Guide: - Vaping for Beginners





Vaping for Beginners: Your Ultimate Guide

If you’ve ever considered vaping, we’ve compiled a go-to source for every step of the process.

The e liquid is heated by an electronic device, creating the vapour which the user then inhales. Vape devices come in different styles, sizes and formats, including e-cigs and mods.

From the history of e-cigarettes to selecting your first 'mod', we'll explain all the components and accessories, and how they fit together.

Not to worry though! At Blackstone Labs we’ve been helping our customers make the transition from smoking to vaping for over a decade, and have all the answers when it comes to the right starter vape for you!

Keep reading our handy guide to get an introduction to vaping and to get our tips and advice for picking out the right first vape - you’ll be a pro in no time!








Vaping: What Is Vaping And How Does It Work?

Vaping refers to the use of a vape, also known as an e-cigarette. In the simplest of terms, "Vaping" is a modern form of smoking .Vapers inhale a nicotine-infused vapour from "e juice" or "e liquid"

Vapes and e-cigs allow you to inhale nicotine in a vapour made from heating an e-liquid, which usually contains propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerine (VG), nicotine and flavourings. Unlike traditional cigarettes, vaping doesn’t involve burning tobacco, which means there is no tar or carbon monoxide in vapour, two of the most harmful compounds in tobacco cigarettes. This is why vaping can be such a useful tool when it comes to quitting smoking.

>In the earliest days of vape retailing, electronic cigarettes looked like tobacco cigarettes. The first ever modern, mainstream vape was designed and created by Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist and entrepreneur. In the early 2000s, it was released for sale in China, before being distributed in Europe and the US around 2007. 

Since then, vapes have proliferated all over the world as an alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes, and the vape industry has grown massively in popularity. Today, a wide range of vapes and e-cigarettes are available in the market, varying massively in design, functionality, power and features. However, the basic functions of the e-cigarette remain almost identical to Hon Lik’s original vape design!


This is probably the most commonly asked question made by a smoker considering the switch to vaping - and a very important one at that. Vaping was specifically designed to be less harmful than smoking - but is it?

❝Vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking❞

The Health Risks Of Smoking

Let’s take a look at smoking first. We know that smoking kills 50% of the people that do it, and as the NHS state, leaves ‘many more living with debilitating smoking-related illness’.

Tobacco use remains the UK’s single greatest cause of preventable illness and avoidable death, with 100,000 people dying each year from smoking-related diseases, including cancer.


The primary cause of all smoking-related illnesses is the inhalation of the tar produced when you burn tobacco. Cigarettes contain more than 4000 chemicals, of which 70 are known carcinogens, and when the tobacco is combusted these chemicals are carried into your body via the tar.

Is Nicotine Harmful?

Nicotine doesn’t cause smoking-related diseases, such as cancers and heart disease, but it is addictive. However, there’s a common misconception that you can overdose on nicotine using e-cigarettes. But you are in no danger of poisoning yourself, nor have there been any cases of overdose from inhaling the nicotine-containing fluid that an e-cigarette vaporises, known as e-liquid. So you can use your e-cigarette as often as you need to help manage nicotine withdrawal and urges to smoke.

The Components of Your Vape

All vapes are made up of primarily the same components. They can look very different or have additional features added, but the core components will almost always be the same.

These include:

  • Battery – Vape batteries can range anywhere from 180mAh up to 2500mAh (milli-amp hours), and can be built-in or replaceable. In disposable vapes, you’ll get a single-use battery, while reusable vapes tend to utilise rechargeable batteries. 

  • The E-Liquid Tank – This is the reservoir chamber that holds the e-liquid. In disposable vapes, the e-liquid tank will be pre-filled and fully sealed in the outer casing so it can’t be reused. Pod vapes will have a replaceable e-liquid tank, and more advanced vapers will have refillable and replaceable tanks. In the UK and EU, devices sold with refillable vape juice tanks are limited to 2ml of e-liquid.

  • Atomiser Coil – The atomiser coil or resistance coil, as it's sometimes known, is the heating element in your vape. When the vape is turned on, the battery heats this coil, which in turn heats the e-liquid and creates vapour. Some coils can be removed and replaced with a different type of coil - this produces a slightly different vaping experience. Coils are generally built to last up to 2 weeks before they become clogged or burned out and need to be cleaned or replaced. 

  • Wicking Material - Around the atomiser coil, there is a cotton wicking material that delivers e-liquid to the coil. When the e-liquid contained within the pod cartridge or vape tank is heated, it produces this vapour. If you are running low on e-liquid in your tank, it’s the dry cotton that gives you a “burnt” flavour from your vape.

