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How To Completely Change Your Opinion Of Vaping How To Completely Change Your Opinion Of Vaping

Many people ask us the fundamental questions of, what is vaping and what is vape made of? Well, we created this guide to help any beginner get their bearings.

In the past decade the market for vaping has expanded into a billion dollar industry, As it grows in popularity and into the mainstream, there are a lot of folks asking what vaping is and what it does. There is also a lot of confusion for some about whether or not vaping is a drug. In its purest form, vaping is the inhalation of water vapor that is created by heating a material. Vaporizers are typically battery powered. While it is true that many substances can be vaporized, the most common is called e-liquid or vape juice.

There’s the basic idea covered, but in this article, we’ll go into much more detail about all that. We will review the history of vaping, how it’s variety of styles came to be, answer the question of what is in vape and whether it is a drug. We’ll also touch on methods that help keep you having a consistent and enjoyable experience from your vape and e-liquids.

Brief History Of Vaping

Over the last ten years, the concept of vaporization has transitioned from the mere idea of changing something from a liquid into a gaseous state to the preeminent alternative to smoking cigarettes. Hon Lik, a Chinese Pharmacist, developed the first commercial vaporizers after losing his father, a lifetime smoker, to lung cancer. The technology of these early models was basic. The style of these models, made to resemble cigarettes, has stayed popular with many cig-a-like brands and is still widely available today. In more recent iterations makers of e-cigs are opting for more original designs What distinguishes a cig-alike from other vaporizers is their disposability and their portable nature. These are often the least expensive of any vaporizer.

E-cigarettes were the standard for many years, but users starting looking for more powerful vapes with more diversified options. Looking to meet these needs manufacturers developed vape pens. These designs kept the sleek and portable nature of the e-cigarette in mind but offered a wider variety of tanks and atomizers. To this point, e-cigs had been designed disposable, but the pens were designed to be long lasting with rechargeable batteries, and replaceable coils. This made the long-term upkeep of vape pens much more affordable than the cig-a-likes. While these were tremendous advancements, some vapers still wanted more from their vaping experiences and looked for an even more customizable device.

It was this need that brought on the introduction of box mods, larger in size, but also in options and power. These devices housed externally or internally charged batteries and offered chipset and circuitry that made more variables customizable. Box mods are sold either separately from the atomizer, or together in a starter kit. This setup gave the vaper a ton of control, and it was in this format you first found temperature and wattage controls that have a massive impact on your vaping experience.

Parts Of A Vaporizer

Each type of vaporizer is still available on the market, and all of them are making tremendous advances in the needs of the user. There are cig-a-likes now that function better than the highest quality box mods did back in the day. This blurs the lines between the different vaporizers available and blurs the lines of “What is Vaping” a little more.

Breaking it down again to what these all have in common is that they all have the same set of parts. Each component, however, may have different advancements and power. The best way to understand those options is to delve into the three major categories, cartridges, atomizers, and batteries.


The term cartridge covers a wide variety of pieces depending on which type of vape you have. The cartridge can generally be viewed as the piece that the atomizer is housed in. In the case of cig-a-likes and a small variety of pens, the cartridge and the atomizer are essentially the same piece. In this case, the atomizer is not replaceable, and the entire cartridge is disposed of when replacing the atomizer.

With most pens and all box mods, this is different. Most of these vaporizers take premade replaceable coils. The cartridge, commonly referred to as the tank in this scenario, is viewed separately from the atomizer.


The atomizer is the piece of any rig that heats the material. Typically this is a wire coil, although there have been many advances in recent years with coil-less atomizers. Most pens take premade coils that can be purchased and replaced with relative ease. Box mods often take this a step further with rebuildable coils, meaning that vapers construct their coils with metal wire and the help of a few tools. While this does take longer, both to learn and do correctly, the results are top quality.


This is the power source for your vape, simple enough, but available in a wide variety. Cig-a-likes often use one-time-use disposable batteries, although many more are becoming rechargeable so make sure to check when using that type of vaporizer. Pens tend to have more powerful and rechargeable internal batteries. Box mods, for the most part, use externally charged 18650 batteries. The 18650’s are high quality and versatile, making them the standard in advanced box mods. That said some box mods also utilize an internal battery.

