From choking on smoke to chasing clouds …

At 12 years of age, on the isle of Guernsey, on a Scout camp I tried my first cigarette. It was a menthol More cigarette (I believe they still sell them).

I don’t remember particularly enjoying it, but it was what the older lads were doing. The ‘cool’ lads. In the same year I moved schools and I seemed to slot in with the smoking crew.

Looking back, I find it quite odd that the school did very little to stop the smoking and the crew did very little to try and hide it. In fact the preferred place when it was dry was the cricket nets in front of the science block – in full view of several of the teachers.

Occasionally some of the hardened dinner ladies would confront the group and disperse us, just for us to go round the block and return to the cricket nets to carry on.

I continued to smoke for a further 24 years. As the years started to add up and upon moments of reflection I realised that I had in fact smoked for longer than I had not. During the last 5 years of smoking I had tried giving up several times, each attempt very unsuccessful.

Around the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 I started to see people (mainly at work) with these plastic cigarette shaped looking things that glowed blue or green on then end when they sucked on them producing a small amount of vape. A lot of the guys were using them as well as smoking (what’s the point of that? I thought).

I asked them what they were doing and this was my first introduction to the electronic cigarette.


Not really, they looked pathetic and the guys who were using them, after a few weeks, if that, had returned to smoking cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes did however make me think, and it wasn’t until a conversation with my wife that my journey into the unknown continued. My wife had a friend who’s husband used e-cigs but not the cigarette looking ones and had successfully quit smoking. She said that she would ask him to get in touch with me about it. I waited on an email.

A couple of days later I heard from Carl (the husband of my wife’s friend). A great email giving me all the information of how he had converted from smoking to vaping. It was concise and measured with some great directions including information about the online company that he ordered everything from –

I went to this website and had a good look around and found all the things Carl had written about. After a couple more email exchanges with Carl, I was ready to make an order!

I had been ready to quit smoking for quite a while, but my nicotine addiction was ridiculous and I couldn’t control it. I also had a wife who didn’t smoke, who had never smoked and she would complain at the smell and in particular the waiting around while I had a cigarette before going anywhere; a shop, a restaurant, a pub, the supermarket, the house and the car and the time spent alone on the couch while I nipped out for a ciggy.

At the time I felt this was a little exaggerated, but looking back quite true. Then there was the cost, smoking had become very expensive. Even with the outlay of what seemed quite expensive equipment and eliquid the comparative cost was about a third (if not more) of smoking over the same time period.

I bought a beginners Tornedo Tank kit, this consisted of 3 parts to the cigarette. A battery (with charger), an atomiser unit that screwed onto the battery and a plastic mouth piece that had a tank for the eliquid (which clicked into place into the atomiser). To operate, you pressed a button and sucked at the same time. I also bought some Totally Wicked tobacco flavour eliquid at 3.0mg nicotine (yes, this was very high!) I used this liquid for 3 years.


Well, when I look back it wasn’t quite but you get my gist – it was good enough that I didn’t have another cigarette again…ever! (Well apart from once, whilst drunk so it doesn’t count, which I mentioned in my previous post.)

The reality was that this was an OK unit. It was prone to leaking, occasionally getting a mouthful of liquid or the mouthpiece breaking in your pocket and liquid everywhere. Also because you couldn’t see how full the tank was you could accidentally do a dry hit which usually meant the atomiser was done for. I persevered, I was happy with this, it was only occasionally enough to not bother me too much and – I HAD GIVEN UP SMOKING! My wife was happier, my pocket was happier and most of all I was happier. Consequently I bought more units and carried lots of spares nothing was going to stop this working … nothing!


Eliquid: I bought loads and I mean LOADS of different flavours to try. It all seemed so exciting, not only could I get my nicotine hit but I do it in all kinds of flavours. I bought all my liquids through Totally Wicked, I think at the time they did 3 different ‘own’ brands with multiple flavours available in each.

To name a few: apple; cherry; coffee; Marlboro; french Marlboro; blueberry – the list is long. I couldn’t get on with any of them, some I just don’t know what they were trying to be but they weren’t nice. Others tasted good on the inhale but not on the exhale, others I found were pleasant and I thought I had hit upon a good one but after a day or two they left a horrible taste in my mouth. Much later on I found out that this was mainly due to the high nicotine level I insisted on having.

So, as I said before, I stuck with the one liquid that worked for me Totally Wicked tobacco – I think I got on with this the most because it didn’t really taste of anything at all.

The Totally Wicked company has been great to me and thousands of other people. Their customer service is fantastic, their equipment excellent quality. Please, just because I didn’t get on with the eliquid doesn’t mean that it is not good eliquid, it is each to their own personal preference.

Also at the time and through talking with the people on the Totally Wicked forum, the general consensus was that there was a lot of dodgy stuff out there and to stick to what you knew and what you trusted. I trusted Totally Wicked so I stuck with them and why wouldn’t I?

I spent a lot of time looking at the Totally Wicked site and watching how quickly the ecig technology advanced. I tried new things as they arrived, I remember the first clearomisers, though a great idea they didn’t work particularly well (this was the first version of the atomiser being inside the liquid).