  • E-Liquid – The e-liquid in your tank is absorbed by the wicking material to be heated. There is so much variety of e-liquid on the market today, with incredible flavours, different nicotine strengths, different PG and VG compositions, and options of freebase nicotine or nicotine salt e-liquids.

  • Mouthpiece – The mouthpiece (sometimes known as the drip tip) is the part of the tank, pod or vape device. It can come in many different shapes and sizes to suit different preferences. Many mouthpieces are also ergonomically designed for a comfortable vaping experience.

  • Charging Point and Charger - most vapes will use a simple USB-C charger, but it is recommended that you don’t use any other charger for your vape other than the one it comes with. This prevents poor charging or overloading the battery, which can be dangerous. Disposable vapes are not rechargeable.


The great thing aboutsimple beginner vape kits is that they are very affordable, which means that when you want to move onto an intermediate or more advanced device, you won’t have to worry about losing a significant amount of money. If you start your vape journey by dropping money on a wide range of advanced devices, e-liquids, and accessories only to find it’s not quite right for you, that’s when things can start getting expensive!

Disposable vapes and single-use vapes will not have removable or rechargeable batteries, as they get thrown away and recycled once they’re finished. You also probably won’t be able to switch out the tank/flavour of your e-liquid without buying a new device, and you aren't able to change any of the settings on a disposable. If you’re looking for a quick, easy way to vape for the first time, however, then disposables can be a really good option. They come in a wide range of flavours and designs and are exceptionally affordable upfront.


How to Vape Inhale





The way you vape will be slightly different based on your vape device and preferred vaping style. However, the principles are largely the same no matter what - simply inhale, hold, and exhale!

If you are vaping mouth to lung (MTL) the experience of vaping will be very similar to that of smoking a cigarette. You take a puff, hold the vapour in your mouth and throat for a moment before inhaling to the lungs, and then breathe out. Like cigarette smoke, the vapour is very quickly absorbed into the lungs so you don’t have to hold your breath for more than a second or so. This results in a nice nicotine rush and pleasant throat hit.

If you’re vaping direct to lung (DTL), your experience will be slightly different. As there is more airflow when you breathe in when DTL vaping, you’ll need a deeper inhale, and you will need to use a low-nicotine, high-VG-based e-liquid..


MTL vs. DTL Vaping

There are two main styles of vaping that you’ll hear about on your vaping journey: Mouth to Lung (MTL) and Direct to Lung (DTL).

Mouth to Lung vaping is the style that most beginners will start with. It’s the style of vaping that is most similar to smoking tobacco cigarettes, and feels the most “natural” for most people. When you vape mouth-to-lung, you “suck” the vapour from the device into your mouth, and then breathe it into the lungs from there. 

This is the best way to vape lots of beginner devices, including disposables like Zombie Bar and Solo Bars, due to the small amount of airflow these devices have. It’s also much more familiar for the majority of ex-smokers, which makes vaping a much more natural transition when starting your journey to stop smoking.

Direct to Lung vaping is slightly different and is much more popular with more experienced vapers or “cloud-chasers” (vapers whose primary aim is to create big fluffy clouds when they exhale). In order to create those big clouds, you need to use the right type of e-liquid, the right coil resistance, the right level of airflow and the right inhaling technique. 

DTL vaping requires much more airflow to create this large volume of vapour, so you simply “breathe in” the air directly from your vape, instead of holding it in your mouth first.

You might find that devices designed for DTL vaping have wider mouthpieces to allow this inhale-style breathing, while MTL vapes are more likely to have narrower or circular mouthpieces.


Type Of Vape Kits

While all vape kits are designed to include a battery and tank of some kind, there are three distinct types of vape kits. To help you better understand what they are and which might work best for you, we’ve briefly outlined them below.



There are a number of benefits to vaping, but only if you’re a smoker. We never recommend vaping to anyone under the age of eighteen, or anyone who isn’t already a smoker.



One of the biggest benefits of vaping is that it is considerably cheaper than smoking in the long run. Check out our useful price comparison video which breaks down the amount of money you’ll save by making the switch.



E-liquid is heated up in vape devices to create visible vapour. It is made up of a base of PG (Propylene Glycol) and VG (Vegetable Glycerin), two substances widely found in food, medicine and cosmetics. Alongside the PG and VG there’s also flavouring, usually nicotine and some distilled water.
VG is a natural derivative of plants, in e-liquid it serves as a thickener and will also create a larger amount of vapour. PG is runnier and it is used as a base suspending nicotine and flavourings.

What E-liquid Should You Pick?

When it comes to choosing an e-liquid, the following need to be considered:

(a) Thickness

(b) Nicotine strength

(c) Flavour

How Thick?

