Let’s Start Here
Vape culture has grown and diversified over the years as vaping has become more popular. From the beginning there were always some who wanted to take their vaping experience to a new level, pushing the technology or wanting to see what tricks and fun could be had with this new phenomenon.
As vapers shared their experiences a new alternative scene developed as like-minded vapers came together to focus on what they enjoyed most about vaping.
Vapers have developed into different groups and subcultures over the last decade. These groups include people focused on quitting smoking who’ll trade tips, advice and support as well as juice connoisseurs, modders, cloud chasers, sub-ohm vapers and many more.
Juice connoisseurs take pride in experiencing a wide variety of flavours and knowing what makes the perfect e-liquid for them. Modders on the other hand are all about improving and customising their equipment while cloud chasers focus on producing the biggest clouds of vapour as well as vaping tricks and stunts.
For many of us the various aspects of vape culture add something extra to our vaping experience. Whether you’re interested in customising your equipment, learning new tricks, sharing your vaping experience with others or receiving support and encouragement from people who’ve successfully quit smoking then the vape community has what you’re looking for.
Modders And Cloud Chasers
Modders are arguably the first vaping subculture. Modding involves technical and artistic skill as vapers try to improve their equipment or alter the appearance to give their kit a distinctive style. Some of the improvements in vaping technology that have become common over the years originated from the modding community.
Modding began as a response to the limited options available when vaping products were first released. Some vapers wanted a customised and improved experience and modders were the ones who decided to get hands on and make the improvements themselves. The first modders were British entrepreneurs Umer and Tariq Sheikh, who invented a mechanism that integrates the heating coil into the liquid chamber in 2007.
Early vape devices weren’t designed to be taken apart and customised, but over the last decade new kits have been developed with modders in mind, making modding more accessible than ever.
Cloud chasers are vapers who enjoy producing the biggest possible cloud of vapour when they vape. This pursuit can be casual or competitive with cloud chasers customising their equipment to create massive plumes of vapour. For many cloud chasers a big part of the fun and challenge is learning and developing new tricks, creating elaborate clouds with distinctive and impressive shapes.
Cloud chasing overlaps with sub-ohm vaping, but the two activities can be done separately. Not all cloud chasers use sub-ohm vaping and not all sub-ohm vapers also chase clouds.
Cloud chasing can be done for fun as a relaxing pastime, but some vapers have developed the activity into a sport. Either way, cloud chasing is often seen as a more advanced form of vaping as producing thick plumes as well as the various tricks can take a lot of practice and skill.
Competitive or professional vapers take part in cloud chasing competitions where they’re judged on size of cloud as well as tricks like producing vapour rings, balls, streams or ripples. Cloud chasing competitions are growing in popularity with a number of international events as well as local competitive circuits. These competitions offer prize money that can be as high as thousands of pounds and the top cloud chasers often have sponsorship deals too.
Sub-ohm And Squonking
Sub ohm vaping uses coils which have a resistance of less than one ohm. This creates more vapour with each hit without the drawbacks of producing excessive heat or burning the wick which can be a problem with other methods to produce larger clouds. More vapour also means a larger inhale which allows sub-ohm vapers to absorb more nicotine without increasing the level in their juice.
The lower the resistance of the coil, the more electrical power can pass through it which creates more heat. Sub ohm vaping uses lower resistance and increased airflow to produce more vapour. Until recently vapers didn’t have access to the high quality batteries that we use today, which made sub ohm vaping more dangerous as this technique puts extra strain on the battery.
Although sub-ohm vaping has some disadvantages as it’s a bigger drain on batteries and juice as well as potentially being more dangerous, there are three main advantages. Firstly, sub ohm vaping produces clouds that are far larger than those from regular vaping. Secondly, because sub ohm vaping often has a stronger throat hit, warmer vapour and faster rate of nicotine absorption the experience is closer to the feel of a tobacco cigarette. And finally some vapers believe that sub-ohm vaping increases the flavour, although others disagree, so this might be a matter of personal taste.
Squonking involves bottom-feeding, vapers squeeze a bottle into the bottom of their mods, expanding the amount of juice available and forcing extra juice into the atomiser. Squonking has only recently become popular and the process creates new opportunities for modders and vapers wanting to customise their experience.
Dripping, or drip-vaping, is the process of dripping e-liquid directly onto the coil of an atomiser and inhaling the vapour. The juice soaks into the wick before being heated by the coil and turned into vapour. Dripping can be messy and tricky to pull off as well as dangerous if done wrong, so it’s considered a more advanced vaping technique.
Regular vaping, without dripping, involves filling the e-liquid tank with juice that is then drawn through the wick and heated by the atomiser’s coils. This produces vapour which is inhaled through the mouthpiece. Many vaping devices have the atomiser and tank together as one unit while more modular devices have the atomiser and juice tank as separate components. Dripping bypasses the tank and instead the e-liquid is dripped directly onto the exposed coil.