Beginner’s Guide to ecigs

Beginner’s guide to electronic cigarettes.

Keep Calm and Quit smokingGetting started with electronic cigarettes is really easy but if you look around the internet for help you’ll find that most of the sites are confusing as anything. The forums are populated by ecigarette geeks all discussing “mods” and “vape” and “attys” and “carts” and frankly it can seem like learning Chinese to the ecigarette beginner. Here we answer the questions

What should I look for in an electric cigarette?

What is the best electric cigarette for a beginner?

Which electronic cigarette starter kit should I buy?

Don’t worry – it’s not at all confusing if you look in the right place, and luckily for you, this is the right place.

Step 1:

You could read through my blog entries to familiarize yourself with how I got started but let’s be honest I’m not a great writer and you’ll probably need a cigarette to get through it.

I’ve summarised the 5 most important things to look for in an ecigarette as follows:


1: Vape (the smoke).

The true test of an electronic cigarette is the amount of vapour (known as vape) it can produce. Vape is important because it’s the number one factor in making the electric smoking experience seem real. The more real it feels the less likely you’ll be tempted by a real cigarette.

2: Battery life.

Battery life is extremely important for e-cigarettes and until very recently has been a big problem. Now though you will be able to find an electric cigarette of a reasonable size that will give you a few hours of battery life. Without a decent battery life you’ll find that mid way through a night out your battery has run out and you’ll end up smoking real cigarettes.

3: e-nicotine storage and delivery

The cartridges that store your e-nicotine need to be big enough to last for a long time and efficient enough to deliver a lot of vape. The old-style lint in a plastic filter just don’t cut it. Yet again you’ll find that midway through an evening you’ll run out of e-nicotine and you’ll either be forced to refill (messy with the old cartridges) or else you’ll (you’ve guessed it) end up smoking real cigarettes.

4: Aesthetics.

The best looking electric cigarettes are NEVER the best performer. If your e-cigarette looks like a real cigarette then it’s not going to last. It will do for a starter kit to see if you like electric cigarettes but it won’t have the power to help you quit properly. It used to be that to have real power you had to carry around a huge ecigarette (like the Screwdriver Mk2) but thankfully these days you can have power and a compact unit.

5: Price

Don’t be too tight when buying an ecigarette – You’ll see some advertised for around $15 – forget them! They are more likely to put you off the experience than help you to decide.

Your first starter kit should cost at least $35/€40 and if you’ve decided to go for it longer term look to spend double that. It’s well worth it.


The fact is, when you’re starting to use ecigarettes (known as “vaping” to the geeks) you really need a starter kit.

Now you can try as an absolute beginner to start with a kit that actually looks like a cigarette – I wouldn’t really recommend it but if you’re on a tight budget and you are a light smoke it is an option.

Whether you choose the relaistic-looking option or the more advanced less-realistic option the ideal starter kit needs to be;

  • Simple (to set up and to use)
  • Effective (It needs to be good enough to show you the benefits of “vaping” and help you quit real cigarettes (real cigarettes are called “analogs” by the ecig geeks)
  • Reasonably priced (Electronic cigarettes aren’t for everyone and so there’s no point jumping in and buying the most expensive model if you’re only going to give it away after a week)

Step 2:

You can choose to do Step 4 first if you like (read the electrocigarette glossary) but it won’t help you in your first purchase as we’re recommending products that fit the criteria set out in Step 1.

OK so step 2 is really simple – choose from one of the following recommended kits:*

Realistic looking ecigarette starter kits:

Taking all that into consideration, and based on years of usage I recommend the two following products.

As a starter kit: Neat Cigs starter pack (United Kingdom)

An excellent starter pack that looks good and gives you enough power to really judge if electronic cigarettes are for you without costing too much.

Try this if you’re unsure. A good starter pack that looks stylish at a great price £19.99 UK

United States:

Go for the Smart Cigs starter kit. There’s a $19.95 recahrgeable basic kit but I’d cut straight in for the $39.95 kit which will give you performance midway between a starter and an advanced, and if you’re not a heavy smoke will likely be all you’ll ever need.

Choose a mixture of strengths and flavors from those on offer that come with the kit for the best experience.



For keeps: The Joye Ego/Tornado tankJoye Ego ecig (Tornado tank)

An excellent product in every way. Small enough to fit easily into a jacket pocket, stylish enough to use anywhere and with lots of vape, storgae and battery life it won’t let you down at the longest of parties.
Advanced starter kit:

For a more advanced but non-realistic looking kit I would currently recommend you spend about $£50 on one of the Ego Tank models.

No specific supplier, everybody stocks a form of this ecig. Just look for the best offer at the moment.

These go by the name of Joye Ego tank, Tornado Tank and others. If you can get hold of the VVC (Variable Voltage models)

You can read my review of the VVC ecig in a recent post.


Step 3: Enjoy your newfound freedom from cigarettes and experiment with different flavours of enicotine liquid (“vaping juice”) until you find your perfect smoke. Congratulations, soon you’ll have more energy, more money and you won’t stink! Honestly platitudes aside vaping is a lifesaver and if you get the right flavour for you it’s really pleasurable.

make sure you try a combination of juice types, VG or PG, some can have very minor side affects on some people.

Step 4: Read the glossary

The glossary is not necessary for new electronic cigarette users but it is handy when you decide you want to move on from your starter kit and experiment with more types of ecigarettes.

Electronic Cigarette Glossary:

Analog/Analogue – Electric cigarette users often refer to normal cigarettes as analogs (ie not digital/computerised)

Atomizer/Atty – The atomizer heats the liquid nicotine (vape juice) and turns it into a vapour so that it can be inhaled. Atomisers are the key component of an ecigarette and don’t last forever so be sure to get spares when you make a purchase (starter kits will have spares).

Automatic Battery – Some ecigarettes use an automatic battery (puff and inhale) others use a manual battery (press, wait, puff, inhale). Automatic batteries are more convenient but generally give less performance and less vapour.

Cartomizer/Carty – A combination of an atomizer and a cartridge; cannot be used with e-liquid.

Cartridge/Cart – A refillable cartridge for enicotine liquid.  The alternative to a “cartomizer” and more widely used.

Disposable – Disposable e cigarettes are not rechargeable and designed for use as backup or as trials – my advice – don’t bother with them unless you’re going on a long sailing or hiking trip with no electricity.

Electric cigarette, elecgtrocigarette, ecig, digital, All terms for the actual electric cigarette unit.

E-Cigar – The cigar version of the electronic cigarette

Flavours – Both e-liquid and cartridges come in a variety of flavours, there are hundreds of flavours available and you can make your own.

Manual Battery – A manual e cigarette battery is the alternative to the automatic battery. The user must press a button to initiate the atomiser and then inhale.

Micro – Follow up to the pen style ecigarette – more closely resembling a real cigarette in size.

Pen Style – See the Gamucci cigarette I began with on the blog as an example. A long ecig that resembles a pen in size.

Propylene Glycol – This is the liquid generally used to create the smoke or vapour. It is used in a range of food and cosmetics and has been declared safe for use in those things.

Vape – Use an electric cigarette – To vape is the equivalent of to smoke it refers to the vapour given off by the ecig.

Vaping Juice: Nicotine liquid for the ecigarettes – usually flavoured and in different strengths. Can be VG or PG.

Vaper – A person who vapes.


Good luck and if you need any help or have any questions please feel free to email me at