Thanks to tight regulations in some countries, as well as a generally understanding of the dangers of smoking cigarettes, it is no longer seen as cool to smoke tobacco products. Gone are the days of James Dean permanently with a cigarette in his hand. It seems that many agree that premature ageing, breathlessness and a weaker immune system, and dying prematurely from cancer or heart disease are not that cool after all!
However, it may be that a new trend is coming up to replace smoking cigarettes: vaping of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes. Thanks to the introduction of popular products such as PAAX Juul, vaping has seen a rapid rise in the US, the UK and elsewhere. In the US, around 1 in 20 of all adults vape, and reportedly over 3 million US teenagers are also illegally indulging in the habit.
So what is all the hype about around vaping anyway? And what are the trends and fashion we it comes to vaping equipment?
Wait, Isn’t Vaping Dangerous? Or Illegal?
When it comes to the long term health effects of vaping, the jury is still out. Despite some fear-mongering from opponents and a number of studies into the health effects of vaping, there has been no conclusive evidence found that e-cigarettes are harmful to human health, either as a vaper or through passive smoking. However, as a relatively new product (e-cigarettes were first introduced commercially in 2005), there hasn’t been enough time to be sure that there are no adverse effects in the long term.
However, what we do know is that vaping is much safer than smoking cigarettes. Numerous reputable studies, such as this one from Public Health England have demonstrated that e-cigarettes are up to 95% better for our health than tobacco products.
Depending on where you live, vaping is probably legal, at least if you’re over 18. In the UK, the USA and most of Europe, vaping is legal for adults, though the sale of vaping products is tightly restricted and it is illegal to sell these to minors under the age of 18. In Canada, laws exist against the sale of vaping products but there are essentially no issues in freely using e-cigarettes. In Australia, however, recent law changes in many states mean vaping is highly restricted.
Vaping, or using e-cigarettes, involves using a device which heats a liquid solution (known as electronic liquid or e-liquid or sometimes vape juice) which produces a vapour which is then inhaled. The e-liquid is typically a solution of propylene glycol containing nicotine, which produces something similar to water vapour when heated.
A typical vape kit contains the vaporizer (an e-cigarette or similar – more on this below), e-liquid, tank, vape coil and battery.
There are four main types of vaporizers (the device you use to vape):
- E-cigarettes: the traditional cigarette-like design
- Pocket vapes: more portable and easy to use
- Pen vaporizers: sleek and trendy
- Box mod vaporizers: heat the e-liquid more quickly to produce more vapour, therefore often favoured by experienced vapers
As the trend for vaping has increased in recent years, an almost limitless number of “mods” have become available. These range from large bulky box mods designed to deliver a large amount of vapour, to some amazingly innovative and luxurious designs. Some of the cool mods we’ve seen released in recent years include gold and diamante-studded mods, steampunk themed mods, and cool referencial mods such as star wars and iron man themed box mods. If you don’t want your vaping to be discrete, but rather make a statement, there are plenty of options available to you!
Another emerging trend in vaporizers has been for sleek and slim vape pen designs. This trend is arguably closely linked to the rise of the enormously popular PAAX Juul vape pens, which are slim, sleek and extremely modern. These have become so popular in the US that many are blaming them for a rise in teen vaping.
There are even disposable e-cigarettes now available: small and sleek, these can be used until the e-liquid is finished and then thrown away. Although they are significantly more expensive than traditional e-cigarettes, they could be a good option for irregular vapers.
E-liquid Options: Flavoured and DIY
Just as there are almost limitless options when it comes to e-cigarettes and vaporizers, so are there for e-liquids! E-liquids come in pretty much every flavour you can imagine, from peppermint to coconut and vanilla. You can also choose e-liquids of various nicotine strengths, including 0% nicotine if you just want to vape for the taste and the experience.
A trend of recent years has been for DIY e-liquids: these involve buying an e-liquid concentrate which you then blend together with base liquid and nicotine to create your own vape juice. This is favoured by many vapers because it allows them to control the e-liquid per their taste in terms of flavour, nicotine taste, and other elements. It can also be significantly cheaper than buying pre-mixed e-liquid, particularly for those who use large, high-vapour producing box mods.