Is Vape A Drug?

One of the most common questions we receive about vaping is what’s in vape? The sensationalized nature and inconsistency in media coverage makes, what seems like a very basic question, muddled. The real answer is no. Vaping in and of itself is not a drug; it is a delivery method for many different substances. Some of those substances are drugs, some of them are not.

Most vapers use e-liquids in the vaporizers. Some e-liquids contain nicotine, which is a drug, some e-liquids are completely nicotine free. Vaporizers can also be used to vape marijuana, which for these purposes is turned into an oil or a wax, or even dry bud with a particular type of atomizer.

While these substances may be drugs, vaporizers and the act of vaping is not. Vaporizers are like a cup, in that a cup is not beer. It’s simply the vessel you drink beer out of, but it can also be used to drink soda, juice, or water. The method of delivery is not changed by what it is delivering. The method of delivery also does not stop the detection of those substances, meaning that nicotine and marijuana will both be detected in a drug test of someone vaping those substances.

What is in E-Liquid?

To truly understand what does vaping do, you must first understand e-liquids. E-Liquids are the most commonly vaped substances, but what exactly is in them? E-liquids really only contain a few key ingredients, which seems to surprise a lot of people. The two primary substances in e-liquid are Propylene Glycol, which is referred to as PG, and VG or Vegetable Glycerin. These substances are generally recognized as safe by the FDA and are found in many everyday food products.

Both substances are tasteless, and depending on what ratio is opted form can help create massive clouds or carry flavors well. There are many types of ratios you can choose, from 100% PG to 50/50 PG/VG splits. PG is the one that is better at carrying flavor, but it does produce much smaller clouds than VG. Finding the right balance of what satisfies your needs in both taste and feel is key to a great vaping experience.

The only other substances found in e-liquids are food-grade flavorings, and optionally nicotine. The flavors are the same as many you would already see in your grocery cart on a regular basis. When looking at extracts, it is essential to make sure the ingredients are not oil based flavorings as in some cases they can have adverse effects. Similarly, the nicotine is often available in a wide variety of strengths, and as a result, does not need to be in any of your e-liquids should you so choose.

How to Vape

One of the most common mistakes made by people just taking up vaping is the drag. As the majority of vapers are former or current smokers, they are used to taking huge pulls. While this style is more satisfying while smoking, the best way to vape is a long slow pull. You achieve this by making sure your vape is heated to the proper temperature and then starting a natural breath like pull. This is also the best method for producing massive clouds. Furthermore, it doesn’t put nearly as much strain on your lungs.

It is also vital to prepare and maintain your vaporizer correctly. This includes making sure your batteries are charged before use and not overusing a dirty coil. These small changes have a massive impact on the quality of your experience. As we discussed earlier, it is also imperative to find your ideal PG/VG balance so that you can be satisfied with the flavor and the cloud.

If you prefer massive clouds and get good at creating them consistently, you might find that your path with vaping is with tricks. Many people find these new age variations on smoke tricks to be a huge part of their experience, and it has become an enormously influential part of the market.


Each person’s path to understanding about vape is different. There are so many different things people can want, need, or prioritize in their vaping experience. Because of all the variety and options, vape information can feel overwhelming, but the truth behind the question “What is Vaping?” is really simple. It is the act of inhaling a material that has been made a vapor via heating and not burning. Whether it’s related to drugs or not is entirely dependent on the individual, but the most popular substance is PG/VG e-liquids with natural flavorings.

Some still view vaping as sinister and harmful, but the growing evidence shows that it is the most potent harm reduction and smoking cessation tool available today. It is important that the public at large be educated on this so that people who need vaping to help them quit smoking feel that they can pick it up and not be judged for bettering their lives.

Dustin Erickson

Dustin Erickson - ECR.net Editor

Dustin can lay claim as one the first e-cigarette reviewers on the internet. Back in the summer of 2009 he set out on a mission to spread the word about e-cigs with this very site. Nearly 2.5 Million visitors, 1,700 Reviews collected and 5 years later, he’s still as passionate as ever and one of the leading Vaping advocates online.