Vaping for Beginners: The Complete Guide

Aug 10, 2023

If you’ve ever considered vaping, we’ve compiled a go-to source for every step of the process.

From the history of e-cigarettes to selecting your first 'mod', we'll explain all the components and accessories, and how they fit together.



What is Vaping?


Vaping Equipment


Choosing the Right Eliquid

In the simplest of terms, "Vaping" is a modern form of smoking.

Vapers inhale a nicotine-infused vapour from "e juice" or "e liquid".

The e liquid is heated by an electronic device, creating the vapour which the user then inhales.

Vape devices come in different styles, sizes and formats, including e-cigs and mods.

Each is comprised of a heating element, wicking material, battery, and a tank that holds the e liquid.

The wicking device is wrapped around a heating coil. It absorbs the eliquid and then when the power button is pressed, the vapour is produced.

How to Vape

In order to vape you need a few key things, in it's simplest form you can buy a disposable vape device. This is all you need to get going and you simply dispose of it safely when it's run out of juice or the battery has run out.

A slightly more sophisticated device such as those in our starter kits will usually include everything you need to get going apart from some eliquid to put in it. Be sure to look at the product descriptions as some kits require a battery sold separately.

Once you have your device and liquid follow any filling instructions included with the device/liquid. Inhaling from your vape is very similar to smoking, however it is likely you will need to hold a button whilst you are inhaling. Avoid holding the button whilst you are not inhaling as this may overheat or burn the coil inside the device.


Mouth to Lung (MTL Vape) Vs. Direct to Lung (DTL Vape)

The vast majority of smokers will use mouth to lung which is the process of sucking the smoke/vape into your mouth and then inhaling it into your lungs from your mouth. This is mostly due to the restrictive air flow of a cigarette and also the potential harshness of inhaling a lot of smoke.

Direct to lung is more common with vaping as the overall experience of vaping is less harsh than smoking and air flow can be a lot less restricted. You perform direct to lung by not sucking the device but rather just inhaling the vapour straight into your lungs. This enables you to take much larger volumes of vape into your lungs as you can use your full lung capacity rather than just the volume of air you can suck into your mouth.

Vaping Meaning - The meaning of vaping is to inhale a form of vapour from a vaping device.

What are vapes - Vapes is a shortening of the word vaping equipment or the experience of vaping.

Is Vaping Safe?

Whilst we don't recommend starting to vape if you are not already a smoker, vaping has been identified as being up to 95% safer than smoking. Obviously you are going to be better off not smoking or vaping, but switching from smoking to vaping is likely to significantly improve your overall health.

Within the EU & UK, there are quite strict laws related to tobacco products and the ingredients included in them. The EU has identified a number of compounds of concern which have been banned from use.

When buying good quality eliquids from reputable sellers such as Vapemate you are ensuring you are buying compliant and safe liquids


Vaping Equipment

Today, you can choose from four main categories of e-cig:

  • Starter Kits
  • Mods
  • Pods
  • Disposables

This section will take a look at the features of each one.

Starter Kits

Starter Kits are a great place to start your vaping journey. They generally contain everything you need to get going, just buy some of your favourite eliquid to add to them.


Mods can in most cases be very similar to starter kits (include everything you need) but they are a larger form factor and usually provide a lot more power for longer vaping without charging or more intense clouds. Some mods come without tanks and batteries which you can buy separately. Mods are intended for those who are more enthusiastic about their vaping experience.

Mechanical mods keep the technology light and limit any circuitry apart from the wires needed to heat the coil.

When the mod is activated, power from the battery hits the coil in an unregulated state – there’s no limiting or tweaking to regulate how the electricity does its work.

Sort of a roll-your-own option for hardcore vaping enthusiasts, mechanical mods aren’t recommended for beginners.

Despite their lack of technology, simplicity makes them a popular draw for regular vapers.

The Good

Simple, powerful, longer-lasting, and easy to use.

The Less Good

For experienced users who understand components and power, components can be easily damaged if they aren’t used correctly.


