So You Want To Get A Vape
Updated: Sep 17, 2022
Making the swap from traditional cigarettes to an #ecigarette can be equal parts intimidating and frustrating. There are a number of differences between the two and #vaping has a whole other list of categories to get familiar with that a first time vaper wont know until they take that first step into a specialty store.
LoneStar Vapor Shop's vapeologists are well versed in all the ins and outs of the industry. So here is an easy break down of the bare minimum of how to get started vaping.
#1 - Starter Kit
Choosing your first starter kit can be incredibly overwhelming.
Starter kits have come a long way in the last five years. Becoming more pocket friendly, cost efficient, and effective. Choose a kit from a popular brand. Such as #SMOK, #Vapresso, or #Geekvape. As replacement parts will be more widely available in your area or while traveling.
Choose one with a battery capacity that will meet your needs. Such as, do you need it to stay charged from the time you go to work until you get home? Or can you charge it half way through your day? Do you want a something that is palm size and fits easily in a purse or a pocket or do you want something larger and sturdy? It is not uncommon these days to carry extra batteries or a second vape of the same type with you to get through the day.
Size does matter in the vaping world. The larger the vape, the greater amount of vapor it can produce and the longer the battery life is likely to last before needing recharged.
Kit type is a personal choice and there is no right or wrong in which kit you choose to go with. We train our vapeologists to ask a series of questions to help identify what sort of kit we feel would benefit you best and then offer suggestions on what we have in our inventory based on that.
#2 - Price
The price of a starter kit varies. Dramatically so, depending on how large or small, how big or minor the battery cell and how complex or simple its options and operations are. Decent kits can start for as low as around $25 and go up from there. While more advanced vape setups can average around $100 or more. Starter kits do not typically come with #eliquid either, so be prepared for that additional cost.
When helping a new customer begin their vaping journey I have often encountered them cowering at the price point when we begin to configure everything they will need to get started. Your largest out-of-pocket expense is going to be your starter kit. From there your weekly maintenance is generally significantly less than that first purchase and typically any future purchases you might have made weekly on cigarettes. Here is how I frame it for my new customers:
The average customer of mine is a half pack a day smoker. The average cost of a pack of cigarettes is $8. That means they spend $28 a week on cigarettes. That's $126 a month or $1512 a year. This figure doesn't include tax, so that number would be much higher depending on your state.
If a 100ml bottle of eliquid costs $25 and your starter kit costs $34. This week you have spent $58 on your switch from cigarettes to vaping. More than you would have spent on cigarettes, sure. BUT. Next week you don't need any eliquid because, you've only used half or less of that first 100ml bottle. At worst you may need a new coil/pod (more of this in Maintenance section later) which may be around $6.
So if you buy 2 100mls a month ($50) 1 replacement coil/pod a week ($27). Then you've spent $77 total for the next month to vape versus $126 you would have spent on cigarettes. You've saved almost $50 that month. That for me is a nice sushi dinner for myself.
These figures are subjective of course. Some people vape more or less, depending on their personal preference. But in many cases, your weekly/monthly expenses for vaping will be significantly less than that of smoking cigarettes.
#3 - Nicotine Strength
Choosing your nicotine strength will be the most difficult part of getting started. Difficult for you and difficult for us. There is no specific chart that says if you smoke this many cigarettes then you should get this nicotine level.
Eliquids come in multiple #nicotinestrengths. The higher the nicotine strength, the more nicotine you get in a single vape puff. The nicotine strength also affects the taste of the vape and the intensity or burning or tingling sensation you feel at the back of your throat, similar to when you inhale on a cigarette.
Generally we will recommend a nicotine strength based on a number of questions asked: How many packs a day or how many cigarettes a day do you smoke? Do you smoke lights or full flavors? Do you smoke menthols?
I wish I could say that with the answers to the questions above we could get each person the perfect nicotine level every time. Once again, this category is so subjective as each individual vapor has their own likes and dislikes. Some pack a day smokers can easily vape a low nicotine strength, because they are more attached to the physical aspect of the cloud or the hand to mouth motion than the feeling itself. While others who may have only smoked a few cigarettes a day enjoy the sensation of a high nicotine strength eliquid. Our vapeologists will recommend what we feel will fit you best, but you certainly can choose whatever nicotine strength you are interested in.
If you have never tried a friend's vape or are not certain yourself what level you should go with, we will recommend that you begin on a lower scale. Our philosophy is that it is better to have too low a nicotine strength than too high to start out with. Too high and you may be unable to use your vape because it is too harsh or you don't enjoy the effects. Too low and you will just vape more to get that satisfaction from the nicotine.
#4 - Eliquid
There are hundreds if not thousands of brands of eliquids on the market. Some well known like #juicehead and #naked100. Other's perhaps a little less talked about, but also great brands like #vapetasia.
