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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

How to start vaping, quit cigarettes, and where to buy your juice.

Do you even vape bro James Bond meme smoking Sean Connery

It’s no secret that vaping is commonplace now. A recent survey by ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) estimated that there are now 2.8 million people in the UK who use an electronic cigarette, up from 700,000 in 2012. It’s a vapers' revolution out there.

And if you’re reading this, the chances are that you smoke. But if you’re like me, you worry too, you worry will you ever stop? Will you get cancer? Will you die young and leave your kids behind? It’s frightening stuff - horrible to think about.

Truth is, none one of us smokers are ever proud of being addicted to something so clinically proven to be harmful to our health. And I’ve been sat on this blog for ages. It’s kind of embarrassing really, I’m fine with talking about a baby’s mustard-seed faeces dripping down my wrist, or a toddler’s todger dragging around a germ infested toilet rim while I look on in horror, but smoking is a more taboo subject. As a parent, it's often the elephant in the room.

And yet despite all this, I have for many years had less willpower than a baboon in a banana plantation when it came to ignoring my cravings. I genuinely felt like it was an impossible task to stop. So I needed something to help me - a crutch.

And that's how I started vaping...


So here's a review of the Coolfire IV Plus and a selection of the best places to buy e-liquid in the UK. Otherwise known as, a fairly idiot proof guide to quitting cigarettes and start vaping instead.

FACT: many smokers have tried an electronic cigarette without success.

Back in about 2013 I tried and I lasted about a week before I stopped, maybe you can relate to my reasons:
  • The device was faulty, and leaked.
  • I didn’t feel like I was getting enough of a throat hit.
  • It just wasn’t as satisfying as smoking. There wasn't enough 'smoke'.
  • The vapour didn’t taste as good as I had hoped.
So after that bad experience, it took another 3 years until I tried it again. This time, I was determined to get it right.

I locked myself in a bunker of research, because that's what I do whenever I'm buying something important. I read every review I can find until I'm reassured the thing I'm buying isn't crap!

FACT: failing to prepare is preparing to fail. I knew I had to get the right device in order to give myself a head start.

After reading hundreds of reviews I whittled the shortlist down to the Coolfire IV Plus (with an I Sub G tank), and I bought the whole starter kit online, consisting of the mod (battery) and tank (where you put your juice) for £40.

Coolfire IV box mod with iSub G tank
Box mod with iSub G tank - it screws into it.

I thought that was a good price. It was an investment but also gave me confidence that this piece of kit meant business.

Then I found this video review on YouTube

...And when I saw the clouds of vape the guy was chugging out, I was completely sold. He gave it a very good review too. Check it out.



Pro tip: Fast-forward to 8:00 to see how much cloud it produces. I’ve been using it for about 3 months, and I love it!

So now that I've been using it for 3 months, here's my review of the Coolfire IV Plus...

Pros:
  1. The battery can last a full day (and even a night out) on a full charge.
  2. Produces a decent, satisfying cloud that staves off my nicotine urges, but is moreish and enjoyable at the same time.
  3. The iSub G tank is economical, it doesn’t drink as much juice as other tanks.
  4. A tank can make a vast difference in the amount of money you’ll spend every month on e-liquid. Think of them like cars, the bigger the engine the more petrol it drinks.
  5. For example, some tanks like the Aspire Cleito are popular, but they guzzle juice faster than a toddler at a trestle table.
  6. I went for the black version, it looks discreet, fits in my pocket too.
  7. But it also comes in a range of colours to suit your tastes.
  8. I’ve had hardly any issues with leaks. Leaking can be a real problem when you vape. If your tank is even slightly faulty, it can be a real headache. But this has now been dropped multiple times and taken abroad and still doesn’t leak, apart from ever so slightly now and then.
  9. I only need to change the coil every week or so, and the process of changing it is very easy. N.B. The coil is a small part that slots into the tank to produce the vapour. These eventually ‘burn out’ and need to be replaced when that happens.
  10. Coils are pretty cheap, I buy 10 for around £10 online, and that’s at least a 2 month supply. I use the 0.5 ohm coils, but you can also get 0.2 ohm ones. A 0.5 ohm coil means the device is safe and comfortable firing the coil at a wattage between 20-30W and in my opinion that's all you need for a satisfying smoking sensation.
Coolfire IV battery in white, black, blue and red - all colours available
Battery comes in a range of colours, (N.B. that's not the Isub G tank pictured.)

Cons:
  1. No major cons, apart from once or twice where it has mildly leaked a little. This goes with the territory in vaping, I’ve had massive leakage with the Aspire Cleito tank. So when I compare it to that, it’s nothing to worry about.
  2. Would I like it to produce more clouds? It’s like asking a millionaire if they want more money. Yes of course, but on the flipside, I’m used to what it gives me, and satisfied with it. I don’t want to be that guy who walks around town chugging out ostentatious clouds and generally being a bit of a public nuisance.

Overall review
This is a fantastic, reliable piece of kit. The battery life is decent, and the smoking experience is second to none, especially if you’ve never tried a sub Ohm tank before. Many of the first e-cigarettes on the market were quite tame really, they’d never give you the throat hit or clouds you wanted. But sub Ohm tanks are what give you the sensation of a satisfying smoke!

I infinitely prefer this to smoking, and I’ve gone back and had a few roll ups on nights out but hated it. As soon as I got it, and started puffing on it, I was in love, because of the volume of vape it produces. It’s a bit like having a shisha.

