The Vape Subculture

I have been thinking a lot about this subject since writing up an article about Vape Jam UK last weekend.  With all that was going on, I figured it is time to dive into the “vast vape sea”, a place where many want to bring a unique stamp to the mega subculture of vaping.

So what’s up with all this we are hearing about Cloud-Chasing competitions or Extreme Vapers?  A lot is up. In fact, the UK is officially hosting this year’s World Series of Cloud Chasing, and there is plenty of time to try and get involved if you have the power lungs to do so.

Qualifying events are taking place around the UK from April 1st -June 11 2016 in places like Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Camden Town. To find out more about these locations have a look on the WSCC site here. The final event will take place in August.  This is a pretty desirable title UK Cloud-Chasers.

The ‘Vape Culture’ has trickled into the UK slowly, and is now building momentum. The industry is growing rapidly here according to Smallbusiness.co.uk, “Just last year, e-cig use had grown by 24 per cent on the previous year, with 2.6 million adults using them in the UK alone”  It has been a monstrous industry in America, and in the next ten years it is predicted by the ‘Global E Cigarette & Vaporizer Market – Analysis & Forecast Through 2015 to 2025’, that the market will see growth of around £50 billion pounds!!!  I believe it.

There are entities, including the tobacco industry trying to control, and also cash into the industry (Vuze and Blu being examples you can pick up at petrol stations), but that is an article for another time.  This is all about the ‘Vape Subculture’ rising to popularity among the alternative vape set.

CLOUD-CHASING

cloud chasing competition Las Vegas
Cloud Chasing face off, Vape Summit 3, Las Vegas, May 2015

Extreme Vaping aka Cloud-chasing is a like a wild west duel that sometimes grants the winner cash prizes or sponsorships. Using customised vapes called ‘mods’ – the goal is to intake as much vapour as possible, and who ever can exhale the largest cloud of smoke is donned champion.  Not an easy task without choking on the smoke. It’s more of a pride of place thing for these extremists.

Most cloud-chasers use a higher VG (vegetable gylcerin) with a small ratio of PG (propylene glycol) because VG burns much faster. An 80/20 ratio is common practice for some, although these ratios are down to individual preference.  Read more about what PG and VG are here.

Cloud-chasers build their own ‘mods’ as aforementioned, preferably using RDA’s (rebuildable dripping atomisers) with coils made from various types of wires. The wick, which is usually made of a type of cotton, is saturated with vape juice, a battery heats the coil and at intake, airholes allow for greater clouds. Sub-ohming or Subbing is the technique of heating the coil at a reading below one which generates more heat to the coil…it is a practice to be done by people who really understand what they are doing…certainly not for beginners. You can build up to it of course.

A surprising fact is that Cloud-Chasers are clean-edge, rarely having any nicotine in their vape juice.  Good thing I would say.  There has also been a lot of debate going around about cloud-chasers being rude and vaping giant clouds around innocent bystanders.  This is not considered good practice by anyone deeply rooted in this culture, nor is it for the innocent victim walking into a massive cloud of ‘mango-condensed milk’ smoke (wait…that sounds nice).  Professional vapers by no means would approve.

Don’t be a ‘vape douche’, as it is officially called, most people are vaping to get past old habits and trying to ease onto better ones, they do it discreetly. Vapers don’t really need the stress or the backlash of those inconsiderate individuals. Some pubs allow vaping indoors as it is not really regulated. It is up to the individual landlord, but as a vape advocate, you should know when the room is getting too smoky and take it outside. You did it with cigarettes!

VAPE PARTIES

What in the world is a ‘Vape Party’ you ask?  We all love a good party don’t we now?  Take a moment to picture yourself in a room with a full bar ready to make some fancy cocktails and a fridge stocked with craft beer, then suddenly, in comes a group of your cutest girl friends dressed to kill with little trays of vape juice, DIY or your brand of preference. They also are carrying trays of appetisers to compliment your careful selection of vape juice. Perhaps it is chocolate and fruity vape flavours like strawberry. Strawberry vape juice and champagne sounds like a match to me.

The possibilities are endless at these parties popping up in a hipster neighbourhood near you. Don’t let them steal all the fun, get on it. You can ‘Guess the Vape Flavour’, have a cloud-vaping, vape tricks or vaping while hoola-hooping competition. You get the picture.  If you want a more toned down affair just serve coffee.  Coffee and donut flavoured vape juice could be a marvellous pairing.

