To Vaping and Beyond…
I’ve been smoking since high school, making it almost 15 years or so of about 1 pack a day on average. When Nick started getting into vaping, he convinced me to try it as well, this was about 3/4 years ago when I decided to take the plunge and get the ego style vape pen. I liked it at first, it was real gimmicky however. It was nice to smoke inside at work and at home, not having to go outside in the always changing Colorado weather. I only lasted a few months before I got tired of issues with leaking if not stored properly, keeping up with the weak batteries, and not really getting what I did from a cigarette. So back to cigarettes I went, until the end of last year when I joined this wondrous adventure that is Foolish IT LLC. I was able to smoke inside the house and Nick would regularly comment about my smoker’s cough and how I really needed to get into the Provari (which he proclaimed was far superior to the eGo I had previously tried). I still shied away from this having somewhat liked the Blu e-cigs I tried, but found to be just as cumbersome to keep up with. I found the portability and usage on the go to be really what I needed for my lifestyle. Where the Provari was a monster of a cylinder, almost like trying to carry around a baton. The expense was also a factor but numerous times Nick offered to purchase a setup kit for me (“to make sure I would be a part of the business for as long as possible” was his reasoning of this). I also shied away from this knowing that if I wanted to stick with it and not smoke cigarettes anymore I would need to make the investment on my own. That is one very big point I want to make here: if you want to move to vaping and get away from cigarettes then you need to make sure YOU are ready for it and make the jump yourself. Cigarettes are very addicting physically and mentally, you have to want to get away from them to have a chance at sticking with vaping. Also you want to make sure you go ahead and commit to a full switch, the taste of death will always pull you back to cigarettes and it’s taken almost two full months of solely vaping for me to get past that want of the taste of death cigarettes provide.
So I went for an ego, with the updated tank style at a concert and liked it. Didn’t leak, hit harder than the original one I got but I was only using it to smoke where I couldn’t. I ended up testing out the Provari when I visited Nick and the difference was amazing. So I took the plunge and asserted to myself that since I was dropping this much on it, I wouldn’t purchase any cigarettes. When I got it in the beginning of November 2014, I loved it. Took some getting used to and ended up getting juice where Nick recommended. Liked the flavor better than what I’d come across before at the gas stations and the highest nicotine level of 36mg gave me the head buzz I got when I first started smoking cigarettes. I finished the last pack of cigarettes I had while making the switch to the Provari, haven’t bought another pack since then. I got a Aspire Nautilus tank and loved everything about it. The adjustable airflow, the ample juice amount and the portability was manageable at the least. Battery lasted all day or more and didn’t have to refill the tank but once or so a day. Nick recommended to set the voltage to about 3.8-4.2volts and would probably need to replace the atomizers every week to two weeks depending on flavor I was getting from the juice.
Then I started doing some more research on it all and I ended up finding out the juice site Nick recommended has been outed on some of the vaping forums for being a home-brew setup in a flee market in Florida. This put me uneasy and almost had me wavering back to the “at least I know it’s bad for me but at least it’s got a reasonable QA system in place pre-packaged packs of cigarettes” again. Nick found another site that we’ve both been using frequently since then, GiantVapes, with tons premium juices and reviews for each flavor. So now I have several flavors I can switch between and even better they have a lower nicotine content so I can vape them more often but not risk a nicotine overdose. My favorite flavor so far has been the Cloud Science Gamma for my Provari/Nautilus setup, MasterMind Misfit for my Hana Modz/Atlantis setup, and C&C Reserve for my Sigelei/Vulcan RDA setup.
But about this time, I also ended up bumping the bottom of my desk (while changing out a hard drive) and the Provari fell with a crash breaking sound. I was disheartened to say the least, the glass on my tank had smashed in half. I quickly ordered a replacement and also found a metal shield style tank that looked more suited to my rough lifestyle. But what to do in the meantime? I really wanted to buy another pack of cigarettes but Nick strongly urged against it (yes, having a vaping sponsor really helps a lot!). I conceded since it had been about a month and got my cheap gas station style ego setup to hold me over for what turned out to be the longest shipping time of my life. The new tank was a beauty however and it was well worth the wait. We also found out about a new sub-ohm tank coming out about this time (the Aspire Atlantis) and we got really excited about it, but also noticed the Provari probably wouldn’t even fire it. We started talking with another vapor tech and he recommended the Hana Modz as a class of Provari that would handle more wattage and be able to fire the sub-ohms tank when it came out. Nick actually ended up ordering one for me because he kind of felt bad he convinced me to start vaping and the one I hadn’t even had for a month was now needing to be replaced with about the same amount of expense. The Hana Modz v3 DNA 40 arrived and started using it with my Nautilus tank and loved it. Found out the Provari was only about 18watts where the Hana could get up to 40watts. I also found out the higher ohms (1.8) resistance atomizer I was using would actually be better at a higher voltage and I ended up bumping up to 5.2volts. I didn’t push the Hana much past the 25watts range just because I knew it would be better suited to wait for the Atlantis sub-ohm (.5) tank we were waiting on and it was only about a week away from arrival.
