It seems like disposables are becoming more and more popular. They are relatively cost-effective, small and portable, and come in hundreds of different flavors, which is why we decided to create a complete guide to understanding disposables. From their parts to the most frequently asked questions about these devices, you will find all the answers you’re looking for regarding disposable vapes in our guide. So if you’re ready, let’s get started.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Disposable Vapes History
- What Are Vape Disposables ?
- Why Should I Use Disposable Vapes?
Frequently Asked Questions
- Where Should I Dispose of My Disposable Vape
- What Disposable Vapes Last the Longest?
- Why Is My Disposable Vape Leaking
- How Does A Disposable Vape Pen Replace Cigarettes?
- Do Disposables Create Large Clouds Of Vapor?
- Can I Recharge My Disposable Vape?
- Can I Refill My Disposable Vape?
- How Can I Fix A Disposable That Does Not Turn On?
- Nicotine Salts: What Makes Disposables So Appealing
- Disposables Vapes VS Pod Systems
Disposable Vapes History
Believe it or not, some of the first vape devices to ever be marketed and be sold in the United States were disposable vape pens. So we think it’s only right that we go over a brief history lesson before explaining what disposable vapes are and how they differentiate from other vape devices. And while we won’t go in-depth with the history of vaping, it’s important to highlight how and who created the first disposables and why they are currently so popular today.
How The First Disposable Vape Pen Was Created
It all started in Beijing, China, in 2003, when Hon Lik, a 53-year-old pharmacist and relentless smoker (who was consuming three packs a day), was energized to create an alternative vapor device to deliver nicotine, after his own father, also a smoker, dies from lung cancer. The device used an ultrasound emitting element that, along with heated wiring, vaporized a liquid that contained nicotine and artificial flavorings. He would go on to patent the device, and the company he worked for, Golden Dragon Holdings, started to manufacture the device. They believed in the product so much that they changed their name to Ruyan, meaning “like smoke,” and three years later, in 2006, they would introduce the Ruyan Jazz (perhaps the first disposable ever made) to the Dallas-Fort Worth Area (Demick, 2019) in the United States.
Disposable Vapes in Recent Times
Recently there has been a surge in the popularity of disposable vapes. This can be attributed to the fact that President Trump signed into law the flavored vape ban in 2020, which targeted flavored pods but did not include disposable vapes.
The ban prohibited shop owners from selling flavored cartridges that people used with such devices as the JUUL, but in the ban, there was no language that prohibited the use of flavored vape juices and flavored disposable vapes.
Since a major reason why people vape is the availability of different flavors, disposables soon overtook the market and now remain as one of the most popular forms of vaping.
What Are Vape Disposables?
Now that we have learned a bit about the history of disposable vapes and why they are now a preferred form of vaping, let’s examine what exactly disposables are, their components, how they work, and how to use disposable vapes.
What Are Disposable Vapes?
Disposable vapes are vape devices that have a one-time use. They can not be charged or refilled and are meant to be disposed of after their one-time use. They come in almost every flavor imaginable, and some might even come with airflow control. They have integrated batteries that can range from 400 to 700mAh, and practically every disposable uses nicotine salts (more on this later). The liquid they store can vary from 3ml to 7ml, although it depends on the manufacturer. And they are small and portable, which makes them perfect for travel and when going out on the town.
Disposable Vape Pen Components
Most disposables vapes are composed of the following components or parts:
- Integrated battery: A battery that powers up the atomizer inside
- Mouthpiece: The part where you inhale the vapor
- E-liquid: The e-liquid comes inside of the vape and can’t be seen. It contains four ingredients: vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, artificial flavorings, and nicotine which is optional.
- Atomizer: The atomizer is the compartment that holds the e-liquid and warms it up to create vapor.
- Coil: The component that heats up the e-liquid inside the atomizer
- LED light: Some disposable vapes might come with LED lights to display how much charge the battery has left.
- No buttons: It’s important to note that there are no buttons in disposable vapes; they simply turn on when you inhale.
- Airflow Control: As technology progresses, we are now seeing disposables with airflow control, which adjust the experience of the draw, so it is tighter or looser.
How Disposable Vapes Work
Disposables work essentially just like any vape. However, because they have no buttons, meaning most disposables are draw-activated and turn on when the user inhales. When the user inhales, a sensor activates the battery, which powers up the atomizer and the coil, which then warms up the e-liquid inside to generate vapor.
How To Use A Disposable Vape Pen
When using a disposable vape pen, there is no need for you to charge it or fill it up. It already comes precharged and prefilled, so all you have to do to use a disposable vape pen is inhale softly and slowly. However, there is a specific way you need to inhale disposable vapes.
