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The Vaper's Progress

Discussion in 'New Members Information' started by rolygate, Mar 27, 2015.

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  1. rolygate

    rolygate Forum Manager Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Sep 24, 2009
    ECF Towers
    Q. "What to buy? I'm a smoker looking to try out vaping, and it's just too confusing. What should I get, and where from?"

    A. (1) "Get an eGo with a Protank or something like that. It'll be fine until you know more."
    A. (2) "Just get a disposable ecig or any mini cig like an NPloy from a garage or a 7/11, you'll be throwing it away after a week anyway and looking for something better - and by then you'll know what you need next."
    A. (3) "It doesn't matter, just make sure to get a bunch of e-liquid bottles with different types, strengths and flavors - because that's more important than the hardware."
    A. (4) "Just go to the vendor forums here and pick something, at least you won't get ripped off."
    A. (5) "Get a Nemesis mechmod and a Lemo RTA and build a 0.5 ohm coil using rayon wick. It'll blow your head off."
    A. (6) "Go to RapidTech online and order their whizzo offer, it's the cheapest."
    A. (7) "Get one of the new boxmods, with a tankomiser, they are the biz."

    All these answers, and more, are seen in responses to a new vaper's simple request for advice on what to buy. Some are sensible, some way over the top, some are half right, but not too many seem entirely reasonable and include everything you'll need. (The right answer, judging by average success as a result, is probably a combination of (1) and (3) - but 'average' just means that this advice fits more people than the other options, not that it'll fit you specifically.) The thing that would benefit new users most is a mentor - but they are hard to get in a store...

    There is an ongoing argument among vapers about what to tell beginners. There is no right answer, people have to learn for themselves.

    The Vaper's Progress

    Day 1

    90% of beginners want something that is exactly like a cigarette. Anything else (like if it works well or not) is irrelevant - it just needs to look and feel like a cigarette. Non-tinkerers who are correctly advised go for a KR808, tinkerers are pointed toward a 510 [1].

    9.75%* of beginners do some research, and realise they need to be flexible or they might waste money or not buy the best gear. They buy a mid-size model like an eGo, Kgo, Tornado, Riva, Hello. If they specifically ask for a low-hassle system above all else, they might get pointed toward an eGo with a clearo.

    0.25% of beginners have done more research and figure they'll need something that lasts more than 2 months and has decent power, so they get an APV. Today that might mean a small-format VV / VW boxmod.

    0% of beginners know that the liquid they choose is probably more important than the hardware. The right liquid in the wrong ecig will work, after a fashion; the wrong liquid in the right ecig won't.

    * But 50% of the beginners who actually do any research in fact do so much, for so long, they tie themselves in knots and are paralysed. It actually has a name: paralysis by analysis.

    The best policy is: just buy one. There is a 92% chance you'll soon get another one, but the problem is that only you will be able to decide what you need - after you have some experience.

    Day 50
    After a few weeks, 50% of beginners who bought a mini-format e-cig have given up, for one reason or another. Maybe, with mentoring, most would have succeeded - but they had no one to get advice from. Their kit didn't work properly, or the pre-fill liquid was foul, or the atties were dud / tasted bad, and so on. Or they bought from a supplier who didn't tell them they needed 5 cartos as a minimum plus an atty or two for testing flavors, they thought one carto/atty was good for months. Or, they bought from a supplier who didn't suggest that heavy smokers might need 36mg strength liquid or the withdrawal pain would be intense for some (anyone can dilute it easily, if required - but nobody can make it stronger). Some liquid is even sold with 18mg described as 'high' - so a percentage of new users are guaranteed to fail simply because they can't get enough nicotine [2].

    Some beginners need 45mg strength in a mini ecig - three separate, independent clinical trials have demonstrated that beginners with a mini and no advice got zero or very little nicotine. Beginners with a mini may need much higher strength liquid than is normally supplied; their equipment is low-performance, their technique is poor, and they just don't get enough nic.

    40% of the people who bought minis are sick to death of the battery life, being accosted by others for smoking indoors, and the general restrictions of a mini. Especially if they bought an auto. They now realise they need something that has a bigger battery and no red LED on the end. They buy a mid-size model like an eGo, Kgo etc.

    10% are happy with their mini and keep at it.

