Has sub-ohm vaping run its course? Certainly not. Sub-ohm devices, high-power tanks and rebuildable atomizers are here to stay, and many of the people who use sub-ohm vaping setups have no desire to try anything else. There’s no denying, though, that smaller e-cigarettes have begun increasing in popularity even though many people once believed they were on the way out.
Guest post from Andrew Dent
The Resurgence of the Cigalike: Has Sub-Ohm Vaping Run Its Course?
If there’s one aspect of vaping about which almost everyone can agree, it’s that those who enjoy vaping almost always begin to crave more.
Seeking more flavor, bigger vapor clouds, better battery life and higher e-liquid capacity, people often tend to gravitate toward larger devices as they become more experienced with vaping.
During my time as the Director of Liberty Flights Australia, I’ve seen many of my customers switch to higher-power sub-ohm devices for those same reasons. As time has gone by, though, I’ve noticed something that I never would have predicted:
Many people are switching from sub-ohm vaping devices back to smaller e-cigarettes – or never moving to larger e-cigarettes in the first place.
Has Sub-ohm Vaping Run Its Course?
Certainly not. Sub-ohm devices, high-power tanks and rebuildable atomizers are here to stay, and many of the people who use sub-ohm vaping setups have no desire to try anything else. There’s no denying, though, that smaller e-cigarettes have begun increasing in popularity even though many people once believed they were on the way out.
Smaller, lower-power e-cigarettes are selling better than ever. Some ardent sub-ohm device users have even decided to “downgrade” to smaller vape pens and pod-based cigalikes. What’s happening? In this piece, I’m going to examine the resurgence of the cigalike.
Sweet E-Liquids Are Sub-Ohm Coil Killers
Have you ever tried an e-liquid with sweetener? If you have, one of two things probably happened. Either you hated it and returned immediately to your normal e-liquid, or you loved it so much that you switched exclusively to sweetened e-liquids and never looked back. There’s just one problem with sweet e-liquids…
They’re coil killers, and the speed with which a sweetened e-liquid gunks up a coil beyond recognition seems to depend on the vaping temperature and the amount of e-liquid consumed. If you use a powerful sub-ohm tank and like your e-liquids very sweet, you can ruin a new coil in as little as a day.
If your current vaping setup is bleeding you dry because you need a new coil every day – and you don’t want to stop vaping your favorite sweet e-liquid – what can you do?
One option is to start building your own coils. Coil building is cheap, but it isn’t for everyone. For some people, it’s too much of a hassle.
The other option is to use less e-liquid, which means switching to a lower-power device and increasing your nicotine strength. You’ll still end up with gunky coils, but you won’t need to replace them nearly as often.
When you do need to replace your coils, they’ll cost much less than larger, higher-power coil heads.
For Some, Sub-Ohm Vaping Is More Trouble Than It’s Worth
The fact that you can buy so many box mods and vape pens in bundles that include compatible tanks has made sub-ohm vaping easier and more user friendly than ever.
The tank that you have will work with your device; there’s no need to worry about compatibility. As soon as you begin to explore the possibilities that different devices, tanks and atomizers offer, though, things can start to become a bit overwhelming.
- Would you like to try temperature control vaping? Does your existing tank have titanium and nickel coils available, or will you need to buy a new tank? Does your device support temperature control coils?
- Suppose you want to experiment with a new tank for your device. What is the recommended wattage range for that tank’s coils? Does your device support that wattage range?
- You want to buy another pair of batteries for your device. Which batteries have sufficient continuous discharge ratings for the tank that you want to use? Do you know how to identify counterfeit batteries? Do you know how to identify a battery maker that exaggerates the capabilities of its batteries?
- Your device allows you to dial in a custom wattage curve. You’d like to try that feature, but you’re not sure how to use the menu system on your device. Do you remember where you stashed the instruction manual?
If you’re an experienced e-cigarette user, navigating the features of your device and understanding how different vaping components interact may be second nature for you.
For many people, though, vaping isn’t a hobby – it’s merely about finding a better way to get one’s nicotine fix. Blowing bigger clouds might be fun.
For some people, though, learning to navigate the landscape of advanced vaping devices is simply more trouble than it’s worth when there are much easier ways to find satisfaction.
New E-Liquids Produce More Satisfaction With Less Vapor
Nicotine salt e-liquid has proven to be one of the most important vaping developments of the past several years. When the popular Juul e-cigarette was released in the United States in 2015, its maker – Pax Labs – produced research suggesting that converting free base nicotine to nicotine salt by adding an acid to an e-liquid mixture can result in a product that’s more satisfying to the user and more like the experience of smoking a cigarette.
In its natural state in the tobacco leaf, nicotine is already a salt. However, the process of extracting the nicotine – which utilizes ammonia to aid the extraction – converts the nicotine to a free base.
Tobacco company research from the mid-20th century suggests that converting nicotine salts to free base nicotine helps the body absorb the nicotine more quickly. That’s why some tobacco cigarettes contain ammonia – to make the nicotine more bioavailable.
The Pax Labs research, however, suggests that nicotine salts may actually serve the body better in low-temperature applications such as vaping. Whether the success of the Juul e-cigarette is due to the nicotine salts – or its nicotine content of 59 mg per ml – it is definitely working for some people.
The Juul starter kit has sold more than a million units, and retailers are having difficulty keeping the refill pods in stock. The stock shortages suggest that a great many of the people who buy the Juul never feel the need to upgrade to a larger e-cigarette that produces more vapor.
What Does the Future Hold for Cigalikes?
I believe that the factors I’ve outlined above explain the renewal of the vaping community’s interest in smaller e-cigarettes. Small e-cigarettes such as enhanced eGo models, all-in-one vape pens and pod-based e-cigarettes are more convenient than ever and work better than ever.
People who try smaller e-cigarettes after years of vaping are surprised to see how much better they are today than they were at the beginning of the e-cigarette industry. They’re convenient and easy to use. Unlike the smaller e-cigarettes of the past, today’s cigalikes produce ample vapor.
Although the sub-ohm vaping arms race continues in earnest, some people have simply had enough of the complexities, the safety issues and the burned coils. They’re ready to get back to the qualities that attracted them to vaping in the first place.
Meanwhile, the new nicotine salt e-liquids – now available by the bottle online and in many local stores – seem to keep their users completely satisfied with low-power, low-vapor devices.
Will we eventually reach a point at which cigalikes take over the world of vaping once again – just as they did in the days of old? Of course not. Plenty of e-cigarette users prefer their higher-power devices and lower-nicotine e-liquids. It’s good to know, though, that there will always be a place for cigalikes as well.
About the Author
Andrew Dent is the Director of Liberty Flights Australia. With more than three decades of experience as a business executive, Andrew’s passion for disruptive technologies led him to enter the vaping industry in 2012. Andrew believes that there is no limit to the life-changing potential of e-cigarettes.