Unless you've been living in a bunker, you've probably noticed that vaping has exploded into mainstream culture. You've probably seen celebrities promoting their favorite cannabis brands, legislatures putting the vaping industry under increasing scrutiny, or multiple vape shops pop up in your hometown. It seems clear that vaping is here to stay!
However, if you're new to vaping, how to start and what devices to choose can feel overwhelming. Even deciding what to vape can be confusing (not to mention legally ambiguous). How do you choose what to vape and what kind of vape to use?
Does this sound like you? Then you're at the right place! In this article, we'll explain what vaping is, how to choose what to vape and what kind of device to use, and we'll even provide a brief overview of some legal concerns you should keep an eye out on.
What is Vaping?
Vaping is the act of using a device to produce vapor meant to be inhaled. Vaporizers (often called vapes or vape pens) use a battery to heat your substance of choice. When heated, the substance produces vapor, which you can inhale and enjoy.
The vaping process mimics smoking traditional tobacco (in fact, many vaping substances are infused with nicotine). Many smokers who want to quit smoking will switch to vaping, which allows them to wean off nicotine while avoiding the dangers of inhaling smoke.
While the basics of vaping are simple, it can get confusing when you start to look at what you can vape. Below we break down the categories of the most popular vaping substances:
Vape juice (often called e-liquid, vape liquid, or oil) is the most popular vaporizer substance. It's usually made of a mix of vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, and flavoring. Vape juices are commonly infused with nicotine, though many flavors are available that are nicotine-free.
Vape juices are usually used in a vape pen or box mod, where the vape battery connects to a vape tank. The vape tank is filled with your choice of vape juice, heated, and vaporized by an atomizer. That vapor is drawn out when you take a hit, allowing you to get a mouthful of tasty vapor.
Dry herbs are an increasingly popular substance used in vaporizers. They are an easy-to-use alternative to smoking, especially for those who enjoy vaping their choice of dry herb while on the go. Dry herb vapes can be used for cannabis (like hemp or marijuana), along with any other concoction of dry herbs you enjoy vaping; some popular ones include lavender and eucalyptus.
Dry herb vaporizers will fall into two categories. The first is a convection vape; convection vaporizers use heated air for baking the dry herb to produce vapor (nothing is burned, so no smoke is made). The vapor is then drawn into the lungs when you take a vapor puff.
The other category of dry herb vaporizers is conduction vapes. Conduction vapes apply a heat source directly to your dry herbs. The temperature is still low enough to create smoke, so genuine vapor no is still produced.
The final category of vaporizers is concentrate vaporizers. These devices vaporize wax (usually THC or CBD wax) and are an excellent alternative to traditional dab rig setups. Many vapers love concentrate vapes due to their portability, mess-free operation, and overall ease of use.
Concentrate vapes operate similarly to dry herb vapes; in fact, many vaporizers have dry herb and concentrate vaping functionality like the Firefly 2+. They have a heating chamber where wax is placed directly on a heating coil. Most concentrate vapes will be conduction vapes since they need direct contact with a high heat source to vaporize.
How to Use a Vape?
If you've been considering how to vape, you should know it depends on what you are vaping and the vaping device you are using. We mentioned some of these categories earlier in this article, but it's worth repeating (especially if you're entirely new to the vaping scene).
Take a look at the following vaping setups and see which might fit your vaping preferences best.
Vape Pens or Box Mods
Vape pens (cylindrical devices primarily used for e-liquid vaping) and box mods (powerful batteries designed for different attachments) are very common setups. You'll have a vape battery that can be recharged and reused while you have your choice of what to attach.
You can attach accessories that allow for vape juice, concentrate, or dry herb vaping to these devices. These accessories can be reusable, or they can be prefilled cartridges. If you're intimidated by filling vape tanks or cartridges, prefilled cartridges are a great way to try a variety of different flavors.
Disposable vapes are self-contained devices that are ready to be used right out of the box. They come fully charged and fully loaded with your preferred vaping substance. Generally, you'll only be able to find disposable vapes with nicotine-infused e-juice, CBD-infused oils, or THC-infused oils.
This style of vaporizer is more specific to dry herb and concentrate vapes. These devices will have a permanent heating chamber that you will load or pack with either dry herb or wax (whichever the device is designed to vape). While you may pay a higher price upfront, these vapes are generally high-quality and long-lasting.
How to Vape for the First Time
When thinking about vaping and vaping for the first time, it's important to remember that it will depend on the specific device you are using (even devices that cater to the same substance). While there will be noticeable differences across different vaporizers, you can follow a few general steps that will help teach you how to vape successfully!
Step 1: Charge the Device
You won't have much luck vaping if your vape battery is dead. If you are using a vaporizer for the first time, make sure it has a full charge before diving in! While some devices come fully charged, others will have only a partial charge (or no charge at all!).
Step 2: Load the Device
Once you're sure the device is charged, you'll want to load the device with your preferred vaping substance. If you are vaping e-liquids, you'll either connect your prefilled cartridge or manually load your vape tank. For dry herbs or concentrates, you'll load the heating chamber according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Step 3: Power On the Device
Most vaporizers power on in the same way. Locate the power button and quickly press it five times. This will power on the device, allowing you to change heat settings (if available). For dry herb vaporizers, this will usually start the process of warming up the heating chamber.
