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A Beginner’s Guide to Vaping

What Is Vaping?

Vaping is many things, an alternative to smoking, a hobby for people who like to tinker, a leisure activity, and, for some people, a lifestyle. However, philosophical considerations aside, vaping is the act of vaporizing a liquid with an atomizer, inhaling it, and then exhaling it in a plume of glorious vapor. If you’re ready to quit smoking, or just want to try something new, then this beginner’s guide to vaping will help you sound like a pro when you visit your local vape shop.


The liquid, known as e-liquid, vape juice, e-juice and other variations on that theme is usually comprised of vegetable glycerin or propylene glycol mixed with flavoring and a variable amount of nicotine. The glycerin or glycol produce the vapor, while the flavoring gives the vapor a taste and the nicotine acts as a stimulant. Some e-juice has lots of nicotine, some has none. This flexibility contributes to the beauty of vaping – you can vape to get a buzz or just vape because it’s delicious. There are all kinds of vape juice of varying quality for you to try. You can get basic flavors like menthol or chocolate, or go crazy with something like chicken and waffles. Our house-made e-liquids, Prof Whyte’s, are made right here in Austin and aged to deliver a potent, flavorful cloud.

Types of Vapes

There are all kinds of vapes, vape pens, e-cigs, e-cigarettes, mechanical mods, etc. Vape rigs are just as varied as e-liquids.


Many people get started vaping by beginning with e-cigs, as they’re inexpensive, widely available and an alternative to cigarettes. You’ve probably seen e-cigs at the gas station or drug store. E-cigarettes look like cigarettes, they’re slender and cylindrical. They’re made of two parts, a battery and a combination atomizer/flavor cartridge (cartomizer). Some are disposable, others have replaceable cartomizer sections. E-cigarettes are good alternative to smoking, but they’re pretty lacking for vape connoisseurs. Your flavor section is necessarily limited and the small batteries don’t produce much vapor, nor do they last very long.

Vape Pens

Vape pens are the next step up for vape enthusiasts and popular among casual and hardcore vapers. Vape pens are sturdy, have a long battery life and allow you to choose the flavor of your vape by using different e-liquids. Vape pens are more complex than e-cigs and are broken into three parts, a battery, an atomizer and a tank. The rechargeable battery powers the atomizer, which is composed of a wick and coil, as the current runs through the coil, the coil heats up and vaporizes whatever e-juice you have in the tank. The tank, of course, stores your e-liquid. If you’re interested in exploring the world of vaping, we recommend visiting our vape shop and taking a look at the different models available. If you visit one of our Austin vape shops, our staff can hook you up with the gear and knowledge you need to get vaping.

Rebuildable Atomizers aka Mods

One reason vaping is so popular is that you can build and tinker with your own rebuildable atomizer, more commonly known as mod. Mods look similar to vape pens, but are more hardcore. They’re composed of a battery (the battery and battery casing specifically are the “mod”) and an atomizer. There are several types of atomizers that you can use with a mod – a top fed atomizer, bottom fed atomizer or dripper. Top and bottom fed atomizers use e-juice tanks. When you use a dripper, or drip tip, you simply add a few drops of e-liquid directly to the wick between puffs. The fun part about mods is that you get to determine how your vape performs – by changing the coils in the vaporizer, the voltage from the mod and other factors, mod users try to produce huge clouds of vapor. Variable voltage and variable wattage mods allow users to easily adjust the power coming from the battery using a digital input. Mechanical mods are much less complicated. A mechanical mod is basically a shell with a battery in it, which means there’s no circuitry to potentially short out. This is both good and bad. It’s good because you can generate more power and produce bigger clouds. It’s bad because your battery can explode if you don’t know what you’re doing!

Is Vaping Safe?

Since many people turn to vaping as an alternative to smoking, it’s natural to ask if it’s a safe activity. Little research has been done on the health effects of vaping, there are some things we do know. First of all, you have a pretty good idea of what goes into your lungs when you vape – like we said earlier, it’s nicotine, glycerine and flavoring. What may be more important is what we know doesn’t go into your lungs – tar. Cigarettes are packed with dangerous chemicals and produce tar, which can cause debilitating health problems. Smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans a year and is the leading cause of preventable death in this country. Given the choice, it seems clear that vaping is a great alternative to smoking. It also tastes much better.

Why Vape?

People vape for the same reason anyone does any leisure activity – it’s fun! Vaping isn’t just an alternative to smoking, it’s a hobby. Vaping is social, with many vape shops having lounges and competitions and other vape related get togethers. It also helps you exercise your brain and mechanical skills as you build out your mods in the pursuit of huge plumes of vapor. There are robust online communities where vapors meet to discuss new gear, mods and flavors.

How Do I Start Vaping?

If you’re interested in getting into vaping, the best way to learn is to go to your local vape shop and ask the experts there. If you live in Austin, we have two Austin Vape and Smoke locations and our crew is happy to hook you up with the knowledge and gear you need to get started. If you already have a rough idea of what you want, you can buy vape gear online. The Austin Vape and Smoke online shop is constantly updating with new equipment, as well as our house-made Prof Whyte’s e-juice flavors.