Want to switch to vaping? These handy tips will maximise your chances of success during the transition from smoking to vaping.
They're based not just on our own 6 years experience of using and selling vape pens, but on the experience of dozens of experienced vapers who kindly share their tips with us on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.
If you're looking for a more in-depth guide on switching to vaping, make sure you check out The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Vaping in our E-Cigarette Academy. You may also want to check out how a new staffer was able to switch to vaping in just 6 weeks.
1. Don’t get too obsessed with the appearance
We still get people who want to switch to cigalikes (electronic cigarettes which resemble cigarettes). In fact, I was talking to our accountant yesterday, who wants to switch from cigarettes to ecigs, and she was adamant that she wanted a device that looked like a cigarette.
Yet in our shops, when smokers try both our cigalike and mod and tank vapes, people almost always prefer the tank systems. What’s more, the evidence suggests that second and third generation devices deliver nicotine more efficiently than their cigalike counterparts, and that smokers are more successful switching to them.
Tip #1 Don't be obsessed with appearance. Tweet this!
2. Use what works for YOU
Having said that, different people like different devices, and the important thing is not what advanced vapers are raving about on social media, or what I think is best, but what works for you.
For a minority of people that might still be cigalikes, at least to start with. Others may prefer refillable tank systems. Mechanical mods, on the other hand, would confuse most beginners.
Tip #2: Use what works for YOU. Tweet this!
3. Be flexible with your e-liquid flavour choice
When most people start vaping, they want a tobacco flavour such as American Red or Classic Virginia. This does work for a lot of people, and in our shops we always try to match the e-liquid to the tobacco flavour people have been smoking. However, I’ve also seen people say they want to start with a tobacco flavour, but when they try a sweet or fruity flavour they prefer it and end up using that non-tobacco flavour.
They're probably in the minority. But what we do notice is that a lot of vapers change to non-tobacco flavours in the weeks and months after switching to e-cigs.
A lot of people find it easier to switch with non-tobacco flavours, because it helps them move away from the taste of tobacco, and if they get temped into smoking again, they find the taste of cigarettes unpleasant.
Tip #3: Be flexible with your flavour choice. Tweet this!
4. Build a support network
There are 2,000,000 plus vapers in the UK, and lots of friendly support available. Whether you prefer G+, communities, a friend in the local pub or Facebook, you’ll find other people who will offer you tips, advice and moral support.
You'll even find that some more enlightened NHS clinic's offer support for e-cig users - check out our interview with NHS stop smoking expert Louise Ross to see how she integrates ecigs with her service.
Tip #4: Build a vaping support network. Tweet this!
5. Choose an ecig supplier who will offer support
Even the best vapes can end up faulty or stump the inexperienced. The best shops/ suppliers will not only advise you when you want to buy something, but will also offer after sale support and advice, something we've found really helps our customers. A good supplier will also recommend you a device that suits your skill level - generally, you don't want to jump into something too advanced too soon!
For example, we had one new e-cig user ring up in tears. She had bought a tank system from a newsagents, didn't know how to use it and the shop wasn't interested in teaching her how after they had made the sale. (Fortunately, Jo from our customer services team was able to give an over-the-phone tutorial).
Tip #5: Choose a supplier who offers support. Tweet this!
6. Be patient
After selling to tens of thousands of customers over the last six years or so, we know all smokers are different.
Some people use an e-cigarette and never pick up a cigarette again. Others take a few weeks or months to switch. Some people try to switch, fail, and then succeed on a second or a third try. And yes, it’s not going to be for everyone.
So, if you understand it may not work for you in one go, you are more likely to succeed in the long term. And remember, top vaping scientists such as Dr Farsalinos believe that even dual vaping, if it means you are reducing the amount you are smoking, is better for you than just smoking.
Tip #6: Be patient. Tweet this!
7. Get the nicotine strength right
With cigalikes or basic tanks, you usually want to go one strength higher than the cigarettes you smoke. Heavy smokers would also need a higher strength than those who smoked less. With the higher end devices such as the Aspire Nautilus Mini, though, you get more of a hit and usually need a lower strength e-liquid.
If you are purchasing in a shop, try different strengths to make sure you get the right one for you. If you are ordering online, try to get a variety of strengths so you can find the one that suits you best and stick with that strength.
You may find your in between two strengths, in which case you can mix the two differing strengths together to create an e-liquid somewhere in the middle.
Tip #7: Get the nicotine strength right. Tweet this!
I've spoken to many vapers who had a rocky start. In fact, some of the best known vapers today had to try several e-cigs before finding the one that suited them. Oliver Kershaw, founder of e-cigarette forum, for example, told us:
...I got my first e-cigarette in November 2007. I ordered it from a Chinese website and it arrived in about a week; A maroon DSE 901 with a bottle of Green Tea e-liquid and I was absolutely blown away by it as a “proof of concept”. It really wasn’t good enough as a full substitution device, but it got me wondering whether, a. there were any better e-cigs out there and b. anyone else was as impressed as I was.
So if your first device (or e-liquid) is not right for you, don't give it up, but experiment with different devices.
Tip #8: Experiment with different devices. Tweet this!
9. Stay Informed - and Learn From The Experts
Newspapers tell us e-cigarettes are life savers one day and could kill us the next day. So it is best to stay informed and the best way to do that is keep up with the scientists who are actually carrying out research into e-cigs. Here’s a few great sources if you want to stay informed:
- E-Cigarette Research (Dr Farsalinos)
- The Counter Factual (Clive Bates, former head of Action on Smoking and Health)
- Tobacco Analysis (Professor Siegel)
Also, when you sign up to our newsletter (see sidebar!) you'll be sent an email with a series of interviews with experts, as well as an e-book on the topic and kept up to date on the latest news and information. There's also our Twitter feed and Vaper's Daily to help you stay up to date!
Tip #9: Learn from the Experts. Tweet this!
10. Enjoy Yourself
Wise words from Lorien! Relax, enjoy the flavours, play with your new device and you are far more likely to be successful at switching to e-cigs!
Tip #10: Enjoy yourself! Tweet this!
What are your top tips for switching to e-cigs? Let us know in the comments below.
As usual, we've had some super ideas from readers! The following three are from Mike Felling:
11 Keep hydrated, especially when you are starting vaping.
While the throat hit is similar to smoking, it is a little different and drinking a little water or tea (or Guinness?) can help the experience.
12 Charge batteries properly and never leave a charging battery unattended.
13 Always keep devices and liquids out of the reach of children and pets.
Yes, I know those last two are not fun tips, but safety is never a bad thing and not keeping them in mind can have disastrous consequences (and that would ruin the vaping experience entirely).
14. Always have at least two batteries on charge (Shirley Bekker)
As a cig alike vaper my advice would be to have at least two batteries in charge all the time so you never run out and reach out for a cigarette again!
And our favourite:
15. Before using your e-cigarette, ensure that you are properly earthed. (Richard Fricker)
If you are new to vaping, the following posts may also help you!