Quick Links to sections in this Chapter:
How to inhale properly
There are several ways to inhale the vapour from an e-cigarette.
- Cigar technique
Which style you choose depends on your own personal preference.
You can get vaping devices designed for different styles, so it’s best to get one designed for the style you choose.
Your e-cigarette will either be manual, in which case you have to press the fire button when you want to activate it and heat the e-liquid, or it will be automatic, in which case it will work whenever you draw on it.
It’s important to get your inhaling technique right as it can make or break the experience of vaping for you.
If you get it wrong, you might end up coughing or getting a rush of nicotine.
How to inhale
This might seem like something you won’t need help with but often new vapers take the wrong approach to inhaling their e-juice vapour.
Ex-smokers (or current smokers) often complain that they cough when they vape and this is because they are trying to inhale the way they would a cigarette.
There are a couple of factors to consider when inhaling:
- The amount of vapour
- The airflow
- The nicotine strength
The amount of vapour you inhale will affect your experience.
Some e-cigarettes produce a lot more vapour than a cigarette produces smoke, so it is a different experience.
Vapour production is affected by your PG/VG ratio, your coil and wattage.
To find out which devices are designed to create less vapour and which ones are designed to create more vapour, go to Different devices and how they vary.
To check your airflow, take a draw on your device without activating it.
If it’s difficult to draw air through, it’s meant to be used as a mouth-to-lung device which is used much more like a cigarette.
If it’s easy to draw air through (like a straw) then it’s a direct-to-lung device.
If you’re using a technique and a device that creates a lot of cloud then you will get more nicotine with each draw.
Therefore you will only need a low nicotine strength to satisfy your cravings.
If you use a technique and a device that has less vapour production then you can use a higher nicotine strength.
It’s recommended that, if you’re using a DTL device, you use a nicotine strength of 6mg or lower.
Breath-activated e-cigarettes tend to be the smaller pod systems and pen systems.
This is because they want to be as simple and sleek as possible.
That means that breath-activated devices tend to be designed for mouth-to-lung vaping.
Read below to see how the mouth-to-lung technique works.
MTL inhalation will normally work best in smaller e-cigarettes.
Even if you’re using a powerful device, you should have the settings established so inhaling feels tight.
The low vapour production makes this ideal for those who want a similar experience to smoking a cigarette.
This technique is one of the factors which contributes to the throat hit that smokers are used to.
To use the MTL method:
- Draw vapour into your mouth slowly
- Hold the vapour in your mouth for a couple of seconds
- Breathe the vapour into your lungs (by breathing in more air with it)
- Exhale the vapour from your lungs
DTL inhalation is usually used with powerful devices that produce a lot of vapour.
The high vapour production compatible with DTL makes this ideal for cloud chasers.
This is a smooth sensation, partly because it’s generally used with a low nicotine strength. It also produces a lot of flavour for you to enjoy as you vape.
To use the DTL method:
- Draw vapour into your lungs quickly
- Exhale the vapour straight away
Some vapers use the cigar technique when vaping.
To do this:
- Draw the vapour into your mouth
- Hold the vapour there for a few seconds
- Exhale straight from the mouth
Even though you’re not inhaling into your lungs, your body will still absorb the nicotine and you’ll get the full flavour of your e-juice.
Some cigar technique vapers even argue that inhaling into the lungs is unnecessary.
This technique is versatile as can be used with high-powered or low-powered devices (unlike DTL and MTL techniques).
Inhaling using the wrong technique is one of the most common pitfalls for new vapers but you should have an idea of how best to do that now.
If you want to check out our solutions to the other most common problems vapers have, then go to Troubleshooting for some practical advice.
If you’re new to vaping and want to know more about where and when you can do it, go to Vaping etiquette.
Knowing how to use your vaping device in public and around other people is important.
It’s largely a matter of courtesy on both sides.
If you want to follow the correct vaping etiquette for all situations, then read the brief guide below.
The problems with vaping etiquette
Because vaping is a new phenomenon, there hasn’t been time for an accepted social etiquette to form.
It means it’s something of a social minefield.
Unfortunately, because vaping is often confused with smoking, a lot of the social expectations are the same.
However, vaping is becoming more mainstream and the public are starting to be educated about what it really is.
This means that it is becoming more acceptable for people to vape in public even where they wouldn’t smoke.
Why people might not like it
A lot of people still don’t understand the science behind vaping and, because it’s associated with smoking, they assume that it works in the same way.
They can get annoyed or upset if someone does it near them because they assume the vapour is as harmful as second-hand smoke.
You also need to bear in mind that, whilst you may love the flavour you are vaping, others might not.
It’s a matter of personal taste, like what perfume to wear.
Even fellow vapers may not be keen on your latest e-juice.
In other people’s homes
It might be that, when you took up vaping, you assumed you’d be done with standing outside to get your nicotine fix.
However, when you’re in somebody else’s home, you need to ask them whether you can vape inside or whether they’d like you to go outside.
