Switching to vaping is more complicated than you might think. You feel like it’ll be really easy, like all you have to do is just pick up an e-cig and vape instead of smoking, but things can (and often do) go wrong. Every vaper has a story about a rookie mistake that they made when they were new to the hobby, but if you plan ahead and do your research, you can avoid the most serious ones. So if you’re just considering picking up your first vaping device or you already have, here are 10 of the most common new vaper mistakes to watch out for!
1 – Buying Cheap Devices and E-Juice
Saving money is one of the biggest advantages of switching to vaping, but the old rule that “you get what you pay for” still applies. If you go for a cut-price vape pen or mod, you’re much more likely to run into issues, have it not perform as it should or even just stop working one day. You could end up with dry hits, uncontrollable leaking or a wide range of other annoyances. Choose an e-cig from a major manufacturer with positive reviews, and don’t be afraid to spend a little more to get a dependable device.
For e-juice, cut-price blends can be good, but most of them won’t hit the mark when it comes to flavor. You might be able to find something you like, but it’s much easier if you’re willing to spend a bit more to get something high-quality.
2 – Choosing a Device That’s Too Complicated for a New Vaper
If you look on vaping forums or websites, you’ll see a lot of enthusiastic recommendations for high-end mods, sub ohm tanks, rebuildable atomizers and a lot more. The only problem is that for a smoker just switching to vaping, a lot of these devices are pretty advanced. If you blindly follow these recommendations, you could easily end up with something so complicated you don’t really know how to use it.
If you put the time into reading the manual and looking for information online, it really isn’t too hard to use higher-end vaping gear, but that might not be for you. Many smokers just want something simple that gets them the nicotine they’re looking for and don’t care about much else. Vape pens are perfect for this, but if you’re looking for something more hard-hitting, chunky vape pens like the eGo One range and the Smok Stick V8 strike a great balance between simplicity and performance.
3 – Not Planning for Low Battery
Running out of battery can be a serious issue for a smoker just switching to vaping. If you’re away from the house and can’t recharge, you’re left without nicotine and the temptation to go buy a pack of cigarettes can be really hard to resist. So how do you avoid this?
The simplest advice is to get a backup device. If you have a spare vape pen with you whenever you leave the house, you’ll always have something to vape even if your main device dies. We’d recommend every vaper get at least one backup device for this reason.
But if you’ll always have time to plan ahead, just make sure you fully recharge your battery before you leave the house. You can also bring the USB charging cable with you so you can recharge at any USB outlet.
4 – Getting the Wrong Nicotine Strength for Your E-Juice
Choosing the right nicotine strength for your needs is a big topic, and we have a whole post on covering the issue in detail. If you go with too high a nicotine strength, you might find vaping really harsh on your throat or you might start to feel sick after just a few puffs (a sign of having too much nicotine). And if you go with too low a strength, you might miss the “throat hit” from the nicotine, but more likely, you just won’t get enough nicotine to make vaping satisfying.
For anybody using a basic vape pen, 1.8 % nicotine e-liquid (18 mg/ml) is a good place to start for just switching smokers, but if you’re using something that puts out more vapor (such as a sub ohm vape pen or mod with a sub ohm tank) 1.2 % (12 mg/ml) or even 0.6 % (6 mg/ml) is the best place to start. This depends on how much you smoke, though. So if you get through a pack a day or more, 1.2% or 1.8% is probably the best place to start, depending on your device, but if you smoke less, starting at 0.6% or 1.2% is likely a better choice for you.
If you’re buying e-juice for the first time, get a couple of different nicotine levels and see which you prefer. Or, if you can try a friend’s setup, this should give you a good idea of what you’re likely to need.
5 – Choosing the Wrong PG/VG Ratio for Your E-Juice
The other major thing to consider when buying e-juice is the ratio of PG to VG in the liquid. New vapers might unwittingly pick up a high-VG e-liquid to use in a device not well-suited to it, or they could need the stronger throat hit offered by higher-PG e-liquids.
