Electronic Cigarettes Help & Frequently Asked Questions
Electronic Cigarettes Help & Frequently Asked Questions
About E-Cigs (Electronic Cigarettes)
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that people have about electronic cigarettes, how they work, and more, to serve as a helpful guide to those new to the vaping experience.
An electronic cigarette is any battery-powered device meant to mimic the physical sensation of smoking traditional cigarettes, only without the use of combustion or production of smoke. Instead, an electronic cigarette—also called an e-cigarette, e-cig, or personal vaporizer—uses a battery to heat a metal coil, converting a flavoured liquid into vapor, which is then inhaled in a similar fashion to tobacco smoke.
While the technology has not been in widespread use for long enough for reliable, conclusive studies into the long-term side effects to be conducted, it is the opinion of most that e-cigarettes are, at the very least, less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Since they do not produce smoke, tar, carbon monoxide, or many of the other by-products of tobacco, they are considered less harmful in those regards. However, conclusive research into the health effects are still ongoing, and it would unethical to claim them as either entirely safe or entirely unsafe until more is known.
To produce the vapor that you inhale, your e-cig uses a fluid, commonly called e-juice or e-liquid, which typically has a base of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, or a blend of the two. To learn more about e-liquids and electronic cigarette flavours, please consult our e-liquid FAQ, or our selection of available juices.
Some models are designed to look like a traditional cigarette to appeal to long-time smokers who are looking for an alternative to tobacco that still maintains the look and feel that they are comfortable with. These e-cigarettes, often called cig-alikes, are often sold and marketed as starter kits, and are limited in both features and power. Larger models are typically modular—allowing users to combine a battery of their choice with one of several styles of atomizer.
If you are new to vaping, your best bet would be to start with an e-cigarette starter kit. A cig-alike starter kit will include several cartridge atomizers—or cartomizers—each of which is the equivalent to a 25-pack of cigarettes, puff-wise. A higher-end starter kit will include a battery and an atomizer which can both be swapped out modularly for upgraded components, allowing you to customize your vaping experience. The best electronic cigarettes for more experienced vapers depend on the features that you are looking for. For practical information on specific products, electronic cigarette reviews by experienced vapers are a good place to start.
An atomizer is the part of an e-cig that converts e-liquid into vapor. It does this by running a current through a coil, which is wrapped around a wick containing the liquid. As the coil heats, the liquid is vaporized, and can be inhaled. An atomizer with a built-in cartridge is called a cartomizer. One with a clear, refillable tank is called a clearomizer. An RBA, or rebuildable atomizer, is a customization preferred by certain advanced vapers, which requires some expertise but offers more personalization.
These are both commonly cited technical elements of an e-cig setup, and relate to electricity. The mAh, or milliampere hour, is a measure of how much charge the battery can hold. A higher mAh means that the battery should last longer while providing a comparable amount of energy. Resistance, measured in ohms (Ω), is the opposition that an electric current experiences when passing through a conductor. In practical terms, the lower the resistance, the more quickly the coil of an atomizer will heat up.
Troubleshooting Your E-Cig Device (HELP)
Here are some common questions, concerns, and problems that people currently using an electronic cigarette run into, with tips or troubleshooting help for each.
This is one of the most frustrating issues you might face with your e-cig. You inhale and inhale, but you don’t get anything at all—what’s the deal? There are a few reasons that this could be happening. The first thing to look at is your battery. Is it fully charged and properly attached, or are there any indicator lights flashing? If everything seems normal with the battery, then check that your atomizer, cartomizer, or clearomizer has enough e-juice to operate. You should also check between the battery and the atomizer to ensure that there is no debris or buildup of any kind between them, which could be disrupting the flow of battery power to the heating coil.
Even the best electronic cigarettes won’t perform well in the wrong conditions. If you are getting an unsavoury taste, there are a few potential reasons why. For cig-alikes and cartomizers, this is usually a sign that the cartridge has run low and needs to be replaced. For other atomizer styles, this can be a sign that the heating coil is burning out. For traditional atomizers and clearomizers, you will need to replace the entire component to remedy this, as they have a limited lifespan. If you are using a rebuildable unit, such as an RBA or RDA, then you simply need to replace the coil and the wick.
