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When you think of vaping, what probably comes to mind is the traditional vape box mod device, big clouds of vapour and a bottle of e-liquid . However, what you might not know is that it’s also possible to vape without the e-liquid, and using dry herbs instead. In some regions, the most popular dry herb to vape with is marijuana, but there are actually hundreds of different dry herbs that can be used in a vaporizer, including traditional tobacco leaf.
Vaping is incredibly popular with those trying to quit smoking as it is considerably better for your health than smoking cigarettes ( 95% safer, according to data from Public Health England). It’s also much more effective at helping you quit than traditional nicotine replacements, which is why lots of people make the switch to vaping from smoking or from traditional nicotine replacements like a nicotine patch, nicotine gum and lozenges. For the average person, the idea of vaping loose leaf tobacco is actually pretty counterintuitive when it comes to reducing the risks to your health that come from smoking traditional cigarettes. We all know that smoking tobacco cigarettes increases your risks of developing lung cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, increased heart rate and a variety of other human health issues . For this reason, many people think that surely tobacco leaf and tobacco products are all as bad as each other? But this is where you would be wrong. While it is true that smoking cigarettes is very dangerous and that vaping with e-liquids is considered to be safer than vaping loose leaf tobacco, the risks of vaping tobacco leaf are actually lower than you might think.
To smoke a traditional tobacco cigarette or pipe tobacco, you need to create combustion of the tobacco leaf, and of the cigarette paper if you’re smoking conventional cigarettes. This combustion of the tobacco leaf and cigarette is what makes cigarette smoke, which is why you need to light it with an open flame or very, very hot surface. Tobacco smoke caused by burning is actually what contains many of the highly dangerous subst ances, additives, compounds and chemicals we associate with cigarette smoking, including carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, some of the most well-known carcinogens in a conventional cigarette.
When you vape dry-herb tobacco, on the other hand ( which is also known as heat-not-burn vaping), you’re actually heating the leaf until it releases moisture and oils, rather than combusting the tobacco leaf . By heating the leaf slowly and gently, you release the oils, moisture and other compounds in the leaf without causing it to catch fire, which means no smoke and safer vaping! You can avoid the toxins and additional chemicals that are created when tobacco burns and simply inhale the natural oils of your tobacco of choice. Another benefit of dry herb vaporizing and vaping tobacco is that you get a much richer, smoother and more intense tobacco flavour compared to any alternative - smoking or vaping! Vaporizing gets rid of any burnt smokey taste you might experience with cigarettes, while also giving you a super authentic flavour that isn’t always possible with a tobacco flavoured e-liquid. E-liquids are becoming better at emulating complex flavours like tobacco every day , but sometimes the real thing is still the better option for intense flavour.
The biggest disadvantage of vaping tobacco is that it is not as safe as vaping with e-liquids, using chewing tobacco or quitting smoking completely. However, it is considerably safer than smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco or any other combustible tobacco product.
The secondhand vapour created by heat not burn vaporizing is much less harmful than the secondhand smoke created by cigarettes, however, you should still only vape in a well-ventilated area, ideally outside, and away from other people, particularly children, the elderly or people who struggle with their lung function, such as asthmatics.
Vaping tobacco is likely to be a bit more expensive than vaping e-liquid, but as you probably already know, is much cheaper than smoking cigarettes. Loose tobacco can be bought from specialist retailers as well as most small shops and supermarkets. There is also an upfront cost associated with dry herb vaping, as you can’t vape tobacco with just any e-cigarette device. You’ll most likely need an advanced, multifunctional vape device or purpose-built vaporiser to heat your loose leaf herb and tobacco without burning it, plus any accessories you need, such as a herb grinder.
As well as any of the extra gear you may need to start dry herb vaping, it’s also a bit of a learning curve, compared to vaping e-liquids. There are a few specific skills and pieces of knowledge that you’ll need to research or look into before you start vaping with loose leaf tobacco
Vaping tobacco does have a smell, but it is far less potent than that of cigarette smoke. As the tobacco is not burned, there is no smoke, which is the part of the cigarette smell which can linger and become stale over time. For example, have you ever been to a bonfire and found that the smell of smoke lingers on your clothes? This same thing happens when you smoke cigarettes. This lack of smoke also prevents as much residue being created over time, preventing staining of your hands, furniture or walls over time.