The standard PG/VG ratio used these days is 50/50, and that’s what we offer here at Black Note. This works well in any type of atomizer, and offers the ideal balance of throat hit (from the PG) and vapor production (from the VG). We’d recommend most new vapers start with a 50/50 e-juice or something close to it.
Higher-VG liquids are great if you want big clouds of vapor or a smooth throat hit, but they don’t soak into your wicks as quickly as lower-VG juices because VG is thick and viscous. This can cause problems for people using basic vape pens, because they often don’t wick quickly enough to cope with the thicker e-juice.
In general, unless you’ve been vaping for a while (or don’t mind a milder throat hit) and have a sub ohm tank or rebuildable atomizer, it’s best to avoid high-VG e-juices.
6 – Forgetting to Prime Your Coils
Forgetting to “prime” your atomizer heads is a big mistake that can ruin the whole coil before you even get to use it. When you get a new coil, the cotton wick inside it is completely dry. If you vape when the coil is dry, you burn the wick and ruin it for good.
This is why vapers prime their coils. This just means manually applying e-juice to the wick itself before you install the coil. You can usually see the wick from the top of the atomizer head, and it will also have little wicking ports around the side with some wick visible through them. Use some e-liquid to soak the wick from the top and from the ports around the side. Don’t go overboard; just thoroughly soak the cotton with e-juice before you install the coil. Wait five minutes after you fill the tank before starting vaping to make extra-sure you won’t burn the wick.
7 – Not Looking After Your Coils and Devices
If you don’t maintain your e-cig, you’re likely to run into problems eventually. Maintenance for vaping devices includes everything from cleaning your tanks to making sure your coils stay in a good condition. This doesn’t take up much of your time, but if you don’t do it, you could easily ruin your vaping experience and cost yourself more money.
Cleaning your tanks is easy. All you have to do is take them apart – just unscrew all the pieces – and then run the individual components under warm water before leaving them to dry off. If the wicks inside your atomizer head look gunky or have turned dark over time, you can also rinse these under a hot tap to revive them a little. With atomizer heads, you need to make sure they’re thoroughly dry before you vape again, though – leave them drying on a paper towel for a day before using them again.
You should also regularly clean any spilled e-juice off your mod or vape pen. E-liquid often ends up around the 510 connection and tank threading, and regularly wiping this area with a Q-tip or a paper towel keeps everything working as it should.
8 – Inhaling Like a Smoker
When you smoke a cigarette, short, sharp inhales work well. However, many new vapers run into issues when trying to do the same thing using an e-cigarette. You might “flood” your atomizer with e-juice (which can lead to gurgling, leaking and generally poor performance), but even if you don’t, short, strong inhales get you what you’re looking for.
Unlike when you smoke, slowly, gentler and longer puffs are the best approach when you vape. Try to break the habit of puffing harder when you want more vapor; just take your time and inhale more gently and you’ll have a better experience.
9 – Forgetting to Stay Hydrated
Both PG and VG suck moisture out of their environment, and this means you can get a really bad dry mouth when you vape. You might not expect this as a smoker just making the switch, but it’s important to drink more water than usual so you stay hydrated when you vape. If you don’t do this, as well as a dry mouth, you could also end up suffering headaches or having other problems related to dehydration.
10 – Being an Inconsiderate Vaper
Switching to vaping is a positive change in your life, and it means you’ll be doing less harm to yourself and others around you than when you smoked. But not everybody agrees, and even though you might not technically be banned from vaping in public places, it’s important to remember that you could still upset or annoy people by doing so. People might not like the smell of vapor, or might be worried about the risks, and you should be considerate of this when you’re thinking about vaping in public.
We’ve covered this in more detail in our vaping etiquette post, but the key things to remember are to ask permission before vaping indoors, don’t blow huge clouds in public and if you’re ever in doubt, just restrict your vaping to where you’d usually smoke.
Conclusion: Avoiding Mistakes Helps You Enjoy Vaping
There’s a lot to take in when you first start vaping, but it’s better to learn lessons now than learn them the hard way when you’re trying to quit smoking. The more you know when you’re making the switch, the less likely you are to waste money on low-quality devices and the more likely you are to smoothly transition to vaping.