Section 1: Vaporizer Safety
Q: Are electronic cigarettes safe?
Public Health England released a comprehensive report reviewing the latest research on electronic cigarettes, and concluded that they are at least 95% safer than real cigarettes. Although it’s too early to say if they’re completely safe, it is undeniable that they are MUCH safer than conventional tobacco.
Q: Will my vaporizer blow up in my face?
With all of the news stories of exploding vaporizers popping up, it’s easy to see why people are concerned. But the concerns are largely unfounded. Vaporizers use the same type of batteries you can find in your cellphone. And while mistreating/damaging them can indeed cause them to vent or explode, the likelihood is very low.
The real culprits behind these explosions are mechanical and unregulated mods. These are older styles of vaporizers that offer no protection for your battery. Unless you’re very well versed in battery chemistry and basic physics, you should stay away from these types of devices.
To learn more, read our Ultimate Vaper’s Guide to Battery Safety.
Q: What are the safest batteries to use in my vaporizer?
As a starting point, stick to reputable 18650 brands like Sony, Samsung, LG, and AW. Make sure you are purchasing authentic batteries from a trusted vape shop. If the shop employees are educated on battery safety, they will be able to recommend the best options for your vaporizer.
Stay away from Efest, TrustFire, UltraFire, and other notorious battery rewrappers.
To learn more, read our Ultimate Vaper’s Guide to Battery Safety.
Q: What is sub-ohming?
To explain sub-ohming, you should first understand the concept of “resistance.”
Resistance (represented by the Ω symbol) is a unit for measuring how much a conductive material (like your vaporizer coil) reduces the flow of electricity. The bigger the resistance, the more reduction in electrical current.
Sub-ohm coils are coils with a resistance below 1 Ω (ohm). This low resistance allows your vaporizer to achieve much higher power outputs. In practical terms, this means more vapor, more flavor, and more throat hit.
Low resistance setups require high quality IMR/INR/NMC batteries with a CDR (continuous discharge rating) of at least 20 amps.
To learn more, read our Ultimate Vaper’s Guide to Battery Safety.
Q: What is diacetyl?
Diacetyl is a chemical used mainly in cream and butter flavoring. In 1999, it was linked to instances of lung disease in factories that produced microwaveable popcorn.
More recently, there has been some concern of diacetyl being used as a flavoring agent in e-juice. A study found that upwards of 75% of all e-liquids contain some amount of diacetyl.
While you should try to reduce your exposure to this chemical, it must be noted that diacetyl is present in cigarette smoke at concentrations of 100 times higher than in electronic cigarettes.
Furthermore, many flavor brands used by e-liquid manufacturers (Flavour Art, The Perfumer’s Apprentice, etc.) have already been reformulated to exclude diacetyl.
Q: Is food coloring in e-juice safe?
No one really knows. Research on food coloring inhalation does not exist (yet). However, the most respected flavor manufacturers in the vaping industry (like Flavour Art) have made a point of ensuring that all of their products are free of food coloring.
Since the entire point of vaping is to reduce harm, we should minimize the amount of unknown chemicals we inhale. So as a general rule of thumb, stay away from juices that use food coloring.
Section 2: Getting Started
Q: How do electronic cigarettes work?
Although vaporizers come in all shapes and sizes, they all work on the same basic principles. They consist of two main components: the mod and the atomizer.
The mod may be a simple pen-style device with a small battery and a single button. Or it can be a bulky box with complex controls and an LED screen. But its function is always the same—to provide power to the atomizer. You press a button to complete the circuit, and electrical current flows from the battery to the 510-connection (where the atomizer is attached).
The atomizer is responsible for actually vaporizing your e-juice. It is a piece of resistive wire that heats up when an electric current is applied to it. Threaded through the wire is a piece of wicking material (usually organic cotton) that soaks up e-juice, readying it for vaporization.
Q: What nicotine strength should I be vaping?
This depends on a few factors: your preferred brand of cigarettes, smoking frequency, personal preferences/habits, and the vaporizer kit you’ll be using.