Brands carry either a small or a large variety of flavors. A majority of them are fruit combinations but, you can also find several dessert types as well. Tobacco flavors are an entirely different thing. Of the top brands that we carry only one appears to cater to the tobacco flavor lover.
A lot of new vapers start off by saying to me they want a kit that feels like a real cigarette and tastes like a real cigarette. I do my best to meet these demands but, a vape that feels and tastes exactly like whatever brand of cigarette they are smoking is a unicorn. Maybe it is out there. More likely reality is that it isn't and you will have to accept that vaping is different than smoking, else you will only be disappointed.
Some people do prefer and/or need a tobacco flavor or think at the start of their vaping journey that they will only succeed with a tobacco flavor. The power of the sweet caramel apple or jungle fruits might actually surprise you. I've had customers who started off on tobacco flavors only and refused to ever try anything outside of that. Then they try a friend's eliquid or are forced to get something else where and come back to me to browse our flavors and choose something new and very untraditional of them.
So my best advice to choosing a flavor is; ask our vapeologist what their favorite flavors are and be adventurous in trying something non-tobacco flavored. You'll have a much wider selection to choose from if so and you may be pleasantly surprised that you enjoy your vape more.
As an additional note: For menthol vapers I have found even fewer options for a straight menthol without additional flavors. Out of our selections, Naked100 has the best choices with Crisp Menthol. They also have another option called Mint (formerly Arctic?). I have also begun to stock an eliquid by Hyde that is supposed to be just a flat ice menthol flavor. If you are seeking a menthol eliquid look for any flavor name that includes the words FREEZE or ICE. These indicate a menthol or menthol-like taste. If you are opposed to menthol flavors avoid bottles that display FREEZE or ICE in the flavor name.
#5 - Maintenance
Every vape requires some minor form of maintenance. (Excluding disposable vapes-- but we'll talk about those another day.)
Each vape has/uses what we call a coil or a pod-- Which of these yours requires depends on which starter kit you choose. This part is small and on average needs replaced on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
Inside each coil/pod is wire and cotton. How your vape works is the cotton absorbs the eliquid. The wire is then heated by the battery. The wire is wrapped around the cotton, causing the cotton to heat as well. As the cotton heats the eliquid is turned from its liquid state into the vapor state which you inhale.
After a week's worth of use the cotton begins to become burnt. You may notice the taste of your vape going bad. I like to describe it as a burnt popcorn sort of taste, because most people can relate to and identify that. When this happens the coil or pod will need replaced.
Remember when we were discussing price? This part can vary anywhere from $5 to $10, depending on which sort of starter kit you are using. Smaller kits will cost on the lower end of this spectrum. While larger kits will cost on the higher end of it.
You can purchase individual coils/pods at any of our brick and mortar locations or you can purchase a whole pack and get a 10% discount. A pack of coils comes in 2pk, 3pk, 4pk, or 5pk all of course depending on the sort of coil/pod you need.
The the coil/pod also has many creative names. I like to think I've heard them all after a decade, but once in a while someone always manages to give me a new identity for it. Some other terms you may hear or use to describe the coil/pod: Igniter, burner, metal bit, stim, tank, topper. I think that about covers the most common ones I hear.
If I may recommend one thing to make our vapeologists' lives easier? (and your own for that matter.) Bring your vape into the store or bring your old coil/pod in. Or even take a picture of it and keep it on your phone. I would wager 80% of the time a customer comes in and needs to buy a new coil/pod they either don't know which one they need for their vape or they don't know the name of the vape they use.
There are hundreds (probably more like thousands) of coils/pod types and they are all different and very few can be used with a brand outside of the original kits they were designed for (and I can't imagine a shop anywhere stocks every single coil ever made past or present.) So having a picture or even better, bringing your vape in with you for us to see, allows us to quickly know which you need without us irritating you with 20 questions that you don't have the answers to.
So there you have the quick basics.
These are just my opinions based on 10years in the vape retail industry which is ever changing, both in regulations as well as available products. Much like cellphones your kit will eventually degrade with time and use and will need replaced with a new kit.
Smaller kits may last a minimum of 6 to 12months. Larger kits a couple of years. The older your vape is, the harder it becomes to find replacement coils/pods. So keep that in mind when shopping for your starter kit. Get a newer model from a well known brand and you'll have less of a chance struggling to find coils/pods for it for a while.
If this blog post helps just one person out there make the switch from cigarettes to vaping a little easier then it was absolutely worth the handful of hours it took to compose it on this Saturday night.
If you are in the #Rockwall TX area or the #Tulsa OK area, come by Monday thru Sunday and see us! We offer a 30day warranty on all our starter kits sold in store. If something should go wrong; it stops charging, a button falls off, its being suspicious, we will check it out for you and if we can't repair the problem then we will exchange it. (Receipt of original purchase is required for replacement and any damage resulting from misuse or poor care to the kit may void said warranty.)
We'll also take all the time you need to answer questions and give you a step by step walk through after you purchase your kit on how to work it and maintain it.