Reading time - 16 minutes
Perhaps you’ve picked up vaping for the first time and are having some mishaps, or you’re a budding regular who swears by vapes but can’t seem to solve that one problem with your device. You’re far from the only one; there are a range of problems users commonly find themselves dealing with when it comes to vaping. For both new and old users, being plagued with such issues can take a lot of the joy out of vaping, and even lead to people quitting.
Vaping should be an enjoyable and stress-free experience for everyone, whether you’re delighting in different flavours or simply vaping to get your dose of nicotine or cannabis. We’re here to help you break down your problems so you can fix them yourself without tears or fuss.
Vape Devices 101
To begin with, let’s break down the fundamentals: understanding how vape devices are put together.
To vape, the first thing you need is a vape device. These can also be called e-cigarettes, vaporizers, or just vapes for short. Each is constructed out of four key parts: a cartridge or chamber to hold your vape liquid of choice, an atomizer to heat the vape liquid into the signature vapour, a power source or battery to run the atomizer, and a mouthpiece that acts as a path to deliver the vapour to your mouth. This system is activated by taking a puff or "draw", or a simple press of a button.
There are four categories of vape device, broken down into:
- Cig-A-Likes (First Generation)
- Vape Pens (Second Generation)
- Mods (Third Generation)
- Pod Mods
Depending on how recently a vape device was made, it can vary in appearance and mechanism, with each successive generation characterized by newer innovative features. First-generation e-cigarettes usually resemble traditional cigarettes, whereas third-generation devices incorporate various mechanical mods and voltage devices, and the most recent fourth-generation devices include temperature control. However, many earlier-generation devices made nowadays incorporate the latest technology into their designs, so a mod isn’t necessarily “superior” to a cig-a-like or a vape pen. Research the device you’re getting beforehand to get to know what your vape has in store for you.
Cig-a-likes are the first edition of what we know now as vape devices. Slim, simple draw-activated devices that closely resemble real cigarettes in size and appearance, they were the original model on the market designed to mimic the smoking experience. A feature that was innovative at the time were cartomizers - where an atomizer and flavour cartridge are combined into one piece, which can also either be rechargeable or disposable in nature. Their low wattage and clean design make them a good beginner’s vape device. These devices are Mouth to Lung (MTL), which means that to take a draw you just suck the vapour into your mouth and then inhale it into your lungs, much like how you smoke a cigarette.
Vape pens are a direct evolution from cig-a-likes and are larger in size to increase battery power, battery life, and vapour production. These are the most popular type of vape device for people interested in vaping cannabis and cannabis-derived substances like CBD, as they can be used to vape flower, concentrates or oils, although most pens are only suited for vaping flower or oils. These pens can come in four broad categories: fixed voltage, sub-ohm tanks, variable voltage, and variable temperature. They make an excellent beginner’s device due to their strong performance and their easy and accessible features, and their flavour is more pronounced than cig-a-likes.
Vape mods are particularly known for their firepower and advanced personalization features. The term “mod” harks back to early days in the vaping scene when eager vapers would modify and experiment in making existing devices better, specifically with the aim of generating more vapour. They’ve since evolved and refined into sophisticated, stylish devices that have been adopted into the mainstream. Their signature feature is the adoption of the sub-ohm coil - a coil with a resistance less than 1, which allows for more energy to flow through the coils without having to increase the size of the battery. This means that more current flows through with less energy usage, and thus more vapour is delivered.
Pod mods are the newest generation, characterized by their low wattage and typically used with nicotine salt e-liquids. They’re essentially a refined, upgraded version of cig-a-likes, and capture the feel of smoking a cigarette more closely than any other product on the vaping market. “Pod” refers to the cartridge, which is modelled similarly to the cartomizer in that it combines the flavour cartridge and atomizer into a single piece. These devices also have temperature control functions, allowing a user to modulate the temperature at which their vapour is produced.
