The Definitive Guide To Quitting Smoking by Vaping With E-Cigarettes/Advanced Personal Vaporizers - Part 1, Definitions and Choosing a Vaporizing Device

12:26 AM

About two years ago I purchased my first e-cigarette: a Totally Wicked Titan Tank. Since then I have totally fallen in love with vaping, so when I found out that I was at high risk of developing COPD, it was no surprise that I brought up the e-cigarette subject to my doctor, especially since I had already tried everything on the market designed to help smokers quit with little to no success and had figured out by that time my biggest issue wasn't so much the physical nicotine dependence as much as it was the psychological dependence on the act of smoking itself. Surprisingly, my doctor was extremely supportive of me switching to e-cigarettes, and agreed with my reasoning that even if I couldn't quit e-cigarettes would still be a much healthier alternative to smoking. I have noticed that there seems to be a serious lack of comprehensive, generic beginner's guides to vaping on the internet... the information is all there, but it's scattered all over e-cigarette forums and there doesn't seem to be any catch-all style guides. So here is a definitive guide on how to get started with quitting smoking cigarettes by vaping with e-cigarettes/advanced personal vaporizers. Good luck - and here's to your good health, too! :)


atomizer (coil) - the part of the device that heats up e-liquid so that it turns to vapor (one end connects to the battery, the other end connects to the cartomizer)

cartomizer - the part of the device that stores e-liquid and delivers vapor created by the atomizer to the user's mouth (one end connects to the atomizer, the other end connects to the drip tip). Now days cartomizers can also mean delivery systems that combine the cartomizer and coil in to one solid piece.

drip tip - this is the mouthpiece to the cartomizer, and is called a drip tip because it allowed the user to drip e-liquid directly on to the atomizer before cartomizers were used on vaping devices to store e-liquid (one end connects to the cartomizer and the other end to the user's mouth).

clearomizer - these delivery systems feature a built in coil and use a wicking system for delivering e-liquid to the atomizer instead of being filled with wicking material like cartomizers are. They are capable of holding more e-liquid than a cartomizer, and also are usually clear so the user can see how much e-liquid is left in them (most also feature a system of measurement printed on the side so the user can know in ml how much e-liquid is contained in the clearomizer).

tank - this can have a variety of meanings, but generally refers to delivery systems that utilize some kind of clear, empty container for storing e-liquid. On e-cigarettes tanks are usually small plastic caps that screw in to the atomizer in lieu of a cartomizer. On advanced personal vaporizing devices tanks can refer to a type of clearomizer that utilizes a rebuildable and/or replaceable coil and wick system. Tank can also refer to the clear storage tube for e-liquid that is found on clearomizers.

rebuildable tank or RBT - These are clearomizer systems that utilize a rebuildable and/or replaceable coil and wick system. This results in lower costs associated with replacing the delivery system, as instead of the entire delivery system being disposable only parts of it are replaced (namely the coil and wick). RBTs are generally considered to be for advanced users only as they can have issues that need to be troubleshooted by the user and some systems require advanced knowledge of how vaporizing systems work, although recently these systems have been becoming increasingly easier to use for the average/novice vaper.

rebuildable atomizer or RBA - These systems are a little more advanced than RBTs, allowing the user to rebuild the actual atomizer coil by hand. They are by far the cheapest atomizing systems to use since all the user needs to purchase are barebone coils of wire and wicking material.

cartomizer tank - These are similar to RBTs but utilize a cartomizer inside instead of a wick and coil system. They are recommended for advanced users only as they can be both tricky to refill with e-liquid and also tricky in regards to replacing the cartomizer inside. The best cartomizer tank systems utilize some form of locking mechanism for when the user is done filling the cartomizer/tank, as removal of the tank before it's emptied can lead to e-liquid spillage.

Choosing a Vaporizing Device


510 - This is the most common type of atomizer connection on non-eGo e-cigarettes and advanced personal vaporizers, but is quickly being replaced by the eGo connection. The atomizer (the part of the device that heats up the e-liquid so that it turns in to vapor) screws in to the connector.

eGo - This is the only type of atomizer connection eGo e-cigarettes use, but many devices are starting to replace their 510 connections with the eGo connection or are designed to take either the 510 or the eGo atomizers. With this type of connection, the atomizer screws over the connector instead of inside it like the 510 atomizers do. This results in a lessened risk of damage to the connector than you find in 510 connections.

801/901/etc. - These are becoming less and less common types of connections, but are still in widespread use in devices designed for novice vapers, perhaps because of their increasing lack of availability in generic form (which promotes vendor lock-in so the user has to keep repurchasing parts from the original vendor at extorted prices). They are usually used in small e-cigarette/"cig-alike" devices.

