What is Vaping: A Better Alternative to Smoking

What is Vaping?

Vaporizers are very simple electronic devices that are used to turn your material into vapor. Whether your material is dry herb, wax or eliquid, each vape roughly works the same. It is generally powered by a battery with a chamber. The coil or heating element will be different from different devices. The heating element turns the material into vapor, which is then inhaled through the mouthpiece. Vaping is the act of using a vaporizer.

It seems like the rise of vapes came quick but the positive benefits are being felt still. They’re definitely not something new. Vaporizers first started many centuries ago, around 2500 B.C. People would throw stone rocks into hot fire. When it would be hot enough, they’d remove it and spread ground up herbs on the rock. This will release vapor, sometimes in a bath house.


How a Vaporizer Works

Vaporizers come with two heating mechanisms that generally get used throughout all types of vapes.


Conduction heating is when you put your material directly on the coil or the heating element. Even though this was a bit better than smoking, it still combusted the herb. This means that the coil the material sits on burns the material rather than vapes it. The way around burning your herbs is using a glass screen. Conduction was the first heating method that vapes were introduced with. The biggest flaw besides burning the herb directly is the uneven burn. An example of this is heating up your tea kettle that is on the stovetop, since it is coming in direct contact with the source of heat.


Convection heating on a vaporizer is where the heating element is hidden but heats up the chamber. When you pack your herbs in the chamber and start heating it up, the chamber starts heating up. This causes the herbs to slowly start releasing the vapor from the active ingredients. This ensures you get an even heat distribution all around. This is very similar to the water in the tea kettle heating up. It is not in direct contact with the heat source.


Hybrid vaping is a mixture of conduction and convection heating. It usually starts by a convection heating method then goes off to being conduction. This address all issues that come up with convection and conduction, making it more efficient.

How to Draw a Vape Hit?

Taking a hit from a vape is different than smoking. You don’t want to be pulling in really hard. This can slow the heating process down by cooling it. For best practice, always draw in slow and keep it consistent.


Conduction vs Convection


Benefits of Vaping

Smoking your herbs just isn’t practical when you have other alternatives like vaping. It is a faster way to go about it and can possibly work better in a social setting. Chances are, you like to enjoy your material when alone too. If so, here are 5 benefits vaping has over smoking.

Save Money

Saving money when you switch to vaporizers is a very underestimated benefit. Not only will you be using less herbs or concentrates but the upfront cost will possibly be less. Smoking torches your material and this makes it burn up quickly. This means your material keeps burning away with very little efficiency. Vaping keeps the herbs lasting longer while producing a better flavor. This means you will be using much less. The price difference is also a lot more. Buying a water pipe like a bong can easily cost you upwards of $100. It can easily break which happens very often. A good optimal vape costs around $80. Most even come with proper warranty so you don’t have to worry about it not working after a few uses.

Reduce Smell

One of the biggest myths about vaping is that it doesn’t produce any smell. This couldn’t be so wrong but it has some truth to it. Although it won’t mask any smell, it doesn’t reduce the smell. There are also ways of learning to reduce it even further. Convection vapes are best for this because you can change the temperature.

Easier on Lungs and Throat

Many medical cannabis patients switch over to vaping because of irritation in their throat or lungs. Smoking can also be a big reason why it ends up irritating you. Vaporizers are a good opportunity to inhale your herbs and feel your effects.


A very small portion of people turn to vaping because it’s much more discreet. If you want to go somewhere, you can easily take a hit without anyone knowing. The size and shape generally make these very compact. Most of them can easily fir in your pocket without even being noticeable. The act of vaping is even very discreet. You can truly be incognito without anyone noticing. Vapor is very thin so it dissipates quickly.

Better Taste and Flavor

Smoking kills the flavor and taste that your material can give naturally. Smoking tobacco from a cigarette compared to packing it in a vaporizer will give you much different flavors. Vaporizer is almost like an unadulterated flavor. High heat will definitely change the way it tastes.


discreet vaporizer in pocket


Types of Materials

Vaping gives you the freedom to vape whatever you can smoke. You might need a different vape or a different atomizer.

Dry Herbs

Dry herbs refer to the herbs that can be smoked or heated then inhaled. Some people smoke lavender or chamomile for their relaxing effects. Other herbs like cannabis are also used for their medical benefits. Dry herb vaporizers are produced to heat natural herbs and release vapor from the active ingredients. The herb is ground up and packed into the chamber. You can select your temperature on most devices and let it heat at that temperature.

