On December 23rd will be celebrating my fourth year smoke free. My vaping journey started a few months earlier, but wasn’t until that kit from V4L that I finally was able to turn my back from cigarettes. Times like these I get very reflective. Looking back, especially over the past 365 days, the landscape has changed dramatically in the vaping world, and I can’t say it’s all for the positive. I don’t expect to make any friends with this article, won’t be shocked if the very vocal minority reads this in disgust and disagrees with every word contained within. I truly don’t care though. Have mulled typing this up for the past few months, and simply can stay silent no longer.
4 years ago the choices of connections were vast and confusing, but when it came to actual vaping hardware there wasn’t much choice at the end of the day. You had cartos or drip atomizers. Stick batts or cigalikes were the main battery choice. On top of that you had 3.2v regulated egos, a few mechanical mods, and your only choices in the variable voltage world were the buzz and provari. Evolv would release the Darwin later on giving vapers their first taste of variable wattage. We also saw the indroction of the cartomizer edition 2 (CE2), the first carto without polyfill.
3 years ago mechanicals started gaining more market ground. Provape updated the Provari to a 3.5a limit. Dual coil cartos became the new favorite with vapors, as were tanks that could be used with these cartos giving people 3-5ml’s of juice capacity before refills. 510, 901/808, and the ego connections became your go to threadings and we started seeing the deaths to other types of stick batts. The lavatube came to market being China’s first foray into the regulated mod world. With it came the first major climate change in the ecig industry- now people could get a “high end” mod for much more tolerable prices and they became more prevalent. In the background of all this people started hearing whispers of the first rebuildable atomizer (rba) the genesis (at that time available only as a hybrid mod). We also saw the early stages of replaceable atomizer head tanks appear. ECF was booming, it was a place of help, fun, and much discussion on myriad of fronts. It seemed to be the start of the golden age of vaping. Time moves much faster in the ecig world though (as it does with all technology), and who would expect how short that golden age would last.
2 years ago rba’s became the new hip item in the ecig arsenal. People were spending a lot upfront to save money in the long run on vaping supplies (so they claimed at least). Continuing this trend rebuildable drip atomizers came on to the scene, giving a cheaper alternative to the 510 and 306 atomizers. Ego (fat batts) became the new favorite for starter kits. They had been upgraded. Instead of just being 650mah and 3.2v regulated as they were at their inception, now Egos were available in many different sizes and capacities, and most importantly some with variable voltage. An option once only on mods had found its way on to a far more inexpensive option. Another CE was released, replaceable head atomizers took a big leap forward with the protank. Evolv stopped making mods and focused on DIY and 3rd party mod makers with DNA20 chip. China took the clone wars to a new level, making copies of mechanical mods and rba’s almost as quickly as they were released. The big leap in hardware was of course the kayfun, being the first rba that didn’t leak when laid on its side. Oddly enough it had more in common with the current revision of CE cartomizers than anything else. The major climate change in the community would come in the form of brick and mortar stores. On-line vendors had new competition, places that were not brand loyal but carried whatever they could to get earn a dollar. The old internet vendors choices were simple, either evolve to the new market place or start digging their own grave. Sadly too many once beloved companies seemed to reach for the shovel instead of embracing change. ECF started seeing its first major decline as vapers now had safe havens to go meet in person and as Facebook became the new social media destination. We started to see the further rise of the 510/ego threading as the winner in the connection war with almost all mods incorporating it, and almost all rba’s/rda’s using it as its preferred type. In fact there weren’t any rba’s made in the 901/808, only proprietary connections were used instead like that on the GG and a few other choice mods.
