Most of the western world has heard of e cigs by now. They find them online, at dedicated vapor shops, at smoke stores selling traditional products like cigars and pipes, and at convenience stores and gas stations. While electronic cigarettes are no longer a mystery to many, the term “vaping” often leaves them confused.
What Is Vaping?
“To vape” is to inhale vapor whereas “to smoke” is to inhale cigarette smoke. The two are different enough that e cig manufacturers and users had to coin their own phrase. It might not be in dictionaries yet, but the term is likely to turn up. (Vape was Oxford’s 2014 word of the year).
One cannot refer to using an e cig as “smoking” because there is no smoke. Vapor is the cloud produced by heating liquid and, in this case, liquid that is not produced from a dry herb. A vapor cloud comes from something known as “e liquid” or “vapor juice” which only shares one thing in common with tobacco: nicotine.
What Are People Vaping?
This stuff known as e liquid contains a mixture usually from a list of 4 things: nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and flavoring. One of these might be absent, but there has to be either propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin.
Flavoring is what makes an e cig taste like chocolate, tobacco, or oranges. PG or VG give vapor juice its substance. Nicotine is optional, although usually present in disposable e cigs. Once vapers start using rechargeable kits, they often reduce their nicotine intake, regarding this as much a part of the danger as the smoke itself.
There is a lot of controversy about the contents of e liquid:
Is inhaled nicotine dangerous when suspended in a solution that does not contain the many chemicals present in cigarette smoke?
Are artificial flavorings more dangerous inhaled than ingested?
Should stricter standards be enforced in the making of commercially available e liquid? If colorants are present, are these dangerous to inhale?
Is using 100% vegetable glycerin better than inhaling something with propylene glycol in it?
Many of these questions still need to be answered and, besides more studies and experts to investigate, they just need time. As was the case with cigarettes, it was not until time had passed that the many risks of smoking became apparent owing to the numerous cases of cancer and lung disease which were eventually linked to cigarettes. If there are inherent dangers to vaping, these will also need time to show up, although many suspicious consumers, scientists, and officials are looking for them.
What Companies Are Making Vaping Products?
There are several classes of e cigs on the market. The ones usually associated with the name “e cigs” are also called “cigalikes” or “mini cigs.” Their dimensions echo those of cigarettes and they glow at the end, thanks to the presence of an LED light. Familiar brands are White Cloud, V2 Cigs, South Beach Smoke, Eversmoke, VaporFi, Green Smoke, and several others — all American in these cases.
The next category is eGos. These are slightly larger and come in many different colors. The ends do not light up but they last a lot longer on a single charge and there are no disposable versions, only rechargeable ones. Brands include VaporFi, South Beach Smoke, EonSmoke, 777, Halo, and Volcano. These are the American brands but Chinese companies such as KangerTech, JoyeTech, and Innokin also produce popular, inexpensive versions.
One might also be seen vaping an Advanced Personal Vaporizer such as those mostly made by companies like Innokin and JoyeTech, but VaporFi also puts out some advanced devices and Volcano has its own version too. Some are cylindrical; some are box-shaped.
Considerable interest in thick vapor produced with vegetable glycerin-heavy juices at high watts has led to growth in the box mod industry. Slowly the numbers have gone up: from 20 watts to 30, then 50, 100, and finally 150. A few devices have topped 150 watts and allow vapers to get to as low as 0.2 resistance for very hot vapor indeed.
E Juice Trends
It is unlikely that a vaper who gets past mini cigs will continue vaping tobacco- or menthol-flavored e juice for long. The vast array of flavors available to vapers is simply too interesting and tempting not to try. People who do not get to this point literally use e cigs as a way to stop smoking, but a lot of individuals have become hooked on this smoking alternative and love it in its own right.
Some of the favorite flavors from mini cig companies have been vanilla, chocolate, and coffee. As you get into this industry more and explore flavors, you find there are no limits. If a flavor can be made for any other use (baking or cooking, for instance) it can also be used in the making of e liquid should anyone wish to try it (custard, jalapeno, or cake, for instance).
Consumers make their juice at home or, more often, buy it from e liquid manufacturers. Some of the most popular are Space Jam, Virgin Vapor, Pink Spot, Halo Purity, and Suicide Bunny.
Many of the top vapor companies come out of California. They are currently charging around 80 cents per ml for their e juice.
It is even possible to buy juice costing more than $1 per ml, especially “reserved” juice kept in barrels for 3 weeks or more and tasting/smelling slightly of oak or alcohol if the barrel had been previously used to store brandy or whisky.
Where Can You Vape?
Some cafes, clubs, and shops regard vaping as something entirely different from smoking. They don’t ban it and might even encourage it in their establishments if the local government hasn’t created any bi-laws of their own. In other businesses, smoking and vaping are regarded as the same thing.
Employees are expected to take their vaping break outside with smokers and their habit is not looked upon favorably. This might all change if the FDA decides to favor e cigs in their upcoming report, but there are too many clouds hovering over the industry to imagine this will happen.