Head 2 Head Closed System VS Open System Vaporizer
So, you want to quit smoking, or at least cut down on your nicotine intake...great! But how do you go about it? There are many ways: quit cold turkey, use a patch, or bang your head against a rock until you pass out anytime you feel the urge to smoke. Of course, the latter only works if you have excellent health insurance. There is an alternative to these methods, however – vaping.
Over the past decade, vaping has gained tremendous popularity among smokers and those looking to quit smoking. They get the same nicotine kick without all of the toxins and poisons that come with cigarettes. According to a 2016 Public Health England study, consumers found e-cigarettes helped them ween off of analog cigarettes. The UK government is committed to supporting any device or method that helps lead to a smoke-free society. And a recent FDA (Federal Drug Administration) release stated that although there is still much research to be done on e-cigarettes as a whole, there may already be benefits in terms of weening smokers off of nicotine. The announcement was given by Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner and cancer survivor.
Now that we’ve settled on vaping, it’s time to choose a device. You want to find one that fits not just your needs, but your comfort level and your style. The two main types of devices are open system device and closed system devices. What’s the difference?
Closed System Devices
Closed system devices basically put e-cigarettes on the map, and for many it is still the preferred system. Closed system devices are standard two piece systems containing a battery and a cartridge pre—filled with e-liquid. Once the cartomizer is empty, you simply dispose of it and replace it with a new one.
There is very little cleaning or maintenance due to the simplicity of the device. Insert pod, smoke, pull out and replace. It is also a great way to experience Element E-Liquid’s line of nic-salts, Ns20 (nicotine-infused e-liquid).
No fumbling around trying to re-fill your e-liquid. This can get frustrating, especially when out in public or in a crowded area. Closed system devices eliminate the hassle of refilling your device.
Your initial investment is usually lower than that of an open system device. You can spend a lot of money on a kit and accessories when you first start vaping using an open system device. Closed system devices don’t usually come with the heavy price tag.
Your flavor choices are limited. Although, the new Gusto Mini powered by Ns20 has a variety of award winning flavors in its e-liquids line.
The cartridge has a shorter lifespan. Because they are more compact and have a smaller cartomizer, they can run low on power much quicker than an open system device with a bigger cartomizer.
You pay more for replacing cartridges. Because you can not refill the pods, you have to buy enough pods to last you for as long as you need, especially if you want various flavors and tastes.
Open System Devices
This type of system is rapidly gaining in popularity among the vaping community. With an open system, the user has more control over certain options – nicotine strength, resistance and the ability to build your own device.
You can pick your own flavors; even mix them. And with the nic-salts available for both systems, you are not restricted to only one flavor at a time.
Tank systems can go longer without a refill. Because most open system devices have bigger batteries, the lifespan is usually a lot longer than that of a closed system product.
Higher performance and the cost for refills is lower. Depending on the amount of flavors or refills you buy, your cost can be significantly lower than purchasing refills for a closed system device.
Re-filling can be a hassle and sometimes messy. It can be a bit time consuming to refill your machine, but many vapers do not mind it, or are used to it already.
The devices are much bulkier. They do take up a bit more room in your pocket or your purse. But what it lacks in convenience it makes up for in performance.
The initial investment will most likely be higher due to accessories you have to get to accompany your device. You may also purchase a bunch of flavors to try right off the bat, driving your cost up. But over time, you will build up a collection you can choose from without shelling out cash that often.
Depending on your needs and your preference, either system would be a suitable fit. And the best part - both types of devices complement Element E-Liquid’s Ns20 line of nic-salts (nicotine-infused e-liquids). Weigh the pros and cons of each vape system, try them out and choose one that is right for you.
What are Nicotine Salts? Beginner's Guide to Salt E-Liquid
What are Nicotine Salts? Beginner's Guide to Salt E-Liquid
Like almost any technology, trend, or hobby, vaping has very basic roots. We've come a long way since the days of cheap gas station cig-a-likes and vape pens that were feeding us crude, PG-laden e-liquids.
However, bigger isn't always better. Sure, a lot of us love the feeling, flavor, and cloud production of a high VG e-juice in a sub-ohm tank. But for those, us that are only interested in nicotine consumption, using high VG-based e-liquids is kind of like owning a Ferrari—flashy for most, but not practical for all.
Virtually everyone that vapes started vaping as a means of quitting smoking. Graduating to the big leagues of 100-watt devices and 5mL tanks should be a choice, not a necessity. Sadly, this means that people who prefer a smaller, cheaper, and a more discreet vaporizer will have to settle for a vape pen that is unpleasant overall—or fork over tons of cash and navigate a tiny supercomputer.
Nicotine salts, however, seem to be a magic solution - the veritable penicillin to cure some of the ailing vapers out there. That said, let's have a look at this brand-new innovation and see where – and who – it fits in the vaping world.
Popular POD Devices: Suorin Drop All-In-One Starter Kit and Aspire Breeze 2 All-In-One Starter Kit
Freebase Nicotine: The Current Standard
There's a fundamental difference between the conventional "freebase" nicotine we use in our e-liquids and the newer "salts" that have been quickly making headlines. It is this difference that, not only classifies it separately but also creates an entirely new experience.