The correct vaping technique to inhale disposable vape pens, which are mouth-to-lung devices, is to first inhale softly and slowly into your mouth, wait a few seconds, then pull and inhale the vapor into your lungs. This technique of mouth first and lungs second will stop you from choking and coughing on your first drags.
It also prevents the user from creating too much air pressure, which can cause the disposable to flood and leak if the user inhales with too much strength and too often.
Why Should I Use Disposable Vapes?
Now you might be wondering why you should use disposable vapes over all the other vape devices that exist? Well, in this section, we break down why disposables are an excellent choice not only for beginners but for every kind of vaper.
Cost of Disposable Vapes
If we were to compare the starting cost of disposable vapes against other devices, disposables would come up ahead. This is because there are fewer parts you need to acquire. For example, if you were to buy a box mod or sub-ohm vape, you would need to also account for:
- Coils $10
- Vape juice $20
- Batteries $13
- Battery Charger $20
And that’s not including the actual box mod (which could run anywhere from $40 to $50 dollars). In contrast, when you buy a disposable vape which could cost you only about $6 to $15, you get the eliquid already, the battery already comes inside, and since there is no need to recharge them, you don’t need a battery charger.
There’s also the aspect of portability. With disposables, you can easily take them wherever you go with zero worries about being noticed with your vape. Most disposables can fit in your pocket or purse, and none are as big as box mods or sub-ohm devices, which will also require that you bring a bottle of vape juice, your battery charger, and perhaps extra coils if the coil you use on the box mod stops working. That’s why disposables are the best solution when going out at night; you can discreetly carry them in your pocket and take a few drags at the bar without taking up too much space in your pocket or purse. They are also perfect for travel, where every inch of space counts, and the weight of your bag matters.
If you are hoping to become a vaping veteran that builds and creates his own coils, mixes and matches different tanks to box mods, and becomes a general hobbyist, then box mods and sub-ohm devices are for you.
However, if you are looking for the most convenient device out there, then disposable vape devices are the answer. Disposable vapes don’t require that you constantly buy bottles of vape juice to fill your vape device. They also don’t require that you clean the device after prolonged use. They also don’t need that you change the coils and the wicks from time to time when they are burnt. They are so convenient, in fact, that they don’t even have buttons; disposable vapes simply require that you inhale, and they start working. If that’s not convenient, then I don’t know what is.
Less Time Consuming
If you lack patience, then disposables are for you. Other vape devices will require hours of maintenance that accumulate in the long run. From having to clean your device, making sure it is charged all the time, buying the right kind of batteries and learning about battery safety, buying the right kind of wiring to build coils, and learning the art of wicking, you can expect to spend a reasonable amount of time, money and resources, learning how to use your device, then vaping. While with disposables, all you have to do is open up the packaging and inhale.
Perfect for Ex-Smokers
One of the most significant benefits of disposables is that they are the perfect starting point for ex-smokers who want to start vaping. In addition, they serve as the best introduction to vaping since they are reasonably priced, convenient, less time-consuming, and more portable, basically for all the reasons listed above. Above all, though, they also use nicotine salts (which we will explain further down below), a different type of nicotine that mimics smoking more closely since it delivers more nicotine with none of the harshnesses that occur when regular or freebase nicotine is evaporated.
There is also the point that disposables are the less expensive option if your goal with vaping is to quit nicotine outright. Buying an expensive kit that comes with extra coils, tanks, and chargers might prove too expensive for someone that is expecting to go cold turkey and only wants to have a device ready in case the nicotine cravings are too strong.
Who They Are Not For
Finally, it should be said that if you want to start vaping but have never smoked, perhaps disposables are not for you since they contain large amounts of nicotine and you can’t control the nicotine you intake. Disposables are also not for the hopeful hobbyists who want to explore and get their hands dirty, tinkering with their devices and learning about how to maximize their devices, so they create plumes of vapor. Disposables, as stated above, serve as the starting point for many ex-smokers, but they don’t have to be if your ultimate goal is to learn how to function a more advanced vaping setup and you plan to be a full-time vaper.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, we’ll tackle some common questions that beginners might have about disposable devices, ranging from the best possible way to dispose of them to what to do if your disposable does not turn on.
Where Should I Dispose of My Disposable Vape?
While disposables are advertised that they can easily be thrown away in any bin or garbage can, they do pose a hazard to the environment and, when possible, should be disposed of in an electronic recycling bin or a battery recycling bin that can be found in either Best Buy or Home Depot.