If you smoke cigarettes with a higher nicotine content, you may want to start with 12 or 18 mg. This applies to:
- Lucky Strikes
- Marlboro Reds
- Pall Malls
If you smoke less than half a pack a day or smoke light cigarettes, we recommend starting with a nicotine content between 6 and 12 mg.
If you are using a high-powered vaping setup (sub-ohm coils, 25+ watts), you should divide the above nicotine recommendations in half.
Ultimately, however, there is no right answer. Everyone is different. So when you’re picking up your first vaporizer, you should try a few different nicotine strengths to find what works for you.
When in doubt, go for a lower nicotine concentration. This is because you’re much less likely to use your vaporizer if it is too harsh.
Q: How long does the battery/tank/coil/juice last?
This is a difficult question to answer, and one we get asked quite often. The answer depends entirely on your personal preferences. There are vapers who can make an 900 mAh battery last days, and others who can kill it in under an hour. The same extremes can apply to e-juice and coils.
But if you absolutely need to have an answer, here are a few rules of thumb:
- A single-battery device should last 4-10 hours per charge
- A standard size tank (3 mL) of e-juice should last 2-4 hours per fill
- A 30 mL bottle of e-juice should last 3 to 7 days.
- A stock coil should last 1 to 3 weeks.
Q: When do I have to change my coil?
The first indicator that your coil needs changing is flavor. A burnt coil will give off an unpleasant flavor, overshadowing the flavor of the e-juice in your tank.
If you choose to vape beyond this point, the wicking material will start to deteriorate, causing dry hits and leaks. If your tank begins performing poorly, it may be an indicator that your coil needs changing.
Finally, you can always remove the coil and visually inspect it. A burnt coil will be much darker than a new one, with flaking wicking material, and a gunky buildup on the wire.
Q: How do I change my coil?
Most tanks on the market have a bottom-threaded coil. To replace this type of coil:
- Empty your tank of remaining e-juice
- Unscrew the base of the tank to expose the coil
- Unscrew the coil from the base
- Screw a new coil into the base
Newer top-threaded coils (like the Cubis or eGo AIO) are even easier to change:
- Unscrew top-cap to expose the coil
- Unscrew used coil from the top-cap
- Screw a new coil into the top-cap
Q: How do I “prime” my coil?
Priming a coil involves soaking its wick in e-juice. This is done to ensure that your coil doesn’t burn in the first few minutes of use, and is necessary step to ensure coil longevity. Only new coils need to be primed. You can do this in one of several ways:
- Drip few drops of e-juice into the centre of the coil and wait a few moments for it to soak. Repeat until the juice ports on the outside of the coil become glossy with liquid.
- Fill your tank with e-juice and let the coil soak for 15-20 minutes before use.
- Fill your tank with e-juice, close the airflow, and take a few hard pulls (without pressing the button) to bring the liquid into the coil.
Q: What is PG/VG?
PG stands for propylene glycol. It is a thick liquid used in many products you consume on a daily basis. You will find it in soap, shampoo, personal lubricant, soda, liquid-sweeteners, refrigerated coffee-style drinks, etc. Because of its benign nature, it is also used in theatrical fog machines, medical inhalers, and e-liquid. The FDA recognizes it as safe to inhale.
VG stands for vegetable glycerin. Thicker than PG, VG is commonly used in many of the same products. In addition, you may find VG used as a moistener and sweetener in store-bought pastries and vegan-style cheeses. While there is less research about VG inhalation, it is also generally recognized as safe by the FDA.
Q: What PG/VG ratio should I use?
This depends on your personal preferences and tank.
Liquids with a higher concentration of PG are more flavourful and create a bigger throat hit, but produce low vapor. High VG liquids may have less flavor and less throat hit, but make up for this with increased vapor production.
Generally speaking, a 50/50 or 30/70 blend will work well on most modern tanks.
If you are looking to use max VG blends, however, you should have a tank that is equipped to handle its viscosity. You’ll need to use coils with large juice channels and ample airflow (like the Cleito, TFV4, or Nautilus X).
Q: Can I get an e-juice that tastes like cigarettes?
In short: no.
Much of the “flavor” of cigarettes comes from lighting dry plant matter on fire. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on who you ask), this cannot be replicated on a vaporizer. Because nothing burns in a vaporizer, the closest thing you can get is an e-juice that tastes like tobacco leaves. Sweet, floral, and earthy. Nothing like a burning cigarette.
