Vaping Guide

Hey there.  If you’re here you are probably interested in using electronic cigarettes (­­aka vaporisers) but probably don’t know where to begin. Here at Cloud Atlas Vaping, we’ve tried our hardest to make things as simple as possible by offering only products we stand behind in terms of quality and simplicity. We've been using electronic cigarettes for years but we don’t want you to have to make all the mistakes we did in our early days. 

 

All the text presented here is just the personal opinion of Philip Thomas; it is not intended as legal or health advice and should not be treated as such.  I'm not a lawyer or a medical doctor (I got a doctorate in biology instead) so don't take it too seriously, I'm just trying to be honest and decent with my customers to the best of my ability.  :)

 

 

It is a device that simulates the sensation of smoking a cigarette but without producing smoke (and all the attendant nastiness for your lungs and surroundings).  It does this by heating up a liquid, called e-liquid, until it vaporises.  It is breathing in this hot vapour that feels like a cigarette's smoke.

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Every electronic cigarette regardless of appearance or cost works in broadly the same way.  It has four main parts:

  1. A battery to provide the power.
  2. An atomizer to heat up the liquid.
  3. The liquid that is heated up.
  4. A switch to activate the device.

It's up to you what size, colour and design of battery and atomizer you want.  Whether the switch is a button or switches on automatically with each draw.  What flavour of liquid or strength of nicotine it contains.  However, at its root, the devices are all the same, they just differ in how they look, how long they last, how much they cost and how well they work.  We've tried hard to give you a variety of options at a range of prices so you can get exactly what you want.  

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It should not be.  You are using batteries so basic battery safety should always be followed, e.g. don't expose it to water, to extreme temperatures or impacts, don't charge it unattended, etc.  The e-liquid is a mixture of propylene glycol and glycerine, both of which are sweet-tasting alcohols that are found in all sorts of foods and pharmaceuticals   To this flavourings and nicotine are added.  Nicotine is a drug but it seems to have a risk profile similar to caffeine in that it is addictive, stimulating but only toxic in high doses.  As long as you use your device as it is intended you should not have problems and should feel much healthier than accessing the same nicotine through smoking.

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Probably not.  They can use their devices anywhere which makes them more noticable but they can also use much lower nicotine strengths (even 0%) than cigarettes offer to avoid addiction.  In fact, electronic cigarettes let you taper down your nicotine dose so that you can go from the highest strength (24mg in the case of our products) to none in a smooth gradient. Additionally, you tend to take in less nicotine from a draw on an electronic cigarette than you do on a draw from a traditional cigarette, prompting most people to vape more to get the same hit. Besides, addiction, for all that our culture treats it as a bad word, is not necessarily always quite the nightmare it is portrayed as. Most of us are addicted to caffeine but it does not negatively impact our lives and so we think little of it. Electronic cigarettes offer an option of not just reducing a nicotine addiction but ameliorating it so that it does not negatively impact a user's life or lifestyle.

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You need four things:

  1. An attachment with an atomiser, e.g. a cartomizer
  2. A battery
  3. Some e-liquid
  4. A charge lead for your battery

That really is all you need.  It shouldn't cost a bundle to get a bundle and you can find it all on our site.  However, don't feel that shameless plug means you have to get it from us:  our stuff is compatible with other products on the market so you aren't trapped by us and what we choose to charge or sell.

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No, you don't but knowing a little can help to get a better vape.  In the next two questions, I've answered how to get a different performance of vape.  In this one, I'll try and explain why that is.  It's going to get a little complicated but bear with me. Remember if you just need advice on this, just ask me for help.