An e-liquid’s VG/PG percentage will always add up to 100%, for example, 50% VG / 50% PG or 70% VG / 30% PG.

For a vape starter kit, we would recommend an e-liquid that has a higher PG percentage, it will be runnier and will require less power to heat up, so it’s perfect for pod devices, cigalikes and mouth to lung open tank kits. A good starting place will be a 50% PG e-liquid.

E-liquids with a higher VG percentage will be thicker, they will create larger amounts of vapour when used, but require more power to do so. E-liquids with a higher PG percentage will be thinner and creates less vapour, making them ideal for mouth to lung vaping


What Strength?

Picking your ideal nicotine strength is easier than you think, it is based on how many cigarettes you smoke a day and what strength they are. Too low a strength may not satisfy your cravings and lead you back to cigarettes. Whereas, too high a nicotine strength can result in headaches and dizziness, as well as being too harsh on your throat.

The chart below will act as a good starting point, based on how much you currently smoke. Remember, it’s always best to start high and work your way down to ensure your cravings are satisfied. As a general rule, you should start with a higher strength and go lower if you need to.


Picking Your First Vape With Blackstone Labs

Since 2014, the team at Blackstone Labs have been at the very forefront of the vaping sector in the UK. With both an online store and brick-and-mortar shops across the UK, our team pride ourselves on our expertise when it comes to the world of vaping.

Vaping is now recognised by the NHS as a recommended way to help people quit smoking which is something we’re passionate about at Blackstone Labs. The switch to vaping can be such a useful harm-reduction tool for smokers and is an effective way to get people off cigarettes not just quickly, but in the long term too.

Whether you choose to shop with us online or in-store, we can help you choose the right vape, e-liquids and accessories to help you on your journey. Just come and visit us or feel free to chat with our customer service team for support. We’re on the other end of the phone, or you can reach us via email or through our contact form, and we’ll be happy to help you with any questions you have about your first vape!

Choosing Your First Vape For Beginners

When you’re buying your first vape, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There is just so much choice on the market today that it can feel impossible to know if you’re buying the right vape for you, or if you’re wasting your money!

Fortunately, at Blackstone Labs, we’ve got the experience you need to help you pick the right beginner vape for you, at the right price! 

Disposable Vapes

Disposable vape kits are probably the easiest way to get into vaping! They’re small and discreet, easy to use and very affordable, making them a great starter choice.

With a disposable vape, there’s no messing around with e-liquid refills, internal battery recharging or replacements - simply inhale and go, and then when your vape runs out, dispose of it and start a new one!

You’ll see disposable vapes being used and advertised all over the place Solo Bar, Cali Island Bar, The Juiceman Bar vapes and Zombie Bar  are all popular kinds of disposables.

Advantages of Disposable Vapes

  • Disposable vapes have the lowest upfront costs - £5.99 each Blackstone Labs.

  • Disposable vapes are so easy to use - simply inhale and go, no refilling required!

  • Disposable vapes are small and discreet - take them anywhere with you and they’ll fit comfortably in a pocket, bag, desk drawer, or glove compartment.

  • There are a wide range of flavours and nicotine content disposables on the market - whether you want an authentic tobacco flavour or something sweeter, it’s easy to find a flavour profile you love!

  • Disposable e-cigarettes are very similar to tobacco cigarettes - the MTL vaping style, small size and simple draw-activated mechanism make the experience of vaping disposables the most similar to smoking a cigarette. This makes the transition period nice and smooth and makes it less likely you'll revert to smoking out of convenience.

Disadvantages of Disposable Vapes

  • Disposables can add up over time. This means that disposable vaping is the most expensive type of vaping. If you’re vaping long-term, you might want to switch to a pod vape or vape pen eventually to cut down on costs. For example, you can expect to pay around £5 for a disposable vape with 2ml of e-liquid, or between £3-5 for 10ml of refillable e-liquid.

  • Disposables are single-use and go in the bin or get recycled when they’re finished. This isn’t great for the environment as the entire device, including the built-in battery, circuitry and casing is only used once, and will usually end up in landfills.

  • Disposables keep you stuck with one flavour unless you want to buy a new device (which is always an option!). With disposables, you have to stick with your vape until you’re finished with it - between 400 and 600 puffs on average.

Vape Mods & Sub-Ohm Vapes

Vape mods and sub-ohm vapes are some of the most inventive, innovative and high-end vape devices on the market. They’re what you need if you're a heavy vaper and want variety and flexibility from your vape, and don’t mind spending a little more to get it!

