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How to Vape: A Comprehensive Guide to Vaping

Vapes have been around since the early 2000s, with their popularity rising dramatically over the last decade - with vaping being one of the more modern ways to use nicotine. In the UK, there are currently around 4 million vapers, with numbers set to increase as more people turn away from smoking. 

This article provides a comprehensive guide to vaping: we answer all your questions including “What is a Vape?”, Which vaping devices are there?” and “how do I vape properly?”. We'll explain how vaping works, discuss the different types of equipment available, and explore the various options you can choose from.

Whether you're a former smoker who has recently switched to vaping or an experienced vaper, this article is designed to provide useful information and advice. So, if you're looking to find out more about vaping, this is the guide for you!

What is a Vape? The Basics of Vaping

Vaping is an increasingly popular activity in the UK and all over the world. But what is vaping? In the simplest terms, vaping is the process of inhaling and exhaling vapour produced by an electronic device called an e-cigarette or vape.

The e-cigarette or vape is typically composed of three main components: a battery, a tank or atomiser, and e-liquid. The battery is the key power source, and can range from small and discreet pen-style devices to larger box mods. The tank or atomiser houses the e-liquid and contains a heating element, which is powered by the battery. The e-liquid is the substance that is heated, creating the vapour.

Vaping is different from smoking as it does not involve combustion. This means that no smoke is created, only vapour. This vapour is generally composed of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, flavourings, and nicotine (if desired). Unlike when smoking, when vaping there is no tar or carbon monoxide: which is part of the reason why many people are switching to vaping.

Many people find the ritual of vaping to be very similar to smoking, but with much less of the negative side effects. Additionally, there are many nicotine-free e-liquids available for those who are looking to enjoy the act of vaping without the nicotine.

The Key Components of a Vaping Device

So, what is a vape? To help you understand the basics of vaping, we’ve broken down the key components and what each part of a vaping device does.
Vape Guide
  • Battery: At the centre of every vape is the battery. This is the power source that powers the device and keeps it running as you use the puffs. It’s important to make sure you store your device and battery properly when you aren’t using the vaping device. There are different types of vape batteries used in different devices - depending on which device or type of vape you choose, there may be some difference in the features and type of battery. Some of the differences can include variable voltage and wattage, and whether the battery is internal or external.
  • Tank: This is the part of the vape that holds the e-liquid, and is usually connected to the battery. Tanks come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and some also feature adjustable airflow for more customised vaping.
  • Atomiser: This is the component that heats up the liquid, which then produces the vapour (which is why these devices are called vapes). Atomisers come in different shapes and sizes, and can also have adjustable wattage and temperature controls.
  • E-liquid. This is the flavoured liquid that is vaporised when the device is in use. It generally contains nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine and flavourings. It’s important to ensure you buy e-liquid from a reputable source, as poor quality products can be dangerous. 
These are the key components of a vape that you will find in most vape devices. However,  depending on the type of vape and brand you choose, there can be some variations in what elements make up your vape. 

Different Vaping Device Options in the UK

When looking at the different vapes available in the UK, we can break the different options down into two main categories: traditional vapes and disposable vapes.

Traditional Vapes

These are the types of vapes you probably will have seen the most, these are typically the more personalizable options that are geared more towards experienced vapers. Traditional vapes can be reused by refilling the e-liquid or pre-filled pod, but require tricky maintenance to ensure your device lasts a long time. 
Some of the main types of traditional vape include:
Vape Guide
  • Box Mods: These are the larger devices with adjustable settings for advanced customization and bigger vapor production.
  • Mechanical Mods: These are powerful devices for experienced vapers who enjoy manual adjustments.
  • Squonk Mods: These are unique devices with built-in e-liquid bottles for easy atomizer feeding.