Let me remind you of some things about electrics you learned in school and probably forgot. All e-cigs work by a switch completing an electrical circuit that lets electricity flow from the power source, in this case a battery, through the atomiser and back to the battery. If there is a gap in this circuit, because the switch hasn't been activated or a connection is loose then the circuit is not complete and electricity cannot flow. Voltage, also known as the potential difference, is the push on electricity to pass through a circuit. Current is the flow of electricity. Resistance, also known as impedance, is how much a part of the circuit resists the passage of electricity. It is the relationship between these three properties: voltage, current and resistance, that determines how well a device works. If it helps, rather than thinking in terms of electricity, you can think of it like water through pipes, where voltage is the water pressure forcing water along, current is the flow of the water and resistance is the small size of the pipe that causes the water to struggle through.  It is that flow of water and the pressure behind it that does the work in the pipes. We can easily imagine that more pressure (higher voltage) and larger pipes (lower resistance) would let more water through and so it is with electronic cigarettes - higher voltage and lower resistance lets more current through because the electricity has more push behind it and less difficulty in its travels.  Conversely, a lower voltage and a higher resistance will give a cooler vape as less current can flow.  

So why don't I just sell the lowest resistance parts and the highest voltage batteries?  Because not everyone wants an exceedingly hot vape. Additionally there is a trade off. There is only a limited amount of electricity available in any given battery before it needs recharging and so higher voltages or lower resistances will tend to use battery life quicker than lower voltages and higher resistances. Personally I prefer lower resistance systems (1.5 to 2ohm) with moderate voltage (3-4V) but I would rather carry back-up batteries for when they run out.  It is really up to you to find what works best for you.

The relationship between voltage, current and resistance is laid out by Ohm's law. We're going to do some maths now but don't worry, it isn't that complicated.

Voltage in Volts = Current in Amps x Resistance in Ohms

So if I use a 3.5V Ego battery with a standard resistance clearomiser (2.4ohms), I get:

3.5 = Current x 2.4

Or to put it another way:

Current = 3.5 ÷ 2.4 = 1.46 Amps

If I change the clearomiser's atomiser to a lower resistance (1.8ohms) I get:

Current = 3.5 ÷ 1.8 = 1.94 Amps

We can see now in numbers how voltage and resistance determine current. So now we get to talk about power, which is really what is behind all this. In electronic cigarette terms, power is the amount of energy transferred per second from the battery to the atomiser. More energy faster means a hotter faster performance.  This is one of the most important factors in determining how well a system feels to work.  We can work out the power by this formula:

Power in Watts = Voltage in Volts x Current in Amps

Which is useful, if we've worked out what the current using Ohm's law:

Power in Watts = Voltage in Volts x (Voltage in Volts ÷ Resistance in Ohms)

So if I use a 3.5V Ego battery with a standard resistance clearomiser (2.4ohms), I get:

Power in Watts = 3.5 x (3.5 ÷ 2.4) = 3.5 x 1.46 = 5.1W

If I change the clearomiser's atomiser to a lower resistance (1.8ohms) I get:

Power in Watts = 3.5 x (3.5 ÷ 1.8) = 3.5 x 1.94 = 6.8W

So you can see that that one change in one part made quite a large change in the power. This is why small tweaks in your equipment can have quite dramatic changes in your performance.  I'm not suggesting most people do these sorts of maths, I'm just explaining it so you can understand why things work the way they do and if you are so minded you can check what power you are presently at and think which way you want to go.

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Increase the power by trying a lower resistance attachment or a battery with a higher voltage.

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Reduce the power by trying a higher resistance attachment or a battery with a lower voltage.

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You don't have to quit with electronic cigarettes. They have been used as a no smoking aid by some (including myself) but they don't have to be and are not yet medically recognised as such in the UK. As a result, they cannot be sold under that suggestion. However, speaking personally, they were an effective alternative for me but some just enjoy them as a tasty additional type of cigarette or convenient when smoking isn't.

Cheapest isn’t necessarily the best. There are a lot of poorly constructed unbranded products out there and we feel these will cost you more in the long run. In our experience, they fail more often, break more easily and their battery life often does not correspond with the suggested capacity. We stock brands that we use. It’s worth remembering that these devices include batteries you are using near your face and you want to be confident in their safety and reliability. That said, we have tried hard to keep our margins minuscule so you can save money.

