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The Wonderful World of Vaping: An Illustrated Guide to E-cigs (Part 1 of 6)

Discussion in 'The ECF Library' started by DonDaBoomVape, Sep 6, 2009.

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  1. DonDaBoomVape

    DonDaBoomVape Reviewer / Blogger ECF Veteran

    Jun 5, 2009
    South Florida
    You'll notice that this thread currently is closed to replies. That's only to keep all six installments grouped together. However, I welcome your comments. To enable that, I've started this other thread in the General Discussion forum. Don't hesitate to share your questions, suggestions, and critique there.

    Everything (or, at least, a lot of things) You Wanted to Know About E-cigs, But Were Afraid To Ask

    Part 1 (of 6)


    Men and women of all ages and nationalities are enjoying the wonders of vaping. It appears that you are considering becoming (or have decided to be, or already are) one of us. Welcome!

    This multi-part series of long posts began as an email to a smoker friend, whom I am attempting to convert to – what has become my all-consuming hobby and one of my greatest pleasures – vaping. I had referred him to ECF, but he was overwhelmed and found it difficult to wade through the myriad choices, details, and opinions. [ECF’s greatest strength (which I stole as the subtitle for this series) is its greatest weakness. You could earn a doctorate getting a handle on all that’s here!]

    What follows is an expanded version of my attempt to guide him, providing (in one place) the overview that I wish I had had when I first started. It became a bit of a magnum opus … and I realized that it might have some use to other new or potential vapers.

    This series overlaps and is intended to supplement the outstanding “Sticky” introductory threads and videos at the top of this and other sub-forums.

    Here’s what we’ll be covering in this six-part series:


    Part 1 – The Wonderful World
    • Introduction – Caveats / Jargon
    • Initial Concerns – Health / Cost
    • What It Is … and Why to Do It
      • Why is an e-cig better than an analog?
      • What is an e-cig? – Origin and rapid spread / Shapes and sizes
    Part 2 – The Hardware
    • Three or four Components (sometimes just two)
    • Categories of e-cigs – Penstyles / Minis / Super-Minis / Cigars and Pipes / Hybrids
    • Evaluation factors

    Part 3 – The Software and the Process
    • The Juice – What Vaping is All About
      • Nicotine Levels
      • Flavors – Tobacco / Gender-based Intermission / Non-tobacco
    • The Process
      • Analogous to pipe smoking
      • Preparation
      • Puffing and inhaling
    Part 4 – Purchasing Your First E-cig – The Little Guys
    • Regardless of Model: Minimum order / Discount Codes / Right for You
    • The Quick and Dirty Approach / A More Thorough Approach: ECF resources
    • Specific Recommendations and Supplier Links Based on Your Priorities:
      • One of the Super-Minis
      • One of the Minis
      • The Cartomizers – KR808D-1 and GreenCig
    Part 5 – Purchasing Your First E-cig – Big Guys and Juice
    • Specific Recommendations and Supplier Links – Big Guys
      • One of the Penstyles
      • Cigars and Pipes
      • The Hybrids
    • The Juice
      • How to decide – Tobacco or sweet-tooth / Samplers
      • Suppliers – Your first hardware vendor / Generalists / Juice Specialists
    Part 6 – During the Weeks and Months to Come

    • Supplies: Replacement parts and juice / PCC / USB Passthrough / Storage and carrying containers
    • DIY – Simple or Scratch Cook
    • Modding – Invent Your Own
    • Onward and Upward – Your Next E-cig
    • Conclusion
    And now…
    The Wonderful World of Vaping