Disposable Vapes

Disposable vapes are the newer type of vape you can find on the market, and are some of the more popular options currently with vapers in the UK as they offer a convenient and affordable vaping option. Often people recognise a disposable vape by brand name, with the top disposable vape brands in the UK being Elf Bar, Lost Mary and Elux. 
These vaping devices (also known as throw away vapes or stick vapes) are not meant to be refilled: they come prefilled with eliquid, and should be replaced with a new vape pen when the eliquid runs out.
Vape Guide
  • Disposable Vapes: These devices are compact and hassle-free. These single-use vapes require no charging or refilling and can be used right out of the box with basically no setup. Examples of disposable vapes in the UK are the Elf Bar 600 V1 and V2, Lost Mary BM600, Elux Legend 3500 (which is nicotine free) and the Crystal Bar. 
  • Vape Pod Kits: These kits feature a rechargeable device and interchangeable pods for convenience and sustainability. Once you have run out of puffs, you can recharge the device and replace the pod with either one of your new pre-filled pods or refill a compatible refillable pod. Examples of a vape pod kit include the Elf Bar Elfa (compatible with Elfa Pods)  and JUUL2 (compatible with JUUL2 Pods). 

Vaping Properly: How to Set Up Your Vaping Device

Whether you're a vaping novice or a seasoned veteran, setting up your vaping device can be intimidating. Our vape experts have created a step by step guide that will help you get up and running quickly and easily, no matter what type of vape device you're using.

Setting Up a Traditional Vape

Traditional vapes, such as box mods, are the most common type of device for experienced vapers. They offer more control and customisation options than other devices, but they can be complex to set up. Here are the 6 basic steps to get started with a traditional vaping device (however, for the specifics for your device, we recommend you follow any instructions provided by the manufacturer for the safest experience): 

  1. 1. Unpack your device: Start by taking your vape out of the box, ensuring that all parts and accessories are present and in good condition.
  2. 2. Charge the battery: Most box mods come with an internal rechargeable battery. Connect the USB cable to the device and the other end to a power outlet.
  3. 3. Install the atomizer: Once your battery is charged, install the atomizer into the device. This is usually a simple process of unscrewing the old atomizer and screwing the new one into place.
  4. 4. Fill the tank: Most atomizers come with a tank that needs to be filled with e-liquid. Unscrew the top of the tank and fill it with the e-liquid of your choice.
  5. 5. Prime the coil: Once your tank is filled, you need to prime the coil. This involves adding a few drops of e-liquid to the coil before attaching it to the device. 
  6. 6. Attach the tank: Finally, attach the tank to the device and you're ready to vape. 

Setting Up Disposable Vapes

Disposable vapes are one of the easiest and most convenient types of vaping device. They come pre-filled with e-liquid and are ready to use pretty much straight out of the box. Here's the steps to get you started with a disposable vaping device:

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1. Unpack the Device

Start by taking your vape out of the box. Disposable vapes come pre-filled with e-liquid and are ready to use straight away. 
1. Unpack the Device

2. Check the Device

Most disposable vapes have some kind of sticker or plastic on the mouth piece and base of the vape. Remove these and take a primer puff. 
2. Check the Device

3. Start Vaping

Inhale from the mouthpiece and start with your first puffs. 
3. Start Vaping

Setting Up Vape Pod Kits

Vape pod kits are becoming increasingly popular with new vapers. They're easy to use and come with pre-filled pod options or the options of refillable pods. These vapes give a similar experience to a disposable vape, but are a more sustainable and cost-effective alternative. Here's how to get started with a vape pod kit (as vape pod kits can be different, we recommend you follow any instructions provided by the manufacturer for the safest experience): 

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1. Unpack the Device

Start by taking your vape pod kit out of the box, ensuring that all parts and accessories are there and in good condition.
1. Unpack the Device

2. Charge the Vape Device

Vape pod kits come with an internal rechargeable battery. Connect a compatible USB cable to the device and the other end to a power outlet and let it charge (check the instruction manual that comes with your vape kit to check the exact charging time required for your device). 
2. Charge the Vape Device

3. Install a Pod

Once your battery is charged, install the pod into the device. This is usually a simple process of putting the pod into the device until you hear it connect or feel the magnet holding the pod in place.
3. Install a Pod

4. Start Vaping

Once the pod is installed, your vape is ready to use. Take your first puffs on the mouthpiece to get started. 
4. Start Vaping

How to Vape Properly

As for how to vape properly, it is fairly simple - especially if you choose a disposable vape or vape pod kit. Disposable vapes and vape pod kits work with inhale activation via an airflow sensor, which detects when you are taking a puff and activates the vape. 