Vaping can be cheap. Just because there are false bargains out there, doesn’t mean you can’t get a lot of vape for your buck. A lot of sites have inflated RRPs, here at Cloud Atlas Vaping, we’ve tried to keep our costs as low as possible and not offer false discounts.  You can know you are getting decent value. In comparison to smoking, if you smoked a pack a day, one of our kits would set you back less than a week’s worth of smoking at typical prices.

It doesn’t have to look like a cigarette. The best vapes often come from products that don’t look like cigarettes.  We do sell some products that look like cigarettes because they are a useful place for many to start, indeed that was what we started vaping with. If you get a taste for vaping, consider upgrading to a larger product or leap right in with them from the get go. They go much longer between recharges and replacement because the batteries are larger. 

Don’t judge all electronic cigarettes by what you’ve seen or used before. You wouldn’t judge a car by one model, especially a broken down jalopey. As we said, there is a lot of bad gear out there and you might well be surprised how much more performance a decent quality product can provide.

Don’t buy anything that requires specific replacements.  A lot of companies try to lock you in so that you have to buy their refills and equipment. It’s a strategy called vendor lock-in. It happens in every industry. We don’t believe in that because it limits your options and costs you more. Our parts are designed to be refillable and our batteries use 510 and/or ego threads which are industry standards, meaning they are compatible with other products sold by other people. 

Don't buy disposables.  Vaping should actually reduce waste relative to tobacco (think how many cig butts an average smoker chucks away). All our lithium ion batteries are rechargeable to not only improve convenience and value to you, but to reduce lithium in the waste stream and we encourage all users to recycle them appropriately when the batteries reach the end of their life.  Additionally, we encourage users to try and extend the life of their accessories by cleaning and refilling their products.  To me disposables are akin to chucking the glass away after you've finished a pint in the pub.

You don’t have to vape tobacco. Just because people smoke tobacco doesn’t mean an electronic cigarette has to taste like it. Vaping offers more options. Consider trying different flavoured liquids or even keeping a variety of them so that you can taste whatever takes your fancy at the time. For some people moving away from tobacco flavours helps in quitting cigarettes.

If you want to quit smoking, you don't have to quit smoking completely to have had success. Even if you replace only some of the cigarettes you would normally smoke daily with a vaporizer, you will have moved towards your goal of giving up and likely feel the better for it.

Don’t rely on a single battery. Batteries get lost or run out of charge. You don't want to run out of power and feel the temptation to reach for a cigarette. Keep at least one spare so you aren’t waiting on a battery to recharge or be replaced. That’s why our larger kits have 2 batteries.  

Simplicity works. You want something that you'll be able to use and refill even if you've had a few jars too many during a night on the tiles. If it is too complicated, cigarettes will seem tempting. That's why we've chosen products that you can easily learn how to use and maintain.

Got any questions, feel free to ask. We enjoy selling these products and will happily explain how they work or recommend what we think would work best for you based on what you want.

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Our devices can be split into a range of categories depending on how they operate.  They all feature a coil of resistance wire that heats up to vaporise the liquid, they differ in where this coil is located and how the liquid is stored.

Top coil atomisers
CE5 clearomisers

The liquid is stored in a clear plastic tank with the coil head located at the top of the device and wicks to draw the liquid up towards it. This keeps the atomiser from being flooded and dry enough to operate but can result in wicking issues when the pace of vaping outstrips the rate of wicking. The coils are replaceable making the device cheap to maintain and repair. Stores up to 1.6ml of liquid. A good device for beginners.

