Just a few years ago, vaping was a niche hobby. Only two groups of people were interested in it — people who used e-cigarettes to quit smoking and those who were interested in the vaping subculture, the vaping community.
Nowadays, vaping has become a mainstream hobby, and there are now millions of people all over the world who enjoy vaping. In fact, it is estimated that 20% of Americans aged 18 to 29 now vape. This massive increase in the number of vapers is primarily due to the increasing popularity of pod systems and disposable vapes, which are much easier to use than older generation e-cigarettes.
The vaping lifestyle has many points in common with other ways of life, from online communities to fashion and music. This article explores some of the critical aspects of the vaping lifestyle and how it has evolved over the years. Read on to find out more!
Vaping started to become popular in the early 2000s, with the first e-cigarettes appearing in China in 2003. These early devices were designed to help people quit smoking and were presented as much healthier alternatives to traditional cigarettes. They weren’t initially trendy, and it wasn’t until around 2006, when they entered the Western market, that they started to take off.
The first vapes now look like ancient relics, with small cartridges, long rechargeable batteries, and primitive atomizers. Early e-cigarettes tried to mimic the look and feel of traditional cigarettes; they were designed to allow users to hold them between their fingers like regular cigarettes, with tiny lights at the tip that would light up when vapers used them.
The vaping community started to form around this time, with early adopters sharing their experiences online — from their favorite pods and refills to tips on how to get the most out of their vapes. It was the beginning of a trend that would continue in the years to come.
The Rise of Mods and RDAs
The first decade of vaping saw the rise of the vaping community, as vapes took off not only among regular smokers but also people interested in them for their own sake. The community grew, with more and more people joining forums and social media groups to discuss their vaping experiences.
In the 2010s, many new devices appeared on the market, forming the mod category. These devices were much larger and more powerful than the early e-cigarettes, with bigger batteries and atomizers. They were used mainly by people who wanted to produce large vapor clouds. They quickly became popular on social media, with users posting vines or videos of themselves “blowing massive clouds.”
Mods were quickly followed by rebuildable dripping atomizers, designed for people who wanted even more control over their vaping experience. These atomizers made it possible to build your own coils from scratch, and they were quickly adopted by people interested in vaping as a hobby.
The Custom Mod Scene
As mods and rebuildable atomizers became more popular, the vaping community became more and more creative. This trend led to the rise of custom mods and other one-of-a-kind devices. People started to share their creations online and create entire communities around their shared hobby.
Custom mods further fueled the development of e-cigarettes. Whenever someone came up with a new idea, someone else would quickly create a prototype of it, which would then be refined by the industry giants and eventually turned into a commercial product.
Box vapes, for example, were first popularized by custom vape makers who started to create their own devices from scratch, using 3D printers and other tools. These devices quickly caught the eye of manufacturers; including large batteries in the broader frame allowed them to increase the power output even more, and with the extra space, they could install custom RGB lights or even LCD screens.
Nowadays, mods are much more sophisticated than in the early years of vaping, thanks to the efforts of the custom mod scene. Some vape freaks aim to make vaping even more discreet and convenient, while others pursue the biggest clouds and the best flavor, sometimes going above what is considered safe for the average user.
As mods and rebuildable drippers became more popular, people started experimenting with different coil builds and wicking materials. Probably the most significant breakthrough came when people realized that using thin coils made of kanthal wire wrapped tightly around a cotton wick allowed them to produce clouds of vapor that were previously unachievable.
This new style of vaping caught on extremely fast and is now known as sub-ohm vaping. It involves using very low resistance coils (usually 0.5 ohms or lower) to get the most out of a vape. It split the community into two subgroups — one focusing on flavor and another, as always, chasing the enormous clouds.
Sub-ohm vaping is now common among vapers all over the world, and it has even led to the refinement of other, less popular vaping devices such as pods or cigalikes, which only benefited from the new technology. Thanks to the small-yet-efficient hardware, it is now possible to find high-quality pod systems with excellent flavor.
With the ever-increasing popularity of powerful systems, small and discreet pod systems have become increasingly popular over the past few years. With its sleek and modern devices, JUUL has played a substantial role in popularizing vapes among people who don’t want to play with all the coils and settings.
These systems are ideal for people who just want to vape and are extremely easy to use. Users can replace the cartridge with a new one, and the battery is charged via USB. The cough-inducing throat hit of the early e-cigarettes and cigalikes is now gone, and these devices offer a much more satisfying vaping experience.
With the increasing popularity of disposable vapes, it is even easier to get started with vaping, as these devices don’t require any maintenance, apart from occasionally charging the battery.
The Controversial Vaping Lifestyle
Although vaping has become a mainstream hobby, it is still a controversial topic. The vaping industry is now worth tens of billions of dollars and is still growing.
However, although most people see vaping as a relatively safe hobby, the research is still inconclusive. There are a few studies that have raised some concerns about the health effects of vaping. In fact, some researchers have argued that vaping may be just as harmful as smoking regular cigarettes.
The biggest issue with vaping is that it is still largely unregulated, and gray market products are still common. It means that the quality of e-liquids, the main ingredient in e-cigarettes, is often not up to the standards of the mainstream industry.
In 2019, for example, the US witnessed an outbreak of lung illnesses linked to vaping. At the time, it was thought that the cause of these illnesses might have been contaminated e-liquids. Eventually, doctors concluded that the vast majority of the cases were caused by black-market cartridges, most of them containing THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
So, using legitimate products is the best way to avoid any issues when vaping, as well as sticking to reputable brands. The research may be inconclusive, but sticking to mainstream products is definitely safer.
Vaping has become a mainstream trend, with many people switching from conventional cigarettes to vapes as a form of nicotine replacement therapy or hobby. The vaping lifestyle has also evolved over the years, with an ever-growing community of vapers.
The vaping community has now become a powerful force in the industry, with the custom mod scene helping to shape it. Sub-ohm vaping is now common among vapers, and pod systems have emerged as a popular alternative to conventional mods thanks to the convenience and ease of use.
Still, vaping remains a controversial topic. Although it is considered much safer than smoking regular cigarettes, it is not the silver bullet for which some people take it. Using legitimate products from reputable brands is the best way to avoid any issues when vaping.