Vaping 101

Vaping 101

For someone new to vaping, the sheer amount of options and information can be daunting. Where to start is often the question and finding the answer can sometimes seem hidden behind a cloud of smoke...or in this case, vapor.

At Lighter USA, we take smoking seriously, whether it’s through the tried and true old style of pipe smoking or through the new and modern form of vaping. We understand that there’s a lot to learn. From mod kits to vape juice to inhaling, vaping is a whole new world, and we’re here to walk you though. Below you’ll find a one-stop-shop for all you need to know to get started in the world of vaping.

Vape Pens vs Vape Mods

First and foremost, we start with the most important tool you need in order to get started: the vape pen or mod. What you choose depends on the experience and aesthetic you’re looking for. Both have the same premise though: a battery is used to heat a coil which turns e-liquid (vape juice) into the inhalable vaporizer. The user is basically reproducing the act of smoking in a less harmful manner.

A vape pen is as simple as it sounds, a pen-shaped tool that you fill with vape juice to inhale. They come in different sizes, some resembling a cigarette while others take on the form and breadth of a cigar.

Vape mods, on the other hand, are vaporizers that are a little more powerful and a little more customizable. Mods are boxy in shape and have an array of added features than that of the vape pen. Some have larger, stronger batteries, while others have a fancy way of heating the e-liquid faster. Still, some mods have larger tanks to hold more e-liquid than a vape pen might.

For someone new to picking out a vaporizer, a vape pen is a great place to start. It affords a newbie a uniform, easy experience to get used to vaping in general. This will also provide a user with a baseline to determine where to make changes. Maybe, after you use a vape pen, you realize you’d like your e-liquid to last a little longer or you’d like your tool to last a little longer. You can now make an informed decision based on your personal experience with the pen to choose a mod that’s right for you. Once you’ve made your choice, a vape starter kit is in order. The starter kit includes vaping must-haves like a charging cord, user’s manual, coils, and of course, the device of your choice.

E-Liquid and Pods

E-liquid or vape juice is the flavorful liquid that you’ll put into your vaporizer to produce the smoking effect. It is quite literally what you inhale and exhale. The liquid includes ingredients like water, food-grade flavoring, and nicotine. One of the main reasons people start vaping is because it is a healthier alternative to getting the nicotine fix associated with traditional smoking, but those who have no interest in nicotine can still vape. Some e-liquids come without any nicotine content at all.

That said, if you do want the nicotine, you have some choices to make. Typically, the nicotine concentration comes in the following levels:

  • 0mg/mL
  • 3mg/mL
  • 6mg/mL
  • 12mg/mL
  • 18mg/mL

Nicotine concentration can go up to 36mg/mL depending on the brand and the flavor, but that much nicotine is really for a seasoned vaper or someone with an extensive smoking history. For people that want to experience the nicotine high faster, nicotine salts, which is a specific kind of vape juice, might be the answer.


A vape pod is just a small, portable container of e-liquid. When vaporizers first became popular, the basic ones were either pre-filled, which was convenient. As the trend grew and the amount of vape juice offerings continued to grow and diversify, people were less satisfied with settling on one flavor of e-liquid, which meant buying bottles of multiple flavors. This quickly became a hassle though, because carrying around a bunch of bottles isn’t exactly fun or convenient. Enter vape pods. Though they have to be used with a specific style mod kit or pen, vape pods are compact and easily portable, and when you buy them, you can usually choose a variety of e-liquid so you still have flavor options while on the go.

One of the best things about the vaping experience is that thanks to e-liquid flavors, vaping never gets old. The flavor choices are endless. There’s everything from traditional tobacco flavors to truly mimic the old-school smoking experience to fruity and fun flavors. Each brand offers its own variety of flavors, some of which are exclusive to that brand.

Coils and Atomizers

The coil and atomizer of your vaporizer are two of the most important components. The atomizer itself is the piece of your device that heats the e-liquid. Within the atomizer are the batteries and the coil. Some atomizers have a single coil while others have a dual coil.

The coil, which is usually removable, makes direct contact with the battery and is responsible for heating up the vape juice. Since all of this is within the atomizer, no vaporizer lighter is needed, which is a big difference from the traditional smoking experience! Most mods and pens have removable coils because, after a period of time, they burn out just as the coils in your car might burn out. Making them removable saves your device and allows you to replace a simple part.

Single Coils and Double Coils

Since the coils are responsible for heating the e-liquid and turning it into vapor, taking into consideration how much vapor you want per inhalation will determine whether or not you want a single or double coil atomizer.

The double coil device simply puts out more vapor. This, of course, has its pros and cons. The pro is more vapor looks better to some, and it also means more flavor in one inhalation. If you’re new to vaping, more vapor could mean coughing or choking. Also, two coils, which means more vapor, means using more e-liquid in one sitting, which might not be ideal.

Changing the Coil

You’ll know it’s time to change your coil when you experience certain changes in your vaping experience. You might notice that not as much vapor comes out at times, or that your vape juice tastes funny. These are signs that it’s time to change the coil in your device. Changing the coil is relatively easy. You’ll either unscrew the bottom or top of the atomizer, take the old coil out, and insert a new coil. Whether you unscrew the top or bottom depends on your device, so make sure you do a little research to figure out which is the right option for your device.

Getting Started

You and Your Device

Once you’ve decided on what kind of device you want and you’ve done a fair amount of research, it’s time to get started! The vaping experience is meant to be unique to you, which means a fair amount of trial and error. You might find that the vaporizer you chose isn’t quite right for you, and that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your vendor— whether online or in person— to ask questions. Make sure to ask about return and refund policies as well so that if you do find yourself with the wrong device, you’ll know your options. 

You and E-Liquid

The same goes for vape juice. Your taste will most likely be different than your friends, and you’ll likely try several flavors of e-liquid throughout your time vaping. Chances are, you won’t like them all. You’ll also find some favorites though. Try multiple brands, take recommendations from friends, and do a little independent experimentation as well. You’re bound to find a few staples to keep on hand, and you’ll also learn which flavors you’d rather bypass.

You and Nicotine

Quitting smoking is one of the prime reasons people switch to vaping. You can still get your nicotine fix without all the harmful chemicals and subsequent health problems that come from smoking cigarettes. Still, you’ll need to decide how much nicotine you want for your vaping experience. This will help determine the brands and flavors of e-liquid you’ll try as well. If your goal is to wean off of nicotine entirely, but you still want the smoking experience, vaping makes that possible as well. You can start with a higher concentration of nicotine and transition slowly to a vape juice with no nicotine.

If nicotine isn’t something you have experience with, but you still want to give vaping a try, you might start out the opposite: choose an e-liquid with no or minimal nicotine concentration, and work your way up.

Whatever your goals, we hope this comprehensive guide is helpful in getting you started. Are you ready to start choosing the right vaping products for yourself? Check out our extensive supply of vaporizers, mod kits, and vape juice today!