Bottom coil atomisers
GS2, T4, Evod, Protank 2

The liquid is stored in a clear plastic/metal tank with the coil head located at the base of the device. The coil is kept from flooding by being sealed in a central airtube leading to the mouthpiece and with very short wicks leading to the reservoir of liquid that surrounds it. They tend to have fewer wicking issues than top coil devices but some find they offer a muted flavour profile. The coils are replaceable making the device cheap to maintain and repair. Stores between 1.6 and 2.5ml of liquid depending on attachment. A good device for beginners.

Cartomisers and cartomiser tanks
Smoktech cartomisers, Boge cartomisers, F17 tank, CE5 V2

The filament is located in an airtube surrounded by a polyfill wadding and sealed in a metal tube. The polyfill wadding stores the liquid and acts as a wick that both draws it to the filament and prevents it from flooding. They offer simple performance without wicking issues but when they run out of liquid the filament may scorch the polyfill and damage the performance. Cartomisers can be refilled but cleaned but the coils inside cannot be replaced, however the entire unit is cheap and easy to replace. Cartomisers store the least amount of liquid of the various devices (approx. 1ml) but are the least prone to leaking.

The cartomisers in tanks have holes in the side of the metal tube and are centred within a clear plastic tank. They work like a cartomiser but do not run dry because the cartomiser is continually refilled from the liquid stored in the surrounding tank. The tank allows the storing of up to 3.5ml of liquid.

Bridgeless atomisers
510 bridgeless atomiser

These are a hollow metal cylinder with a metal wick surrounding the filament at the base. They do not store liquid more than few drops of liquid but this allows them to be ideal for testing or swapping flavours a few drops at a time.They are not rebuildable but can be cleaned easily due to the lack of fibres and can be dry burned to help refresh the filament.

RBAs
Igo-L and X1

These are rebuildable atomisers where the user winds their own wicks out of fibre and resistance wire and attaches them to the posts inside. They are the trickiest for beginners and are recommended for more experienced users but they offer levels of personalisation and performance that other devices cannot and they are the cheapest to maintain and repair. They store their liquid in the large volume of wick that is wound into them and so they offer the performance of dripping on the bridgeless but with a slighty larger capacity.

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510 Batteries
These are small batteries that approximate a traditional cigarette in dimensions. They feature a 510 female threaded connector at one end. They feature an automatic switch that is activated by the air pressure change inhaling causes. This allows them to be used hands free when needed. Activation is visible through the illumination of an LED at the tip. To allow the switch to operate they must have a small hole in the centre pin of the threaded connector. This hole must not get wet lest the electronics inside be damaged so attachments that are less prone to leaking such as cartomisers are ideal for these batteries. They run at a regulated 3.2V which means that lower resistance attachments are required to get a fulfilling vape.

They are ideal for those that still wish for a cigarette form factor.

Ego/Evod Batteries
These are broader batteries, more akin to a cigar in dimensions. They feature a 510 female thread and a male Ego thread that gave them their name. These two threads allow them to use a variety of attachments. Additionally, the centre pin, the small disc in the centre in the connector, is sealed, meaning that they run far less risk of damage from leaks and so can tolerate attachments more prone to leaking.  They come in a variety of voltage options but typically averaging 3.7V, allowing more variety of in the resistance of attachments. They are activated by manually depressing a button on that illuminates upon activation. They can also be turned off to prevent accidental activation by pressing this button 5 times.

Some of these batteries have a passthrough function that allows them to be charged whilst in use by running current from a power source into their base. Others feature variable voltage, whereby a dial or series of buttons, allow them to increase or decrease the voltage within certain bounds to trade battery life for vaping power.

Ego and Evod batteries are suitable for most users that are willing to have a device that no longer resembles a cigarette.

Mods
These are not batteries themselves but metal bodies into which separate removable batteries are inserted. These batteries are charged using a separate charger, such as the Trustfire or Luc V4 charger. They cannot be charged using the same charging adapters as 510 and Ego/Evod batteries. The advantage of this system is that they offer a larger, more robust device that are aesthetically distinct and have a life and performance is less tied to the battery, because these can be swapped out.

