If you are new to vaping, all the terminology pertaining to the subject can be quite confusing. From vaping as an activity to producing vapor itself, as well as different devices including vape pens, box mods, etc - it is understandable if a person feels overwhelmed. That said, getting a grasp of the various components that go into vaping will make your shopping experience simpler in the long run. In this article we will be discussing vapor, its contents, and how it largely differs from smoke. We hope that in the end you feel more confident discussing vapor and understand what it is exactly.
Vapor is a type of aerosol that consists of micro-sized droplets derived from multiple ingredients. If you are vaping e-liquids for example, vapor can consist of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine (not in all cases), flavoring, and other elements. Vapor can also be produced by vaporizing dry herbs, oils, and wax. In all cases vapor is created in the same way.
Except for dry herbs, which utilize convection technology in quite a few cases, vapor is produced with a battery, atomizer, and cartridge/container that houses e-liquids or other materials. Battery power is utilized in conjunction with an atomizer to heat up and vaporize different materials, thus vapor is produced. In comparison to smoke, vapor contains less harmful ingredients overall. Vaping has grown in popularity because of its cleaner nature, i.e. less smell, quick dissipation, and less harmful ingredients. For many people, vaping is more convenient and is a more suitable alternative to smoking.
To produce vapor, you will need a vaporizer. While there are TONS of vaporizers that have been designed to solely handle e-liquids, there are vaporizers for dry herbs, wax, and oils. In addition to being material-specific, vaporizers appear in a range of sizes and designs and boast unique features. For example, there are vaporizers with full temperature control, where the user can adjust the temperature of their vapor and fine tune their experience. Conversely, there are less sophisticated options like standard vape pens with 510 thread cartridge compatibility (the standard thread size for most cartridges/tanks) that have a single firing button and lack display screens, temperature control, etc. The vapor creating process across these devices is largely the same, an atomizer and battery is used to heat materials. As we mentioned in the section above and will further clarify below, dry herb vapes can be unique in their heating process.
It is important to note beforehand that research as to the longitudinal effects of vaping is still in progress and a determination has yet to be made. That said, vaping still has plenty of implicit benefits in comparison to smoking. For one, vaping is discreet and low key – there is a major difference between vaping dry herbs and rolling them up and smoking them. One will draw far less attention while the other is quite noticeable to those around you. Another benefit is the limitation of smell. Vaping is a lot less smelly than smoke is, which is a big plus if you live in an environment with people who are sensitive to certain smells.
Many smokers can attest that smoke clings to surfaces inside your home, car, etc. In general, vaporizers have been designed to be straightforward in their use and maintenance, making them optimal for people in a rush who need quick convenience. With vaping, all one has to do is inhale and store their device versus putting something out and disposing of it properly.
It is true that vapor smells less than smoke, but not entirely devoid of smell, nonetheless. For example, if someone in front of you on the sidewalk is vaping, you will still smell the vapor if you walk through it. In general, vapor is noticeable if you are within proximity to it. In comparison, smoke has the propensity to travel far and wide, both inside and outside. Indeed, the discreet nature of vaping is one its biggest benefits.
The biggest difference between smoking and vaping is the heating method. To smoke something, one applies direct heat, via a lighter, to combust/burn the material in question and inhale it. With vapor, the materials used are not burned but vaporized with a battery and atomizer. In general, vapor is cleaner than standard smoke which contains TONS of biproducts, carcinogenic elements, and tar.
As we mentioned in this article’s introduction, terminology used within the vaping community is complex and quite confusing. For instance, what is the difference between a ‘vaper’ and ‘vapor’? A vaper is someone who uses vaporizers, i.e. they vape. On the other hand, vapor refers to the end product of the vaporization process that we detailed in the above sections. To sum it up, vaping is an activity and a vaper is someone who participates in that activity while vapor is simply the end result of vaporization.
Compared to other types of vaporizer, dry herb vaporizers are by far the most unique. You can vape dry herbs in two ways, through combustion or convection. With combustion, heat is directly applied to dry herbs to produce vapor, leaving ash as a result. Conversely, convection heating applies indirect heat to dry herbs, often through a heating chamber of some kind. The result of convection is complete vaporization and zero ash as a biproduct. No matter the dry herb vape you choose, the purpose is still the same ultimately – you are vaping dry herbs versus smoking them.
Wax has been noted for its potency, flavor, and overall simplicity. A wax vaporizer is a vaporizer that has been designed to specifically vaporize waxes. The same method used here is the same as oils or e-liquids where an atomizer is heated with a battery to vaporize wax contained in a cartridge. You can find wax vapes with sophisticated settings as well as simplistic models that have been designed to get the job done with zero frills.
Oil vaporizers work in the same way as wax vaporizers do. The same components are used to heat and vaporize oil as they are for wax. Overall, the biggest difference between oil and wax or dry herbs for that matter is the specificity of the vaporizer. In other words, there are vaporizers and cartridges designed specifically for oils. This even applies to the battery, which may be limited to a certain power output needed to vape oils in comparison to dry herbs or e-liquids. Different materials require different temperatures for vaporization.
Dabbing is an entirely unique activity when compared to vaping. Traditionally, dabbing requires multiple components – a dab rig, nail, heating element, dabbing tool, and concentrate/dab. The procedure for dabbing is largely the same, a blowtorch is used to heat up a nail to a certain temperature, then a dabbing tool is used to drop concentrates onto the nail which in turn vaporizes them. Dab rigs operate a lot like bongs with their use of water to cool down vapor before inhaling it. In addition, there are e-nails which use a battery instead of a blowtorch to heat up a nail for dabbing purposes. E-nails are built as one unit and can even be made portable. Vaping encompasses multiple types of vaporizers while dabbing is a bit more specific in its function and purpose.
So, now that we have outlined the types of vaporizers available as well as the different materials that can be vaped, where does one go to find the best options? First and foremost, a local vaping shop near you will have tons of different options equipment wise to meet your needs. As a result of vaping’s increasing popularity, you would be hard pressed to not find a head shop or vape shop that carries these products. Next, you can shop online for different vaporizers. Indeed, there is a plethora of online retailers out there with a wide array of options to cater your needs. If oil vapes interest you, we recommend you check out SteamCloud’s vaporizers and see if any tickle your fancy. Our vaporizers can also be modified with certain attachments to vape wax and dry herbs.
If we were to rewind the clock back a decade or so, it would be unfathomable that devices of this kind would be a strong competitor to traditional smoking. Boy, how times have changed. Today, smokers have multiple options at their fingertips in terms of vaporizers and vapable materials. While vapor is still being researched for harmful effects, it remains abundantly clear that vaping is cleaner than smoking for multiple reasons. Obviously, some folks will always prefer smoking to newer technologies. That said, the vaping community has grown exponentially in recent years, and for good reason. Hopefully, this article answers a few of your questions regarding vaping and you feel more comfortable diving into it for the first time or will continue to enjoy its benefits!
Written By: Colby M.
Yes, the vapor released by an oil pen does carry a terpene odor, one that’s especially noticeable if you take a huge puff and exhale into a circle of friends, even when outdoors. However, compared to regular smoke from dry herb, an oil pen's smell isn't exactly familiar to everyone, it dissipates quickly into the air, and doesn't stick around long. In fact, a person sitting 10 feet away from you in the park could never have a clue that you're vaping oil, so the smell...