of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. Many modern devices are refillable, so usually the only thing vapers are purchasing on a regular basis are new bottles of e-liquid.
Vapes are useful alternative devices to smoking because of how users can usually determine their nicotine levels. For instance, smokers switching over to vaping for the first time might use a level as high as 18mg/ml. But over time, the amount can be tapered down.
High nicotine levels lower flavor and the amount of cloud vapers can produce. So it’s not uncommon for longtime users to lower their nicotine levels over time, or not use nicotine at all.
Want the Best E-Liquid?
That should give you a nice introductory to the world of vaping and how vapes work. If you’re ready to get started and learn more about the types of devices and e-liquids that will appeal more to you and your unique style, give us a visit!
At Juana Vape, our passion for producing a quality e-liquid product stems from a desire to help create a better alternative to cigarettes and other traditional nicotine delivery systems. Our unique array of e-liquid flavors, made available online and in our retail stores, offer customers a combination of bold innovation as well as industry favorites.
All of our e-liquids are crafted and bottled in one central location. Check out some of our favorites and order online today!