How to Vape in a Safe Way

To ensure safe vaping, it is essential to understand how to vape properly. This includes familiarizing yourself with the instructions that come with the device and learning how to draw in the vapour properly. 
Vaping safely also means being aware of your nicotine consumption. To avoid nicotine poisoning, it is important to monitor your puffs and not take in too much vapour in one draw. Moderation is key to ensure safe vaping.

How to Vape: The Different Vaping Techniques

Learning how to vape properly is an important step in vaping safely. 
When vaping, the inhale is what impacts your experience the most (alongside which vape you use). It is important to inhale properly as a bad inhale can lead to a bad cough and even an uncomfortable rush of nicotine entering your system which will cause some discomfort. 
There are 3 different inhales you can try (which inhale is best depends on which vape device you choose to use): 

  1. 1. Direct Lung (DL) Inhale: This method involves taking a long and deep draw of the vapour directly into the lungs, rather than holding it in the mouth first. To do this, you should hold the vapour in your lungs for a few seconds before exhaling. This type of inhale is used primarily with traditional vapes.

  2. 2. Mouth to Lung (MTL) Inhale: This is the traditional method of smoking cigarettes and involves taking a draw of the vapour into the mouth first, and then inhaling it into the lungs. This method is better for people who are not advanced vapers, as it can be easier to control the amount of vapour inhaled, and is the most popular method to use with disposable vapes and pod kits.

  3. 3. Sub-Ohm Vaping: This method involves using a device with a sub-ohm coil that produces bigger clouds of vapour. It can also be used to get a stronger flavour from your e-liquid - but to use this method, you need to have a sub-ohm device.

A Step By Step on How to Vape Properly

Vape Guide

Not sure how to vape? Here is a step by step to get you started with your device. 

  1. 1. Take a slow, steady draw: When you’re ready to vape, take a slow, steady draw of the vapour using one of the inhale techniques we mentioned previously. 
    If you’re using the MTL method, hold the vapour in your mouth for a few seconds before inhaling it into your lungs.
    If you are using the DL method, draw the vapour directly into the lungs and hold the vapour in your lungs for a few seconds before exhaling. 
  2. 2. Exhale: Exhale slowly and steadily, ensuring that all the vapour is out of your lungs.
  3. 3. Repeat: Follow the steps above each time you vape.

Vape Maintenance: How to Care for Your Vaping Device

When you own a vape device, you need to know how to care of it. Proper maintenance is essential for keeping your device in top condition and ensuring that you get the most out of your vaping experience. 

Here’s our guide to caring for your vaping device and keeping it working at its best. 

  1. 1. Clean Your Device Regularly. No matter what type of vape you use, keeping your device clean is essential for it to work as it should. Make sure to clean it regularly to keep it free from dirt, dust and other particles. Alcohol wipes are great for this, and you can easily find them in most shops or online. 
  2. 2. Store Your Device Properly. When you’re not using your vaping device, it’s important to store it properly. All vapes should be kept in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight as this will help to prevent it from overheating or being damaged by the elements. 
  3. 3. Use the Right Charger. If your vape requires charging, it’s important to use the right charger for your device. Don’t use any other chargers as this could cause damage to your device. Make sure you use the charger that came with your device or an approved replacement. 
  4. 4. Replace Coils Regularly. This one applies to traditional vapes - as the device’s coils are essential for giving you the best vaping experience, it is important you replace and maintain them regularly. This will ensure you get the best flavour and vapour production. How often you need to replace them will depend on your device and how often you vape. 
  5. 5. Check Your Batteries. Your device’s batteries are also important. Make sure to check them regularly for any signs of wear and tear, especially if you are using a rechargeable vape. If you find any, stop using the device and replace the battery as soon as possible. 

By following these steps, you’ll be able to keep your vaping device in top condition and ensure that you get the most out of your vaping experience.

Where to Buy Vaping Devices

You can buy vapes in some specialist stores (if you are looking for traditional vapes) however you can find the biggest selection online. Shop our range of disposable vapes and vape pod kits online, with a range of popular brands such as SKE, Elf Bar, Lost Mary, Elux and more. Order on Northerner for fast, free shipping on all orders!

Northerner's Bestselling Vapes

Not sure which vape is best for you? Take a look at our top 10 vape bestsellers!

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