What Disposable Vapes Last the Longest?
We can’t say for certain what vapes last the longest since it all depends on many factors. Some of these factors include the actual vape battery used, the puffs that the disposable contains, the temperature at which they are stored, the length of each inhale, and the temperature the manufacturer has set at which the e-liquid will burn.
The battery is the most crucial component; without a good battery, your disposable will die with e-liquid still inside. When looking for a long-lasting disposable vape device, you should look at the mAh’s of the battery. Higher mAh ratings usually mean longer-lasting running times, so if you had to choose between 400 mAh and 750 mAh integrated batteries, the 750 mAh battery would be the longer-lasting battery.
Then there is the issue of puffs. The bigger the puff count, the longer the device might last. If you’re looking for a long-lasting disposable, you should look for those that have not only high mAh ratings but also high puff counts. The most common disposables will usually have around 400 puffs, while longer-lasting disposables have about 1500 to 2000 puffs.
Another factor that can affect how long a disposable lasts is the temperature at which they are stored. If you leave them in any extreme, both hot or cold, the battery could be affected and might not last as long as it’s supposed to.
You also have to think about the fact that everyone inhales differently, so while the label might say that it contains 1500 puffs, if the length of your inhales is longer and deeper, the e-liquid will be used faster, and you might not reach the 1500 puffs.
Finally, the temperature at which the atomizer or coil is burning the e-liquid is another factor that will affect how long the disposable vape device lasts, and since this is a setting that can’t be adjusted since it’s created by the manufacturer, it comes down to the brand you choose.
Why Is My Disposable Vape Leaking
There are actually quite a lot of reasons why your disposable vape might be leaking. For starters, it could be the temperature at which it was stored. If it’s too cold or too hot, the air pressure in the tank where the e-liquid is stored will change, and this will cause it to leak. This usually happens when going from a cold place to a hot environment, like, for example, stepping away from your air-conditioned office to vape outside.
Like with other vape devices, leak damage could happen because of fall damage or from being hit. Just like with any vape device, this could rearrange internal components or break parts inside that might cause it to leak. In some instances, the disposable vape itself could bend, and this might cause it to leak. Going the extra mile to make sure that your disposable is always secure and protected from both fall damage and frequent bumps will ensure that your device does not leak.
There’s also the fact that you might be vaping too hard, creating too much air pressure. This air pressure is making the vape juice go into the mouthpiece and cause leakage. To avoid this, stop vaping for a while and let the juice settle down. Next time you take an inhale, do it softly and slowly to avoid creating too much air pressure.
Finally, another reason why your disposable could be leaking could be because of a mistake in the production of the device. Although manufacturers go above and beyond to ensure disposable vapes are in good working order, it’s not rare to encounter a malfunctioning disposable vape that, for example, could be leaking. If this happens to you, reaching out to the vendor might be a great idea since, most of the time, they will replace your product with a new one, no questions asked.
How Does A Disposable Vape Pen Replace Cigarettes?
There are three essential ways in which a disposable replaces cigarettes and why they are perfect for ex-smokers:
- They contain nicotine salts which are absorbed by the body much faster than regular nicotine, mimicking more closely the sensation of smoking (more on this later).
- They require the use of hands in a similar fashion as smoking cigarettes, which makes disposables as familiar as cigarettes.
- Because they use nicotine salts, they have a higher nicotine amount, which will satisfy even the strongest nicotine cravings.
Do Disposables Create Large Clouds Of Vapor?
Because disposables use nicotine salts which have a formulation of 50VG/50PG or 50% vegetable glycerin and 50% propylene glycol, they don’t create large plumes of vapor. Without going into too much detail, there are four ingredients in vape juice, vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, artificial flavorings, and nicotine.
However, the most important of these ingredients are vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol since they decide what the experience of vaping will feel like and how big the clouds of vapor will be.
More propylene glycol means a harsher throat hit, while more vegetable glycol will mean bigger clouds. Since the ratio of disposables is 50VG/50PG, the clouds are relatively small. For bigger clouds, you would need a ratio of 70VG/30PG and a sub-ohm device that is powerful enough to evaporate the viscosity of vegetable glycerin since it is thicker than propylene glycol.
Can I Recharge My Disposable Vape?
Unfortunately, most disposables can not be charged since they are closed systems that are meant to have no upkeep. You can’t access the battery without breaking and opening the device, and once opened there, you’ll need a special charger to charge the battery. Although there are tutorials on YouTube on how to recharge disposables, we do not recommend you use these tutorials since recharging batteries that aren’t meant to be recharged could be dangerous.
