So you want to stop smoking and start vaping? But where do you begin?

A complete guide on how to start Vaping

The world of vaping and e-cigarettes has grown exponentially over the last few years. There are so many vape devices coming to market it can be very confusing. Especially for smokers looking to transition to vaping or just how to start vaping. We are here to help.

Originally designed as an alternative to cigarettes without the many harmful carcinogenic substances found in tobacco smoke, electronic smoking devices have evolved to include everything from traditional e-cigarettes. Most vape devices aim to replicate the feel of a cigarette, whilst larger devices are enjoyed by those who love to produce huge clouds of vapour for fun.

If you are short on time and just want the summary – scroll down to the conclusion below.

If you want more information check out our 5 steps to successful vaping article.

Transitioning from cigarettes to vaping

If you’re looking to move away from smoking cigarettes it can be overwhelming trying to find the best option. With words like ‘pod mods’, ‘sub-ohm’, ‘mouth to lung’ making the world of e-cigs seem impossible to navigate. It can even be confusing enough to put you off trying to quit smoking completely.

Although there are hundreds of e-cigs and vape devices on the market, there are a few considerations when starting out to help you choose the right device. This guide explains some of the most important things to know and how to choose the perfect device to help you quit smoking vape for beginners - prefilled e liquid vape

Vaping Basics

Before you decide to give up vaping and start smoking there’s a few things to know to help you decide on the right device.

Nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes and the thing that makes it so hard to give up. On average, one cigarette contains around 12mg of nicotine, of which about 1mg is absorbed into your body. Cigarette smoke also contains other substances such as tar and tobacco which are damaging to health and carcinogenic.

All UK e liquids have to undergo strict regulations set out by the Tobacco Products Directive. Any harmful substances in e-liquid are generally only a trace amount *, making vaping a good transitional option for those wanting to quit smoking but who aren’t ready to stop nicotine altogether. Once you’ve started vaping, the range of e-liquids available (including no-nicotine options) means it’s possible to taper your nicotine consumption until you’ve stopped altogether.

In the last few years e-cigs have developed rapidly and there are now a huge number of devices available, including many that offer a satisfying experience close to that of a real cigarette.

What is Mouth-to-Lung Inhaling?Traditional beginners vape pen

MTL inhaling describes a type of inhalation where you hold the vapour in your mouth before taking it into your lungs. This is just how one smokes a cigarette, you take a draw into your mouth and then inhale.

Most people prefer Mouth-to-Lung inhaling (MTL) when they start vaping. It gives the closest feeling to smoking a cigarette with a tighter, more restricted draw (this means less air is drawn over the coil) and a strong throat hit. Vaping using the alternative method (DTL) is not intuitive. Devices relying on the DTL method should ideally be avoided when starting out. Later in your journey, if you desire, you could always experiment if that is what you want to do. But when you start, keep it simple.

MTL vaping can offer more flavour due to the lower amount of air added and the extra time the vapour spends in your mouth.

Which e-liquid to use for MTL?

Generally a high PG (propylene glycol) e-liquid is used for MTL vaping, providing a satisfying throat hit. Some people use nicotine salts, which deliver a smoother throat hit along with a faster nicotine hit. These are usually higher strength so are not suitable for Direct-to-Lung vaping.

It is important to get an e liquid that tastes like the tobacco taste that you are used to, we have evaluated many e liquids in our e liquid reviews. Many e liquids have a chemical aftertaste which can be off-putting and hinder the process of trying to stop smoking. Getting this right is an important step in making the transition.

V2 Vaping, one of the UK’s and Europe’s leading vape companies, offer what we consider the highest quality best tobacco tasting e liquids in both their pre filled cartridges and stand alone e liquid. The V2 Vsavi Red e-liquid is ideal for those who like the stronger tobacco taste. The V2 Vsavi Congress e liquid will suit those who prefer the milder tobacco taste. In addition V2 Vsavi have a wide choice of sweet and fruity flavours.

MTL devices are used with 12-20mg/ml strength nicotine to provide the equivalent amount of absorbed nicotine to a cigarette. While there are many flavours out there we suggest choosing a tobacco flavour to start with as this will be most familiar.

Our recommended e liquid – stronger tobacco taste

Our recommended e liquid – milder tobacco taste

What is Direct-to-Lung?

DTL vaping (also known as sub-ohm vaping) involves inhaling vapour directly into your lungs. To cool the vape down, more air must be drawn over the coil so Direct-to-Lung devices can produce large amounts of vapour; up to 10 times that exhaled with a cigarette. It can provide a more intense flavour as a greater volume of vapour is inhaled.

DTL gives an intense vape experience and can make some users cough or feel unwell, so it’s not ideal for those new to vaping and may be less effective at helping smokers to stop. It also uses considerably more e liquid than mouth to lung so will cost considerably more.

Recently, Restricted Direct-Lung has become available as an option between MTL and DTL. It gives an airy vape, though not quite as much as a full DL inhale. Less airflow is needed over the coil, and while the flavour experience is similar to DTL, the throat hit is more like MTL.

Which e-liquid to use for DTL vaping?

A higher VG (vegetable glycerin) ratio is usually chosen with DTL to give more vapour and a smoother vape.

The devices used for DTL are more powerful and produce more vapour. This means more nicotine, so a lower strength e-liquid is required, usually around 3mg or 6mg/ml.

Our recommended High VG DTL e liquid

Coils or Atomisers

Coils (also known as atomisers) are found inside the device and are what heat the e-liquid to turn it into vapour. They are available with different resistances (measured in ohms/Ω).

Higher resistance coils use less power and produce less vapour. These are typically used in the recommended smaller e cigarette style devices so require the higher concentration e liquid.

