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How Vaping Works: A Beginner’s Guide

By Gordon Stribling 15th February 2021 10 Mins


Vapouround’s Beginner’s Guide to Vaping

Looking to quit smoking and start vaping? You’ve come to the right place for the ultimate beginner’s guide to vaping. 

As a leading industry voice, Vapouround Magazine is committed to educating smokers about vaping across our platforms. 

Vaping has risen in popularity in recent years, with more smokers making the life-changing decision to quit and take back control of their health. 

With that being said, we’re all aware of the challenges that smokers go through when moving away from cigarettes. 

With many Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT) available on the market (vaping, skin patches, chewing gum, tablets, oral strips, lozenges & nasal and mouth spray) it’s difficult to decipher which method is right for you. 

Our beginners guide will cover all the important information you might need when quitting smoking, with the help of vaping.

Read some successful quit smoking stories:

The term ‘vaping’ refers to the inhalation of a vapourised liquid containing flavours, a carrier agent and, in some cases, nicotine.

Individuals vape to simulate the smoking experience without the risks associated with combustible tobacco.

Other substances, such as CBD, can be vaped for various purposes, but today we are focusing on vaping nicotine-containing e-liquid to quit smoking.

How can vaping help you quit smoking?

To start this beginner’s guide to vaping article, we will start with the big question… How can vaping help you quit smoking?

Vaping provides a way to consume nicotine without inhaling the harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke.

Nicotine patches and gums follow the same principle, but they do not provide the ritualistic, tactile experience that smoking does.

Some people who switch to vaping go without nicotine altogether, but most prefer to start with a higher nicotine e-liquid and gradually reduce concentration over time. Public Health England has found that vaping is the most popular and successful quit aid.

Read more: What happens when you stop smoking?

What types of e-cigarettes are available?


These small devices look a lot like regular cigarettes and can be disposable or rechargeable. 

They typically come in two parts, a battery and a cartomiser, making them the most basic and low maintenance type of e-cigarette.


These are the largest vape devices and are powered by long-lasting, rechargeable batteries. 

The refillable tank and variable power give the user maximum flexibility and control over their vaping experience. 

Vape Pens

Acting as the middle ground between a cigalike and a mod, vape pens are ideal for vapers with a little more experience. 

They typically come with a rechargeable battery, a refillable tank and replaceable coils. 

Pod Systems

Pods systems have surpassed cigalikes as the most popular entry-level vape device. 

They are small, light, rechargeable and come with either pre-filled or refillable e-liquid cartridges.  


All-in-one (AIO) devices offer a little more flexibility than pods, as you have the choice between replacement coils (the heating element in a vape) and disposable pods.

You can also adjust the power output of the device, allowing you to customise it to your vaping and flavour preferences.


Disposable e-cigarettes are swiftly becoming a very popular, cost-effective choice among new and veteran vapers. 

They are pre-filled devices that can be easily discarded once empty, creating an easy and convenient experience. 

Disposables are readily available in most vape shops and e-liquid manufacturers such as Vape Dinner Lady can be found in supermarkets across the UK.

Mechanical Mods

Mechanical Mods (or Mech Mods for short) are generally homemade devices that present maximum battery power to your coil. 

Mech mods appear to be convoluted and bewildering from the get-go although that simply isn’t the case. 

Read more: A Beginner’s Guide to Mechanical Mods

What components make up a vaping device?

Let’s carry on with this beginner’s guide vaping while detailing to different components that make up a typical vaping device.

Newcomers can often be confused by the barrage of lingo and buzzwords, making it hard to know the anatomy of a typical vape device.

To make things easier, we highlighted the different aspects of these devices below. 

Drip tip

The drip tip is the part of the device where you inhale the vapour from.


The tank is where you refill your device with the e-liquid of your choice, as well as where your coil sits.

Recommended: How to Get the Best Flavour From an RDA or Tank


The coil is one of the key components of your device, heating up the e-liquid to turn it into vapour.  This piece of wire is wrapped around a wicking material – in most cases cotton – and needs to be changed on a regular basis. The amount of time between coil changes can be improved with proper maintenance. Our article on Ways to Keep Your Coils from Burning is the perfect place to learn more.

Recommended: Mesh Coils, What’s all the Fuss About?


Your mod will be the bulkiest component of your vape device, housing the electronics and battery needed to heat up your coil. 

What’s in E-liquid?

Next up in this beginner’s guide to vaping we will go in depth into what goes into the vape juices that we consume.

E-liquid (or Vape Juice) is at heart the liquid that you insert into the tank which subsequently creates the vapour that you inhale and breathe out.

One question that we often hear from smokers who are looking to quit smoking is “What ingredients are in vape juice?” We have compiled our explanation below for you to peruse.

