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The Beginners Guide to Electronic Cigarettes

Intro: So what is e-smoking, anyway?

The use of electronic cigarettes (known as e-smoking, or vaping,) is an alternative to smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. Instead of being lit, an electronic cigarette vaporizes a solution of water, nicotine & flavoring. There's no smoke, no combustion. Even better, you can often use them in traditionally non-smoking venues. Electronic cigarettes are not meant to be a smoking cessation device, but what they can do is leave no lingering odor, have just a few ingredients instead of several thousand, and no longer bother others with second-hand smoke!

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Lingo: What did they just say?

E-smokers, or vapers, have developed specific terms. Here's a few of the basics to get you started.

The cartridge and atomizer combined for holding and delivering e-liquid or Smoke Juice (in our case) to the e-cigarette user. A cartomizer is the two pieces (atomizer/cartridge) fused together into one "cartomizer." Cartomizers are great for most e-smokers as they can be refilled or filled if purchased blank, but many times the atomizer is of lesser quality as they are meant to be disposed of after one use.
Tank System
A tank system uses a special atomizer and cartridge (or tank) that supplies Smoke Juice to the atomizer. The tank can hold a larger amount of liquid per fill meaning you spend less time refilling.
Atomizer or Atty/Attie
The portion of electronic cigarette hardware that heats Smoke Juice into a vapor. This part is potentially the most critical part for an e-cigarette and can be the main culprit if you are experiencing poor vapor production or are experiencing a burnt or "electric" taste while vaping.
Heating Element
The actual coil of wire in a Atomizer or Cartomizer that heats up.
Cart, Cartridge
A molded plastic cartridge containing polyester filling material or "wool" and Smoke Juice for an electronic cigarette. A blank cart is one with only filling material, and no juice.
Drip, Dripping
Bypassing a cartridge and dropping Smoke Juice directly onto the atomizer. Johnson Creek Original Smoke Juice strongly advises against using this method unless you are an experienced e-smoker and are familiar with hardware specifications.
Drip Tip
A molded mouthpiece specifically created to facilitate dripping.
The liquid used in electronic cigarettes that contains distilled water, flavoring, and nicotine. We weren't content to create just any old e-liquid, so we refer to ours as Smoke Juice.
PG, Propylene Glycol
The ingredient in most e-liquid recipes that produces vapor. Propylene Glycol, or PG, is on the FDA's list of substances generally recognized as safe, and is used in everything from fog machines to artificial flavors.
VG, Vegetable Glycerine
A very small percentage of vapers have a sensitivity to PG. Our Red Oak™ line of flavors uses VG instead of PG to carry flavor and create vapor.
Using an electronic cigarette. Alternative word to smoking.

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Hardware: What are these things?

While there are many different models of electronic cigarettes on the market, there are a few main types. All are comprised of the same basic components, with some minor differences.


The largest component is the rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery, similar to one you might find in a mobile phone or laptop computer. Often these have an orange LED at the end, which lights up like a burning cigarette would. Sometimes these LEDs are other colors as well, to showcase how unlike a tobacco cigarette they actually are. The next part is the atomizer or atty. This is activated by inhaling on the cartridge end or by holding a manual switch, depending on the model. On a pen-style electronic cigarette, the atomizer is contained in a metal tube that looks a lot like a cigarette holder, where they're far more hidden on a mini or super-mini ecig. The atomizer instantly heats the liquid into a vapor, which lingers in the air for just moments after exhaling. The final piece is the cartridge or more recently the cartomizer. The cartridge is the mouthpiece. On minis and super-minis, it's often made to look just like the filter of a regular cigarette. Inside the cartridge is a polyester fill material or "wool" which holds the earlier mentioned solution. This solution is known as e-liquid, but for quality you'll just need to look for Johnson Creek Original Smoke Juice. Rather than a separate cartridge and atomizer as you may have used before, these two pieces are fused together into one "cartomizer." Cartomizers are great for most vapers as they are often pre-filled and are very easy to use.
The first type of electronic cigarette created. They have the appearance of a cigarette in a holder, like the ones popular from the 1920s to the 1960s. These have a large, standardized cartridge that holds about 1.3mL of e-liquid.
A compromise between physical size and liquid capacity/battery life. These generally look quite a bit more like a traditional cigarette, but are still slightly larger. Mini cartridge capacities vary greatly, but usually contain between .5mL to 1mL of e-liquid.
Almost the same size as a traditional cigarette, this hardware has smaller capacity cartridges and batteries. The batteries do, however, charge significantly faster than other types. Supermini cartridge capacities also vary greatly, holding between .2mL and .5mL of e-liquid.
Electronic Cigar
The e-cigar looks similar to a cigar. Thicker around than most other e-cigs, they employ a similar cartridge to the pen-style, with a greater capacity. E-cigars can sometimes hold as much as 1.5mL of e-liquid. Disposable e-cigars are available, which look extremely similar to an actual cigar with no external mouthpiece.
As the name may suggest, these look just like a pipe. They have big cartridges, but blanks aren't quite as readily available as the rest of the styles. The cartridges hold more than 2mL of e-liquid.
There are many shapes and sizes of disposable e-cigarettes and e-cigars on the market. These aren't refillable, and should always be disposed of responsibly when used up.

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Using Smoke Juice: How to refill cartridges

Whether you're new to vaping in general, or just new to filling your own cartridges, this can seem like a complicated and difficult task. Don't worry, it's actually pretty simple (and it will save you a lot of money, too.) Below are some step-by-step instructions to follow.

To fill a blank cartridge for the first time, start by taking it out of the box and removing any wrapper or cap. If you're using a needle and syringe, slowly fill the syringe with your favorite flavor of Smoke Juice. A pen style cartridge will need about 1.3mL. A mini cartridge will need about between .2mL & .5mL. Carefully lower the tip of the needle to the bottom of the fill material or "wool" in your cartridge. Slowly fill the cartridge, raising the needle as the cartridge fills. Empty any extra Smoke Juice back into the bottle. Take care to cover the needle and store it in a safe place. Never use these needles for any other purpose. For a fantastic alternative for a standard syringe, use our Flex-Tip Needle Cartridge. If you're using the included dropper cap or travel dropper bottle instead of a needle, simply fill the dropper and slowly drip a few drops at a time into the cartridge, waiting for the fill material to absorb it before adding more. If liquid is pooling on the top, the cartridge may be a little too full. Dab off the extra liquid to avoid the possibility of flooding and damaging your atomizer or battery.

Johnson Creek suggests only refilling a cartridge about 5-6 times total. After that point, the polyester begins to break down. That can cause damage to the atomizer and a very bad taste. So what to do with all that leftover Smoke Juice? See the accessories section below!

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Using Accessories: What does all this do?

Using all of our accessories will get you the best and most affordable vaping experience possible. So what does it all do?
The tweezers are great for removing or fluffing the fill material in the cartridge. Why would you want to remove the fill material? Glad you asked!
Our 10mL syringe without needle is perfect for collecting the fill material from your used cartridges. When it's full of fill, just depress the plunger to yield several mL of extra Smoke Juice that otherwise would have gone to waste.
So what about the other syringe, the one with the blue flex-tip needle? Our 3mL or 10mL syringes with needles are the best way to fill a new cartridge, and the easiest way to fill those tricky supermini carts. No need to worry about juice leaking out when you can control where and how much Smoke Juice goes into your cart.
For more information on the accessories we offer, check out the tour of our Welcome to E-Smoking Kit, which contains just about every accessory we offer in one kit at a great price.

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