For clearomizers, regular cleaning may also improve the taste of your electronic cigarette flavours, as well as increasing its lifespan. To do this, simply empty the clearomizer’s tank of any e-liquid, disassemble it, and rinse it in warm water. Let it air dry until free of any water, especially where it connects to the batter, and continue use. It may take a few puffs to get the full flavour back after cleaning.
Electronic cigarette pens, mods, and other styles all use the same kind of power source: a lithium-ion battery. These batteries are a brilliant invention—the amount of power that they provide, for the amount of time that they can, is far superior to many of their predecessors of the same size. But they also have their own challenges. Each one is only good for a certain number of charge cycles, which can be anywhere between 300 and 500. To get the most out of your battery, both between charges and over the course of its usable life, the best thing you can do for it is to do a full charge—from nearly empty to full—as often as possible, as opposed to a partial charge. A full discharge (letting it drain completely before doing a full charge) about every 30 charge cycles is also useful for resetting its digital memory, i.e. making its internal power gauge more accurate and ensuring fuller charges in the future.
Other things you can do include keeping your batteries clean, storing them at room temperature, and using them frequently. If you intend to go a long stretch without using your battery, do not store it at a low or empty charge, as it might dry out. Store it with a little over half a charge—some say that 70% is the magic number.
VV, or variable voltage, is the ability to manually adjust the voltage of your batter; VW, or variable wattage, is the ability to manually adjust its wattage. This is not essential to the vaping experience. However, some believe you should never overlook these options when you shop electronic cigarettes, because they give you more control over your vape.
The typical battery has a fixed voltage (3.7V is common) and a fixed wattage, which can range anywhere from 30W to 150W. With a VV/VW mod, you can control the heat of each puff. Some people prefer to use a different temperature with different e-juices, so they use a VV/VW mod to achieve this.
E-Juice Flavours (FAQ)
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about e-juice, with nicotine or without, what it is, what’s in it, and more, to serve as a helpful guide to those new to the vaping experience.
E-juice, also called e-liquid or vape juice, is a flavoured liquid that is used to create vapor in an electronic cigarette. It is typically made with an edible base—propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, or a combination of the two—as well as natural or artificial flavours.
There are both e-juices with nicotine and e-juices without available for consumption and use. Every bottle of e-juice will clearly display its nicotine content, which is expressed as mg/ml (milligrams per millilitre, sometimes simplified as “mg”). These range from 0 mg (no nicotine content at all) to 36 mg (very high nicotine content). Other common concentrations are 3 mg, 6 mg, 12 mg, 18 mg, and 24 mg.
Yes and no. The product has not been approved for sale as a smoking or nicotine addiction cessation aid by Health Canada, who have remained silent on the subject since 2009. However, we make no claims of e-cigarettes or nicotine e-juice and a health product or smoking cessation product. There are municipal and provincial regulations which limit the usage in certain spaces, but no definitive law that says that to use or buy e-juice with nicotine is illegal. Of course, we and the entirety of Canada’s vaping community are hopeful that the federal government will take a positive stance in the near future.
Propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin are too different edible substances that are used as the base of an e-liquid—i.e., they give the vapor its texture. Both are commonly found in many food products, and each produces a slightly different sensation when converted into vapor. Vegetable glycerin is a natural, sugarless sweetener used in many products. When used as a base for e-juice, it produces thick clouds of vapor that are gentler on the throat. For this reason, it is commonly favoured by cloud-chasers. Propylene glycol, on the other hand, is sweeter, more watery, and produces a much stronger throat hit.
Many e-juices are produced with a blend of both propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. The ratio of one to the other is commonly expressed by percentages, and they are usually blended to a particular ratio to create a desired effect that balances the features of both.
Yes. There is a very small portion of the population—about 2%—who experience allergy-like reactions when consuming propylene glycol. In the case of vapor, this can include an irritated throat and short breath. If you have a negative reaction from vaping a PG-based nicotine vaporizer juice, then you may fall within that 2%. In this case, it is recommended that you use VG-based juices only.