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Vaping, where to start

Wanting to quit smoking crosses most smokers minds on a regular basis, but to actually take the first step on this beneficial journey like anything will need some preparation.

Firstly, remember that there is no pressure or fear when embarking on this smoke-free journey. No judgement, only professional help and support from the team at SVC.

Here at Southampton Vaping Centre, we have over forty years of experience combined between us. We are also all ex-smokers who have already made the same journey as you to quit smoking.

We have staff who have passed the “National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training” (NCSCT) programme. This allows us to understand the entire process and the other options that you may have already tried.

This ensures that the advice given and products sold are tailored to your needs, as well as giving you the best chance to succeed in your quit attempt.

What might take someone else a day, may take you slightly longer and we are here every step of the way.

We hope to help answer some of your questions with this informative piece. We will also discuss some vaping myths that frequently appear in the media. With millions of vapers out there, we know it can be done and remember vaping saves lives.

Let’s make the switch to “Become Tobacco Free”.

closeup of hand of woman with e-cigarette

Switching from cigarettes to vaping?

There are some key points to know when you first make the switch:

Not all vape set-ups are suited to all vapers.

You may have previously purchased a vape kit that did not seem to work for you.

A good way to look at it would be ‘Not all smokers use the same brand of cigarettes’.

Do not give up, we can advise on the best options for you to try.

First time cough.

It is quite common to cough at first because the vaping sensation is different to smoking. Don’t give up because this will not last long. You can always ask us for advice regarding this, it may be that we need to adjust your vaping technique or nicotine levels. If you have a persistent cough, we always recommend that you seek medical advice from your GP.

Dry mouth?

There will be times where you may experience a dry mouth. This is because some of the ingredients in vape liquid are hygroscopic, which means water is drawn away from your mouth. Do not panic though, overtime it will become unnoticeable and nothing an occasional glass of water will not fix.

Unsuccessful attempts.

Where you are trying to change from a long-term habit such as smoking, your attempts at quitting may differ to others. So do not be disheartened if you still have the odd one in the morning, it may be that your device or nicotine needs adjusting to best suit your needs.

A Different technique.

Try not to vape like a smoker. This may sound odd, but vaping requires a slightly different inhale to be sure that you are getting the hit you need. You should use a slightly longer, softer inhale to give the device time to create the vapour effect. You will then receive a better vape sensation. Try to pace your inhales, giving the wick time to soak in more liquid between each puff. Puffing too hard on your kit can cause some kits to leak a little.  

On kits that have a button, you can also hold the button for a few seconds before inhaling to preheat the device. This can give a slightly stronger initial hit.

Another difference with vaping is that you may use the device more often than you smoked. This is because people tend to smoke a whole cigarette, while they only take a few puffs at a session when vaping.


When smoking you get the nicotine hit and sensation almost straight away. When vaping, the nicotine and sensation can take a little longer, but normally lasts for longer. So try to be patient and persevere. 

Young woman holding broken cigarette in front. Isolated on white.

Shopping for your first kit?

When shopping for your first kit, it can be a bit of a minefield. Keep in mind, vaping is slightly different to traditional smoking.

There are a lot of new terms and words that are not normally used outside of the vaping world. Atomizers, Coils, Tanks, Pods, Batteries, Mods and many more.

  • Atomizers or Coils. These are the little heating units that warm the liquids to make the vapour effect. They will need to be replaced once they have worn out. They can last anything from one week to four weeks on average. Sometimes you may get longer or shorter life span on them. The type of liquid can also have an effect on the lifespan of the coil. Sweeter dessert flavours will cause the coil to wear out quicker than menthol / fruity flavours.
  • Tanks and Pods are just the part that holds the liquid.

Electronic cigarette kits are devices and most of these will require minor maintenance and upkeep. Depending on the type of kit that you buy, this can include replacing parts, cleaning and refilling.

There are four main types of starter kit available. They will all contain the same three basic parts, a battery, a pod/tank to hold the liquid and a heating unit (atomizer/coil) to make the vapour.

Disposable Kits

These are the easiest and cheapest way to try out vaping. Disposable kits do not need charging or refilling with liquid, no buttons to push or settings to change. Just puff on them like a cigarette. Once they run out, you then throw them away (using a suitable disposal system, or simply return them to the shop for disposal). This is a great solution to anyone with disabilities, which could make the other types of kit more difficult to use. We do not normally recommend these as a longer-term solution because it will cost more over time.

Prefilled Pod Kits

These kits come with a battery that can be recharged. You just buy the pods that will already contain a heating unit and liquid. Again, this can be cheaper to get started, but will work out dearer in the longer term because you will need to continue buying the pre-filled pods.

Refillable Pod Kits

These are the most cost effective way to vape. You can recharge the batteries and you can fill the pods with normal vape liquid. Our basic and most popular kit only costs about the same as a normal packet of 20 cigarettes, and will come with everything you need get started. The pods will need replacing between one and four weeks, depending on how often you are using the device.

