Stoptober Survival Guide
Posted on 18 September 2015 by Matt Brown.
As summer fades into autumn, Stoptober is approaching quickly. To help the thousands of people choosing to switch to vaping next month, we’ve put together a handy survival guide to help you navigate your first steps into vaping.
Understand your e-cig
Vaping is not the same as smoking. Though an e-cig in some cases will share certain similarities with a tobacco cigarette, they are very different beasts. E-cigs are designed to vaporise e-liquid, which may or may not contain nicotine. E-liquid also typically contains a handful of other chemicals, notably Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerine and food-grade flavourings. That’s it.
Tobacco cigarettes, on the other hand, contain around 3-4000 chemicals, around 60 of which are known carcinogens. Nasty substances such as tar, carbon monoxide and arsenic are entirely absent in an e-cig.
Don’t settle for the familiar
One of the biggest attractions of vaping is the sheer range of flavours available to try. If you’re trying to kick tobacco, you don’t have to stick to tobacco flavoured e-liquids. Why not try a menthol, or mint, or something a bit more exciting like banana or raspberry?
Always plan ahead
You’ve got your starter kit – now what? Well, aside from actually vaping, you should consider what supplies you’ll need to keep you going. Everyone will use e-liquid at different rates, but around 2ml per day is fairly typical. Make sure that you’ve got enough to see you through until the postman knocks again.
Similarly, if you’re going to be away from home all day, make sure you’ve got a spare battery to hand. You don’t want to be stuck miles from the nearest power socket when your one battery runs out of charge.
Failure doesn’t have to be final
Just because you’ve bought a shiny new e-cig doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily quit tobacco immediately. While many users find it easy to switch, others may not, or choose to taper off their use of tobacco more gradually. It can be tough to quit something you’ve done for years.
Just remember that should you find yourself smoking a cigarette again, don’t despair. Every cigarette you’ve avoided will contribute to the new, healthier you, and your e-cig will be there waiting when you’re ready to give it another go.
Take care of your tools
Batteries are the beating heart of your e-cig. Without them, they simply do not function.
Batteries do have a finite lifespan, and will need to be replaced periodically, but taking good care of them will help to ensure they last as long as possible. Treat them with care, clean them regularly and you’ll be rewarded with a battery which will last for many months.
Always shop with reputable vendors, who have carried out their due diligence. Check that the company performs proper batch testing and holds relevant safety certification for all products they offer for sale.
Beware disreputable vendors and dodgy products. If it sounds like it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Do not use third party chargers
Battery chargers come in a range of specifications, not to mention levels of quality. Specific batteries will only charge correctly with the correct charger; using the wrong charger may damage the battery or even pose a danger. Don’t take the risk – always use the correct charger for your battery or device.
Store your e-liquid safely
E-liquid reacts to air and sunlight, so it’s best to minimise exposure as much as possible. When not in use, store bottles in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.
Always ensure that the child-proof cap is firmly fitted and bottles are kept out of the reach of children and pets.
A change is as good as rest
Atomisers, or coils, are the active component in an e-cig, and it is these which vaporise the e-liquid. Each coil is fitted with wicking material, which feeds e-liquid to the coil itself for vaporisation.
Over time, however, the wicking material will begin to clog, with dried e-liquid reside building up on the wire coil. This results in a decline in flavour, vapour production and overall performance. For this reason, it’s recommended that you change coils regularly. Coils will typically last for around 8-10 refills before they reach the point where they should be replaced, so it’s a good idea to have a few spares on hand.
Pick the right device
E-cigs come in all manner of shapes and sizes, and picking the one which best fits you is the key to making the switch from tobacco.
Are you looking for something which resembles a cigarette? Are you looking for maximum power, or a device which last you all day on a single charge? Read our guide to choosing an e-cig to help steer you in the right direction.
You’ve discovered vaping. Great! Give yourself a big pat on the back, secure in the knowledge that you’ve made a positive change for your health and your wallet. Your family and friends may not have quite made it there yet themselves. Use this as an opportunity to spread a little education, but beware of preachiness.
Remember, using an e-cig instead of smoking a cigarette does not give you free reign to vape wherever you like. Be respectful, and think about the situations where it may not be appropriate to smoke. Chances are that the same applies to vaping too.
While e-cigarettes are not covered by the ban on smoking in public spaces, individual companies and organisations are free to set their own rules on their premises. If in doubt, ask!
Switch up your routine
As smokers, we become accustomed to lighting up at certain times or in certain places - the first cigarette of the day, a smoke with coffee or a cheeky puff while taking the bins out.
A big part of the addiction to cigarettes comes from these environmental cues and this can be the first stumbling block when switching to e-cigs. Try to break your routine whenever possible.
Remember, e-cigs operate in an entirely different way to cigarettes. You no longer have to smoke it to the nub – vape what you like, when you like, and don’t be slave to habit.
Don’t get fixated on the fix
Another big advantage that e-cigarettes have over tobacco is the flexibility they offer. While new vapers typically will start out with higher concentrations of nicotine (18mg or 24mg), e-cigs make it much more straightforward to reduce your nicotine intake. Many vapers end up using 6mg or even nicotine-free e-liquids.
Accept the learning curve
E-cigs, by their very nature, can seem complex to new users. They offer a lot of scope for customisation, with batteries, tanks, coils and e-liquid capable of being combined in all manner of different ways.
What this means is that there is a learning curve involved. E-cigs do involve a certain amount of trial and error to find a combination which works in just the right way to your specific needs. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but don’t forget that there are people in the know who can help if you get stuck.