This last year to present is when things truly started to go sour though. The Golden age was very short lived… Which leads us to look at the state of vaping today. The tube mod, save for mechanicals, have fallen out of favor to box mods. The emphasis in the mod community seemingly has shifted, now the main goal is to supply as much wattage as possible no matter how big or uncomfortable. People are pushing batteries to their limits with no care of the consequences it seems. Cloud chasing and sub-ohming have become the fad for the vocal minority. People are looked down upon if they go into a vape shop carrying an ego and carto tank. Owning a clone or something made in China is akin to killing a kitten by the vaping elite. If you aren’t vaping some high end premium juice you’re considered a leper by the new social standard. Juice makers have to love the new climate though. The most expensive part in the making process is the nicotine, now they can save on production costs because all these cloud chasers are using 3mg or below. Not to mention they’re going through bottles a week to make their “sick” clouds meaning they’re selling more juice. Celebrating milestones such as being smoke free for X amount of days/months/years has been replaced by cloud competitions. We actually award people for making stupid low ohm coils and seeing who can bellow out the most vapor on an unregulated unprotected mechanical mod, hoping that the battery can handle whatever it is they slapped on to it. Why do you think Sony doesn’t want their batteries in vaper’s hands? People who hoard a large array of mods that they never use but cost them 1000’s of dollars to amass are heralded and envied in the new vaping world. Facebook, reddit, ECF, and any other social media imaginable is filled with people doing hand checks so they can show off their e-penises and what they’re sucking out of them today. Helpfulness has taken a backseat to one-up-manship. Companies market “competition” mods and rda’s, when in truth one mechanical is as good as the next when made of the same material with the same battery installed. Those in the minority love to brag how they spent $150+ on what amounts to a metal tube that holds a battery with a button to complete the circuit. On-line companies that continue to cling to being specialists and not becoming an everything to everyone shop are in their final death throws. Some just refuse to acknowledge it. These vendors should take note- just because you were big 3 years ago means nothing if you’re still carrying the same product as 3 years ago. Stagnation has always been the downfall of anything. American “smart” mod makers are falling behind because at every turn China has a cheaper answer with same functions (even if not as accurate) as anything they put out. One of the more respected mod makers, who held the crown for so long as the best all around device on the market, has fallen into the trap of doing too little too late. They finally release a long awaited update after over 3 ½ years and it’s not that much better than the previous version but costs $100 more. At least it has upgradeable firmware, but at its current state it’s simply not worth the cost. The newly released SVD 2.0 (the first Chinese made American powered mod to be released) out performs it at a 3rd of the cost. Yes Evolv has released the DNA40 chip with temperature control with the use of nickle wire, but YiHi is already fast at work on updating their sx350 chipset to include the same feature, while still providing higher power output. Besides temp control seems another fad in the making, any wick if ran dry will still burn despite what temp implemented by the chip. Worst of all to me is what ECF has become. It’s where I found the support to finally leave cigarettes behind and where I first learned about the kit 4 years ago that got me to get off cigs. It is no longer a warm inviting place, but a fascist forum where any post placed in the wrong section is quickly moved. New people are quickly jumped on to upgrade as soon as possible. It’s a sad shell of its former self at best. All this with the FDA closing in on a decision to protect the government’s revenue stream. Anyone who thinks this has anything to do with public safety is living in a dream where kittens fart rainbows and monkeys throw chocolate at unsuspecting children at the zoo. What will happen when someone gets seriously injured at these cloud comps? Or if some celebrity gets hurt by a mod they used improperly? It’s exactly what the FDA is hoping for, that way they can put a stop to all these “mods” in the name of a fore mentioned public safety and force people back to the cigalikes so many of us left long ago. Cigalikes that big tobacco has decided as their go to device in the vaping market. BT refuses to lose their revenue stream, and do you really think any “representative” they lobby to wants to lose the money BT provides them? Of course they don’t.
I tried quitting every way possible save hypnosis and acupuncture before vaping. The lowest moment was when I had a patch on each arm, nicotine gum in my mouth, and a cigarette in each hand because the alternatives simply weren’t cutting it. I’m an addict, know if they banned ecigs today would be back to cigarettes tomorrow. The climate of vaping today scares me. That I might have no choice but to return to a 3 pack a day habit not because of the government, but because of some dumbass who thought vaping a .01ohm quadruple Richards chasing the dragon coil on a mech mod would make him/her look cool in front of their fellow vapers terrifies and sickens me. The vocal minority are giving those of us that switched to quit a bad name, and have driven out so many of those of the silent majority for fear of being ostracized. We’re celebrating and rewarding the wrong thing in the vaping community. The old motto of vapers “It doesn’t matter what you vape, just that you vape. If it works for you is all that matters.” has been replaced by the new “If you ain’t chucking clouds you’re not vaping”.