To better understand what salts are, let's compare them to their big brother, freebase nicotine. Without getting too technical, freebase is the purest form of nicotine and is the default "go-to" for most manufacturers. This nicotine solution is simply added to a mixture of vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG) which "carry" the nicotine with them when vaped. It's also what we use in nicotine replacement therapies—like gums, patches, sprays, and lozenges.
Furthermore, freebase has been the norm in cigarettes for decades, thanks to Phillip Morris of Marlboro back in the 1960s. He found that "freebasing" nicotine-paired with ammonia delivered a significantly larger amount of nicotine (which did wonders for keeping customers hooked). Since we're trying to offer an effective nicotine replacement in vape juices, it only makes sense that we use the best form available.
So we've established that freebase-nicotine is nicotine at its purest. If that's the case, then why would vapers want something that's not as inherently effective? Like Phillip Morris's little freebase trick, the answer can be found in chemistry.
What are Nicotine Salts?
At its core, nicotine salts are comprised of the same exact nicotine that's found in its natural state within the tobacco leaf. If this form of nicotine was added to the liquid that we vape, we'd need to vape it at extremely high temperatures for the nicotine solution to be effective, and it still wouldn't be as easily absorbed (bioavailable) as freebase nicotine. Similarly, like freebase, salts need some modification too. The key here is benzoic acid.
A Quick Chemistry Lesson
We won't try to overwhelm you with too much jargon, so let's stick with the basics: pH and alkalinity. Freebase nicotine has a higher pH, which leads to increased alkalinity. This dramatic increase in alkaline causes a harsher throat-hit, thus causing people to vape at smaller amounts than they may need.
Benzoic acid has the opposite effect. It lowers the pH levels of nicotine, reducing alkalinity in the process. The end result is a much smoother vaping experience.
Furthermore, this allows the mixture to be vaped at lower temperatures in cheap vape pens and cig-a-likes with higher concentrations of nicotine. For instance: vape juices mixed with nicotine salts – while less potent – can reach nicotine levels as high as 50mg. Try vaping something like that in your traditional sub-ohm tank/PG-mixture and let us know when your lungs stop burning.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Nicotine salts have pros and cons. However, what could be seen as a disadvantage to some will, in fact, be an advantage to others. Let's explain what we mean.
Satisfaction: Many vapers who try conventional liquids for the first time often find that they don't get the same satisfaction or "punch" from their nicotine. What's more, it may not be enough to satisfy their cravings.
Smoother nicotine hit: A huge turn-off for many "would-be" vapers is that conventional e-liquids are too harsh, and nicotine is to blame. Cigarette companies use anesthetics like menthol or eugenol to cover-up and mask the harshness. Vape juices don't, so the smoother feeling of nicotine salt liquids makes a huge difference.
Less flavor impact: Those of us who kicked the habit and prefer nicotine-free e-liquids may notice a marked difference in flavor, despite smoking the same product. This is because freebase nicotine affects the liquid's overall flavor. Salts have next-to-no effect in this area, leading to a richer, flavorful, and more enjoyable vaping experience.
Cheaper: Let's face it—an efficient sub-ohm tank or box mod is significantly more expensive than a tiny little vape pen, as well as the many premium e-liquids that go into the vape pen. If all you need is an inexpensive and discreet vaping experience that helps you get just the right amount of nicotine, then salts are for you.
Too much for some: While heavy smokers need a heavy dose of nicotine, lighter smokers can make do in the 3-12mg nicotine range. This also happens to be the ultimate sweet spot for sub-ohm devices. As a result, people can use smooth, high-VG e-juices in their sub-ohm tank and feel completely content with the experience they get.
Fewer options: Nicotine salts are limiting because you'll generally have to stick to vape pens. The more traditional mods and sub-ohm tanks allow for nearly endless tank/mod combinations—each pair allowing for their own unique cloud production and flavor experiences. Not to mention the coil combinations and styles of the more advanced rebuildable atomizers – you get the idea.
Lower fun factor: A great way to describe freebase juices compared to nicotine salts is "fashion over function" (again, think Ferrari vs. smart car). Nicotine salts are the perfect choice if you need a strong dose of nicotine and prefer a more cigarette-like experience.
Are Nicotine Salts Right for You?
This is where things get tricky, and only you will know the answer. So when you're deciding what to do, ask yourself the following questions:
Am I a heavy smoker (one or more packs a day)?
Do I want a more genuine smoking experience, or am I looking for something new?
Will I want smooth vapor and high nicotine?
Do I need a stronger or more subtle nicotine "punch" (buzz)?
Is discretion important, or are massive clouds my thing?
How much money do I initially want to spend?
These are just guidelines. Starting off with a small device and using nicotine salts is a good approach, and you can always switch to high-VG/lower-nicotine sub-ohm setups as you wean yourself off and start to branch out. In fact – salt or no salt – it's better to grasp the basics with a simple vaporizer before navigating through the different types of coils, tanks, and settings.
The safest bet is to ask a knowledgeable vape shop owner. Remember, he or she was once in the same boat – a smoker looking for a better way out.