Wax (Concentrates)

Wax is a concentrates form of your dry herbs. Usually, dry herbs consist of oil within the flower. This oil is extracted and turned into a waxy oily substance. It is a very concentrated potent form of the original flower. Waxes are heated using a wax pen or wax vaporizer. Similar to an herbal vaporizer, except a wax pen uses a completely different atomizer. The heating elements and coils are either ceramic, titanium or quartz.


Liquids (eliquids and ejuices) or oils are what you usually see vapers using. This is what is used to curb their cigarette habits. These eliquids sometimes contain nicotine. E-liquids are made with propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavor, and distilled water. Sometimes, nicotine will be mixed with it. Electronic cigarettes come with different atomizers and tanks.


wax, oil, and herbs


Types of Vaporizers

Vape Pen

Vape pens, also called vaporizer pens, are the smallest of these devices. They are the most common since they’re great for beginners. They easily fit into the palm of your hand and can often times be mistaken for a real pen or sharpie. They can be thin and as long as 5 to 6 inches. They are the easiest to use since they generally only have one button, which powers the atomizer up. Vape pens are generally not efficient in vaporizing your herbs. This is because they usually all come with conduction heating elements, which burns the herbs. However, portability and staying discreet is easily done with vape pens.


Portable vaporizers are any unit that is portable and can be taken with you wherever. For herbal vapes, most of them are convection heating which means the heating element is hidden. These are the most efficient vapes but are a bit bigger than vape pens. They can be thicker or a completely different shape. Some are round, others are rectangular. If you want the best vapor quality with better flavor of the vapor, portable vapes are the most optimal.


Desktop or tabletop vaporizers are stay at home units. They’re not mobile like other devices are since they need to be plugged in to an electrical outlet. They are much bigger than any other vaporizer but are much more efficient. Desktop vaporizers are used more in social settings because they can handle more vapor.

Difference Between a Vaporizer and Vape Pen?

The difference between a vaporizer and a vape pen is mostly due to their size difference but also the heating element. A true vaporizer will have a convection heating method where the vape pen is usually conductive. As far as size goes, vape pens look like a pen or writing utensil. It can easily stay incognito on your desk. Portable vaporizers can be stealthy too. Some can look like inhalers or travel mugs.

To figure out which one you want to buy is pretty easy. Both of these types of units can be taken with you where it is allowed. A vape pen can be used when you’re on a budget, want something quick and small along with staying more incognito. A portable vaporizer is best when you can spend a bit more, want efficient vapor along with a device that will last longer. Warranty on portable vapes are usually much longer since they’re made with better quality parts.


Vape Pen - Portable Vaporizer - Desktop Vaporizer


Safety of Vapes

Using an electronic device and having vaping safety in mind, there needs to be some sort of caution when in use. There has been improper usage before where vape batteries were exploding. Most of the batteries exploding or catching on fire can be tracked back to user error. Many reasons can cause this to happen including but not limited to:

  • Not using the correct charger
  • Bad brand or ripped battery covers
  • Not following instructions
  • Overheating the atomizer
  • Overheating the battery
  • Not storing it properly
  • Allowing moisture to get into the battery compartment.
  • Carrying loose metal too close to the vape.

Vape Battery Safety

Safety in vapes can be increased by simple education. Your battery Is enclosed but can often times come in contact with metal. These metals are usually coins in your pocket. This is the most common. Some people keep their batteries separate so they can switch it out when needed too. Vapers will keep the battery inside an Altoids can. This is very wrong because the two don’t interact together very well. The charger can melt too from using the wrong charger inside your car. Car chargers can charge your vape quicker than it should. This exerts more electricity out.


vape battery safety


How to Clean your Vaporizer

Buying an efficient vape pen from the get go is the ideal purchase. Knowing you don’t need to do anything but load it up and take a hit. However, over time, almost anything will need to be cleaned to be optimal like it was on day 1. Cleaning your vaporizer is very important and best when it’s done regularly. It doesn’t require much to clean your vape but some parts are more important than others.

Tips on Cleaning your Vape Pen

  • Never soak your device in water. Even though it’s pretty closed and water shouldn’t leak in, overtime the seams can open up. This can the inside to get wet or even moist.
  • Battery: Try to spot clean the battery often. Wax is very hard to clean if it gets stuck onto the battery. Stainless steel batteries are the easiest to clean but even those will give you a hard time.
  • Threading Connection: Cleaning the threading connection is going to help the vape work consistently. If there is any gunk or residue on the threading, this can stop the electrical connection. Use a q-tip lightly dipped in isopropyl alcohol. You can clean the threads and even the top where the vape tank sits on. Sometimes liquid can escape your tank and get in.
  • Always make sure the inside of your mouthpiece isn’t clogged. You can lose a lot of vapor from clogging. Your atomizer might be working like it should and produce great vapor. However, if there is a blockage of the vapor coming out, you won’t get as much. This can hinder performance by a lot. You will also need to inhale harder to get the same amount of vapor.
  • Consistently change the atomizer and coil. The more you use it, the more it gets filled up with gunk and residue. Even if you clean it, it won’t work like it did when you first got it. If you have the chance the replace it, do it every 2 months. You will notice how much material you were wasting if you didn’t change it.

