To Smoke or to Vape: Clearing the Air on the Controversy


There are so many questions on vaping vs smoking that it’s difficult to figure out who’s right and who’s just blowing smoke. Here’s what you need to know about this controversial subject.

What’s In Vape Liquid?

The foundation of e-cigarettes is the cartridge and the liquid inside of it. Every e-cigarette, or e-Cig, uses:

1) A cartridge, which contains and dispenses varying amounts of nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals.
2) A vaporizer and;
3) A battery.

For most devices, puffing activates the battery-powered vaporizer. This, in turn, activates the process of turning the liquid into vapor, which is powered by an onboard battery. Some larger units feature two batteries, a safety mechanism, and a button for manual activation. The vapor is then inhaled – called “vaping.”

The liquid in an e-Cig replaces the need for dried tobacco, since the liquid normally contains nicotine. Unlike cigarettes, however, users can control the amount of nicotine in the liquid. Low concentrations of 6 to 8 milligrams of nicotine are equivalent to “ultra-light” cigarettes. Higher concentrations of 13 to 16 milligrams would be equivalent to those smoking a pack a day.

However, a growing trend in the industry is the exclusion of nicotine. As users wean themselves off of the drug, they still prefer the sensation of vaping, the taste of other chemicals in the vapor, and the relaxing feeling of the activity.

According to some sources, low nicotine concentration, and zero-concentration, e-liquids outsell medium and high nicotine concentration liquids by 2 to 1.

The base for all liquids is vegetable glycerine and propylene glycol, which shouldn’t be confused with diethylene glycol – a primary ingredient in antifreeze.

Propylene glycol, or PG, is used to carry flavorants, which are typically made from either organic or synthetic chemicals. Higher-end manufacturers tout organic and natural flavorings which appeal to users who prefer a safe, clean, product.

Trace amounts of other chemicals may also be found in some liquids, including arsenic. This may alarm some people, but these compounds are already found in ordinary cigarettes in higher concentrations. In fact, researchers found that levels of formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein that were between 9 and 450 times lower in e-Cig liquid than in cigarettes.

How Do e-Cigs Work?

e-Cigs have several metal parts in direct contact with liquid. Usually, the cartridge fees the liquid into a cotton element, which is then heated by a battery-powered element. The element vaporizes the liquid, which is what produces the vapor.

It’s a simple process with few moving parts, making it a reliable way to inhale flavorful vapor containing various amounts of nicotine.

Quality Matters – Here’s Why

Companies, like, produce customizable boxes and cartridges for users. Other companies produce similar customizable products in the vape industry. Lower-end cartridge units often look like the cigarette they replace.

The difference in quality is often a matter of the materials used and the type of liquid used in the cartridge.

While most e-Cig manufacturers cater to entry-level users, custom box and box “modders” (those who modify existing box types) market their products to aficionados and serious vapers.

Interesting Statistics

There are more than 3,500 different independent vape shops in the U.S. today. One-third of the market consists of shops and lounges. What does this mean for the industry? It suggests that vaping is largely a retail business that is spreading through traditional marketing methods, with supplemental sales coming from online.

However, many smaller shops are now offering their liquids through company websites, which allows users to purchase across state borders – something that has traditionally been difficult or impossible to do in the cigarette market.

Unlike the traditional cigarette market, low or no-nicotine liquids outsell high-nicotine concoctions. In fact, industry statistics show that 6 mg per ml concentrations outsell 12 mg per ml concentrations by more than 2:1.

The flavors for e-liquids are as diverse as the industry’s customer base. It’s not unusual to see pineapple custard, vanilla, Skittles, menthol, tobacco, gummy bear, melon, cotton candy, cherry, raspberry, mango, coffee, cigar-flavor, and watermelon as flavors in e-liquid and vape shops.

E-liquid concentrations range from 0 mg/ml up to 36 mg/ml (extra-high concentration), with 6-8 mg/ml being low concentration, 9-12 mg/ml being medium, and 13-16 mg/ml being high-concentration.

Most cartridges allow for 360 puffs, which is usually equal to a pack of 20 cigarettes. The average annual cost of cigarettes is $2,250, compared to the cost of e-Cigs and liquid refills which comes in at an average of $1,100 to $1,800.

Tabby Taboada has been in the vaping industry for 2 years now. He likes to evangelize people about how vaping can dramatically change their lifestyle for the better. Vaping has started to become a trend now and he is encouraging everybody to start on the path of quitting smoking through this.


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