Vaping: clearing the air

Vaping is the act of inhaling vapour produced by a vaporiser or e-cigarette. Over the last few years this alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes has transitioned from a niche practice among sciencebro early adopters, to a widely memed neckbeard indulgence, to, more recently, the basis for an extensive subculture. These days more people than ever have heard about vaping, but when it comes to the details many still have their heads in the clouds.

Like any favoured past-time, experts can taxonomise the art of “ripping the fattest vape”. Beginners are often introduced to the form via an ‘e-cigarette’ (or ciglike) or ‘pen’ device. Pens are long, thin tubes that resemble elaborate fountain pens, while ‘cigalike’ devices are smaller and often look like a futuristic version of their heavily taxed counterpart. Popular e-cigarettes include JUUL, which has recently came under fire for promoting their products to teenagers.

Each vaporiser is powered by a battery that converts e-liquid (or e-juice) into inhalable droplets using an ‘atomiser’. E-liquids are conveniently stored in either a refillable tank (in the case of pens) or cartridge (in the case of e-cigarettes).  But for those who fancy themselves somewhat of a connoisseur of the cloud, or who perhaps just don’t get enough of a kick from the cig or pen variety, the ‘mod’ vape might be more enticing. Mods are generally bulkier than their pen counterparts with higher battery, tank, and heating capacities. Users can customise the intensity of its mechanism; for example, one could achieve a more potent cloud by amping up the voltage of the battery. But just as the chariot is secondary to the rider, so too is the vaper’s technique more important than their hardware. A slow and steady draw from the mouthpiece packs a stronger hit, much like a cigarette. But it is the exhale that separates the weak from the strong: vape tricks have attracted  hobbyists who blow “dope”. Some tricks include the ‘dragon’ where one exhales out the nose, the ‘bull ring’, the ‘jellyfish’ and smoke rings.




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