In confined spaces
Inside – and particularly in confined spaces – it’s not generally considered polite to vape unless you’re certain that the people you’re with don’t mind.
The most common complaints about people vaping are in lifts, restaurants, on public transport or in somebody else’s car, so avoid doing it in those places if possible.
In open spaces
If you’re outside in an open space, the chances are you’re allowed to vape.
You’ll find that vapour doesn’t travel far and disperses quickly, so there won’t be a lingering cloud that smells and so you won’t annoy others.
If the space is crowded, however, it’s best to use your judgement.
If people are close enough that they’re going to come into contact with your cloud of vapour, you might want to refrain from vaping there.
In public places
You’re allowed to use your e-cigarette in a lot of public places. However, there are exceptions.
To find out exactly where you can and can’t enjoy your e-cigarette, go to Where to vape in public.
Even if you’re allowed to, you might not feel comfortable doing it.
That’s where discretion comes in. For some tips on how to vape discreetly, go to Stealth vaping.
When with other vapers
Don’t assume that, just because someone is also a vaper, they’ll be ok with you blowing clouds in their direction.
Show them the same courtesy you would anybody else.
The vaping community is generally very friendly and willing to share their experience.
Most people are more than happy to tell you what device they’re using or what flavour they’re vaping.
If you’re lucky, some will even share their e-liquid so you can try it (some won’t want to share their mouthpiece, though, which is understandable).
The other thing that can happen when you’re with other vapers is that there’s vape snobbery.
Bear in mind that different people want different things from vaping and, just because they’re using a device you wouldn’t be seen dead with, doesn’t mean you have to mention that.
It could be their preference, their level of expertise or the cost which has them using that e-cigarette.
Sharing your expertise
It’s great when vapers share their knowledge – as you’ll have discovered, the vaping world has a lot of terminology (and it’s not always consistent, either, which doesn’t help).
Helping new vapers is always appreciated.
Helping experienced vapers is also appreciated, even just sharing your latest find, your favourite e-juice or showing them how your e-cigarette is different from theirs.
Don’t take it too far, though.
Even though you might think vaping is great (and why wouldn’t you?), we recommend you avoid lecturing people.
It’s easy to do when non-vapers criticise you for vaping or when you want to help a smoker change their habit, but try to refrain.
Listen to them, talk to them but don’t get carried away.
If you want to know more about where exactly you can use your e-cigarette, go to ‘Where to vape in public’.
Once you’ve started vaping, the next thing you’ll need to know is how to take care of your e-cigarette, so go to ‘Cleaning and maintaining your device’ for some practical steps.
Where to vape in public
The government differentiates between vaping and smoking, so the smokefree legislation does not apply to e-cigarettes.
It’s mostly down to individual businesses to decide their own policy.
In places where there are no policies prohibiting the use of a vaporiser, it’s just a matter of common sense and courtesy. If you want some extra advice, go to Vaping etiquette which you can use as a general rule of thumb.
You’re generally allowed to vape in open spaces such as parks.
If it’s crowded and you’re amongst a lot of people, and particularly children, it’s best not to.
Try to move away a little so your vapour doesn’t bother anyone.
We advise you follow the Vaping etiquette, as always.
Places like shopping centres and cinemas will have their own rules.
It’s far more likely that enclosed public spaces will have a ‘no vaping’ rule.
If in doubt, ask someone or check online.
It’s usual for restaurants to have a ‘no vaping’ policy, which is understandable as the smell – however pleasant – will clash with the food.
Bus, train and underground
Most bus and train companies have a ‘no vaping’ policy on board because it’s an enclosed space.
They also usually have ‘no vaping’ policies on the platforms and in enclosed bus shelters as well.
You can usually establish this by checking online or asking when you get there.
E-cigarettes are completely banned on the London Underground.
You cannot vape on planes.
You can, however, travel with your vaping device in your hand luggage.
You need to be aware of the regulations before you fly.
Remember that you’ll be carrying e-liquid and that’s subject to the usual airport regulations (usually 100ml clear plastic bottles).
The battery is also a concern.
You’re advised to take your e-cigarette and any spare batteries in your hand luggage and keep spare batteries in a battery case (for more information about battery safety, go to How to use your device safely).
You cannot charge batteries on a plane.
When you fly with your e-cigarette, you will need to check the specific regulations of the airline you’re travelling with and the laws of the country you’re flying to.
Check out our blog Vaping on Your Holiday Abroad to get all the information you need about travelling abroad with your vaping device.
Whether or not you can vape in a taxi is at the discretion of the driver so you need to ask.
Some don’t mind it, especially if you’re in the back seat so they won’t get distracted by the vapour.
Getting a lift
Even if you’re getting a lift from someone you know, you should ask before you start vaping.
It’s their car and their rules apply. They may find vapour distracting – and you definitely want them to be concentrating on the road.
Your own car
Of course you can vape in your own car.
It’s not illegal to do so.