I’m very happy with the Coolfire IV Plus and am in no hurry to upgrade it. Amazing for £40 and there are others that are a lot more expensive – but you can always move onto them if you try this and decide you like it!

Overall rating
8/10


And once you've got your device, that's when the fun really starts.

...Juice shopping!

Ned Stark meme - one does not simply walk into a vape shop and buy nothing - juice joke

Without nice e-juice your device is useless!

So here's my guide to buying e-liquids online – where are the cheapest places to buy the best tasting liquids in the UK, and what to look for...

Quick aside: it’s worth walking into a vape shop, showing them what kit you have and let them recommend you some liquids, and you can try a few of them in the store and work out what you like. Many people tend to be drawn to 'cake' flavours, but if you're like me I prefer the fruity ones (ooh, vicar!)

That’s a good thing to do when you start out as a vaper, you want to make sure you love the taste of it. By trying it in the shop you’re minimising your own risk and going to be less likely to stray back towards the cigs. It’s more expensive that way, but worth doing to get you started on the road to quitting cigs!

What you also need to know when selecting juice is PG / VG content.

With a device like the Coolfire IV plus, you should be aiming for something like a 60% or 70% VG content, this gives you more clouds and less harshness on the throat, but any higher than that it isn’t suited to the Isub G tank, it can clog up the coil because the more VG it has, the thicker the liquid becomes. Likewise, the higher the PG, the harsher it's going to be. If you've got 60% or 70% VG it's a good balance - powerful vapour production, and not too much throat hit. Perfect!
 
What nicotine percentage should you go for?

All the advice I ever had from anyone in shops and online was that starting out with a tank like the i Sub G, 6mg nicotine is more than enough. Don't be fooled by going higher than that, because liquids with 12 or even 18mg of nicotine aren't designed for devices like this.

After a lot of trial and error I’ve found these websites to be the best suppliers in the UK.

If money is no object

Vapeclub www.vapeclub.com

Vapeclub website - staff picks, best e-juices or e-liquids to buy
 
The service was quick, always got the juice next day, and I think it’s a good company. They import most of the gourmet liquids from all over the world to bring it to the UK so this is a place where you can spend a lot of money quickly if you aren’t careful!

You can try award winning liquids from the USA, France, Canada etc, so there’s a lot they do that’s pretty cool. But you’d look at them as being like the Harrods of the vaping community, if that makes sense.

I started off buying from Vapeclub and went a bit mental on shopping sprees because I thought the reviews written by customers always made the juice sound so good that I wanted it all. I especially like the ‘staff picks’ section.

However, if I’m being critical, they need to drop their prices a bit, it makes it hard to justify buying e-liquid from them in the long term. It’s nice as a treat, but not sustainable.

It’s a shame, because I like the company, and their website is a whole load of fun to browse. When you’ve ordered you really look forward to that vapemail arriving! It’s like you’ve been just food shopping in Harrods. Sounds sad, but it’s true.


If you’re on a budget and still want great liquid

Rejuiced www.rejuiced.com
 
I was blown away, these guys were awesome and I liked it that they are a UK based manufacturer. First of all I did the ’10 flavours for £14.99’  100ml sample box, on the strength of the reviews. I was pleasantly surprised, because the taste was as good as many of the premium liquids I’d tried beforehand through Vapeclub.

Rejuiced selection of cheap gourmet juices for sale on their website

Bear in mind that 30ml of a premium liquid can be as much as £15, this is a great deal – you’re getting 10 flavours AND 100ml! If you’re not bothered about sexy packaging and ‘brands’ then you’ve got outstanding juice here that is as good as any gourmet stuff you can buy on the market.

I loved the selection box, and now I’ve had a chance to try flavours that weren’t in the box, these are my favourites of them all.

• Beach fruits
• Orange cream
• Blood orange
• Strawberry slush
• Pear drops
• Big mamas milk(!)

I could go into detail about why I like these flavours, but that’s probably best for another blog.


Also have a look at:

LiQuid - http://www.onepoundeliquid.com/

I’ve only ordered off them once but it does what it says on the tin, gives you a range of liquids for £1 a bottle, so you can try the ones you like the look of without breaking the bank.

Tangerine flavour e-juice by LiQuid - cheapest juice online in the UK by onepoundeliquids

I have to say that their tangerine flavour is the mutt’s nuts, one of the most moreish juices I’ve ever tried, and I WILL be making a lot of repeat order!


Finally, you might be reading this thinking, well, chump, you quit cigarettes and replaced it with something that is still addictive and potentially dangerous!

This is true, however I’m definitely spending less money per month.

I’ve also now lowered the nicotine content in my vape to 3mg. At some point I’ll feel ready to go down to 0mg of nicotine. A part of me is dreading that, but at the same time, it doesn’t seem like it’s impossible.

I won’t lie though, the honest truth is that vaping is a lot of fun, and it’s relaxing. There is still a lot we don’t know about the dangers of it, but when I compare it to the known dangers of smoking tobacco, I feel a lot better. I’ve noticed it in my lungs too, I’m feeling more fit, able to breathe easier and like my lung capacity has gone up.

So overall, 3 months into the journey of being a non smoker, I’m in a massively better place than I used to be. I feel like I’m a different person and I'm also saving money. Most importantly I'm getting to a place where I could soon shut down my nicotine cravings completely.

Volcano cloud vape meme - dude we get it you vape
Yeah, I know, I'll shut up now!

If you’ve got this far in the blog you deserve some sort of medal – so it must be a sign you’re committed to this and want to make a change. Good luck and I hope this helps you.

Please share it if you found it useful and I’d love to know your comments!
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