Lower resistance coils need more power and battery capacity, and produce more vapour. These are typically used in the larger sub ohm devices so require the lower concentration e liquid.

Which coil to use?

MTL vaping needs less e liquid, so usually uses a coil with a higher resistance. Many of these devices have coils that are optimised for the device. So, you do not need to get involved in choosing coils, which again makes it easier for new vapers.

As DTL vaping produces more vapour, lower resistance coils are used (generally less than 1.0 ohm).

So what is best when starting out – MTL or DTL?

DTL devices (such as mods) use a higher power, which vapourises a large amount of e-liquid with each inhalation. This means a lower concentration of nicotine is needed as so much more vapour is inhaled compared to cigarettes and MTL devices. While some users enjoy producing huge clouds, it doesn’t closely replicate the smoking experience and the devices used are often bulky.

It’s very easy to over-use DTL devices, taking in long draws and as a result even more nicotine. This can leave you feeling unwell and doesn’t help with giving up nicotine altogether.

With this in mind, we much prefer Mouth-to-Lung vaping for all but the most extreme vaping.

Which Device to Use?Modern vape pod for beginners

As we recommend Mouth-to-Lung vaping when transitioning from smoking, you’ll need a compatible device. There are many options out there – to help you out we’ve done a guide to the types of devices suitable for MTL vaping and ideal to help quit smoking.

We do not recommend the larger sub ohm DTL vape devices for those starting out their journey, this type of device will not give the familiar feeling of smoking and psychologically that can be unhelpful. The smaller vape pens and cigarette-like vape devices will give you a better chance of quitting as they will replicate your old smoking habit far more closely and feel more natural.

Cig-a-Like – First Generation

The first e-cigs available, these have a similar feel and look to a real cigarette for a painless transition to vaping. While the earliest versions were basic, advances in technology mean the latest models provide a satisfying alternative to cigarettes to help you stop smoking quicker. They produce vapour similar to the smoke created by smoking, adding to the realistic feel.

Getting the right device in this category will provide for the easiest transition to vaping. Make sure you use a reputable vape company as many products in this category are cheap and fall way below what is fit for purpose.

Due to their size, they generally have a lower battery capacity compared to other e-cigarettes, meaning they won’t last a full day of normal use. Some cig-a-likes now have a larger battery up to 350mAh (similar to larger vape pens), meaning you don’t need to worry about running out of power while out.

Generally it is always safer to have 2 or 3 batteries so that you never caught out without a device. When a battery runs flat it is easy to switch to the recharged battery and put the discharged battery back on charge ready for the next cycle.

Most cig-a-likes use disposable cartridges which contain the heating coil and e-liquid and attach to the main battery part. These cartridges are disposed of once the e-liquid runs out so are a little more expensive than refillable vaping options but do offer convenience. They are also considerably cheaper than smoking.

The simplest vape device to use. A perfect option for those looking for something with the familiar feel of a cigarette.

Our favourite cig-a-like vape device recommendations.

A more modern small scale vape device recommendations.


  • Closest feel to a real cigarette
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Very easy to use
  • Best chance of helping you quit


  • Lower quality devices may have a lower battery capacity
  • No adjustability
  • Disposable pods slightly more expensive than refillable ones

Vape Pens – Second Generation

Slightly larger than the cigarette sized e-cigs, vape pens are a very popular option, especially for new vapers. While not quite as small as a cig-a-like, they’re generally compact and lightweight. They give a similar feel to a real cigarette. But, many people still prefer our first option as they far more closely replicate the feel of a cigarette. If you want a superlight device, have a look at the smaller e liquid vape pens or alternatively the slightly larger but excellent XEO Void. The Void is ideal for heavier smokers looking to vaping as an alternative.

Vape pens are still simple to use and are an excellent choice when starting out. The best ones have adjustable settings to allow you to tailor your vaping experience. Devices use either prefilled or refillable pods, which these are cheaper and allow you to choose your e-liquid.

With a larger battery capacity than cig-a-likes, vape pens are designed for at least a full day’s use. They may have a button which is activates the coil and allows you to draw on the device.  Alternatively, they may be inhalation activated, meaning you simply need to inhale as you would on a cigarette.

Vape pens generally have a fixed power voltage so you can’t adjust the amount of vape produced. Voltage adjustment isn’t really necessary if you are choosing a vape device to help you stop smoking.

Our recommended small scale vape pens.

Our recommended small scale Pod vape pens.

Our recommended high spec vape pen

High spec vape pen for beginners


  • Improved battery capacity
  • Greater vapour production
  • Refillable options can offer better value and a huge choice of flavours


  • More expensive than cig-a-likes
  • Slightly larger so might not suit everyone

Conclusion: A simple recommendation on how to start vaping

It may appear that switching to vaping involves many, many decisions and it is daunting. The issue is that review sites attempts to offer perhaps too much information for some readers when attempting to educate all readers.

If you feel in any way confused or put off then perhaps best advice would be to offer a straight forward no fuss recommendation. It will help you switch from smoking to vaping. You can’t do much better when you start your journey than the following:

  1. The ideal no fuss vape kit from V2
  2. The ideal desktop Vape from Vsavi

Take the V2 Red 1.8% e liquid flavour option on either of the recommendations above if you prefer a stronger tobacco taste. Alternatively select the V2 Congress 1.8% flavour option if you prefer a milder tobacco taste.

Now you are set to start your journey! Many millions of vapers have already proved that being 100% smoke-free is a beneficial and achievable goal.

New to vaping infographic guide

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Greg Williams

Greg Williams

Greg Williams is an electrical engineer who enjoys tinkering with vapes to discover their inner workings. Greg’s informational articles clarify the complex aspects of vaping to help everyone have a better experience.