Can I Refill My Disposable Vape?
Just like with the previous question, there is probably a way to do this by forcefully opening the device, but we do not recommend you do this. Not only do you have to go through all the trouble of researching and finding out how to do this, but you also have to make sure you do the procedure correctly, so you don’t have any leaks. At this point, you’re better off buying a pod system or another vape device that allows for refilling the device.
How Can I Fix A Disposable That Does Not Turn On?
There are many reasons why your device might not be turning on. If you have had it for a while, it could be that it has run out of juice, or the battery has finally died. If you just bought it could also be that it was a mistake from the factory and you’ll need a replacement.
However, there is always the possibility that the sensor is not sensitive enough. If this is the case, you can always block one of the airflow vents in the vape to create more air pressure, and this should turn on the device. However, you should be careful not to inhale too hard as this can also cause leakage.
My Disposable Vape Device Creates Weak Hits
There are many reasons why your disposable vape could be giving you weak hits. For example, you could be at the tail end of your battery life or close to emptying and using all of your ejuice. There’s also the fact that the nicotine strength you chose could not be powerful enough, and you might feel like the vape is giving you weak hits. If this is the case, you might want to try a higher nicotine strength the next time you buy a disposable.
However, if none of the above are happening to you, you might want to try, as we suggested earlier, blocking one of the airflow vents to increase the air pressure and make the vape warmer so it can evaporate more e-liquid.
Nicotine Salts: What Makes Disposables So Appealing
Now that we have covered all the frequently asked questions and have answered what disposables are and how they function, it’s time to dwell deep into perhaps the most important aspect that makes them so appealing. The fact that they use nicotine salts. To explain what nicotine salts are, it’s important to dwell a bit into the history of traditional nicotine and what led to the creation of nicotine salts.
Nicotine History: Freebase Nicotine
Freebase nicotine is the most common form of nicotine. It was discovered by Phillip Morris (Marlboro) in the 1960s. They found that if the PH levels were manipulated, it would provide a stronger sensation without having to increase the dosage of nicotine, making it more satisfying or addictive. This great advantage led them to become the powerhouse that they are today, and it also led to freebase nicotine being the most commonly used nicotine in the world, being found in cigarettes, patches, and even nicotine gum.
But in order to understand how nicotine salts work, we must understand more in-depth what freebase nicotine is. In tobacco leaves, nicotine has the chemical composition of a salt, and a salt is made up of both an acid, which is a positive charge, and a base, which is a negative charge.
Because nicotine’s chemical nature is that of a base, with negatively charged particles, it needs positively charged particles or protons to stabilize and become ionized, and since nicotine in tobacco leaves is ionized, it has a harder time crossing organic membranes and is not easily evaporated (Benowitz, 2010).
What Phillip Morris found was that if you could get rid of the protons that ionized the nicotine, or if you could get rid of its positive charge, the nicotine would move more freely through our bodies as a base.
Nicotine History: Nicotine Salts
Now, remember how we said that the natural state of nicotine in tobacco leaves, nicotine is a salt? And that because of this, it has a harder time traveling through our body? Well, what Pax Labs found (the creators of the JUUL) in 2013 was that if you added benzoic acid to nicotine in its natural state, you would create a new form of nicotine that would not only evaporate at lower temperatures than even freebase nicotine, but that it would also be even more absorbable by our bodies than freebase nicotine, and not only that you could intake more nicotine and would have a smoother throat hit (Liao, 2019).
This opened the floodgates for the JUUL, which for the first time allowed vapers, who were only accustomed to vaping 3mg and 6mg and even 12mg and 18mg of nicotine, to vape 25mg and 50mg of nicotine with none of the irritation in the throat that occurred when trying to vape higher nicotine doses.
This is why disposables are so appealing to ex-smokers because you not only get to have the same amount of nicotine (and even more) as found in cigarettes but the nicotine is absorbed in a similar way as cigarettes. Add to that the fact that you use your hands similarly as when you smoke, and you have a winning combination that it’s hard to top.
The Pros and Cons of Nicotine Salts
However, it’s not all rosy. Just like with everything, nicotine salts have their pros and cons. In this section, we explore the pros and cons of nicotine salts. Let’s start with the pros:
- Nicotine Salts Have a Smoother Throat Hit: Even though nicotine salts have a lot more nicotine content, they are smoother than regular freebase nicotine. This is because the pH levels of nicotine salts aren’t as high as the pH levels of the freebase. You see, in order for freebase nicotine to be created, you need to raise the pH levels, which makes it more bitter and generates a sensation that scratches your throat. That’s why you only see 3mg, 6mg, and 12mg of freebase nicotine because if they were higher, it would be too unbearable. The great advantage of nic salts is that you can raise the nicotine content and experience none of the discomforts.