Q: Can I get unflavored e-juice?
While there are some vendors who sell unflavored e-juice, you should keep in mind that it may have an unpleasant taste. Without additional flavor compounds to mask it, you will feel the chemical taste of PG, the sweetness of VG, and the peppery notes of nicotine. For this reason, VapeLoft doesn’t sell unflavoured e-juice.
Q: Why does vaping make me cough?
Coughing is just a way for your body to clear foreign particles or irritants from your throat. And any inhaled substance can be an irritant, especially if you aren’t accustomed to it. Vaporized e-juice is no exception.
For the first few days of use, your vaporizer might create a tickling sensation in the back of your throat, which may cause you to cough. Like when you were getting used to smoking, your body will eventually acclimate to the new sensation, and your cough reflex should stop being triggered.
If you are still coughing after a few weeks of consistent use, consider dropping your nicotine level or opting for a higher VG blend.
Q: What is the best electronic cigarette?
This is one of the most common questions we get, and it is also one of the hardest to answer. Vaporizers come in many different shapes, sizes, and styles. Setups loved by one may be hated by another. Like many things in vaping, it comes down to personal preference (and budget).
Do you prefer tanks with a tight, cigarette like draw? Then you might love an iStick 40TC with a Nautilus X tank.
Enjoy exhaling huge, flavourful clouds? You should look into an RX200 with a Tsunami RDA.
Or do you just want something super simple on a budget? Check out the Joyetech eGo AIO.
But considering the amount of products available, the above is an extreme oversimplification. There are thousands of choices, and millions of possible hardware combinations. The best way to narrow your choices is to come down to a vape shop and start trying devices out.
Q: What is vaper’s tongue?
When you’ve been vaping the same flavor for a long time, it might start to taste like nothing at all. In the vaping community, this phenomenon is referred to as “vaper’s tongue.” But in reality, it has nothing to do with your tongue.
Vaporized e-juice is actually not tasted, but smelled. And because of this, it is subject to a condition called olfactory fatigue. For the same reason we can’t smell our own body odor, if our sense of smell is exposed to the same e-juice for a long time, we will no longer be able to taste those particular combination of flavors.
The best way to deal with olfactory fatigue is to switch your juice up for a few days. If that isn’t an option, you can try some palate cleansers. Smelling a fresh batch of coffee beans can work wonders for resetting your sense of smell.
Q: What is the difference between MTL and DL tanks?
MTL stands for mouth-to-lung. It refers to vaporizers with a tight draw akin to cigarettes. Because of the restricted airflow, you must first pull the vapor into your mouth before inhaling fully. This is a popular method of vaping for people who are just weaning off of cigarettes.
DL stands for direct-lung. This style of vaping can be achieved on tanks with wide-open airflows, which allow you to pull the vapor directly into your lungs without much resistance. This style of vaping is more common on sub-ohm tanks, which require a lot more air to cool the coil.
Q: Where should I set my airflow control?
For the most part, airflow control exists for personal preference. People who like a more restrictive pull will keep their airflow on the lowest settings. Those who like an airier, hookah-like draw will wants theirs as open as possible.
But airflow control is also useful for dealing with certain tank issues.
If your tank is leaking, consider opening the airflow up to decrease the amount of juice you’re pulling into the coil. Conversely, if you’re getting a lot of dry hits, you can close up your airflow to increase the amount of juice you're pulling into the coil.
As a rule of thumb, the lower resistance your coil and the higher your wattage, the more open your airflow should be.
Section 3: Troubleshooting/Hardware Issues
Q: My electronic cigarette doesn’t work. How do I fix it?
It’s hard for us to troubleshoot a device over the internet. There are a number of things that can prevent your vaporizer from working properly, and the best way to fix it is to bring it into your local vape shop. If that isn’t an option, however, you can run some simple diagnostics at home.
- Ensure your device is on:
Most vaporizers can be turned on and off by clicking the firing button 5 times in quick succession. If the device is on, its LED screen should now be lit up. If you’re using an older device without a screen, its firing button should light up when pressed.