The vapour created by vape pens is an aerosol made from vape oil, which is the mixture used in most products. Vape oil, also called e-liquid or vape juice, generally consists of four major components:
- Propylene glycol (PG) - an additive used in foods and medications, among other things
- Vegetable glycerin (VG) - an additive used in foods and a preservative
PG and VG are popular ingredients that are nigh ubiquitous in all vape oils. Most types of vape oil are even differentiated based upon their VG-PG ratio, a percentage that indicates how much VG there is versus PG in a given vape oil. However, these ingredients are not proven as safe to vaporize and can have pronounced side-effects. Nicotine, another common vape liquid component, is also known to have severe side-effects and can put the health of consumers at risk.
A typical vape liquid will comprise around 95% PG and VG, with flavourings, nicotine and other additives making up the remaining 5%, though formulations vary widely with different manufacturers. Innovative recipes from different manufacturers may include terpenes for added benefits or even exclude PG and VG entirely. Notably, nicotine is completely excluded in cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) vapes, where the main ingredient is a cannabis plant extract.
At Amphora, we don’t include any chemical ingredients like PG and VG, and instead use terpenes, that are also natural constituents of cannabis, as dilutants. These natural plant-derived compounds are becoming increasingly popular, safer option. Terpenes impact the flavour, aroma and experience of your vape, and can be used as dilutants, carriers, flavouring agents and cutting agents to affect vape liquid viscosity. There is a huge range of terpenes out there, that all imbue their individual flavours and additional wellness benefits. Our unique Amphora vape flavours are therefore entirely natural, we use both flavoured and unflavoured terpenes as dilutants and for creating our tasty vape flavours! For more details on ingredients, and what our cartridges are free from, check out the ingredients lists on our product pages.
A new user’s guide: vape troubleshooting
Your local vape store can be a great way to get some in-person advice, where experienced users and trained employees will be able to help you with your issues. Alternatively, if you’re having an issue with an Amphora vape pen or vape cartridge, check out our Support Pages for answers to FAQs and for top tips and tricks for troubleshooting issues and on how to keep your vape in shape. If your question isn’t answered there, or you need some personalised advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch by hitting our ‘Contact Us’ button!
If you don’t have a vape store nearby, and you’re not using an Amphora vape pen or cartridge, worry not! We’re going to go through some of the common snags you might encounter and how to fix them at home, so you can get straight back to enjoying your vape experience.
My vape device won’t switch on?
First of all, if you haven’t checked on your battery, do so. The majority of models possess an indicator light that will flash if you try to turn it on when there’s no power remaining in your battery. If that doesn’t solve your issue immediately, check whether or not your tank is properly screwed in onto the battery so that the circuit is complete - if it isn’t the power won’t be able to flow through and thus keep your device from working.
If the problem is that your vape just isn’t charging properly or retaining charge well anymore, you may just need to change your batteries if they’re replaceable or rechargeable. Lithium batteries have a lifespan of around 18 months before you run them dry.
My battery is charged, but my vape still won’t function?
Once again, check on your battery and make sure it’s switched on. Most vapes come with a safety mechanism to keep you from accidentally activating it while it’s in your bag or pocket, that requires you to rapidly quick-fire the power button multiple times to turn it on. If that yields no results, and the battery is screwed on properly, then you need to remove the cartridge or tank and check on the battery itself. If the battery or the pin that connects to the device is damaged, either from careless use or accidentally dropping your device a few too many times, then your battery may not be able to properly connect to your tank and power your atomizer.
I’m getting leakage from my vape tank/atomiser?
At Amphora our vape cartridges come pre-filled for your convenience and safety and are not designed to be re-filled, so your drip problem is likely down to an issue with the connection between your battery and your tank. If you’ve screwed the two together a little too tightly before, then that pressure can squash the rubber o-ring seal between the tank and battery, which may compromise its airtightness. Leaking could also occur as a result of very high or low temperatures, we recommend storing your Amphora CBD oil vape cartridges at around 20°C and away from direct sunlight, which will also help prevent any degradation of taste or CBD potency.
