5 Clarifications About Vaping and eCigs

Like many of our contemporaries, this summer the gf and I joined the Vape Revolution. If you haven’t heard yet, vaping is the latest rage, promising a healthy alternative to smoking. Smoke shops have been carrying eCigarettes and glycerin for years, but the market has been flooded and a boom has begun that, like the budding marijuana industry, is challenging both Big Tobacco and Pharmaceutical in unexpected and unpredictable ways.

Not wanting to simply pick up another bad habit, we both researched several topics thoroughly prior to investing in our eCigs. We’ve been experimenting with both the hardware and juice recipes while contacting the owners of eJuice brands we enjoyed like Dominick Arpey from Greenman and Endora Schmidt at Ace eJuice. We discussed the topic with each other and several friends, tagging along with several purchases in small vape stores and picked the brains of everyone we could, and here are five of the interesting facts, misconceptions, and inconsistencies we’ve come across:

1 – Vaping Means Different Things to Different People…

When asking around, you discover very quickly that vaping, much like smoking, means very different things to different people. Marketing efforts target cigarette smokers with eCigarettes so we generally associate vaping with replacing the vice of smoking cigarettes. Keep in mind, however, that people have a variety of vices – eCigarettes aren’t the only vaporizers in town.

When discussing the topic, it turns out some people hear vaping and think of Skippy62Able’s YouTube video, showing everyone how to “smoke alcohol.” Since then, adults have turned it into a silly fad, while kids discovered a much better method of siphoning their parent’s liquor than watering it down and adding food dye like I did. Vaporizing alcohol to “smoke” simply involves corking the bottle, sticking a hand pump in it, and pumping until you can’t, pressurizing the alcohol. Pop the cork, and inhale, getting trashed of a highly efficient alcohol delivery system.

The potheads in the crowd know of another type of vaping, which is the herbal vaporizer. These accomplish basically the same thing as the liquid vape methods used above for alcohol and nicotine but are used for any herb, including medicinal and therapeutic herbs such as the buds of marijuana and poppy, as well as coca leaves. Herbal and liquid vaporizers evaporate substances with similar mechanisms, but at different temperatures.

(…Skippy also ate a Big Mac in one bite, which is pretty cool…watch it here…)

2 – Vaping Isn’t Allowed Everywhere…

Regardless of what type of vaporizer you use, people are already up in arms where you live. Advocacy groups are outraged about these devices that look like cigarettes and may encourage a whole new generation to get hooked on nicotine. Old people are always so misinformed and misguided in their efforts to save us from ourselves.

Now, thanks to those groups (which are more often than not filled with Xanax- and Oxycodone-pill poppers), vapers are in the beginning stages of being shunned like smokers. For those of you who haven’t seen Mad Men, smoking was once allowed in hospitals – nowadays you can’t smoke within 500 feet of civilization in many communities. In 20 years, eCig equipment may be difficult to find, but the juice will still be available on the consumer market. This is because…

3 – eJuice Uses the Same Base as Cough Syrup…

eJuice is made of 2 substances: vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG). Vegetable glycerin is used to dissolve the drug (nicotine, in the case of eCigarettes). It’s a plant-based fat-compound similar to vegetable oil, but with a different consistency. Fat is a necessary drug delivery system, so the most common use of VG is in cough syrup, although it is also used in consumer humidifiers.

Propeylene glycol is used in theatrical smoke machines. This substance is less natural and scientifically untested for consumption, although there is a food grade PG you can purchase. Like VG, PG can be easily purchased in retail stores and online. This make it easy to make your own eJuice (also known as eLiquid).

4 – Many Drugs Can Be Vaped…

SNL made a funny skit this season mocking eMeth, but the idea isn’t far-fetched. Although Pfizer and the government has gotten increasingly intelligent about stopping drug abuse, the surge in popularity of the vape and eCig industries has many people worried. Many drugs can be dissolved into glycerin and oil (or similar oils that can be activated with an eCig cartomizer), and some are prescribed that way.

Rather than sippin on some sizzurp (aka purple drank – a mixture of codeine syrup and sprite), people can pour the thick, purple, codeine syrup into an eCig and vape it. Cocaine is water soluble and dissolves in VG at room temperature. Nicotine, THC, and most opiates are infused into the oil by seeping, double boiling, and other, much more dangerous, methods. Whatever your vice is, there’s a good chance it can be vaped. Just be very careful with the dosage, and don’t get too bold with it, because…

5 – Vape Has An Odor…

eCigs are advertised as having no odor, but that’s simply not true. While the odor dissipates quickly, it does exist. Not only can you smell the strong flavors in some of the nicotine mixes, illicit eJuices have telltale signs as well. Whether buds, hash, or kief, seeping marijuana into your juice leaves a distinct cannabis taste and smell. Vaping cocaine smells very much like freebase or crack. The tobacco used has a distinct flavor as well.

The smell isn’t strong, and it doesn’t stay long, but it exists. If you were to vape hash oil while standing next to someone, they would most definitely smell it…and you’re the only guy laughing to yourself on the street.

Brian Penny versability whistleblower artisticBrian Penny is a former Business Analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower, freelance consultant, and troll. He’s a frequent contributor to The Street, Cannabis Now, and Fast Company, Huffington PostMainstreetLifehack, and HardcoreDroid.


Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer.

One thought on “5 Clarifications About Vaping and eCigs

  • June 17 at 7:02 pm

    You state incorrectly,
    “…you can fill an eCig tank with just flavored vegetable glycerin,
    however you won’t get the smoke effect.
    …The more PG you add, the more vapor you get,
    although a max of 20 percent is sufficient.”

    PG does not produce as much vapor as VG… and you
    can fill an eCig tank with VG and produce a pronounced
    smoke effect…


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: