How to Choose the Right Juice?

Hopefully after the last post you are comfortable choosing the right vaping device for your specific needs. But how do you choose the right e-juice? There is a vast array of brands, flavors, strengths, qualities- HOW DOES ANYONE CHOOSE?! Fear not Dear Reader, with a little explanation all of those numbers and ratios will make sense.

Lets start with determining the quality of a vape juice, and the difference between “Premium” and the rest. First you must understand the chemical make up for e-liquids. All e-liquids are made of the same 4 ingredients; Vegetable Glycol (VG), Propylene Glycol (PG), flavoring, and nicotine. With VG and PG making up the fast majority of the juice. If these two chemicals sound scary, I assure you they are not, VG is also used as an additive for asthma inhalers in similar levels. PG has a bit of mixed concern about its use and levels in e-juice. This is because a number of people find that e-juices mixed with high levels of PG cause headaches, nausea, and other minor health-problems. Most “Premium” e-juice is mixed with far less PG, though normally contains some, they express this in percentages on the label, such as “80% VG/20%PG”, or “99% VG”. Some specialty brands offer 100% VG e-juice, so there is hope if you have very bad reactions, even to the lower ratios of PG. Most regular (non-premium) e-juices contain 50%/50% blends, or 60%VG/40%PG. So you may ask yourself, if we can have 100%VG e-juice then why do we use PG in our e-juice at all? Quite simply PG is better at absorbing the flavorings used in e-juice, and some people notice a strange taste associated with vaping high VG ratio e-juice. So if PG doesn’t bother you and you are looking for cleaner flavors a higher ratio of PG to VG might be your thing. My personal recommendation is to use the premium e-juice, especially when you are starting out, because it is no fun to have to run out to buy ANOTHER new bottle of e-juice because the first one gave you a headache. The “Premium” label does come with a premium price tag, due to VG also costing more and the need to use stronger flavorings. After trying a few brands and PG/VG ratios of e-juice you will find one that is comfortable for both your body and your wallet.

Now the part every nicotine-junky is waiting for, how do you chose a nicotine strength that is right for you? This is a little subjective; since a lot goes into how much nicotine you are ultimately getting off a puff of vape. Your vape device could be delivering different nicotine levels of the same exact juice that another device is vaping. Some vape-enthusiasts practically breathe through their vape devices, while others have a few puffs here and there. If you are using a tank atomizer you are probably getting less nicotine than if you are using a RBA. On top of all that e-juice with very high nicotine levels can cause a dry scratchy feeling in the back of the vaper’s throat, which is unpleasant. After a while your throat does get used to it, and the dry-scratchies go away, but it does effect your overall enjoyment in that crucial beginning phase of your transition from cigarettes to vape. Some specialty vape shops will let you try a few different samples of e-juice flavors and levels in the shop, I recommend asking since it can really help you narrow down your options to what works best for you. As far as nicotine levels in e-juice go, they are labeled on the bottle in mg per ml, for example “8mg/ml” or just “8mg”; both denote the same nicotine level. I’ve seen nicotine levels as high as 36mg/ml, which is ridicules don’t do that, most e-juice lines run 12mg/ml or 18mg/ml as their highest levels. And trust me Dear Reader, 18mg/ml is more than enough nicotine for even the heaviest smoker. Nicotine levels in e-juice go all the way down to 0mg/ml, for those that want to quit or never got addicted in the first place. You can also find e-juice with nicotine levels everywhere in between. If you wanted to wean off nicotine by going down 1mg/ml a month for a year, you absolutely could, and it’s a hardly noticeable drop. But in the sake of getting you guys into your correct nicotine “Ball park” I have a simple breakdown;

18-12mg/ml- This is a HIGH range of nicotine for if you are a heavy smoker, who goes through one or more packs a day. If you smoke more than a pack a day you may find yourself vaping a lot in the beginning but it will taper out. This level is fairly comfortable to vape, but you may notice a dry scratchy feeling in the back of your throat at first.

12-8mg/ml- This is a high to moderate range of nicotine for someone who smokes half to a whole pack of cigarettes a day.

8-3mg/ml- this is for the light smokers who have just a few cigarettes a day. Alternatively 3mg/ml is the most common choice for those who want to use a RDA as opposed to a tank. Since you vape more e-juice volume per puff with an RDA, you will be getting more nicotine per hit compared to a tank atomizer.

0mg/ml for those who are quitting nicotine but still want the pleasure of vape, or those who never where addicted to nicotine. There is no benefit to smoking an e-juice with nicotine if you are not addicted. Nicotine actually has a taste and dilutes the flavor of your juice. So 0mg/ml strength e-juices have the best flavor!

Like I mentioned above, there are other factors that go into the selection of your starting nicotine level. If you think you will be puffing on your vape from the minute you wake up till you fall asleep at night, you might want to consider starting with a lower level than if you are just having five or six puffs on your lunch break or every few hours. Also if you are using a RDA I would recommend starting with 3mg/ml strength e-juice even if according to the chart above it says to start at a much higher level.

There is a wealth of reviews on various brands and flavors of nicotine, and the important thing to remember is everyone has their own tastes. Most “tobacco” flavored e-juice is sub-par in my opinion, so I go for the exciting food flavors. I recommend buying a few bottles of premium juice in your desired strength each from a different brand in different flavors. Fruit flavors are common, and mix together well if you are feeling like you need to switch things up a bit. But you may be surprised to find they have flavors ranging from breakfast cereals, to strawberry nesquik, to every baked good imaginable. Most vape shops have a well-versed staff that should be able to point you in the direction of some great e-juice varieties.

I would love to hear what brands and flavors are your favorites to vape with. Please shoot me a message or leave a comment and it may get featured in a review. I will be sharing my current-favorite line of e-juice in my next post so hurry back!

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Finding The Right Vape Toy

Many of you might be wondering about what I am currently using to vape, and I am more than happy to delve into this. As those of you who have read my previous post know, not all vaping devices are created equal. To understand what makes some devices superior we have to understand the differences between them.

E-Cigarettes

E-cigarettesLets start with the most basic device, disposable e-cigarettes. Many of you are familiar with these, as a lot of people have tied them since they came out a few years ago. There has been a huge advertising campaign run, so I imagine you know some of these brands; blu, markten, v2, halo, ect. These devices come pre-charged, pre-filled, and typically are offered in 3 or 4 nicotine levels. Most claim to be equivalent to about a pack of cigarettes. You vape with them till no more vapors come out and you toss them. Or you unscrew the cartridge, toss it, and replace. These devices are typically sold for around $10, making them more expensive than a regular old pack of cigarettes. Also in the time I spent trying these out I found that once in a while you pick up a brand new e-cigarette and puff on it a short while only to find it was a dud. I don’t know if it is due to being only partially filled with juice, or the atomizer failing. Regardless it is frustrating, and can seriously compromise your resolve to stick with it.

Vape-Pens

e-cigaretteNext rung up on the ladder of quality vaping is a Vape pen. These differ from the e-cigarettes in that the user fills the refillable tank with their desired e-juice. They are typically larger than e-cigarettes, but hold more juice and their batteries last much longer. They are affordable at $30-60 for a kit plus cost of e-juice, but affordability comes at a price. Vape pen batteries are notorious for crapping out after a while, and it can be hard to find a quality tank that doesn’t leak and burn through coils. Personally I have gone through 4 of these vape devices, and when my vape-pen fails my drive to quit smoking does too. But it is relatively cheep to get started with a vape pen and you get the benefit of trying all kinds of e-juice.

Box-Mods

Kangertech-kbox-mod-wholesale-Original-Kanger-SuboxBox-mods are in my humble opinion the perfect vaping device. They outlast all other vaping devices, and the nicer ones have all kinds of settings you can play around with to get that perfect vape hit. Box-mods are well suited for a tank atomizer that can be refilled and holds a reservoir of e-juice (typically a larger amount than a vape pen holds), or for a Re-Buildable Atomizer (RBA) which is a exposed coil and wick that a few drops of e-juice is dripped on and vaped. RBAs allow the user to rebuild their coils, at a much cheaper cost than buying pre-built coils. This also opens up the opportunity to design coils to fit your preferred vaping needs. Many smokers enjoy the dripping experience and like that you can control your usage so easily. Personally I enjoy my box-mod and my tank atomizer, since I don’t have to fuss with wetting my wicks every time I want to vape, it feels so easy and portable. But I may switch to a RBA when I have lowered my dependence on nicotine, since I enjoy the quality of vapor, and the ability to change flavors every 5-10 puffs is an exciting thought. Apart from the ability to finely tune your box-mod experience, the longevity and reliability of these devices is what sells me on them. Most box-mods have removable batteries that can be recharged externally. I recommend buying some extra batteries to keep in your purse, car, backpack, ect. That way you are never without a fresh set. Box-mods come with a hefty price tag $60-200, but the initial cost is well worth it due to the longer lifetime of the device, and the more enjoyable smoking experience. Spoken as someone who has easily spent $200 on vape-pens and e-cigarettes only to have them crap out and disappoint; I have never regretted buying my box, it will last far longer and go through less coils.

Mech-Mods

dmzrooo.jpgMech-mods are a highly debated device in the vape world. This comes down to two simple facts. The first being mech-mods produce a very large amount of very high quality vapor. The second fact being mech-mods can straight up explode. Mech-mods are incredibly simple in design; the battery directly applies energy to the coil thus heating it and vaporizing your e-juice. There are no circuits to regulate the flow of energy from the battery to the coil, so you are using the full power of your battery every time you puff on it. Because these currents are not being regulated you can overload your battery and BOOM! That being said mech-mods are so simple in design that they really are quite durable, though battery life would be short due to that simplicity. Don’t take the simplicity of design as these being suitable for beginners. The huge clouds of vapor produced by mech-mods can be irritating to new users lungs, causing cough and dissatisfaction. Mech-mods normally draw the sort of vape-enthusiast who enjoys rebuilding their own coils in a RBA and drip vaping due to the overall quality and volume of smoke this provides. I would highly recommend doing your research before rebuilding coils for a mech-mod, definitely test your coils before installing them, and have someone who knows what they are doing help you the first few times. Building improper coils for your mech-mod can result in your mech-mod exploding. Most vape shops are happy to help, and some have ohm readers that they “rent” out to customers so they can test their coils. Mech-mods can be fun for an experienced vapor who is looking for those powerful intimidating clouds, and enjoys rebuilding coils for RBA and drip vaping. But I would not recommend this to a beginner. You can expect a mech-mod set up to run about $60-150

I am currently using a Black Edition KrangerTech Subox Mini. Shown in the box-mod picture above. I bought the starter kit for a reasonable price at a local vape shop. I use the included tank atomizer. I picked the Subox Mini due to it being a smaller size box-mod; it has variable settings, a large durable tank, and comes with a re-buildable tank coil as well as two standard coils, washers, wire, and a screwdriver. The Subox has the option to charge batteries in the device with USB cable, though I find my external trickle charger is faster. I am very pleased with my Subox and have not had one problem with it. Though I do urge people to lightly coat the rubber washers of the tank with e-juice to keep the seal and prevent leaking. Keep an eye out for my next post where we will talk about e-juice.

Vape-Dragon

I’m a couple days into a major life change, one that I can only pray sticks around. I am a cigarette smoker, no I’m more than that- I am the mother loving cigarette dragon. You give me a stogie and I will make it disappear into my dragon-lungs with my dragon-magic. But that dragon-magic comes at a cost, not only to my health. Even more alarmingly, it eats huge chunks of my time that I could be spending painting, writing, cooking, and gaming.

This is the fact that I am concentrating on when those sweet cigarette sirens call out to me. Assuming I spend 7-10 minutes smoking a cigarette, and I do so around 15 times a day, then according to my calculator I spent around 2 hours a day smoking my life away. That’s 2 hours I would rather spend writing for my blog.

Most current/ex-smokers know that having a strategic quitting plan is super important. So how am I tackling this horrible addiction-dragon? I’m switching over to vaping. Now before you start spitting on me, and telling me the dangers of vapor, and how it’s really not all that different than smoking, let me present my plan and why I chose this method.

So clearly this is a cigarette replacement, I’m still puffing like a magic-dragon. There are a few major differences that I am going to touch on later. For now it is important to note that the similarities between vaping and smoking are helpful in making the smooth transition away from cigarettes. I still get to have some puffs, a nicotine rush, and I feel similar to how I did smoking those death-sticks. I tried all the other quit-smoking-aids (patches, gum, pharmaceuticals, and of course cold turkey) this has by far been the easiest first two days without a cigarette. This along with the fact that I can vape in my home, in the dead of winter, is very helpful to my quitting plan.

What made vaping stand out to me as a quitting method is the variable nicotine levels in the juice. I have tried to quit countless times, and have always failed when I get to the point when I have to cut down on my nicotine levels. I believe this is largely to do with the huge jump down in nicotine levels more cessation tools have. Patches and gum nicotine levels drop by half from step 1 to step 2, for me that is too big of a drop. With e-juice you can start with vaping an e-juice with a high level of nicotine, and work your way down to an e-juice with no nicotine a tiny bit at a time. That was the selling point for me, slowly and comfortably working my way away from nicotine addiction, while still puffing and getting that hand-to-mouth psychological comfort.

While many people go for the ease and initial cheapness of disposable tobacco flavored e-cigarettes, I do not recommend this. The disposable e-cigarettes taste gross, stop working randomly, turn out to be a much higher cost over time, and studies are starting to suggest they are worse for you than vaping a premium e-juice out of a box-mod. I know it feels like a lot of money to drop on a high-to-mid quality box-mod and tank, but you will end up saving money down the line, and enjoy your vaping experience more. With a nice box-mod you get the benefits of changing your e-juice flavors regularly, box-mods last longer than vape-pens and e-cigarettes, you get more control over your nicotine levels, longer battery life and changeable batteries. I am loving my e-juices, I have about 5 different flavors to get me through the first few weeks of the change. While some lower quality e-juices come in generic flavors like “blueberry” or “vanilla”, most premium juices come in really exciting flavors. I have some “apple pie” flavored juice in my tank right now, and I am absolutely drooling over it. Yesterday I vaped some e-juice that tasted EXACTLY like “Cinnamon Toast Crunch” the breakfast cereal. YUM!

I have only been cigarette free for a few days, but I have been vaping for a few months. I slowly started reducing the cigarettes I smoked a day, and increasing the times I calmed cravings by vaping. So far this has been the easiest transition away from cigarettes I’ve had. I highly encourage you to try this if you are interested and want to quit. In my next posts I will go into much more detail about the e-juice and mod I use, RBA vs tank vaping, the big myths about vaping, and the differences between e-cigarettes, vape-pens, mech-mods, and box-mods.