Vaping has taken the world by storm over recent years. More than 9 million American adults use electronic cigarettes on a regular basis. But a new trend has raced through the vaping community – sub-ohm vaping. Horror stories talk about exploding batteries. And cloud chasers compete to create the largest plumes of vapor.
That’s two very different sides to one pastime.
So what is sub-ohm vaping – and is it safe?
What is it?
Sub-ohm vaping came from the desire to produce more vapor. Manufacturers investigated box modifications to make vaporizers more powerful. But they hit the threshold for increasing battery power. They couldn’t get any more power in the traditional way.
So they turned their attention to the coil. If you can reduce its resistance, more current passes through. It heats the coil and produces more vapor.
‘Sub’ just means below. So for sub-ohm vaping, the coil’s resistance needs to be below 1.0 ohm.
When the trend first began, you needed a mechanical modification. That involved all manner of batteries, coils, and even organic cotton.
There were a lot of components and you needed to understand what you were doing. It certainly wasn’t recommended for beginners. Or people who didn’t know how to build a mechanic device.
These days you just need a sub-ohm tank. You can plug one into any box that offers at least 30w.
Is it dangerous?
As with any pastime that involves chemicals and electricity, it can be. And it all comes down to the batteries. After all, the lower the resistance of the coil, the more power the batteries need to provide. But that puts a strain on them which can cause low-quality batteries to burst. That explains the exploding battery stories in the news.
The FDA have identified 134 incidents of overheating or exploding batteries between 2009 and January 2016. But if you take the necessary precautions, then you should be fine.
If you’re concerned about safety, then take good care of your device. Keep all of its threads, contacts, vent holes, and switches clean. Make sure you choose a well-vented mod. After all, the vent doesn’t just let heat escape. It also lets out any gasses in case your battery does fail.
Luckily most regulated mods have built-in controls to monitor resistance and temperature. If values go too low (voltage or resistance) or too high (temperature) then the mod should prevent damage. But not all mods can read those values accurately. Especially if they aren’t high quality. So double-check by investing in a reader. Check the ohms, volts, and watts of your device periodically.
It’s a good backup for the meter on your device.
Why do people do it?
Sub-ohm vaping produces huge clouds of vapor. That vapor is thicker and definitely bigger. Often, people choose to sub-ohm vape simply because it’s more fun. And some vapers even do tricks with the vapor. It gave rise to the term ‘cloud chaser’. They’re vapers who compete to create huge clouds of vapor. But that extra heat in the device also turns more e-liquid into vapor. That gives you a much richer flavor.
Some vapers choose sub-ohm vaping precisely for that deeper experience. It also makes the vapor warm. Warmer vapor helps to simulate the warmth of cigarette smoke.
What are the downsides of sub ohm vaping?
You need more kit to get into it. That can make it far more expensive than normal vaping. You’ll also need to buy more e-liquid than normal. Sub-ohm vaping uses up e-liquid much faster. So you’ll need to refill the tank more often. And therefore pay for more e-liquid.
Regulated vaping mods aren’t likely to explode in your hand. But if you’re not sure of your equipment, it can still be risky. It can also be more overwhelming. That extra vapor gives you both throat and lung hit. Beginners or vapers who like to inhale straight into the lungs often don’t like the extra hit.
And if you’re trying to hide the fact that you’re vaping, forget it. There’s simply no way to hide the gigantic clouds of vapor.
And then there are those safety concerns we talked about earlier. Some 90% of the world’s e-cigarettes are made in China. Commentators worry about the lack of safety standards.
So should I try it?
It’s entirely up to you! You don’t have to follow a trend, no matter how cool it might look. If you do want to try sub-ohm vaping, then get a regulated box mod. You’ll also need a sub-ohm tank. It’s incredibly dangerous to pair a hybrid top cap with a mechanical mod. And never ever use an unvented mod.
Manufacturers like Kangertech, Aspire, and VaporFi offer clearomizers for sub-ohming right out of the box.
Remember that all electronic cigarettes are actually powered by a battery. So you don’t need a degree in electrical engineering, but it’s helpful to know how they work. That’s especially the case if you want to start tinkering with your device.
So it’s a good idea to buy batteries actually intended for sub-ohm vaping. If you’re really keen on sub-ohm vaping then choose an e-liquid with a higher percentage of vegetable glycerin. It gives larger clouds than e-liquids containing higher levels of propylene glycol. Vegetable glycerin also has less of a throat hit than propylene glycol.
That’s important when you’re inhaling much more vapor. It’s also a good idea to use a nicotine strength of 6mg/ml or under. After all, you’re producing and inhaling far more vapor each time.
What if I’m not sure about sub-ohm vaping?
It’s okay to pass on it entirely. But if you want to try it, there is a beginner’s experience. Try using a sub-ohm tank with a lower wattage device, using the 1.2-ohm coils. You’ll get a wider airflow. So you’ll still get a ton of flavor and plumes of vapor.
You just won’t win any cloud competitions.
If you’re not sure you can follow the safety rules, then maybe it’s just not for you. You can always get more flavor using a high powered regulated mod. Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you stay safe!