Some simpler vapes will skip this step because they don't have a power button. These vapes are called "draw fire" vapes, which means when you take a hit, the device will automatically power on and produce vapor. Typically, you'll only see draw-fire vapes on e-liquid devices.
Step 4: Adjust Heating Settings
If your vaporizer has the option to adjust heat settings, now is the time to do it! We recommend that you start with the lowest heat settings and work your way up. That's the best way to avoid making too hot or too harsh vapor for your liking.
Step 5: Take a Puff
When the device is turned on and you have adjusted the heat settings to your liking, it's time to take a hit! Some devices will require that you press and hold the power button to take a hit, while others will have a designated "trigger" button for this function.
Other devices, primarily with dry herb vaporizers, don't have a trigger button. Instead, you place your heat setting, wait for the device to reach temperature and produce vapor, and then take hits as vapor is produced.
Step 6: Repeat!
Continue the process of hitting the trigger and taking hits until you have had your fill. If you notice that less and less vapor is being produced, you may need to refill your vape tank or heating chamber. This is especially true with dry herb vapes, as the packed dry herb will become "spent" and eventually stop producing vapor.
Step 7: Clean and Store
The final step in vaping for the first time is to clean and store your vaporizer. E-juice vaporizers need minimal cleaning (unless you made a mess filling your vape tank). Dry herb and concentrate vaporizers should have their heating chambers wholly cleaned out once they have cooled.
You should never store dry herbs or wax inside of the vape device. This not only makes it more likely to produce a mess in the future (especially with wax), but it can also damage or produce unnecessary wear and tear on the vaporizer's heating components.
How to Inhale Vape Properly
Whether you are a former smoker or intrigued by vaping in general, you might be surprised to find that there are several different kinds of techniques for inhaling. What methods you use will ultimately depend on your personal preference!
The two techniques you'll consider are mouth-to-lung (MTL) inhaling and direct-to-lung (DTL) inhaling.
What's Mouth-to-Lung (MTL) Inhaling?
MTL inhaling is when you draw vapor into your mouth, hold it, and then breathe it in deeply. For traditional tobacco smokers, this will feel familiar, as this is one of the most popular ways to take a puff off of a cigarette.
MTL inhaling is also the technique most beginners will start with. It allows you to learn how to feel the amount of vapor in your mouth, feel how hot the vapor is, and prevent getting a quick lungful of scalding hot vapor.
You'll see vapers using MTL when they're more focused on enjoying the flavor of the vapor than they are creating enormous vape clouds. Of course, for those that enjoy creating massive vapor clouds, there's direct-to-lung inhaling.
What's Direct-to-Lung (DTL) Inhaling?
DTL inhaling is when you inhale vapor directly from the device into your lungs in one long breath. Vaping enthusiasts who love making huge vapor clouds gravitate towards this technique since it produces far more vapor than MTL vaping.
Of course, you have to be careful when using DTL inhaling, especially if you are new to vaping. You won't have the safety net of holding the vapor in your mouth, so it's easy to get an entire lungful of vapor that is far too hot for your liking.
Once you become more familiar with your specific vaping device and your chosen vaping substance, DTL inhaling is a popular choice for many vapers, especially those that enjoy e-liquid vaping.
Finding a Suitable Device
Now that you have a solid idea of what vaping is and the options available to you, you need to decide what kind of vaping device you'd like to have. The best way to do this is to make a list of what you want out of vaping and the machine that best fits what you're looking for.
If you're new to vaping, you may not be sure what questions you should be asking yourself. The following questions will help narrow your scope of choices for when you're deciding what kind of vape you want.
What's Your Budget?
What you're willing to spend will quickly narrow down your choices. It's not a bad strategy to start with a low-end, budget-friendly device while you're discovering what you do or do not want. However, you should keep in mind that you'll get what you pay for, and more expensive vaporizers are generally much higher quality.
What Do You Want to Vape?
Do you want to vape e-liquids, dry herbs, or concentrates? Maybe you want the option to vape more than one of the choices! Knowing what you want to vape will narrow the scope of device choices significantly. If you aren't sure what you want to vape the most or know that you want to vape various substances, a box mod may be a fantastic choice.
Where Do You Want to Vape?
Do you plan on vaping in the privacy of your home, or do you plan on vaping while on the go? Vaporizers come in various designs, with some catering to a sleek, inconspicuous design, while others focus more on power and features than being discrete.
What Features Do You Want?
Do you want the ability to change the temperature in your vaporizer? Maybe you want a device with a vibrant, digital display loaded with features? You could want a vaporizer that works well but doesn't have a lot of customizable options. Determining what specific features are important to you will help you land on a device that you love.
Once you take the time to ask yourself these questions, choosing a device will be a much easier exercise.
Vaping is a fantastic hobby that millions of people have grown to love. Many enthusiasts use vaping as a tool to avoid smoking tobacco, while others use vaping for medicinal purposes, like using CBD or THC to treat chronic pain. Regardless of why you're interested in vaping; the market is full of fantastic vaping options that can fill whatever specific vaping need you have.
Are you in the market for a high-end, dry herb vaporizer? Firefly vapes are award-winning convection vaporizers that provide the best dry herb vaping experience available. Take a look at the devices we offer and reach out to us with any further questions you may have.