Pods pods are the most recent type of device to gain popularity in the vaping community. This has been enabled with the improvements in technology. They operate in a similar manor to starter kits but usually have a smaller form factor.

There are two types of pod devices, Closed systems - you buy pre-filled pods which you consume and dispose of after they are empty, or Open systems which are the same as typical devices where you fill empty pods (tanks) with your own choice of liquid.

Pods are great because they are small and fit in your pocket easily.


Disposables are the cheapest, simplest, and most accessible vaping device out there.

The latest generation of devices from companies like NJOY, Vuse, and Blu offer all-in-one units that are thrown away as soon as the battery dies, or replaceable unit devices that let you recharge the battery and replace the cartridge holding the juice, wick, and heating element.

The latest box mods have temperature controls that auto-regulate power and vapour production without user intervention.

The Good

Inexpensive, convenient, easy to use.

The Less Good

Typically offers the weakest vaping experience, batteries don’t last long.


Choosing the Right E Liquid

Having settled on an e-Cig or mod, the next – and probably most personal – choice you’ll have to make is the flavour of e liquid (or ejuice) you want to inhale.

There are hundreds of flavours available online, with more mixes and concoctions being developed every day.

The range of options can be confusing. Here are a few essentials to consider before making the choice.

Selecting the Right E Liquid for Your Taste

Having settled on an e-Cig or mod, the next – and probably most personal – choice you’ll have to make is the flavour of e liquid (or ejuice) you want to inhale.

There are hundreds of flavours for sale online, with more mixes and concoctions being developed every day.

The range of options can be confusing. Here are a few essentials to consider before making the choice...

What is e liquid made of?

This is a brief overview, for more information view our e-liquid guide

The simplicity of eliquid is one of the main benefits of vaping. It’s usually composed of four primary ingredients:

  • Nicotine
  • Vegetable glycerine (VG) – used in many food and pharmaceutical products.
  • Propylene glycol (PG) – found in everything from fizzy drinks to prescription drugs.
  • Flavouring

Nicotine and flavouring are easy enough to understand, but VG and PG are important to the overall vaping experience.

The ratio of VG to PG sets the viscosity of the liquid and as such the temperature needed to vaporise it. It also determines the most suitable tanks and coils to vape with.

That ratio can also decide how intense the physical sensation of inhaling will be. More VG produces more vapour and a smoother hit. More PG in the mix delivers better flavour.

You’ll want to experiment a bit and try different ratios to work out what’s best for your vaping palate.

How much nicotine?

The nicotine level in an e liquid really depends on your personal preference.

For those switching from tobacco, one option is to consider your previous smoking habits.

Levels from 0 to 18mg/ml are the most popular, moving up in increments: 3mg, 6mg, 12mg and 18mg.

Higher strengths are available from some retailers.

Things to consider when choosing one level over another:

  • 0mg/ml – Perfect for non-smokers or someone who wants to give vaping a go. At 0mg you can try whatever flavour appeals to you.
  • 3mg/ml – Suitable for light smokers who want to see what vaping is all about. Three mg is about as low as you’ll find above nicotine-free.
  • 6mg/ml – Six is the standard launch point for regular smokers who make the switch to vaping. It’s also a good jumping off point, making it easy to move up or down the nicotine hierarchy.
  • 12mg/ml – This is the level for pack-a-day tobacco smokers. At 12mg the ‘throat hit’ is a rougher physical sensation, which could be off-putting for a first-time vaper.
  • 18mg/ml – This is level H for hardcore, suitable for a chain smoker who burns through daily packs without a second thought.

 Pro tip: the higher the nicotine level, the harsher the overall vape experience will be.


The Complete Beginner's Guide

This guide is aimed at beginner's giving you the basic information you need to get you started on your vaping journey.

For further information about eliquids please see our Definitive Guide to Vape Juice

For information about How To Use Vaping To Quit Smoking see our Quit Smoking guide

For information on how ecigarettes work view our How Ecigarettes Work guide

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