UNDER-AGED VAPERS(siiighhh): Rebels looking for a cause

Kids now are wanting to join in on the big Vape scene, it happened with cigarettes, now it is happening with vaping.  Good thing vaping is a lot safer. Vape shops are really strict about  asking for ID, and do not push it on the younger generation.  It is just the way it always has been throughout history, people want what they cannot have, especially teenagers.  Remember the neighborhood drunk you paid an extra pound so he could buy you some Stella?  Desperate times call for desperate measures. Keep any eye out for those little buggers.

VAPEMANIA

Hyper-zealous vapers spend hours on Vape Forums having ‘vapegasms’ over DIY Vape Juice or the latest trending Nic-Juice (vape juice) on the market, or tagging Vape Selfies and videos of themselves doing tricks with Twitter hashtags like #vapelife. There are even Vape Soundtracks out there for your vape geek listening pleausre. Vape Cafes have cropped up in London were you can rent a vape while sipping a nice coffee. It’s a Vape Takeover!

Some vapers are seduced by the technology and gadgetry aspect , others by the desire to quit smoking, and some by the subculture and branding aspect that appeals to a cooler generation, especially ‘Generation Y’, who have been given the freedom to toke on a spliff in certain parts of the world, and often vape with cannabis wax or oils that are regulated by local and government authorities.

If you wish to actually be guided by a professional into vaping in order to quit smoking, or if you would like to take the next step into being a ‘modder’ (building your own vape gear) for cloud-chasing, we have our very own specialist vape shop in Hereford on East Street called CCR Vape Bar. These guys know what they are doing, and are fully stocked with supplies for all your vaping needs. I suspect Simon Field, owner of CCR Vape Bar, will soon be introducing new flavours into the shop after attending the Vape Jam UK convention.

Featured image by Citizen Vape.

ccr vape bar hereford

 

Hey Vapers and Modders, it is Vape Jam UK Weekend in London

So if you can picture a big cloud of smoke emanating from various exhibiton stalls in the ExCel London venue, with hints of every scent you can imagine: peach, coconut, donuts, black current, and the list goes on and on, then you can picture the second annual Vape Jam UK convention taking place over 3 days (started yesterday).  Tomorrow is the last day, so if you don’t already know about it get down there.  Of course, if you are a hard core vaper then you already know about it right? Entry is £15.  Rumours are that they occasionally throw free samples of vape juice into the crowd.  Good thing I am not there because my competitive streak would kick in.

Highlights from last years first Vape Jam UK convention.  It genuinely looks fantastic with hoola hoop vapers and lots of cool alternative humans fighting the cigarette demons. No telling what you will find this year, but this is the place to be if you vape ladies and gents.

To find out more about Vape Jam Uk 2016 go this link

Now if you can’t make Vape Jam UK in London this year, visit CCR Vape Bar, our very own beautifully stocked vape shop in Hereford on East Street, which offers a nice selection of juices and vape kits to get you started, and plenty of gadgets for seasoned ‘modders’.

I swear by them, they have helped me out many times without batting an eye when I have fumbled with my vape issues.  I really don’t have an engineering mind, or is it common sense?  Vaping is pretty straight forward,  it is just me missing a chromosome.

Featured image taken from http://pureorganicvapors.com/general/vape-jam-uk-interview/

Vapeology; 3 Easy steps to quit smoking and begin vaping with the Athena 20T VW/VV Box Mod Kit

Picture1A CCR Vape Bar Series

 

DESIRE

quit

When I decided that this had to be the time I actually succeeded in giving up smoking, it was fuelled by a ‘Desire’ to improve my health for the long term.  The desire is then superseded by the intention to get in touch with our healthier self, valuable  in maintaining the commitment to the idea, and in taking the initial step.

I woke up one morning and decided to remove all temptation, I discarded all smoking paraphernalia from my home to prevent aiding any temptation should a moment of weakness over come me, which consisted of several items: Tobacco, papers, filters, a rolling machine, Nicorette inhalator refills that were never used because they never worked, and finally Honeyrose herbal tobacco, a nightmare in itself.  I tried it all over the years, these were just my most recent attempts.

I realize my will power has never been on point, and there is the chances I may find the occasional cigarette appealing – but if I can avoid it, I will.  It’s fine, I will forgive myself and begin again, a method that is bringing me much success in various aspects of my life.  I feel free already!

THE CONSULTATION

I often wonder what people are thinking when they randomly buy E-cigarettes at petrol stations, or in the larger supermarket chains.  It is really important to understand what it is you are committing to.  Your hard earned cash should mean something to you, since most of us don’t have a lot to spare these days.  Let’s also not forget, your body is a temple…so they say.