The evidence here is very clear - smoking is the worst way to consume tobacco, and vaping with e-liquids, using dry herb vaporizers or using chewing tobacco like snus, is much safer. Using high-quality e-liquids from a trusted and reputable seller is the safest way to get that nicotine hit
With that said, if you don’t currently smoke, or have never been a smoker in the past, it is not recommended that you start vaping of any kind, unless you feel that you might turn back to traditional cigarette smoking without a quitting aid. Heat not burn vaping can be a great way to get that same authentic, rich tobacco flavour we know and love, without smoking cigarettes.
When you first start vaping tobacco leaf, there are lots of things to think about, particularly if you’re a person who is fairly new to vaping.
A few very important things consider when you start vaping tobacco leaf for the first time is the quality, freshness and consistency of the tobacco that you're using. Just like cheap, low-quality cigarettes or budget e-liquids, you won’t get as good an overall experience if you use poor ingredients. If possible, use a dry herb of high quality that is as fresh as possible, as the fresher the tobacco leaf is, the more moisture it will naturally contain. This means you’ll get more vapour as more water and oils are released, resulting in a better experience overall, and your tobacco will last longer!
The right grind for your tobacco leaf is also important. When vaping tobacco leaf, you need to grind up the leaf into small pieces to increase the surface area of your tobacco, and to help it fit into the heating chamber! As the herb has an increased surface area once ground and the heat from your device can penetrate the chamber more effectively, you will get a smoother, thicker vapour, for a far more satisfying experience . As grinding your tobacco leaf before you need to use it will cause it to dry out much faster, you should never grind more than you need to fill the chamber. You should also consider how tightly you pack your herb into the chamber - too little in the space and you won't get as much vapour as you want, but if you end up packing too much in too tightly, it can limit airflow, prevent effective heat conduction, and take longer to heat up, all of which means a poor vape for you. All of this also applies to vaping other kinds of dry herb, and you can easily switch between tobacco and other types of herbs, leaves or flowers as long as you clean your vape between uses.
Once you’re set up your tobacco vaporiser and dry tobacco, you need to choose the right temperature to make sure you’re vaporising, not burning, your tobacco. Tobacco doesn’t actually combust below around 900 degrees Celcius, so there’s no risk of burning your tobacco, but you will need a fairly powerful vape in order to get it up to temperature . Tobacco leaves will vaporise at around 200 degrees Celcius, so you need to make sure you have a device that can get you there!
Once you’ve done all of this, it’s time to turn your vaporiser on! Depending on your device’s capabilities, wait a minute or so for it to heat up and then leave it at temperature for approximately 30 seconds before inhaling, to ensure that the device is ready and that the herb is heated effectively - not unlike preheating your oven! Then, take a few small, quick puffs and ensure your device is not too hot or cool, then inhale away! Vaporizing is a very different experience to smoking cigarettes, but you’ll get used to it in no time. One thing to keep in mind is that because the mouthpiece of your vape is much larger than a cigarette would be, you don’t need to inhale so strongly or aggressively - the sensation should be more like breathing in than sucking in. Once you reach the end of your tobacco, you’ll be able to taste a bitter and burnt taste, while your vapour will become a bit thinner, less flavourful and more transparent.
Once you’ve finished vaping your loose leaf tobacco, you should clean your tank between every two or three vaping sessions. Not cleaning often enough will result in a hard, sticky residue from the natural oils and waxes in the tobacco. If left to congeal and harden, this becomes really hard to clean off and can actually damage your vape device in the long run, so you want to avoid letting it get too dirty as much as possible! Plus, it’s really easy to clean your vape - simply use a damp cotton bud and a pipe cleaner. If you have a little cleaning brush (some vape kits will come with these included, or you can use a small clean paintbrush or makeup brush), brush away any excess tobacco leaf and dried residue before going in with your cotton bud. Water will work, but if you can get some rubbing alcohol, even better! Simply wipe clean and clear your mouthpiece with a pipe cleaner.
To learn more about vaping tobacco and heat not burn vaping, take a look at our range of dry herb vaporisers or get in touch with our customer service team who will be able to help you pick the perfect tobacco vaporiser for you.
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