Smoking is a pastime that is ingrained in many cultures, and that is used for bonding, contemplation, and relaxation. As with any activity, it is normal for it to evolve over time. Our ancestors dried and ground leaves, and then wrapped them in other leaves and burned those. That released the 'good' chemicals from the leaves but it also presented a fire hazard and a health risk because the smoke from the cigar or cigarette contained other, less beneficial chemicals too.

Vaping is a modern way of enjoying an age-old activity. Vape pens superheat a solution called an e-liquid that contains the desired active ingredient (nicotine, CBD, or similar substances) and flavoring. Vaping allows you to control the dose you inhale quite accurately, and it opens up a whole world of flavors that you might not encounter with traditional cigars or cigarettes.

There are many different kinds of vape pen. Some are small, just like a cigarette. Some are a bit bigger like a cigar, or even bigger than that. Vape pens are generally less complex than box mods, which allow users to change the coils and batteries. Smaller does not mean inferior, though. A good vape pen is easy to use and offers a smooth and enjoyable vaping experience.

Some people love the idea of vape pens because they are thought to be safer than a traditional cigarette since you are breathing in fewer chemicals. While this is a prevailing theory, research is still being done. There are some concerns about the oils used in lower quality e-liquids, so you should make sure that you purchase your supplies from trusted companies, rather than importing from an unknown supplier.

Smoking vs Vaping

Cigarettes and marijuana have been used for centuries but only recently has the process of vaporizing these substances become popular.

Smoking normally involves heating from fire which then causes substances to change from a solid state to a vapor.

While smoking cannabis the active component which is THC gets aerosolized and then gets absorbed into your bloodstream through the lungs. The problem with smoking is that you have to also inhale smoke in the process. This smoke consists of partially burned particles which creates tar in your body, has cancer-causing affects, blackens your teeth and destroys your taste buds. Some immediate causes of smoking includes increased heart rate and constricted blood vessels.

According to few studies [1] smoking only takes six seconds for the active compounds to reach your nervous system unlike chewing tobacco or eating edible cannabis which takes much more time.

This is where vaping comes in. If you can heat the active components enough to make them aerosolized without starting a combustion reaction with the other compounds then you theoretically get fast effects without the damage of smoke inhalation.

Vaping typically involves a glass or metal chamber which has an electrical current passing through it and this way it can heat the compound in a control temperature creating a vapor with minimal combustion. It only means that you inhale much less smoke. Recently among the cannabis users, vaporizers have become popular as the plant material can be heated to a specific temperature (Usually between 185 to 210 degrees celsius) Allowing just the THC containing vapor to be extracted.

How to Use a Vape Pen

Most vape pens are quite similar in terms of how they work. They will have an indicator light that shows you when it is on and that may change color once the pen is ready to use. They have a battery, a button (unless they are 'auto draw' pens), a heating chamber, an atomizer (or a pre-filled cartridge), and a mouth piece. They will also likely have a charger, which is micro-USB and can be used to recharge the battery between uses.

While some pens are more sophisticated than others, the general idea remains the same. The pen, when charged, will use the heating element to superheat the wax, oil or herb that is in the chamber, producing vapor that you inhale.

1 - Charge the Device

Make sure your pen is fully charged before you try to use it, so that it can produce enough heat.

2 - Load the Chamber

To use a vape pen, you must first of all correctly load the chamber with the concentrate. Make sure that the product you are using is the right type. Some CBD oils are designed for sublingual use, for example, while some are vape oils. If you are using wax or shatter, follow the directions with the pen to load the correct amount. Use the right tools to do this. You should not handle wax with your fingers because it can actually degrade the cannabinoids in the wax, making them less potent.

3 - Activate the Pen

Most pens follow the same standards for using them, so once you know how to use one pen you can use them all. The 'standard' instructions are:

- 5 clicks of the button to turn the pen on

- 3 clicks of the button to change the heat setting

- Push and hold the button to draw vapor

- 5 clicks of the button to turn the pen off

With some pens you don't need to push and hold the button to draw vapor, you simply breathe through the mouthpiece and it will work.

4 - Getting the Most from Your Pen

You do not need to take big draws for a good user experience. You can simply take small 'sips'. Vaping is different to smoking so it may take some practice to get the best experience, and to get the right strength of vapor for your preferences.

5 - Caring for Your Pen

Be sure to recharge your pen between uses. If you are able to do so, get a spare battery and keep it charging while you are using the other battery in the pen. Most pens are designed for use with a specific substance (wax, herb or oil). There are some that are 'all in one' pens. If you are using one of those make sure you clean it properly between uses.

Different Types of Vape

There are many different types of pen on the market. Most people end up buying a very good, high-quality pen that is their main 'daily driver' that they use at home or in the office. You may want to have a cheaper pen that you keep in the car, and then use disposable pens while traveling. Even disposable pens are far less expensive to 'run' than cigarettes and will give you a decent number of draws for your money.

The main types of vape are:

- E-cigs

- Pocket vapes

- Vape pens

- Box Mods

E-cigs are the least expensive but also the least flexible. They are disposable, cheap, and often marketed as a 'starter' for people who are trying to quit smoking and move over to vaping. In this respect, they are a nice idea, but if you are serious about vaping you are unlikely to stick with e-cigs for long. They are short term use items (although some do have cartridges which can be changed) that do not offer a lot of options or control, and the list of flavors available is limited.

Pocket vapes are bigger, re-usable, and are suitable for use with dry herbs, e-liquids, and waxes. They have powerful batteries, and offer a generally better user experience but some people dislike the boxy shape.

Vape pens are popular because of their pen-like shape, the flexibility they offer (especially the 'all in one' designs that can use almost any substance imaginable), and the temperature control features. They are affordable, easy to learn to use, discrete, and easy to carry.

Box mods are used by true vaping enthusiasts who want more control over the vaping experience. You can change the batteries and coils, use a wide range of substances in them (some people even make their own oils with different flavors so they can enjoy a truly custom vaping experience). Box mods can be quite bulky and eye-catching, which some people like as a fashion choice. For some, however, the comparative size is a downside.

Most pens come with good safety features these days, to prevent accidental triggering of the device while it is in your pocket, and to reduce the fire risk.

The most recent research suggests that 'second hand vapor' does not present a health risk. However, the practice of vaping is relatively new and the evidence is not conclusive as of yet. For this reason, some people use different devices in different settings, with smaller, discrete vapes for social situations and ones that produce a greater quantity of vapor and a stronger odor for other environments where they are less likely to potentially offend anyone.

Vaping is still a new activity [2], and while it is more socially acceptable than smoking there are still a lot of people who are dubious about inhaling any substance. It is polite to take their concerns into consideration, especially if there are children present, or if anyone in the group has asthma [3] or any other condition that makes them sensitive to smells or vapor.

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[1] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tobacco

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3859972/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6210766/

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