Drip Well

This is a recessed section around the atomizer connection that catches any excess fluid that may drip from your cartomizer being over-filled, which prevents e-liquid from dripping down the side of your device (which leads to sticky fingers) and also prevents waste (just tip the device and pour the excess e-liquid back in to its original container). Some devices have them; others don't. Whether or not to buy a device with a drip well depends largely on the user's preferences as well as the delivery system that will be used. While clearomizers,  tanks that are clear caps that plug in to the atomizer, and RBTs are not very prone to leaks while being filled, cartomizer and cartomizer tank systems are and should be treated with more care when refilling.


automatic battery - These batteries rely on the pull of you sucking on the cartomizer to know when to power on so that vapor is released from the cartomizer. It is very important that if you want to get a bigger hit off an automatic battery that you first give a few quick sucks on the cartomizer to help "prime" the device and get the coil sufficiently heated so that it may produce the most vapor before you take an actual drag from the device. Automatic batteries bear the closest resemblence to real smoking.

manual battery - These batteries feature a button on them that you must press in order to power on the device so that vapor is released from the cartomizer. Unlike automatic batteries, this method does not require any priming or much dragging from the device. However, having to press the button does take away some from the device's resemblence to real smoking.

disposable battery - These devices carry a built in, permanent battery. When the battery is used up, one simply throws the whole device away and replaces it with another. These devices are generally cheaper than ones with replaceable batteries, but are more expensive in terms of battery maintenance.

replaceable battery - These devices consist of an operating shell that utilizes a replaceable flashlight battery inside, which can usually be replaced by unscrewing the bottom of the device. When the battery is used up in these, the user unscrews the bottom and replaces the battery inside instead of throwing away the entire device. The devices that utilize this are generally more expensive, but cheaper in terms of maintaining the battery.

All e-cigarettes use disposable batteries that come with the casing and connector already built in. When replacing an e-cigarette battery, one simply throws the battery away and picks up a new one. Most advanced personal vaporizing devices utilize the same types of batteries that are used in high powered flashlights, thus they require a separate casing and connector that the battery can be housed in. Replacing the battery in an advanced personal vaporizing device is just as easy as replacing the battery in just about any electronic device. Understandably, separate batteries are much cheaper to maintain than standalone batteries. However, standalone batteries are the most novice-friendly.

Types of Devices

e-cigarette/"cig-alike" - These devices look just like a cigarette, and are intended for casual and social smokers. Probably the most popular brands are eGo and Blu. Most e-cigarettes utilize an automatic battery, which only activates and produces vapor when the user sucks in on the cartomizer (the part of the device that stores e-liquid and delivers the vapor produced by the atomizer).

advanced personal vaporizer - These devices usually are small and box like or look like a larger version of an e-cigarette. They are most recommended to regular smokers who are trying to quit, due to their ability to produce larger amounts of vapor than their e-cig counterparts, thus providing more nicotine per hit and coming closer to immitating a "real cigarette" both in the physical feeling of inhaling and exhaling vapor and in providing more instant gratification. There is a HUGE variety of shapes and sizes, but advanced personal vaporizing devices are very rarely as small as an e-cig due to their larger power requirements (though there recently has been a break through in battery technology allowing some eGo sized APVs to hit the market). Advanced personal vaporizing devices also vary in the amount of know-how needed to operate them. Some APVs only operate on one voltage, requiring the user do no more than push a button to receive vapor. These are best suited to novices, as they only need to know how high/low of an ohm rating their device can handle in order to purchase a compatible delivery system. An example of this kind of device is the Bolt. Next in line are the devices that are variable voltage. These devices allow the user to change the voltage of the device to match the delivery system being used and customize the kind of vape they are getting. These devices are also usually capable of displaying the ohm rating of the delivery system as well as the battery power remaining. An example of this kind of device is the Lavatube. Another step up would be the variable wattage devices, which allow the user to customize their vaping experience no matter what the ohm rating is of the delivery system being used. These devices can have a wide variety of settings and display options available. An example of this type of device is the Vape-Pro. Last but not least, the ultimate advanced personal vaporizing devices that recently became available contain computer systems inside them and are capable of all the above and more via connecting to a PC. They can chart out your daily vaping habits, limit the amount of puffs you take per day, how long you've been vaping for, and much, much more. There are currently only two models of this type of device on the market: the Evic and the Provari.

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  1. Jonquil, thank you so much for publishing this article. At least one person I know wants to give up smoking and was asking me if I knew anything about e-cigarettes and how to use them. Cleo

    1. This article certainly doesn't cover everything. There are going to be more parts to this subject that when finished will cover everything a newbie will need to know in order to rise to the ranks of intermediate. So yes, this will be a good line of articles to point out to your friend... just make sure he/she knows they aren't finished yet! ;)