Propylene Glycol (PG)

Propylene Glycol (Or PG) is a term you may or may not have heard of. Essentially, it is an odourless and colourless liquid that has the ability to dissolve certain substances while preserving moisture effectively.

Vegetable Glycerine (VG)

Vegetable Glycerine (Or VG) is fundamentally vegetable oil and is proven to be a safe substance to inhale within your e-liquid. The main purpose of VG being present in e-liquids is to provide a thick consistency.

Food-grade Flavourings

To give e-liquids the taste that people love, vaping manufacturers tend to use food-grade flavourings. E-liquids come in a vast range of flavours from fruit e-liquids, dessert flavours and even Menthol e-liquids. They can be a great resource for Smokers affected by the Menthol cigarette ban in the UK

Read more: A Beginner’s Guide to E-Liquids


Not all e-liquids contain nicotine. But for most people trying to transition from smoking, this is an important component. New vapers often start with higher nicotine liquids and then gradually reduce their nicotine intake over time. The benefit of e-liquids containing nicotine is that you can gradually reduce your nicotine intake until you beat the craving.

Nicotine Salts

Nicotine salts are a more recent development in the vaping industry. In almost all cases, manufacturers specifically indicate the presence of nicotine salts where applicable.

Nicotine Salts enter the bloodstream more quickly than freebase nicotine and deliver the dose more quickly. This is fantastic for rapid satiation of cravings, though it can also mean more frequent topping up throughout the day.

Read more: Are Nicotine Salts the right choice for you?

DIY E-liquids

Whether you’re extremely picky on flavour, want to learn a new skill, or simply save a bit of money in your vape budget, DIY e-liquid is a great option, provided you go about it the right way.

Get started by reading our: Vape basics: Six steps to making your own e-liquid

Understanding Vaping Terminology

Hearing all the vaping terminology and acronyms when you start vaping can be overwhelming.

In this beginner’s guide to vaping, we have compiled some of the most commonly used terminology used within the vaping world so you are in the know:


This acronym stands for ‘All Day Vape’. Which means an e-liquid that a vaper is content in using all day long or for a duration of time.


An atomiser is another word for a coil.

Base Liquid

A blend of PG & VG to create a base liquid with making your own e-liquid.


A coil that is used in all-in-one devices.


The vapour that is exerted once inhaled.


The component of a vape device that is used to heat up the e-liquid to turn into vapour.

Dry Burn

When you draw on your e-cigarette and there is no e-liquid in the tank.

Throat Hit

When you get the hit at the back of your throat from vaping.


Slang for nicotine.


When e-liquid contains zero nicotine.

Vaping FAQs

Does E-liquid have nicotine in it?

E-liquid can contain nicotine in different strengths however there is the option to have zero-nic in your e-liquid.

Are vaping devices allowed on planes?

Usually, it is perfectly fine to carry a vaping device onto a plane but using your vape on a plane isn’t permitted.

Nonetheless, it is always wise to double check with your airline for their stance on carrying an e-cigarette onboard their aircraft.

Recommended: Going Abroad With Your Vape? Make Sure You Read This First

Are you allowed to vape in pubs?

It is widely known that vaping in pubs is not illegal as there are no particular laws restricting vapers from doing so. 

However, since the 2007 smoking ban some pubs have made it their policy to not allow vaping inside their premises including Wetherspoons.

This is down to how time consuming it was for their staff to check that people are actually vaping rather than smoking as it is difficult to distinguish the difference between toxic smoke and vapour for the uninitiated. We would recommend that you check with the pub itself.

How old do I need to be to buy a vape product?

In the UK, UAE, Malaysia, Thailand, Germany, China & Indonesia the legal age for purchasing e-cigarettes and e-liquids currently stands at 18.

Alternatively, in the USA the age to buy vaping products and e-liquids is 21.

Is vaping regulated in the UK?

Vaping companies and manufacturers have to adhere to the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016.

In addition, all vaping products must be reported to the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) with thorough details on the ingredients that are present in e-liquids.

In 2024 the UK Government Announced the ‘Tobacco and Vapes Bill’ With Major Implications for Vaping Industry and Public Health

Vaping around the world

While the concept of vaping on holiday sounds brilliant in theory you should be warned that the reality is there’s a long list of places where bringing out a vaping device is far from welcome. 

Check out our guide on Which Tourist Destinations Allow Vaping.

How Do I Get Started?

starter kit could set you back as little as £20 and can be picked up online, at a vape shop or in a supermarket/convenience store.

And be sure to read our feature on freebase nicotine vs nicotine salts to help you find the right e-liquid to set you on your journey to a smoke-free life. 

Topics: Recommended, Vape 101, Vaping Guides


About this author

Gordon Stribling