Alternatively, our Amphora vape pens accommodate most 510 thread cartridges so if you’re using a different, non-CBD cartridge, it could be that you’ve overloaded your container with a little more liquid than it can handle. This can spill out when you are replacing the lid or it can make its way into the airflow vents. To fix this, simply separate the tank from the battery, and open up your device so it can all drain and dry off. Blow through the tank and the drip tip to get rid of any excess, and when it’s all drier you can reassemble your device with less liquid in this round. When you fill up your tank, the ideal scenario is that there’s a little bit of a gap at the top so you don’t risk spillage and the amount you’ve put in covers the holes next to the coil.
I'm getting spitting and/or gurgling sounds when I vape?
If you encounter “spitting” from the device, or a gurgling sound when you try and use it, then it’s most likely that your coil has gotten flooded. This is something that occurs if the coil still has liquid left inside it from the priming process, or from simply leaving your device for any period of time.
Just remove the mouthpiece or drip tip, if your device allows for it, and flick the device down towards the floor (in a manner that doesn’t cause too much mess.) Once you’ve done this enough, the excess liquid should have left the coil and solved the gurgling sound. Check that your liquid isn’t overfilled or over-tightened to the battery either.
If you’re using a non-Amphora refillable tank, you can also try and take the tank apart and soak it under warm water to clean it, and then dry it thoroughly and reassemble your device.
I’m not getting enough flavour/the right flavour from my vape?
If you normally can get a good flavour out of your device, there are a few things to look at to fix an unsatisfactory flavour experience.
Firstly, the coil - if you’ve been using it for some time now, it may just be getting old and won’t carry flavour and create as much vapour as before. Coil issues usually come hand-in-hand with a reduction in the amount of vapour produced, so if you’re noticing a difference in this aspect your coil is probably responsible.
Next, your liquid - if you’re trying out a new one, this could be due to your PG-VG ratio, your terpenes, or the quality of the liquid. If you’re using a terpene-based liquid, check the composition of the liquid - it may be that you’re used to a different terpene combination that will have a different flavour profile. And, of course, check your vape liquid supplier, because if they’re a less-than-reputable brand, their vape liquid might just be lower in quality.
Another factor is voltage - you may just need to tweak with your power settings if your device allows for it. The higher the power, the stronger the taste, so it’s worth a try. However, make sure that you don’t torch your terpenes at too high a temperature, as this will negatively impact the flavour profile and will reduce the efficacy of the CBD vape oil. Lastly, airflow may be the cause, as the more ventilation you have, the less your liquid’s flavour will be evident in your vapour.
I’m not getting enough vapour from my vape?
Similarly to the flavour issues, vapour production is affected by most of the same things. Once again the coil is the first factor - if it’s getting old or burnt out, it’s time to switch in a new one and see whether you get any difference. You can also check the connection between your tank and your atomizer, and clean any dust or liquid that may have built up with a cotton bud.
You can also try and open up your vents if they’re adjustable to maximise airflow and turn up the voltage if possible. All these things can increase your vapour production.
I'm getting a dry hit/burnt taste with my vape?
A “dry hit is when you take a drag, and it comes with a “hot” metallic taste akin to smoking and no vapour. In this case, your coil isn’t getting enough liquid running through it to produce vapour properly. Keeping sufficient liquid in the tank should present this, or refraining from “chain vaping” where you take a few quick drags at once.
This burnt toast sort of flavour is an unpleasant thing to have in your vape. In most cases, this happens because your liquid is just sitting around on the coil for too long before you drag it through the drip tip and into your mouth, or your coil is simply running too hot. Check your vents and your voltage - try opening up and getting more airflow to help carry your vape through more smoothly, or reduce your voltage to control your coil temperature.
This can also be down to a coil issue. Before you start using your vape, you should prime your coil by adding a few drops of liquid to the cotton wicking material till it's saturated and let it settle for up to ten minutes. Priming is especially important for avoiding burnout when it comes to devices with larger coils or more powerful sub-ohm coils.
My new tank won’t fit properly onto the battery?
Not all vape parts are made to fit together, even if they’re from the same brand. If you’re having compatibility issues between your different parts, take a look at them to see if the connectors or threads match up when they’re screwed together. If you check the model in question online, there will typically be details in the product description telling you which mod or tank are compatible.
