Vaping 101

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.

The Vaping Industry In 2015

Smokers, tobacco companies, and existing vapers are watching the vaping industry closely. They know that big changes are set to come once the FDA makes their ruling about e cigs and e liquids. As in any leisure industry, trends have started to appear. Vaping mods are like fashion accessories in a sense: you see it in the way a type or brand of mod or e liquid will gain momentum for a while before being replaced by a new trend.

vox50displayBox Mods in 2015

Today’s trendy e cig is anything with “VW” on it. Variable Watt mods are hot commodities. It seemed at first that only going higher would ensure the success of a device.

Innovators are pushing for devices to reach 200W and zero resistance and have already popularized the 150W, 0.2-ohm combination, thanks to Sigelei and Pioneer4You.

What consumers have also seen is that most vapers have no interest in cloud chasing to that extent. They want big, warm clouds of vapor and great flavor more than they wish to create competitive volumes of vapor.

Personal experience is everything, so watts up to 30 are ample for their needs. That’s why something like the new Innokin iTaste MVP 3.0 will succeed. It gives customers what they want for an affordable price.

Design style also matters to consumers. They like models for the way they look, not just performance. A stylish Vox 50 from VaporFi with its blend of squared and rounded edges will continue to be popular even when there are 200W mods around: it’s nicer to look at than a straight box. Bright colors and unusual shapes are going to win consumer attention as much as power.

Haus watermelonE Liquids

Another thing that is set to change is the way consumers shop for e liquid. They have been trained to look for certain features in their e liquid pertaining to safety standards.

Expectations are increasing and that’s a good thing. The whole business is still new enough that vapologists (like cocktail mixologists for e liquid) have a lot of room to learn, grow, and improve.

For instance, they are looking at adequate safety standards for the environment they blend liquids in. Many companies literally run out of a back room. The gear worn by people mixing propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine, and flavoring might be fine in a kitchen but is not good enough for e liquid.

Consumers should be unafraid to ask if juice is blended in a lab with HEPA filters using USA-made ingredients of USP-grade quality. But customers won’t have to ask for much longer. Industry standards will be set in place and companies will probably not only have to comply with them but also publish their practices.

The latest e juice trend is for established brands to introduce high-vegetable glycerin liquids or “dripping” juices. VaporFi just launched their Artisan series just as an example. It would come as no surprise if V2 Cigs, Halo, and others did the same thing.

A number of companies already provided the option to ask for a particular blend of e liquid along with other customization features, but in the past that was because some customers were either sensitive to propylene glycol or objected to it. Now they are choosing vegetable glycerin because there are tanks capable of handling its viscosity and high-watt box mods make bigger clouds from this type of e liquid.

Natural juices and vitamin juices are also starting to pique interest among consumers. Vapers were once happy just to get off of tobacco, but now they know there are more choices available such as natural and organic flavorings.

A few companies are even blending energizing, sleep-enhancing, or relaxing herbal ingredients into their e liquids. Time will tell if customers buy into these healthier alternatives.

How Is Vaping Affecting The US Economy?

In light of impending FDA regulations, the vaping industry should be suffering. But in fact, it’s not — which is a testimony to the importance of electronic cigarettes and vaping products to the US public. Sales continue to double yearly while smoking becomes less popular. Maybe e cigs aren’t good for the tobacco industry, but they are excellent for the US economy in manifold ways.

Vaping for a Strong Economy

When seen through the eyes of small businesses and individuals, one realizes how important this relatively new industry is to the pocket books of average Americans. People vape for numerous reasons: to quit smoking, have fun, and because they are inquisitive.

Their interest in the industry has led to a boom in small businesses. Every major city is home to several vape shops. These stores often replace empty commercial space where companies thrived for a while but lost footing when the US economy stumbled.

When buildings are empty, they affect the way consumers see other stores in the same location. Commercial areas resembling ghost towns don’t attract customers the way a bustling hot spot full of parked cars and “open” signs does.

A number of independent convenience stores and garages are enjoying greater profits through their sales of disposable e cigs. Most people are introduced to e cigs through these products.

Returning Veterans

A lot of vape stores are run by veterans who came home from active service to find there were no jobs for them. Returning to civilian life was hard enough, especially if they planned to quit smoking too. Vaping gave them a way to give up cigs and to make a living for themselves and their families.

JVapes e juiceE Liquid

E cigs have led to the formation of many tiny businesses making e liquid in small batches, sometimes so small they only take orders on certain days until a certain time. After that, customers have to wait a few more days before trying to place an order before they sell out again.

Some consumers are supplementing their incomes by making e liquid; some make enough to quit their day jobs. Certain businesses operate labs and factories for making e liquid on US soil where they employ several people including chemists and culinary experts.

Spreading the Money Around

While reviving their own hopes for prosperity, business owners are able to share their success with a variety of people directly and indirectly. First are their employees: people hired to work in the shop or warehouse, dealing directly with customers online or at a physical location. Then, there are shipping companies which handle parcels mailed to online customers. Thirdly, numerous businesses appear to have hired web designers judging by the professional quality of their web pages. Vape shops support e liquid artisans and even, sometimes, American manufacturing of items such as hand-blown glass drip tips and CNC-machined American mods.

When a business makes e liquid, owners have to buy bottles and ingredients such as flavorings, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and nicotine. Many companies choose to purchase only American-made ingredients, thus benefiting industries like flavor manufacturers otherwise associated with baking, cooking, or confectionery supplies. Their profit margins are also expanding, thanks to a field they might not have been interested in otherwise.

Within a community, the non-smokers and non-vapers think all of this is great for vapers alone, but they fail to see the bigger picture. Consumers who now have jobs and run businesses are able to pay more taxes and have more disposable income. They spend it in other local stores selling everything from bedding to perfume. There’s even more good news, too, thanks to one important benefit of vaping.

Saving Money, Spending Money

Cigarettes are more expensive than e cigs if e cigs are used to replace cigarettes and do not become a costly obsession. When consumers make the switch, they have more money available to go out for meals, purchase nice clothes, and renovate their homes. The savings can be so significant as to pay for major purchases like a new roof, fancy landscaping, or a piece of furniture. Everyone in a small community benefits from the growth of this exciting industry.

And those communities come together at conventions where they continue to support local economies. Hotels benefit from hosting conventions and putting up guests. Restaurant profits increase. The potential for e cigs to positively influence the economy seems endless.

Welcome To America Speaks!

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