    Day 100
    The cool crowd get a mechmod and RBA and get into sub-ohming and cloud-chasing. The clever people get a hi-power boxmod (even the tiny ones are high power now, compared to a year ago). The stealth vapers get a small eGo. The back-country hikers and construction workers get a mech boxmod with bottom feed that still works if you drop it down a canyon or run over it with a dumper truck - you know the one. Some girls get a pink blinged-up VV tubemod. Steampunk fans get a cross between a sonic screwdriver and a steamship boiler. There's something for everyone out there.

    Day 150
    Some are happy, some not but they keep going anyway; some gave up due to one reason or another; some get the bug and start buying shares in hardware manufacturers; some go all political; some like home brewing so they start into DIY mixing; one or two open an ecig business of some kind or other; some buy every flavor ever made; most buy more, bigger stuff; some retire their big APVs and revert to smaller eGo-size models; some seek the ultimate vaping machine, at any price, and their children go without food & clothing; and some relax and go with the flow. Whatever.

    All this has been said, and said well, somewhere in the threads in the New Members forum. This is just a recap.

    All statistics were made up on the spot. Some are pretty close though - we do know that 8% of forum members keep a mini ecig around, and 7% are zero-nic vapers. But there's always 1% who don't fit anywhere :))


    [1] All minis ('cigalikes') are re-badged standard models with a series number that refers to the thread connector type. Every mini ecig you can buy is either a 510, KR808, 901, M401, and so on, with a vendor's brand on it (it's called badge engineering). The big name models have also invested in trying to improve their hardware or refills, and these brands may suit social smokers (one night a week types, for example) or light smokers trying out vaping. They are also good as an introduction to vaping, in the proof-of-concept way - people can see if the general idea is going to suit them or not. Over time, ecig users tend to switch to larger models that work better.

    [2] Another common reason for low satisfaction is that kits are sold to beginners with the advice, "Use it exactly like a cigarette". This is the exact opposite of successful use - there are no similarities at all between a tobacco cigarette and an electronic cigarette, apart from the fact they go in your mouth.

    Every single usage factor is different:
    • You inhale very, very gently, in comparison
    • You inhale into the mouth first, hold, then into the lungs - not directly into the lungs (this suits beginners best, and many experienced vapers stick with this method, which we call M2L - mouth-to-lung)
    • An inhale is 4 to 8 seconds, if using a mini e-cig and average liquid, compared to the 1 or 2 seconds with a tobacco cigarette
    • For best nicotine absorption it is necessary to exhale slowly through the nose
    • You will need to use it for two or three times as long as a cigarette - 12 minutes or so compared to 5 minutes for a tobacco cig, otherwise you just can't get enough nicotine
    • You need expert advice to get the best results - not applicable to a tobacco cigarette
    • Unless you have advice on what to buy, how to set it up, and how to use it - there is a demonstrated 69% chance of failure (1 clinical survey)

    . . .and so on, and so on - every single factor of use is different.

    With no specific advice on this, and no one to ask, it is remarkable that only half of newcomers fail. Look at the published clinical research on ecigarettes - all managed by people who didn't have a clue how to use them, and who assumed there was some sort of comparison with a standard cigarette. The research clearly shows, when that is how use is conducted, ecigarettes fail. They deliver either no nicotine at all, or a minuscule amount - clearly shown by three independent clinical trials. Add to that the utter frustration some will experience due to equipment malfunctions and no access to expert advice.

    A correctly-working e-cigarette:
    • Produces large clouds of vapor - more than a tobacco cigarette, in fact
    • Tastes fabulous, and the flavor can be changed as needed, from Marbro tobacco to blueberry muffin to coconut ice
    • The battery lasts all day
    • The throat hit and vapor temperature can be adjusted to the precise value required
    • The nicotine strength is right on, and no withdrawal pangs are experienced by the average user (blood plasma nicotine level for efficient ecigs has been measured as equivalent to the range for smokers)
    • The nicotine content can be reduced in the evening, before bedtime
    • In general the user is highly satisfied, realising they have found a 'smoking' solution that is way better in every respect than their tobacco habit

    Do you think this applies to the equipment used by, or the general experience of, many (or indeed any) new users?

    The single thing they probably need most is a mentor.


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