My first encounter with a vaping device
Call it ignorance but the first time I laid my eyes on someone vaping, I was thoroughly perplexed. Back then I was amongst the negligible percentage of people (no, I haven’t been living under a rock) who hadn’t seen a vaping device before. I was flabbergasted by the site of a guy holding what seemed like some contraption to his mouth and then blowing out puffs of smoke. Fast forward a couple of years and now I own a vaping device myself. Why it took me a couple of years to pick up vaping? Now that’s an interesting story!
As much as the sight of that guy vaping (never asked his name) fascinated me, I am not the type to simply make a purchase on a whim. No sir, before I spend any of my hard earned cash I’ve got to know everything about what I am buying. So on that fateful day my journey to discover the world of vaping officially started. I learned that the contraption was called an E-cigarette or a personal vaporizer and the person who uses it is called a “vaper” pretty cool huh? Vaping is considered a safer alternative to smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. The vaporizer vaporizes “e-liquid” instead of tobacco. The e-liquid is made up of nicotine, fruit extracts, and food flavourings.
Inner machinations of a vaping device
Ok so it’s supposedly safer than smoking but how does the device actually work? To satisfy my curiosity I did what anyone would’ve done! No, I didn’t purchase a vape and take it apart to see the inner mechanism. I consulted the internet like any other sane person. So it turns out that vape uses a power source (lithium battery) to heat a wire coil. A wick is used to pour the e-liquid onto the heated wire. The e-liquid is vaporized and resulting in vapours that are inhaled and let out just like when someone smokes (which explains the puff of smoke that guy was blowing).
Vaping devices come in all shapes and sizes. From the conventional cigarette look alike to ones that look like pens, boxes and even ones with touchscreen controls that look like something straight out of some sci-fi movie. The same goes for e-liquids which are available in different “flavours” depending on the combination of the ingredients used. The market is replete with e-liquids like traditional blueberry, apricot, and cinnamon to extremely outlandish like black pepper, hot dog and nacho cheese. What doesn’t change, however, is the fundamental anatomy of the vaping device, the wick, the lithium battery and the heating coil.
Is vaping really safer than smoking?
The most important question I saved for last. I’ve always hated smoking. The smell or should I say after smell that seems to cling to clothing and the bad breath. Vaping, fortunately, doesn’t have any of that! A person could be vaping for hours without even a hint of odour emitting from their clothes. It doesn’t cause bad breath either. But that’s just superficial stuff compared to what smoking really does and what vape doesn’t.
A typical cigarette contains tobacco wrapped in paper. When that paper burns along with the tobacco inside it, it gives off carbon monoxide gas, the same which is found in car exhaust fumes. Inhaling that gas cause irreparable damage to the lungs over time. Secondly, carbon monoxide produces tar, a black sticky gooey substance (remember Jurassic Park? And the tar pit that most dinosaur conveniently seemed to fall into?) that covers the lungs and makes it hard to breathe. Both carbon monoxide and tar are known carcinogens i.e. substances known to cause cancer and that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
On the other hand, e-cigarettes are devoid of tobacco, there’s no paper burning so no fear of inhaling carbon monoxide and certainly no tar that’s going to stick to the lungs. What about that puff of smoke then one might ask? Well, first of all, to be accurate and use the right term vaping doesn’t produce smoke, it produces vapour. Vapour is typically made of food-grade flavouring, vegetable glycerin, and Nicotine. Vaping doesn’t produce any harmful new chemicals like tar, it just breaks down the constituent elements of the e-liquid.
After learning all this, I decided to pick up vaping. If you are new to vaping or looking to pick it up make sure you do your own research into what flavour of e-liquid you’d like and what vaping device falls within your budget or is user-friendly for beginners. Happy vaping!