However, they can very quickly become complicated, with variable wattage, sub-ohm vaping, sub-ohm coils different airflow settings, replaceable batteries, coil resistance, different wattage settings and much, much more. For this reason, we don’t usually recommend vape mods and sub-ohm vapes for beginners. 


Before we leave you, we felt it was important to clear up some of the recurring vaping myths. These are long-standing claims that are wheeled out by the media when they are having a ‘slow news’ day.

E-cigarettes are as harmful as smoking

There are many studies disproving this negative claim. In the first long-term health study of a group of vapers that had never smoked, conducted over a period of three and a half years, Professor Riccardo Polosa of the University of Catania and his research group concluded in 2017 that rather than just being far safer than smoking, long-term vapers who had never smoked were identical in respiratory health to those who neither smoked nor vaped.

Need a little more evidence that vaping is less harmful than smoking? UK Health Security Agency and the Royal College of Physicians state that e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than tobacco and in 2017 electronic cigarettes were recommended during the UK government’s ‘Stoptober’ campaign as a legitimate quitting aid.

Second hand vapour is harmful

While we all know that second-hand smoking is harmful, this is often incorrectly applied to vaping as well. Surprisingly Lorillard Tobacco Company published a study to reveal that passive vaping isn’t harmful. The 2014 study compared the levels of carcinogens in second-hand vape to second-hand smoke. It concluded that second-hand vapour contains the same level of carcinogens as the ambient air that everyone breathes.

E-cigarettes are not an effective quit smoking tool

This mythical claim had always seemed strange to those of us that have successfully moved away from smoking through vaping. At the beginning of 2019 a research team, led by Professor Peter Hajek of Queen Mary University of London, published the results of a randomized trial in the New England Journal of Medicine. The results showed not just that e-cigarettes were helpful in quit attempts, but that they were almost twice as effective as the 'gold standard' combination of nicotine replacement products they were compared with.

E-liquid gives you ‘popcorn lung disease’

This is a really popular myth, and through sensationalist media coverage seems to have become ingrained in the minds of many. It has absolutely no foundation in truth, as Martin Dockrell, Tobacco Control Lead at Public Health England elucidates:

“One of the most commonly held safety concerns is that e-cigarettes might cause ‘popcorn lung’. UK vapers have nothing to fear on that count. The concern came about because some flavourings used in e-liquids contain a chemical called diacetyl, and that a high level of exposure has been associated with ‘popcorn lung’. However, diacetyl is banned from e-cigarettes and e-liquid in the UK”.

Our e-liquids don’t contain diacetyl.
We achieve great flavours without this additive.

Vaping is more addictive than smoking

There is evidence to suggest that e-cigarettes are far less addictive than regular cigarettes. One study by Jean-François Etter in 2015 suggests e-cigarettes are similarly or less addictive than nicotine gum, both being far less addictive than traditional cigarettes.


By now you should have an understanding of what type of vaping device you need from the ‘What Vape Kit Do I Need?’ Section, along with an understanding of the finer points of e-liquid from ‘What Is E-liquid And What Should I Be Vaping?’. You can use the chart below to check your choices:



This is a step on a journey...

Don’t let the pressure to stop smoking entirely set you up to fail: if you manage it quickly, fantastic; if you continue to vape and reduce your smoking, keep going! You really are best to stop smoking entirely.

Don’t lower your nicotine strength until you are sure you are ready. If 1.8% e-liquid satisfies your cravings, stay with it for as long as you need.

If you have a goal of being smoking and vaping free, then aim towards that. Smoking Cessation counsellors and Blackstone Labs Staff will help you on that journey.

As millions of vapers have already proved, being 100% smoke-free is an achievable and beneficial goal

Other than this, inform yourself and enjoy vaping.

What To Do If Your Vape Isn't Right For You

One of the great things about vaping is how many options there are out there. That means that if you’re not getting on particularly well with your vape, there is always something you can do!

For example, if you don’t like the flavour of your e-liquid, you can always empty your removable tank, switch out your pod or try a different disposable before you finish it. While it might feel like a waste of money, in the long run, this will save you far more money and hassle than giving up entirely and going back to smoking, after all! 

It’s also easy to try a different nicotine strength, and we have a range of different nicotine levels available on our site! If you’re finding your vape isn’t satisfying your nicotine cravings, a higher concentration of nicotine might be a good option for you. Alternatively, if you’re finding your vape is scratchy or uncomfortable to vape or is making you feel dizzy and lightheaded, a lower strength might be right for you!

If you’re struggling with your vape, there can be lots of reasons behind it. As a new vaper or beginner vaper, you might not be able to identify the issue. However,  we have a whole host of vaping knowledge and experience to help you find the problem and get you back on track .

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