Vaping wisely, vaping safely
Past just troubleshooting on a technical level, people may also have more concerns with aspects of vaping or vaping as a whole. Scare stories, anecdotes, and reports abound regarding the ills of vaping. One question remains more pressing than the rest: “Is vaping safe?”
The truth of the matter is that vapes are not harm-free, and we don’t fully know the extent of what vaping can do to your health in the long-term as the industry is relatively young. More research is needed on a wide scale to assess these questions before we can dismiss these fears. Vaping does have health risks associated with it, including gum inflammation, risk of cavities, increased risk for strokes, heart attacks, respiratory issues and heart disease. Most vapes also have nicotine as a primary agent, which is an addictive and toxic substance.
They are, however, the better and safer alternative for smokers, and a way for people to transition away from smoking. Vapes contain significantly fewer of the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes that cause many smoking-related diseases. Studies suggest that vaping is less harmful to your blood vessel health than cigarettes and can lead to improvements in blood pressure and stiffness of the arteries of chronic smokers within a month of switching to vaping. And indeed, a huge portion of people who use vapes are ex-smokers using vapes as a way of quitting.
In the search for the best vape experience, one also has to remember to be mindful in their consumption. Consult with a doctor before using vapes, particularly if you smoke, have pre-existing health conditions, or if you’re taking prescription medications or supplements. Monitor your own intake and health as you use vapes.
As a final note, please be aware and research products and brands thoroughly before you purchase them. When it comes to vaping, it’s always best to buy high-quality products from reputable and trustworthy suppliers, and always read the ingredients list and fine print. Some manufacturers add chemical agents and additives like lipids to alter viscosity in vape cartridges, which can be detrimental to health and cause coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, and lung damage in severe cases. For example, the presence of vitamin E acetate in illegal or poorly-made vape products has been strongly linked to over 2,000 vaping illness cases across the USA. Please keep an eye out for illegal or unregulated products, and stay safe.
Obtaining the best vapes
If you’re wondering if there’s a healthier, more holistic way of trying out vaping without the risk that comes with nicotine, why not consider CBD vaping? Combining a wide range of health benefits, soothing effects on the mind and body, and unique flavours, vaping CBD is an excellent way of relieving stress, calming anxiety, or just lifting your mood.
We at Amphora have a selection of CBD vape oil cartridges with sleek and smooth designs, ideal for Amphora vape pens but fully compatible with most vape devices. Our CBD vape oil is extracted from fully-organic hemp plants and verified extensively with third-party lab testing, to ensure that the best ingredients go into each blend. Our vapes are also certified free from THC, nicotine, pesticides and PG and VG, and we use flavoured and unflavoured terpenes to give our products their smooth, non-bitter taste. This means that unlike conventional vape products Amphora cartridges are filled with only the best, all-natural ingredients, so you can vape with peace of mind and get a highly bioavailable CBD dose without worrying about any harmful vape additives. For more information on our Vapes and troubleshooting help, check out our Support page.
Written by | Infused Amphora Team
The Infused Amphora Team is dedicated to creating resources to educate and engage consumers on the growing evidence of CBD benefits and the extensive health and wellness properties of CBD oil.
Contributors | Angus Taylor + Dr Gaylord Wardell
IPI is a pharmaceutical ingredient company that cultivates cannabis strains curated to extract specific cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids for the formulation of effects-based health and wellness products. Angus is an experienced public speaker, engaging stakeholders, governments and media. Angus was the co-founder of NewLeaf Cannabis, Canada’s most successful retail brand to date, and has been established as a well-known and recognized expert in the field.
Dr Wardell is a practising physician with over 40 years of clinical and educational experience in pain management, medical practices and education. Dr Wardell is past President of the Pain Society of Alberta, and current President of the Alberta Medical Association, section of Pain. He is a popular public speaker, an active blogger on medical and pain-related issues, and proponent for scientific validation for patients experiencing pain.
Infused Amphora “Learn” is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.