Electronic mods, e.g. Vamo
These mods feature electronics that allow the adjustment of voltage and have protections against shorts in the attachment or the battery.

Mechanical mods, e.g. E-pipe, Matrix 3, Magneto
These are mods that feature NO electronics and are operated by mechanical switches. They feature fewer points of failure due to their simple design but can only discharge the battery at its standard voltage. This lack of electronics means that they do not feature protections against shorts and so require a higher level of user care in operation. However, they offer compact and attractive designs and the ability to operate attachments that electronics would judge as too low a resistance to activate. They are ideal for RBAs (see earlier comparison of atomisers).

Mods are ideal for users that have decided that vaping is an activity they will be engaged in for some time.

 

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These devices use fine threads to connect to each other. To avoid distorting them, do not overtighten them. Clean the threads occasionally using tissue.  A dab of alcohol can assist in this cleaning process. Do not expose the electronics to water.

Wash atomizers occasionally by removing them and rinsing with alcohol and/or warm water. Ensure they are dried off before screwing back in.

These devices require airflow to work so ensure that the connections between the base of the attachments and the top of the battery are clean and unblocked by E-liquid or debris.  In almost all attachments the air tube runs centrally.  If this is blocked by liquid or debris, the draw may feel too tight.  Unscrew the atomiser and blow through it onto a tissue to clear it.

Automatic batteries, such as our smaller 510 batteries are unsealed. This means they have a small hole in the threaded end to detect the pressure change that activates their internal switch. Avoid getting any liquids down this hole or it may cause the battery to malfunction. Manual batteries are sealed and far less likely to damage from leakage.

Always charge devices using appropriate charger and you should not leave charging items unattended.  Consider a timed power supply switch as a failsafe to deactivate after the charging window.

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E-liquid is a mixture of nicotine and flavourings dissolved in an alcohol body of liquid. This alcohol is not the kind you are used to drinking but you have probably eaten it before in cakes and sweets. It is a mixture of PG (propylene glycol) and VG (vegetable glycerine) PG and VG are the major ingredients in almost all electronic cigarette juices and both have a faintly sweet taste and a slightly oily texture.  Both are found in many common food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products and are recognised as safe for human use.  We use a mixture of both because VG provides plenty of vapour, whilst PG gives more throat kick and flavour.

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We offer our juices in different strengths of nicotine: 6mg, 11mg, 16mg and 24mg of nicotine per millilitre of juice. The more nicotine, the stronger the throat kick to the vape.  If you are a heavier smoker, we recommend 24mg strength juice and moderate smokers we recommend 16mg strength and lighter smokers 11mg or 6mg. However, different people will have different preferences. Not all flavours are available in all strengths because the bitterness of the nicotine may distort the flavour of sweeter liquids. If you have a specific request, you are welcome to contact us and we will try and accommodate you.

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Under no circumstances should you drink e-liquid because nicotine is toxic in high doses and you would risk nicotine overdose, much like drinking too much caffeine in a sitting would risk caffeine overdose. Nicotine can pass through the skin (that's how patches work) and so if you spill any e-liquid on yourself, just wash it off with some water as soon as possible.  Keep the bottles out of reach of children at all times.  

Nicotine overdose tends to induce initial symptoms of headaches, nausea (sickness), paleness and sweating, accelerated heart rhythm, excess saliva, dizziness and abdominal pain.  If you experience any of these after excessive exposure, cease vaping immediately and consult a doctor.

If you have nut allergy, you should be particularly cautious with e-liquid because some tobaccos and other flavours feature nut components or are made in facilities where nut oils are present. 

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You are welcome to mix e-liquids to make your own nicotine strengths, e.g. mixing 24mg and 16mg liquids in equal measure would yield 20mg strength. Additionally, you can mix them to create your own flavours, though remember that mixing liquids of different nicotine strengths will also alter the nicotine content.