Refillable Tank Kits

These kits are suitable for more advanced users. They allow you to change the heating units (atomizers / coils) and some kits will allow you to customise the power and airflow systems. They also normally come with larger batteries and can be more suitable for heavier smokers.

Our staff will be able to advise you about the best options and we will give a full demonstration on how to setup your chosen kit once you have bought one. We will not try to sell you an expensive kit that you do not really need. In most cases, we always recommend the cheaper options for first time users. The only time that we would recommend one of the more powerful kits to a new user, would be if they were a heavy smoker and would benefit from the more powerful, larger batteries available on these kits.

There is no single off the shelf “perfect kit” that will cater for all users This is because we are all searching for something different from our vaping experience. Some people will prefer the simple zero maintenance disposable kits, some prefer kits with more control over how their vape functions.

There can be a lot to take in, experimentation and patience is the key. If you are still struggling with your first kit, do not give in. Pop back in and we will help you get the best from your kit. It could be as simple as switching your liquid flavour / strength, a different coil head, even adjusting your inhaling technique.

What liquid and strength to choose?

Tobacco and Menthol flavoured liquids are among the most popular with first time users, as they resemble in taste to normal cigarettes. One of the first things to improve when you stop smoking is your taste buds. Many people find that they prefer using flavours that are more adventurous, once they have moved away from smoking cigarettes. There is quite a large selection of flavours available and we have menu books available for customers to look through in the shop. A selection of our flavours and prices can also be found on this website.

It is important to know that tar, carbon monoxide and the many other chemicals found in normal cigarettes are the main components that cause all the bad harm, not the nicotine itself.

Nicotine levels are broken down into strengths, we tend to use the number of cigarettes smoked per day by the customer as a guide for the nicotine level required.

We will ask you how many cigarettes that you would normally smoke in a day. This will help us recommend the best strength for you to start on.

1-5 cigarettes a day = 0.3% (3mg/ml)

5-10 cigarettes a day = 0.6% (6mg/ml)                  

10-15 cigarettes a day = 1.2% (12mg/ml)

20+ cigarettes a day = 1.8% (18mg/ml)

This is not an exact science, however it is a widely used gauge that has served us well for many years.

Quitting smoking - male hand crushing cigarette

How to avoid smoking triggers?

Remembering the reasons why you wanted to move from smoking to vaping is important in helping to deal with, and potentially avoid these triggers. If it’s for financial reasons, health or any other, hold onto those reasons and think of them when you’re going through a smoking trigger, such as after eating a meal or first thing in the morning.

By keeping your device topped up with liquid and battery charged, you can substitute cigarettes by picking up your vape and using it instead of lighting up a cigarette.

Vaping will offer the sensations you desire when coming off cigarettes such as:

The hand to mouth action that you’re used to.

The inhaling/exhaling sensation that feels similar to smoking.

Nicotine delivery through vaping is a cleaner alternative.

Throat hit gives you that sensory response.

Vaping Myths

You may have heard or come across some of what we call “vaping myths” in the media, these are easily outweighed by the research, facts and knowledge that has been acquired over the years that vaping has existed.

Vaping is as harmful as smoking?

Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians state that e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than tobacco. Also in 2017 vaping was recommended during the UK government’s ‘Stoptober’ Campaign as a legitimate quitting aid.

Second hand vape?

The Lorillard Tobacco Company published a study that revealed passive vaping isn’t harmful; the levels of carcinogens found in vapour are the same levels found in the air we all breathe.

Popcorn lung?

Martin Dockrell of Tobacco Control Public Health England stated:

‘UK vapers have nothing to fear on popcorn lung’ the concern was raised due to some liquids containing Diacetyl which has been associated with popcorn lung. However, Diacetyl is banned for use in vaping in the UK.

More addictive?

There is no evidence to suggest this is true although Jean-Francois Etter carried out a study suggesting vaping to be less addictive than nicotine gum and both being less addictive than cigarettes.

Stop Smoking logo

Final Points.

Everyone’s journey to switch and leave smoking behind is different.

Do not lower your nicotine level until you are definitely ready. It is also better to gradually lower your level, rather than dropping too quickly.

Never hesitate to come into the shop for help, advice, questions and tips to further help you along. Remember that we have all made the transition from smoker to vaper.

Enjoy your switch over and keep yourself informed.

Join the many people who have made the leap. Our qualified team will help you make the switch to “Become Tobacco Free”.

Challenge 25 logo

Challenge 25 Age Checks

Electronic Cigarettes, e-liquid and associated products are age-restricted. You must be 18 years old or over to purchase these products. We operate the Challenge 25 age check scheme. If you are lucky enough to look under 25 years old, we will be asking for a valid photo ID before we can serve you. This can include a valid Driving License, a passport or a PASS id card bearing the PASS hologram.

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