However, you need to be aware that blowing a huge cloud can block your vision temporarily.
Obviously, that’s dangerous and you could be prosecuted for ‘driving without due care and attention’, so make sure you are driving safely at all times.
Each company will have its own policy on vaping.
Normally, they’ll either allow you to vape inside or have a designated smoking area where you can use your e-cigarette as well.
If you are allowed to vape at work, we advise you consider your vaping style.
If you like to vape little and often, it’s best to make sure that you’re not constantly blowing clouds into the middle of the office as this might push people’s patience.
If you like to use your e-cigarette like a cigarette and take five minutes a couple of times a day to vape for a longer period of time, then make sure your company policy allows you to take those breaks.
If there isn’t a company policy or it’s not made clear, it’s always best to ask.
As always, a lot of policy comes down to common courtesy.
If you’re in a confined space (a small office, meeting room or communal kitchen) then ask your colleagues if they mind you vaping.
The above laws and practices apply to the UK.
Different countries will have different laws about vaping and you may find that, culturally, people expect different things from vapers – what is common courtesy here may be a faux pas elsewhere.
Before you travel, it’s best to do some research on the country you’re going to in order to ensure you can vape when you get there.
Now you know where you can and can’t vape, you might want to learn how to be discreet so that everyone feels comfortable.
In which case, carry on to ‘Stealth vaping’ below to find out more.
If you’ve started vaping but are still new to it, go to Cleaning and Maintaining Your Device to learn how to take care of your e-cigarette.
What is stealth vaping?
Stealth vaping is a discreet way of vaping so that nobody notices you’re doing it.
We do not condone stealth vaping in places where vaping is banned.
Not only is it illegal but it reflects badly on other vapers if you are caught.
Stealth vaping is for when you want to vape but either feel uncomfortable doing it publicly or simply wish to avoid drawing attention to it.
No matter what you do, it will be possible to see that you’ve vaping – it will just be much more discreet.
9 top tips for stealth vaping
If you want to be discreet when you vape – either because you don’t want to draw attention to yourself or because you want to be considerate to those around you – then these are the top nine strategies you can use.
Using a small device means you can conceal it in your hand. It makes it less obvious that you’re holding an e-cigarette. These days, you can get devices that are the size of USB sticks, so you can completely cover it with your hand.
The other thing you could consider is using a pen system as these look like pens (unsurprisingly) and people are less likely to take any notice of you holding a pen than they are a chunky device like a tank system with a box mod.
If you want to know the difference between types of e-cigarettes, then go to Different devices and how they vary for more information.
The more powerful the device, the more vapour it produces. The less powerful the device, the less vapour it produces. If you want discretion above all, then a less powerful system will suit you no matter what nicotine strength you want to vape. If you find you’re not getting enough nicotine to satisfy your cravings, you can either increase the amount you vape or increase your nicotine strength.
Minimise your airflow. It’ll make it harder to draw air through and you’ll produce less vapour. This is generally used for a MTL draw (for more information about the difference between MTL and DTL, go to ‘How to inhale properly’).
A lot of pod devices and ultra-portable e-cigarettes have LED lights that turn on when you draw on the device. It comes on to indicate that the device is in use, but this will draw attention to the fact that you’re vaping.
Typically, these lights are small enough for you to cover with a finger while you’re vaping.
If you take short draws of up to a few seconds, you won’t inhale a huge amount of vapour and therefore the cloud you exhale won’t be that big, either.
Holding the vapour in your lungs for an extra second or so will reduce the visibility of the cloud you exhale.
This can cause you to absorb more nicotine. If you feel you’re getting too much, it’s easy to reduce. Either vape less (taking fewer draws each time or going longer between sessions) or reduce your nicotine strength.
You could also try drawing more air into your lungs after you inhale your vapour. Simply take your draw on your e-cigarette and then, without exhaling, take a normal breath.
When you exhale, purse your lips and exhale downwards in a tight stream of vapour.
Use a higher PG e-liquid
VG is the liquid which produces the cloud so minimising that will mean you produce less cloud.
A 50/50 PG/VG ratio is ideal for stealth vaping.
What is e-liquid made of? tells you all about PG and VG, if you want a reminder of their different properties.
Why it’s impossible to be completely unnoticed
No matter how careful you are, you cannot completely conceal the fact that you’re vaping.
- You will still exhale vapour, even if it’s just a small amount.
- The coil will still make a very slight noise when activated.
- You will need to hold the device to your mouth.
You should not be attempting to vape completely unnoticed because you should not be attempting to vape where you shouldn’t be.
If you want to know where you can and can’t vape, then check out Where to vape in public for some clear guidelines.
Once you know exactly how to vape responsibly while you’re out and about, you’re ready to be a vaper.
After that, it’s simply a question of maintaining your device and keeping your new habit going. To learn how to do that, go to Cleaning and Maintaining Your Device which is a practical step-by-step guide that you can refer to no matter how experienced or inexperienced you are.