- Check that your battery is charged:
If your device is not turning on at all, the battery may be at fault. If your device uses external 18650s, insert them into a charger to check their charge voltage (anything above 3.6 volts is enough to power your vape). If you are using a device with a built-in battery (e.g. iStick 40TC), plug it into a power source via a micro-USB cable, and check its charge on the screen.
- Make sure your batteries are inserted correctly:
External 18650s should always be inserted at the correct orientation. Inserting them at the wrong orientation can be dangerous, and will prevent your device from working. Virtually every vaporizer will have markings inside the battery compartment indicating where the + and - terminals of your battery should go.
- Replace your coil:
Coils are the biggest culprit in vaporizer malfunctions. They should be one of the first things you check when something is off. If nothing else seems to be fixing your issue, try switching your coil.
Q: How do I fix a leaking tank?
There is no such thing as 100% leak proof tank. If you use any tank for long enough, you will eventually encounter a leak. With that being said, some tanks leak more than others. And some leaking issues can be easily fixed.
- Increase your wattage:
If you are vaping on the lower end of a recommended wattage, you may be pulling liquid into the coil too quickly for it to be vaporized. Try increasing your wattage in increments to see if this fixes the issue.
- Open your airflow:
Once again, you may be pulling liquid into your coil too quickly for it to be vaporized. Opening your airflow may fix this issue.
- Replace your coil:
As we mentioned before, coils are responsible for most vaporizer issues—including leaking. A new coil may fix your issue.
- Replace your seals:
Virtually every tank on the market uses rubber o-rings to create an airtight seal. Damaged or misplaced seals will cause leaks. On most tanks, these seals can be found wherever the glass makes contact with the base and top-cap. Try replacing these seals to fix a leaking tank.
- Replace your glass:
a tiny crack in your glass tank may be enough to cause serious leaking. Inspect your tank carefully for hairline cracks and chips. If you find any, replace your glass to fix the issue.
- Buy a new tank:
Some tanks leak more than others (Kanger, we’ll looking at you!). If leaking is a deal-breaker, consider replacing your tank to a more leak-proof design (e.g. Aspire Cleito, Aspire Nautilus X).
Q: I’m getting a no atomizer/atomizer low/atomizer short/coil dry error. How do I fix it?
These are the most common error messages you’ll encounter when vaping. And they all stem from the same cause—a bad contact between your coil and the 510 pin causing a short circuit.
- Reset your device (turn it off and then turn it on)
- Unscrew your tank and screw it back on
- Tighten your coil
- Pull up the 510 contact on your device using a small screwdriver
- Replace your coil
If you are using a very low resistance nickel or titanium coil, make sure that your device is in TC mode and that your coil resistance is locked.
If you are using a rebuildable atomizer, make sure that your coil leads are trimmed, that the coil isn’t touching anything, and that all insulators are in place.
If you are still having issues, bring your device into the store and we’ll take a look at it.
Q: Why does my battery drain so quickly?
Depending on your coil and personal vaping habits, a standard 18650 battery can last you from a couple of hours to several days. It is not unheard of to drain a battery in 2-3 hours.
The following can cause your battery to drain quicker:
- Low resistance atomizer
- High wattage setting
- High puff count
- High internal resistance battery (like Efest purple wrap batteries)
- High voltage discharge cutoff on the device (like Kanger products)
If you are unhappy with the battery life of your device, we recommend switching to a high-quality 18650 from Samsung, LG, or Sony. Try not to pay too much attention to mAh ratings, as these can be very misleading (you can learn more in our Ultimate Vaper’s Guide to Battery Safety).
Otherwise, consider switching to a multi-battery device like the Joyetech Cuboid and Wismec Reuleaux RX200. You will get considerably more vaping time on the same wattage setting.
Q: Why doesn’t the screen on my mod turn on?
You probably turned on stealth-mode by accident.
This is a common feature for vaporizers with LED screens. It allows you to turn off the screen in low light environments, where its brightness could be a nuisance. So before you write your mod off as a defective unit, try turning off stealth mode.
Just hold the “down” button and power for 3 seconds to activate/deactivate stealth mode on most devices.