E-liquid should ideally be stored somewhere cool, out of direct sunlight and out of reach of children. A cupboard or high fridge may suffice. It will keep good for months under such conditions and in ideal conditions, such as constantly refrigerated, may last up to two years. In practice, it will have been vaped by you long before then. One of the advantages of PG is that it is bacteriocidal and rather akin to honey does not tend to spoil because it kills the very bacteria that would break it down.

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Whilst all liquids can be vaped directly from the bottle, some users may wish to steep their e-liquids to alter their flavour profile. There are several ways to do this. Some users leave the bottle without the lid for a few days or even weeks in a dark cool location to allow air to access the liquid. They may occasionally shake the bottle to mix the contents and squeeze it to expel the air inside and draw fresh air into the bottle. This allows some of the more volatile compounds to evaporate off the e-liquid and some of the internal chemicals to oxidise. Some users find this softens more potent flavours.

Less patient users may heat the bottle in a warm (not hot) pan of water with the lid off (we are not trying to pressure cook the liquid). This warming will cause the liquid to mix more thoroughly and again encourage more volatile chemicals to evaporate. Be very careful when using heat in this manner and handling warmed e-liquid.

Steeping may through oxidation and heat reduce the nicotine content of e-liquids slightly and darken the colour of it. The changes of steeping can range from subtle to considerable and is certainly worth attempting with liquids that you are less fond of the initial flavour profile of.

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We encourage users to combine the pre-mixed e-liquids from our range to create new interesting flavour profiles or to taper down or up their nicotine content as is their desire. Our UK e-liquids range offers an easy way to mix from base ingredients and we recommend this for all users. Mixing is easy but it is important to use only appropriate ingredients (such as we sell).  For example, naive mixers should be cautious of diethylene glycol, which is toxic: diacetyl, which can cause "popcorn lung", and should be wary of oils (though they are the basis of many flavours), because inhaling fats in large amounts can cause lipoid pneumonia. Note that our flavourings do not present these hazards.

To mix our e-liquid range, all you have to do is choose your e-liquid base in the appropriate nicotine strength and VG:PG ratio you prefer (most will favour a mix of the two).  Simply pour four parts base to one part flavouring into an empty e-liquid bottle and give it a stir with a toothpick or similarly small implement (plastic coffee stirrers work well).  Once it is mixed, your liquid is ready to vape (unless you prefer to have it steep - see previous question).

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If you are using an electronic cigarette, you are using a powerful lithium ion battery and they should be handled with care. These provide far more charge and power than the little AA Ni-Cad batteries we normally deal with. In order to reduce the risks, here are some tips:

  • DO NOT charge them unattended. Whilst all chargers sold are smart chargers, do not rely on them. When the battery is fully charged remove it from the mains.
  • DO NOT charge them with chargers other than those recommended.
  • DO NOT expose them to extreme shocks or temperatures.
  • DO NOT expose them to water or other liquids.  Smaller automatic batteries are especially vulnerable to this because they are unsealed, having a small hole in the centre of the threaded end that liquid must not enter.
  • DO NOT use a battery or charger that is visibly damaged. This includes the plastic sheath that removable batteries have.
  • DO NOT carry them loose in your pocket, especially if they are removable batteries. Keep them separate in an insulative case.
  • DO NOT fully discharge batteries.  Batteries with electronic cut-offs, such as Ego and 510 batteries, will automatically shut off when voltage drops below a certain threshold so users of these will not have to worry.  Removable batteries, especially IMRs, do not have this cut-off and should not be fully discharged so as to preserve battery life.
  • DO charge in a safety bag if you have one.
  • DO recycle old batteries rather than dispose of them in the bin.
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All the text presented here is just the personal opinion of Philip Thomas; it is not intended as legal or health advice and should not be treated as such.  I'm not a lawyer or a medical doctor (I got a doctorate in biology instead) so don't take it too seriously, I'm just trying to be honest and decent with my customers to the best of my ability.  :)