    • For convenience, clarity and (at least an attempt at) brevity (you should have seen my first draft), much of the following is stated in absolutes, using sweeping generalizations. However, if there is an absolute in the world of vaping, it is that everyone’s experience, preferences and style are different. I have yet to encounter two vapers who feel the same way about a device and e-liquid, at the same nicotine level, and use it in the same way and in the same circumstances.
    • For the same reasons, I make certain assumptions, which may very well not be applicable to you. For example, I assume that someone new to vaping would initially prefer a device and flavor as close as possible to a regular tobacco cigarette. However, after exploring this wonderful world, you may be attracted to an e-cig twice the length of a regular cigarette (and/or 3 times the width and a completely different shape) and tasting like cotton candy or kung pao chicken (and, yes, there is a kung pao chicken flavor).
    • For similar reasons, the tone here is the voice of authority. However, notice my “Join Date”: I have more experience with this stuff than some, but much less than many. All “facts” are to the best of my knowledge. [I encourage others to correct them.] And I have no official status with nor do I represent this forum (e.g., I am not a Moderator).
    • I have chosen to provide advice and recommendations, based on my experience, point of view, and those assumptions. Take them with many grains of salt. Their primary value is to stimulate your own thinking and to cause you to explore further. And I have included links to many suppliers. These are examples only based on: that experience and assumptions … my research as of this posting date … and the fact that I am cheap, i.e., I hunt for the lowest prices (without compromising quality or service). Virtually all suppliers who participate in ECF provide a reliable product at reasonable prices and with personalized customer service far superior to what one normally experiences as a consumer.
    • I am a Yank. Some of my comments and recommendations are influenced by that, e.g., I assume that metric measurements require explanation and I give preference to U.S. suppliers – simply because I unconsciously prepared this with fellow Yanks in mind. I’m just not that knowledgeable of the best sources outside the US of A (other than China, of course).
    Some jargon before we proceed:
    • People who use e-cigs are vapers who vape the vapor of personal vaporizers (another name for e-cigs) … just as smokers smoke the smoke of the burning tobacco of traditional cigarettes.
    • What gets vaporized (or vaped) is the e-liquid or juice in the cartridge of the e-cig (or dripped on the atomizer).
    • Milli (i.e., metric) measurements are used in this world: millimeter length of e-cigs (use a 100s cigarette as your benchmark, i.e., 100 mm) … milliliters of juice (30 ml = 1 oz.) … and milligrams of nicotine (e.g., “High” = ~18 mg).
    • Since an e-cig is electronic (digital), vapers refer to a tobacco cigarette as an analog.

    That friend of mine had two concerns about e-cigs. Perhaps you share them. Here’s my response.


    The e-cigarette itself (i.e., the hardware) is merely an electronic device for vaporizing the liquid put in it. The liquid used in an e-cigarette contains:
    • USP-grade PG (Propylene Glycol) – used in food flavorings, cosmetics, the artificial “smoke” at rock concerts, and, yes, antifreeze. [No, we are not inhaling antifreeze (shudder), just one of its ingredients.] NOTE: Some people are allergic to PG (e.g., a rash or sore throat, but nothing serious). They should use…
    • And/or USP-grade VG (Vegetable Glycerin – more syrupy, and derived from veggies)
    • Plus a selectable amount of nicotine (derived from tobacco)
    • Plus flavoring (derived from different types of tobacco and/or food/candy flavorings).


    To find out more, explore the E-cigarette News and Law and the E-Cigarette on the Forums. I found articles like this and this especially helpful.


    After an initial upfront investment, the cost of vaping will be less – perhaps significantly less – than smoking (unless you get carried away, as some of us do, with buying many different types of devices and purchasing the most expensive e-liquid). And even upfront, it may not be that much more.

    I don’t know how many tobacco cigarettes you smoke each day or the price where you live. For the purpose of comparison (and round numbers), I’m going to assume about 1.5 packs/day (or one carton per week), at a price of $6/pack. If so, analog cigarettes cost you $60 per week … not counting ashtrays and lighters, deodorizers and air fresheners, and having to replace clothing with ugly holes caused by errant embers).


    E-cigs come in all shapes, sizes, colors, flavors ... and costs. A typical starter kit runs around $50-$70, but in Parts 4 and 5, I’ll be providing links to kits costing around $40 (often with free shipping). Adding in $30 worth of initial supplies (replacement parts and e-liquid), that’s an upfront investment of $70, which should keep you going in hardware for quite some time and in e-liquid for at least one to two weeks.

    Thereafter, you will need only more e-liquid and replacement parts (and maybe a few accessories), averaging perhaps $20-$30 per week.


    Why is an e-cig is better than an analog tobacco cigarette?


    1. First and foremost (to me) is the enjoyment, e.g.: it tastes better ... there is so much choice and variety ... and it’s a gadget (“boys and their toys”). I never really wanted to quit smoking – I enjoyed it (nothing like I’ve come to enjoy vaping, however).

    2. I am not a medical doctor (nor do I play one on TV), so I’m in no position to make any medical claims. I just know that I feel better about vaping than I did about smoking. Investigate relevant information and decide for yourself.
    blank line

    3. It is cheaper; it may turn out to be half the cost of your analog smoking.
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    4. Although it is a habit, it is not “a filthy habit.”