- Nicotine Salts are More Discreet: Another important pro is that nicotine salts don’t generate as much vapor as other devices, which makes them more discreet. While sub-ohm devices have their place, when you’re out and about, blowing large clouds of vapor in the vicinity of people’s faces can be annoying for the people around you. However, with a disposable vape, you generate small clouds while getting your nicotine fix, making even less vapor/smoke than cigarettes make.
- Nicotine Salts Can Save You Money: Now, this pro depends largely on how you vape and how much nicotine you intake, but there is a point to be made that with nicotine salts, you use less vape juice. Since nicotine salts come packed with nicotine, you will fulfill your cravings quicker, making you take fewer puffs. This ultimately saves puffs on your disposable, which extends the life and time of use.
Now let’s explore the cons:
- Nicotine Salts Require Special Devices: In order to enjoy nicotine salts, most of the time, you need either disposable or pod systems. Although there are few nicotine salts that come in small quantities like 3mg or 6mg that can be used with sub-ohm devices, they are very rare. And if you were to try 25mg or 50mg nicotine salts on sub-ohm devices, you will take in a lot of nicotine at an incredible pace, which will no doubt be a bad experience. So if you want to enjoy nicotine salts, you need to buy a disposable device or a pod system.
- Nicotine Salts Dim The Flavor of the Vape Juice: One of the problems with nicotine salts is that because they use so much nicotine and a 50VG/50PG ratio formulation, there is not much room for artificial flavorings or a high PG ratio which would increase the flavor of the vape juice. Because of this, nicotine salts aren’t ideal for flavor chasers looking to experience bold flavors. And while nicotine salts do come in a myriad of flavors ranging from fruits to desserts, the flavor notes tend to be dimmed by the nicotine content and low amount of propylene glycol in the ingredient ratio.
Disposables Vapes VS Pod Systems
Perhaps the only other vape device that comes close to the actual experience that disposables give to ex-smokers is pod systems. For some ex-smokers, a disposable pod might make more sense, while others swear by disposables. In this section, we’ll quickly go over the pros and cons of disposable vapes and pod systems to see who comes up ahead.
When it comes to convenience, disposables pull ahead. You open the packaging, and you inhale, and that’s it. No need to charge them or refill them with vape juice. On the other hand, disposables need to be charged and be filled with vape juice which doesn’t take long, but it will take some time that adds up in the long run and is particularly troublesome when you just want to vape.
When it comes to cost efficiency, pod systems are the winners. Since you buy bottles of vape juice or nicotine salts that can last months, you won’t need to continually buy disposables, whose price can add up pretty quickly. And although the upfront price of pod systems can be higher than the price of a single disposable, over time, they are an excellent investment that more than pays for itself.
When it comes to performance, we would also have to say that pod systems are the winners since they are built for repeated use. This means that more thought and quality control is invested in these devices, and while there are some great disposables because they are designed for single-use, they can not be quality controlled, and manufacturing errors can happen.
Finally, when it comes to maintenance disposables, take the cake. This is because there is no maintenance with disposable vapes. At all. However, with pod systems, you might need to periodically clean your device, buy vape juice, and charge it.
As you can see, pod systems and disposables each have their strengths. For those that are willing to make the investment and see themselves vaping for a long time, then pod systems might be the better choice. But for those that are trying to quit nicotine, cold turkey disposables might be the safer bet since they won’t keep re-investing their money on disposables.
We hope that with this lengthy deep dive into the nature of disposables, all your questions regarding these devices were answered. We want to remind you that these devices can be perfect for ex-smokers looking to get into vaping. They are compact, cost-effective if you plan on using them to quit nicotine and come in hundreds of flavors. So, if you have been thinking of trying them out but weren’t sure if you should, we hope our guide helps you decide to take the leap into the world of disposables.
- Demick, B. (2019, March 8). A high-tech approach to getting a nicotine fix. Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2009-apr-25-fg-china-cigarettes25-story.html
- Benowitz, N. L. (2010, October 10). Nicotine Chemistry, Metabolism, Kinetics and Biomarkers. NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2953858/
- Liao, R. (2019, July 27). The scientist behind Juul launches a Juul alternative for China. TechCrunch. https://techcrunch.com/2019/07/27/myst-labs-profile/