Over the past year, I’ve really grown into the fullness of my obsession and hobby; vaping. My most recent addition to this hobby is the practice of rebuilding my various (and growing) collection of atomizers. I have about a dozen decent models now, and more than a few mediocre to poorly-constructed models which have served their purpose many times over as “practice atomizers.” Every time I build a new coil, thread some organic cotton through it, and fire up an exciting new juice, I can’t help but wonder where the detail-oriented and painstaking yet rewarding chore of rebuilding atomizers is headed next month? Next year? Five years from now? Fifty years from now? I can’t say that I agree with those who claim that E-cigarettes are a passing fad. This is a new technology that has surpassed age groups and social demographics. I posted a picture a while back of a small group of elderly ladies playing bridge (or a similar old-people card game) all vaping their E-cigs! When I see images like that, I can’t help but think that this is not a passing fad by any stretch of the imagination.
Once upon a time, the smoking or insufflation of tobacco was a practice that took a considerable amount of preparation and attention in order to enjoy. Your local tobacconist would go to great lengths to make cigarettes or snuff to a self-imposed standard that they believed would give them a competitive edge over their competition and result in a quality product of which they could be proud. Then Big Tobacco was shat forth onto the Earth and took all of the personality out of the art through the automated mass production process of reconstituted tobacco-like substances. Now, every cigarette out there is an ode to depersonalized sticks of artificially-flavored tobacco-like brown paper loaded with deadly chemicals composed of the cheapest materials allowed by law. E-cigs started out in much the same way because that’s what the world is used to these days. However, they are slowly evolving into a much more personalized, quality-driven industry.
Electronic cigarette atomizers can be rebuilt with careful attention and patience by those who wish to improve their experience as much as possible. A vaper’s coils are as varied and diverse as are vapers themselves. Different techniques, styles, and materials result in a nearly unfathomable realm of endless vaping possibilities. Mods are only limited by the human imagination and currently available technologies. If you want a life-sized R2D2 mod that vapes E-juice across 137 separate coils, all you need to do is take the time to build it yourself, or at least commission a tradesman to build it for you. There are literally thousands of independent, privately-owned E-juice manufacturing companies peppering the surface of the world with their presence. A serious, hobbyist vaper can choose from high-quality E-liquids that quench his or her specific tastes exactly, without having to lower standards or make concessions in quality for the sake of cost. Even the most expensive juices out there are still well within the price limits of the vast majority of E-cig users. Just today I made a single coil, .8 Ohm coil made of three braided 32 gauge Kanthal wire segments. For a wick, I used tightly wound organic cotton which I have found to work extremely well in RDAs (Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers). Others prefer dual or even quad coils, and Ecowool or Stainless Steel Mesh wicks. There are also wires made of different metals and wicks make out of a ceramic wicking material that somewhat resembles Kevlar. So, yes… the possibilities are truly endless with more new technology being introduced to the world every day.
Where is all of this headed, you may ask? I suppose that all depends on just how much the powers-that-be involve themselves in the E-cigarette industry. Federal regulation is the enemy of uniqueness and ingenuity, in my opinion, and in this particular case, federal regulation will more than likely unfold along the lines already provided by the already-established tobacco regulatory environment. We might soon see a day where rebuildable atomizers are outlawed or regulated out of existence “for our own safety.” We could also see a day sooner than later when all of our E-juices are adulterated by unwanted and dangerous chemicals all in the name of “consistency” and “uniformity.” Mods could be phased out of production by unnecessary electrical safety regulations. Even my personal favorite batteries (the high drain varieties) could be deemed unfit for use by the public and taken off the shelves “for our own good.” These bought-and-paid-for periods of regulation implementation on the horizon could put an end to this enjoyable, life-saving technology… all to pave the way for Big Tobacco to continue the promotion and sale of their dangerous, unhealthy products for several decades to come.
On the other hand, we may still see a heyday for custom-built E-cigarettes and E-cig atomizers in the near future. The all-powerful FDA could possibly leave the smaller mod and RBA/RDA markets relatively untouched in order to concentrate their powers of regulatory lordship on preloaded cartridges and disposables. If this turns out to be the case, I predict that we will see a slowly, steadily growing interest in the rebuildable atomizer industry. Vape bars are popping up all over the country now, and are growing in popularity. Most of these locations operate along the same principles as hookah bars, but some have begun to offer atomizer rebuilding services, classes on rebuilding, etc. In addition to this, we’ve been seeing a growing tendency toward reusability, homemade products, and “cloning”/replacement goods due to the poor economical condition of our fiscally-diseased nation (don’t bother denying it!). Obviously, more and more people are realizing that analog cigs are now officially out of the question, financially speaking. Expensive E-cigs (read: E-cigs that work well enough to actually simulate the smoking experience) are just that; expensive! So, instead of hanging themselves in the bathroom next to a suicide note full of shameful, American bad grammar, recently quit smokers as well as seasoned vapers are now able to buy great E-cigarette mods for very little money up-front, and maintain it for even cheaper!
I don’t know if my readership shares in my negative views of our “instant gratification” culture, but I am a fan of anything that makes us sit down and take the time to make something for ourselves instead of expecting it to be instantaneously available to us. This is the reason why (tobacco) cigarettes have become such a problem. Nearly gone are the days of the pipe smoker who had the patience and diligence to pack his pipe, not too loose and not too full, and keep it lit for the duration of his smoking activity. Gone also are the days of Bogie and the Duke hand rolling a perfect cigarette to smoke whilst battling evil with oh, so much class! Hell, I get upset when I’m watching a YouTube video and I have to wait another twelve seconds to skip the rest of the preliminary advertisement. In the future, however, we’re going to have to learn a little patience because our days living in the proverbial lap of luxury are dying out. Yes, technology is going to new and exciting places, but there’s no guarantee that once it gets here it will be capable of near-instantaneous operation. Think of the 3-D printer… Good things obviously come to those who wait, even concerning the latest and greatest technological achievements.