    5. You can vape (not everywhere, but) in many more places and circumstances than you can smoke.
    • I stopped smoking inside my home several years ago, because it was staining the walls and carpets. I’ve now been able to come back inside to vape (a real advantage during inclement weather or when it is stinking hot or freezing cold outside).
    • Many people vape at work, either because their employer and coworkers don’t care or because it’s fairly easy to stealth vape (either when no one is looking and/or by holding in the vapor longer so that nothing visible is exhaled).
    • Some restaurants, bars and pubs permit vaping. [When in doubt, ask ... and be prepared to explain what the heck you are talking about. I usually refer to it as my personal vaporizer rather than an electronic cigarette. There is some virulent anti-smoking sentiment out there. The most common sentiment about vaping is...ignorance; and that can be corrected.]
    • During a recent plane trip, I was able to vape (not on the plane, although some vapers have)…

    …but in the airports. I did it fairly openly, but discretely. Actually, from a police officer at one of the airports, I had requested and received permission (once I assured him that there was no burning tobacco). His only caveat: “Unless people around you complain.”
    6. It is more flexible: I can vape just one or two puffs, without wasting the rest of a cigarette … or for a half-hour straight, without overwhelming my body with nicotine (just by adjusting the strength of the juice).

    7. It has its own subculture, e.g., ECF: a place to hang out with other similarly free-thinking, often wacky people, who share my enthusiasm and many of my experiences.

    Other vapers might reprioritize that list (and certainly could provide other examples), but, I believe, all would agree with it. Shown below are the avatars or photos of just some of the more prolific members here.


    What is an e-cig? It was invented only five years ago in China…


    …and has quickly spread throughout the world, growing rapidly in popularity, and recently brought to public attention by celebrities, with mall kiosks, on TV news, and, in late August, a 30-second commercial on CNN.


    Virtually all of the hardware (at least the atomizers) – and most of the software (i.e., the liquid) – still is manufactured in China by a half-dozen companies and imported into the U.S. [oops, there’s my Yank perspective again] by myriad suppliers … or you can order directly from China (which I, and many others, have done successfully, e.g., from Heaven Gifts).


    Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes, or e-cigs, or PVs (personal vaporizers) come in all shapes, sizes and colors, e.g., those shown in this photo (courtesy of Deadcat2). [See also Elendil’s photo thread.]


    Starting from the bottom of this photo:

    • Some of the models I’ll be recommending are the same size or a bit smaller than the one at the very bottom of the above photo – the “Super-Mini,” e.g., Joye306/306a or M402/403.
    • The next one up is a Janty Stick (one of the “Hybrids”: Chinese atomizers with western battery packages).
    • The next three are the “Minis”:

    • The third from the bottom is currently the most popular e-cig (among ECF members) – the Joye510 (and another model I’ll recommend or you may want to evolve to).
    • My first e-cig is the fourth one from the bottom (the silver & red one) – the KR808D-1 (yet another good choice).
    • Above that is (I believe) the DSE901, one of the very first, and still very popular, models (and Leaford’s recommendation for a new vaper).
    • Next (the one with the bulge) is the Screwdriver, the first manufactured hybrid.
    • Above that is an e-cigar, which along with the e-pipe, were the first models to look like something other than a cigarette.
    • The ones I’ve been using for the past couple months are the two at the top: the DSE801 “Penstyle” (looks kind of like a ciggy in an old-fashioned cigarette holder) and…
    • That monster at the very top: an early version of the Prodigy (another of the hybrids). [My first impression (and perhaps yours) of that and the other hybrids was: weird looking (one ECF member described them as “scary”). And yet I and many others swear by them. My guess, however, is that you are not yet ready for those.]

    This has been merely an introductory overview. Still interested? Well…

    PART 2 Teaser

    In the next installment, we’ll be examining the hardware (i.e., the devices):

    • The three or four component parts of an e-cig(sometimes just two)
    • The categories of e-cigs – Penstyles / Minis / Super-Minis / Cigars and Pipes / Hybrids
    • The factors used to evaluate e-cigs, e.g., in review videos here on ECF.
    See you then!
  2. DonDaBoomVape
    This message by DonDaBoomVape has been removed from public view. Deleted by a moderator, Feb 5, 2010, Reason: reorganizing.
    Sep 9, 2009
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    Sep 15, 2009
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  8. AngusATAT

    AngusATAT Captain Tightpants Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 2, 2009
    GA, USA
    Posting to get the different parts in order.
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