So the arrival of the Atlantis combined with the higher powered DNA 40 from Hana Modz, changed the game for me. I was able to go up to 30-40 watts where the Provari maxes out about 16-18 watts and the clouds of vapor I was able to produce wit it, were sizable to say the least. The juice flavors came through much clearer than with the Nautilus tank and it would drain juice much faster at the same time. I think that is where I started to really become hooked on vaping. I now had multiple devices and tanks and juices I was switching back and forth between all day, every day. I went on a couple travels around the south and it was much nicer not having to have the windows down or worrying about getting ashes in the rental car or having to go into gas stations just to get another pack of cigarettes. I found the Provari was nice for cruising and toking on whenever, the Hana Modz was nicer for those more aggravating traffic jams or heavy traffic times. I was still getting used to the heavy inhales from the Atlantis and the higher dosage of nicotine with each inhale. But I liked it, I liked it quite a lot.
So I had to go the next step, because I knew there was still better that I’d been holding out on, rebuildable dripper atomizers. I’d been holding off on these because it seems like a pain. I looked through several YouTube videos documenting the process and they all seem to make it out to be a painful process. But I knew the flavor and clouds were here, because in the cloud chasing competitions I watched this is all everyone had/used. From the videos I watched I knew I wanted to start off with something easy to build on that had a big well to hold juice and I wanted it to look nice. I came across the Vulcan RDA, a large well, easy to build on and really really well designed. I ordered it just before Christmas and got it the day before Christmas. I had decided to take the easy way out and get some pre-built 24 gauge .3 ohm coils (since wrapping coils seemed to be the most tedious part of building), I also ordered some Japanese organic cotton and the Vulcan style drip tip (the Vulcan RDA didn’t come with drip tip). I loved everything about it when I opened it, the heat fins gave it a sleek refined look, the laser cutout V in the logo for air holes was beautiful and the well seemed very deep compared to many other drippers I looked at.
So time for my first build. I put the pre-built coils in the posts, threaded some cotton threw and wrapped the coils and stuffed the cotton all around (cause I thought this was best). It worked, it didn’t work as well as I had hoped but I got amazing flavor from it and clouds comparable to the Atlantis tank. I did have to add juice to it every 5-10 hits and it did seem to suck down juice even faster than the Atlantis. I really liked it, but I didn’t have much time to really research what I was doing more and play with it a lot past getting it just setup and working, before I was on the road. When I finally returned home from my travels I had more time to look into it and found out two things. One I was rarely ever using my Atlantis since I was using the Hana Modz for the Vulcan and clouds were not what I was expecting even being at the full 40 watts. So I decided I needed a third more power mod so I could use any of the three tanks I had at a whim and so I could crank the Vulcan up past the mere 40 watt limit.
It came down to a choice between the IPV4 150 watt and the Segelei 150 watt. I went with the Segelei because I like the magnetic door for the batteries and the style of it as well as it coming with a rubber cover grip. Once that arrived I decided to rebuild my Vulcan, but not replace the coils just take out the cotton and re-wick it basically. I had discovered airflow was very important and I shouldn’t have the coils covered with cotton, just the inside of the coil unless I was only wrapping the coils and having the airflow go through the coils. So after I had it nicely wicked with good airflow and added some juice, I fired it up on the Segelei. I stayed below 40 watts at first, then tried going up to 70 watts, then took it all the way up to the full 150 watts. I could barely handle the 70 & 150 watts, before I was coughing my lungs out from the very warm vapor produced. I went back down to 40 watts and ended up liking the flavor the most at around 30 watts. I don’t think the Hana Modz was actually getting the full 40 watts I was trying to pump through it because the 510 adapter was very flaky having the Vulcan attached to it. The Segelei had a spring loaded 510 adapter and the Hana Modz had a solid 510 adapter and the spring loaded seemed to make a much better connection with the Vulcan. I loved it though, the Vulcan on the Segelei has been my daily everyday vaper while I’m working at my desk. Every now and then I’ll hit the Atlantis just for the different flavor I have in there and I use the Nautilus whenever I going out walking and when I go to bed.
So overall it has been a great transition! I’m almost 3 full months without a single cigarette. I don’t even want cigarettes now, plus I have a much more entertaining hobby than cigarettes ever were. There is a couple downsides to it all that I’ll briefly mention. One, batteries, I now have another device to make sure I keep charged on a regular basis. It’s not hard to add it to my routine and I have a few batteries so I can get by if I forget at any time. Two, I have not saved a single dollar with this switch, if anything I’ve actually spent more money than I would have if I stuck with smoking a pack a day. At this point most of the major investment has been made and I’ll only have juices, rebuilding supplies (very cheap), batteries (maybe once a year), and time/effort going forward. So I may end up being cheaper in the long run, but if I stick with it as a hobby I’ll end up investing more in other rebuildables and other advancements so I won’t be recovering money anytime soon. Three, it can be a hassle keeping up with juices, refilling and leaking (very rare with the mods and tanks I have but still can happen without vigilance on my part at times). Lastly I’m still addicted to nicotine. True I’m away from other chemicals, but I’ve seen what is still making its way into my lungs with these juices and it’s a lot less but I’m still putting chemicals and other items into my lungs for this addiction.
Overall though I’m still very glad I made the switch. It was worth it and I hope this story has helped sway you in some ways to get away from cigarettes. I do feel better overall, I’m coughing only when I take too long or hot a vape and I’m not coughing up all the stuff I was on a daily basis smoking cigarettes. Very worth the trip down this rabbit hole and I can’t wait to see how far down it goes and where it may end up leading.