Clean your Vape Atomizer

Being able to clean your vapor atomizer is very tricky. Using caution is very necessary. When you have used your atomizer up enough, it becomes very brittle. Cleaning it may cause it to break if you’re too hard on it.

  • Wax atomizers for wax pens will be fairly simple to tell if you need to clean. The best way to realize if you need to clean your wax atomizer is to feel if it’s clogged. If not, remove the mouthpiece and look at the coil. Concentrate waxes tend to stick to the sides. Using your wax tool, scrape as much as you can.
  • Cleaning an e-liquid vape tank is a bit easier. If it’s a disposable or rebuildable clearomizer, remove all the parts and run it under water. Wait for it to dry before re-using it. If you’re vaping with a rebuildable atomizer, just take it apart and rebuild it with your cotton.
  • Dry herb vape pens don’t need much cleaning except for getting residue out of the herbal chamber. Herbal pens usually come with a brush tool. Use this brush to clean the walls of the atomizer including the coil.


cleaning your vape pen threading connection


Difference Between Smoking and Vaping

If you look at two people, one is vaping and the other is smoking, you may think it’s the same thing. You put both of them on your lips and blow out vapor or smoke. They tend to look the same too but both of these devices couldn’t be so different.


Cigarettes kill over 480,000 people a year. It consists of over 600 ingredients. When burned, it creates overs 7,000 chemicals and 69 of those have known to be carcinogens. Some of those chemicals include but are not limited to: acetone, ammonia, carbon monoxide, tar, methanol, and more.

Vaporizers can be used with your own herbs/wax or you can use eliquids. E-liquids are created with four main ingredients which are propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavoring, distilled water and sometimes nicotine. All of these besides nicotine are household products.

High Heat

Inhaling something burning at a high heat is never good. Benzene is one of the chemicals that is found in cigarette. It’s usually found when it’s burning at a high heat.

Vaporizers can regulate the temperature settings for the most part. Some can also have variable voltage. This is one of the best features in a vape. Temperature can regulate the heat which can affect the flavor of your vapor.


Being able to change your temperature settings can change the flavor. Many people have switched over to vaping because of this reason. Cigarettes don’t appeal to anyone and they all taste the same.


Cigarettes have always smelled the same and chances are they won’t change. The smell of an ashtray can be a big turn off. Even worse are your clothes and body when you put that cigarette away.

Vaping has been known to be emit really good smells for oils and eliquids. Eliquids usually have good flavors which give out the smell of the flavor. If you wax or use herbs, there definitely will be a faint smell. Vapes don’t mask the smell like most people tend to think.


Cigarettes are the last thing from being discreet. From the act of lighting it up to smoking, cigarettes are noticeable. They smell up quick and you can’t hide it once you light it.

Vapes can easily fit in your pocket when you’re not using it You can also take small hits and blow out vapor without anyone noticing.


Tips for Beginner Vapers


Picking the right battery is very important. Although they're not pricey, you want to pick the right one so it lasts long enough but still fits into your pocket. The bigger they get, the heavier they are. This can get annoying. 1100mAh or 1300mAh batteries are generally the best when it comes to size and weight. 

Also make sure to practice battery safety. Don't keep batteries too close to each other or around other metals. Having a battery that can change the voltage is also super important. You're probably not going to be vaping the same material. This will help heat the herbs to where you want it too.


Packing the right amount of herbs or wax is important. Having the herbs be too fine can get stuck in the mouthpiece. When you don't break it apart, the whole herb will not be heated. Only one side will heat up.

Clean Your Vape

Keeping your vape clean is super important. Learning the different ways you can clean your vape pen. From the threading connection to the vape tank itself. To be efficient, you want to make sure there is no clogging.

Don't be afraid to ruin a couple atomizers in order to get used to it. If you don't have an atomizer, even better. Just learn to use the temperature settings.

Inhale Slowly

Many vapers first think that drawing really hard will produce more vapor. The best way to go about heating up your material and inhaling it, is to do it slow. Not only will you get a more fulfilling hit but you will get the maximum vapor.