Just like iPhones, vaping has seen a number of generations too. While the Juul is often the device that’s normally associated with vaping, they’re far from being the only model on the market. Vaping started going mainstream in 2006 when e-cigarettes made it to the US, now, nearly 11 million Americans are vaping.
Where did it all start? First-gen e-cigarettes are a far cry from what you can get these days.
First gen e-cigs are a lot less common than they used to be and are the sort of thing you’d pick up at a truck stop. The technology of these is rapidly becoming obsolete. These simple setups look like a conventional cigarette and they have an LED light that activates when you inhale. They come prefilled with e-liquid and are a single use device, so once it’s empty, you chuck it away and get a fresh one.
The downside of these is they have a small battery capacity, a limited flavour range and typically don’t hit hard enough with their nicotine content. Once refillable options became available, cig-a-likes were pretty expensive by comparison. The cig-a-likes limitations led on to the development of the more modern, second generation.
2nd Gen – Refillable tanks, eGo models and a better hit
To make vaping more satisfying and customisable, e-cigs with tanks and bigger batteries were created. These models were a big step up from the original cig-a-likes given they could actually be refilled, reused and lasted a lot longer due to the increase battery power. They also allowed vapers to select their own flavour of liquid as well as nicotine level. Aside from all of that – they provided a much more satisfying hit, produced more vapour and got rid of those cravings faster, making them a more appealing option for transitioning smokers.
Unlike cell-phones which become obsolete and disappear off the shelves when the new generation comes out, you can still get second gen vapes. They’re more reliable and streamlined now than they used to be (with leaking issues all but ironed out) and they still offer everything a newbie needs to get into vaping. This sort of design has also had a facelift in the form of the huge wave of pod kits that have hit the market in recent years.
Pod kits are sort of an offshoot of this branch of e-cigarettes. They’re more modern by design but still have a lot of the same features. They’re made with beginners in mind, often come with pre-filled pods (yes, like the Juul), high nicotine strength and replicate the feeling of smoking a conventional cigarette. Simple to use with either an inhale-to-vape design or a single button to activate it.
While they offered up plenty for new vapers, there are plenty of people who carried on vaping as a hobby after they’d used it to quit conventional smoking. So, the next generation came along – with more options to customise, build and refine the vaping experience.
3rd Gen – for experienced practitioners only
These are the ones being used by people who make as much vapor as a steam train. Capable of huge amounts of power, external batteries, parts can be built from scratch and, of course, one hell of a lot of vapor.
The third gen of vaping offered up much larger devices, with tanks and mods (the bit that holds the batteries and power) often being sold separately. These are almost exclusively made for a deep lung hit which gives you much more flavour while you’re at it. Similar to second gen devices, they also have refillable tanks but because of the power they’re like the V8 engines of the vaping world so get through a lot more vape juice. Most people vaping with these will also use mild or nicotine free e-liquids.
Aside from all of that, they have a lot more features (and buttons). You can change the wattage output, the temperature and even change the setting to optimise for a certain type of coil metal. They almost always have a universal 510 connector so vapers can swap out tanks depending on what kind of experience they want. The chipset in these also carries features like puff counters and timers so you can tell how many puffs you’re doing a day (and how long your coils are lasting before you burn them out).
4th Gen – AI vaping. Say “Hello” to voice activation.
Exclusively made for the “we get it, you vape” kind of people. There are two voice activated box mods on the market, the iJoy Avenger and the SMOK iPriv. The iJoy has a “romantic light” as well as a music light (for those of you who want to rave with their vape). It also does the normal sort of things you’d expect from a vape but with voice command – like locking and unlocking the device and changing the wattage output. The iPriv is similar and also offers things like different screen colours but it also talks back – and there are several different voices to choose from too.
There’s always new and more advanced technology coming out. Juul have mentioned they’re working on a Bluetooth model of their famous pod kit (which means if you lose it down the side of the sofa, Bluetooth will also make it a lot easier to find). There’s even devices being released that can track and regulate your nicotine consumption like the Enovap.
Like anything, the more popular something becomes, the more advanced and unique the technology gets. Vaping has already made some massive changes in the last decade and in another ten years time, its growth is projected to grow a further 20.8% globally. Whether you want simple to use pod kits with hard hitting nicotine, or an advanced box mod vape with nicotine free vape juice, the e-cigarette industry has evolved to cater to everyone.