CCR Vape Bar Hereford
CCR Vape Bar Lounge – perfect environment for a relaxed consultation.

Buying an E-cigarette/Vapouriser from a specialist shop means you can ask questions and receive informed answers.  Simon Field, who owns CCR Vape Bar on West Street in the Hereford city centre with his lovely wife Lisa, gave me a thorough consultation.  His patience with the multitude of questions I had for him was most admirable; his shop assistants, Rob, Leon and Brian are just as notable.

MY VAPE KIT

This kit is really crucial for an effective and pleasurable experience.  Assuming you are looking for a way to free yourself from the harmful carcinogens in tobacco, you have to take your smoking habits into consideration to allow yourself a smooth transition.

If you smoke 40 cigarettes a day, you won’t be starting with the Vape Juice I am using.  I was on an average, a 10 cigarettes a day girl, there were also those times when indulgences were involved, like cocktails…always leading to heavier smoking.  No worries, there is a formula for you, and an effective routine that will gradually wean you off the higher nicotine Juice formulas.  Anything is better then 40 fags a day!

Athena 20t VW/VV Box Mod Pink, Element 555 e liquid, Element pink lemonade E liquid
Athena 20t VW/VV Box Mod and Element Vape juice…Pink Lemonade is a winner.

The vapouriser Simon chose for me is an Athena 20t VW/VV Box Mod.  Yes, it’s pink, no worries…it comes in a variety of cool colours, including a sleek silver.  It consists of a battery, basically the body.  It has an OLED screen that displays voltage, watts and seconds.   It also displays battery life, which begins to flash at 5% to inform you it is time to quickly get it charged.

It is a Variable Voltage device, meaning that you can control the Throat Hit, (the sensation you feel in the back of your throat after inhaling)  when you adjust the voltage or watts, depending on your preferred vapouriser.

The Plus/Minus keys below the OLED control the watts, which adjust the heat and power produced.  I am on 8 watts, perfect for me.  I get the hit I need to feel satisfied.  It really makes for an easy transition from smoking that icky stuff known as tobacco, (how I could have had such a dysfunctional love affair with the stuff for so long??).

There is a ‘Fire’ button above the OLED that you hold down when taking a hit, and release when finished.  Do not hold it down for more then 10 seconds, or the output will shut down.

The OLED screen also displays the seconds.  If you inhale for more then 10 seconds, the screen will say ‘more then 10 seconds’, and shutdown the output, as I previously mentioned.  The ‘Fire’ button is also the power button.  You click it 5 times to turn it On/Off.

Important: Using the Correct Charger

There is a USB port under the Plus/Minus keys, where you can plug in the USB cable that comes with the kit.  It is really important people take charging instructions seriously.  The reports you hear on the news about E-cigarettes are catching fire is due to being charged on incompatible devices that make them short circuit.

I was told to charge my Athena 20T on the laptop.  I am sure there are other options, I am happy with that for now.  I will research other methods later…just be certain to ask the person helping you select your vapouriser how to charge it. So important.

The tank on this device is an atomiser, and the mouth piece is a ‘Drip Tip’…it basically keeps the liquid from pouring out in your bag/pocket.  There are 2 adjustable air holes that when open, is compatible to a loosely rolled cigarette, and facilitates the inhale.  For example, if you rolled a tight cigarette, you would have the same experience with the air holes almost closed – and the opposite with the air holes fully open.  I use mine 3/4 open.

The Ingredients in Vape Juice/Liquid

CCR Vape Bar - the best vape juice seletion
Vape Juice comes in a variety of Nicotine strengths and flavours

Lastly, the Vape Juice/Liquid combined with the vapouriser that suits you accordingly, is what makes the experience worthwhile.  I am using an Element brand 50/50 PG and VG mixture.  To educate you a bit more on this subject, I have done my research.  I needed to know what I was about to put into my body.  It is bad enough I have smoked as long as I have, I didn’t fancy doing more damage.

The Four Main Ingredients in Vape Juice/Liquid:

PGPropylene Glycol, an organic glycerol, and a petroleum by-product, is used as a flavour suspension liquid…(not to be mistaken with Diethylene Glycol, found in mass market E-cigarettes, the main ingredient in anti-freeze).

VGVegetable Glycirin, a flavourless, food grade suspension liquid (99.7% pure and .3% water), sometimes used as an alternative to PG, generally made from palm or coconut oil.  VG and PG are sometimes combined to adjust the consistency of the Juice.  PG is flavourless, while VG tends to have a sweeter taste, but is thicker and can build up on the coil.