Then the arrival of the Nova tank revolutionised vaping  for me.

 With changeable coils and a choice in coil size: 1.8 ohm, 2.4 ohm and 4.0 ohm, (I used 1.8 ohm, I will explain these in my next vaping post). With a plinth it fit nicely on to my Tornedo batteries which was great as there was little additional cost. The beauty of the Nova was that it was built with a plastic see through tank, it was easy to fill and it didn’t leak!! … Double bonus!! (If anyone asks me what to start with, it would be the Nova, a great bit of kit.)

As technologies advanced I tried lots of different units, but nothing was as good as my trusty Nova, so I stayed with it for about 18 months. In the mean time there was a lot of work going with different styles of batteries, most notably the variable voltage battery.

For me, things were becoming more complicated, but I followed closely, reading up as much as I could. In September 2014 I took the plunge and bought a variable voltage battery – the Totally Wicked Curve – 20w battery which came with the CS1 tank and a 1.5 ohm coil. Once again this change of unit revolutionised my vaping.

 I also realised with the excellent vapour production I didn’t need such a high nicotine strength and I dropped to a 1.8mg strength. With this strength change I found that for some reason my trusty eliquid tasted just slightly different: the hunt for a different eliquid began.

Steve, a good friend of mine had recently taken up vaping. I think he also started by using Totally Wicked but more recently began using a local company in Rugby called Smokie Joes, (vendors of equipment and eliquids). This was an actual shop in my town! (I don’t get out much.)

Steve was enjoying a few of the different eliquids they had. On my first opportunity I went down to take a look. In the shop they had tanks available each with a different flavour. The guys there gave you a battery and you could sit and try whatever you wanted. I was looking for a mild tobacco flavour (I was still very unsure about fruit and other flavours), I tried several.

The problem is that a couple of tokes can be very misleading, but finally I found Gold and Silver by BIGJuice. It was labelled up as Smokie Joes own brand, quite a few companies do this to get more sales I have since learned, and I used this for a good few months.

I suppose I could say that now I was always looking out for the next ‘big’ thing. I had an itch for something else, it was always in the back of my mind ‘I want something better!’
I returned to Smokie Joes a few times, picked up eliquid and looked at equipment. There were usualy four guys there that were very much into their vaping and each one of them had these colossal units each producing great vape – I mean clouds! I mean awesome, wow! That is what I wanted to do! During the many times I went in I asked about the equipment they used, how much it cost, types of eliquid, questions, questions, questions!

My love for vaping grew as the the knowledge poured in, I was hungry to know more. Really for the first time I started looking around on the internet. I knew names of companies, equipment and eliquids, I was on fire! I was chasing clouds and I was going to get them!

The time had come.

A fairly large financial outlay, but it was going to be worth it. I bought an Innokin MVP 3.0 PRO 60W box MOD; an Aspire Atlantis 2 tank; an Aspire Triton and some apple sour Zeus juice 0.6mg (tobacco flavour was a no go when chasing clouds, this was a worry but I was going to get through it.)

On a side note, interestingly the less nicotine an eliquid contains – the more cloud you can produce.

Everything arrived, you can’t imagine the excitement! I read all the instructions and followed them. I tried the Atlantis 2 first with a 0.5 ohm coil, I toked mouth to lung and nothing, oh! I toked straight to lung and nothing! What was I doing wrong?! I checked the wattage, everything was fine except no vape. I tried the Triton with a 0.4 ohm coil – the same thing! I then went back to the Atlantis 2 with a 0.3 ohm coil: no joy.

I was distraught, I was really disappointed, couldn’t believe it and didn’t know what to do.

I checked what other coil came with the Triton. It was a 1.8 ohm coil – I had been using this size since forever! I decided that I would give it a go anyway, dripped some eliquid on the coil, filled the tank, left it for 10 minutes, (I was pacing up and down the living room wondering what had gone wrong).

I picked up the unit, fired it up, sucked on it and BOOM!

Clouds! Beautiful clouds!!

Now I know that you can get better clouds with the lower ohm coils, but it seems to me that they are not for me. My preference is a 1.8 ohm coil, it does the job.

I had found what I had been looking for, I got the hit that I wanted – that I loved.

I returned the Innokin MVP it was too bulky to carry around and I found I didn’t need quite that much power. I shopped around and found my Dripex DBOX 30W. It looks good, solid, small enough to fit in my pocket and fits nicely in the hand, perfect!

 The 1.8 ohm coils fit in both the Atlantis 2 and the Triton, though the Triton is my preferred tank. As for eliquid, well I have literally opened the flood gates on the juice that is out there. There is a flavour of juice out there for everyone and I mean everyone!

In my next posts I hope to explain fully all the jargon and also hopefully give some helpful reviews of some the great companies I have encountered.

I am still learning, researching, building my knowledge, and I am loving life with vaping.


Have a dapper day cloud chasers!

MOD & juice: Dripex DBOX 30W with an Aspire Triton tank – 1.8ohm coil. Drip Drop Vapour – Mango & Passionfruit 0.6mg (divine!)

Haircare: Apothecary87 original recipe beard oil and a little Layrite pomade to calm the tashe (which I also use in my hair)

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