The Flavourings – are food grade as well, and can be artificial or natural.  There is a wide range of flavours, there is even a Virginia tobacco flavoured Juice on the market.  Switching flavours regularly can turn Vaping into an expensive habit

Pharmaceutical Grade Nicotineranges from 0 to 36 milligrams.  I started with a 1.2 ml tobacco flavoured juice that has a caramel after taste, and a Pink Lemonade Juice, both made by Element, an American brand.  UK brands are also available.

According to an article in the Summer 2015 issue of Vapour Magazine, “The Royal Society for Public Health says – Nicotine by itself is no more harmful then caffeine”

The nicotine in these juices doesn’t fully absorb into the blood stream, and absorbs much slower than the nicotine in cigarettes.  According to an article in the Summer 2015 issue of Vapour Magazine, “The Royal Society for Public Health says – Nicotine by itself is no more harmful then caffeine”.  Proceed with caution, but be aware that this is the better choice for long term smokers, and a passage way to giving up smoking permanently for many.

My kit retails at £34.99, and the Juices range from £2.50 to £5.00.  The coil in the kit needs to be changed bi-weekly.  They range from £2.50 for 1 and £8 for 4.  This in the long term works out more cost effective than smoking…given you change the coil and don’t plug it into the wrong charging outlet.

There is a 10% fail rate in giving up smoking when you have come over to the Vape side.  That is pretty optimistic since I don’t plan on being one of the 10%.  In my first week of vaping I am happy to report I crave cigarettes less and less.  I am careful not to over vape, so that it is not counter productive.  I find it quite easy to manage and rather relaxing.

…Stay tuned for more on the big world of vaping in this series, as I enter deeper into the vape culture.

Note: all views are my own, and any discrepancies fall under my liability.  CCR Vape Bar is not liable for any factual errors, or personal opinions.  I am merely a student of the vape culture and industry,  a determined ex-smoker.

 

 

 

Vapeology; A long term smokers journey into Vaping.

quit smoking with vaping herefordWe all have New Year Resolutions that mean something BIG in the greater scope of our lives.  In fact, there are probably several that make the list year after year, only to become obsolete three weeks in. Certainly that must be the average New Year resolution attention span.

I recollect the time I aspired to become a yoga teacher, although ‘Finger to Toe’ pose remains a pipe dream to this day, also the numerous times I promised myself to quit smoking, a bad habit I have mastered over 20 years.

I have never been a ‘pack a day’ kind of girl, but the habit had its place in my day to day routine.  Mastered to the point of artistry; a cigarette with a cup of coffee, a cigarette with a cocktail…you get the picture.  It was all too pleasant, so much so, quitting became a burden.  I often called it ‘the art of living’.  Excuses Excuses.

Several trips to the NHS, packs of Nicorette chewing gum, patches and inhalators later, I would once again find myself in the shop cue buying that dreaded ‘Just one pack’, which would lead me astray yet again.

As with many things in life, all good things must come to an end, or in this case, the self-destructive behaviour needed to come to an end. This year feels different, the time feels right, my brain can take the toxic overload no more.  I am ready to quit smoking by channelling my inner willpower and of course receive guidance by the vaping Gurus at CCR Vape Bar on West Street in the Hereford city centre.

On my journey to successfully quit smoking, I encountered the vape movement.  Yes movement, by a group of determined quitters who despite all efforts, find inhaling that cloud of smoke much to enjoyable to depart with.  This is where I conclude that most smokers fail to quit. Alongside, the physical addiction, the psychological addiction takes a powerful hold and the concept of quitting becomes a burden, dramatically altering cherished daily routines.

In essence, it isn’t worth the inconvenience or the anxiety.  Doctors often will tell patients to carry on smoking if they feel it will affect their progress in mental health treatment due to the extreme anxiety afflicted upon them. Not out of malpractice, but out of a genuine understanding of the duress caused by giving this incredibly addictive habit up.

My vaping curiosity peaked recently after noticing various friends had successfully given up smoking via the vape method.  While some continue to vape, others are completely nicotine free thanks to the seamless transition they experienced with vaping.

They also sported some very funky vapes that were beyond my common knowledge.  I started my research and found an entire new culture offering endless options to ensure giving up the poison.

So Hereford City Centric begins the New Year following my journey with CCR Vape Bar in an attempt to be in touch with a healthier me. Vaping technology has been grossly misrepresented by the media and legislators. The average vaper is an ex smoker and is rarely picked up by non smokers, especially younger non smokers.  I will share my starter kit, vape technology, ingredients and news from our local vape shop that will hopefully encourage many others to join me in the opportunity to free oneself forever.

Article by Michelle Cuadra