When you buy your first e-cigarette, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is whether to buy one designed for mouth-to-lung (MTL) or direct-to-lung (DTL) inhaling. Few vaping devices handle both mouth-to-lung and direct-to-lung inhaling well; most work best in only one configuration.
If you’re currently a smoker, it’s likely that a mouth-to-lung vaping device is what you want. Inhaling the vapor from your mouth to your lungs is the way to have a vaping experience that closely resembles smoking. Inhaling the vapor directly into your lungs, on the other hand, may not feel very much like smoking at all.
Why Buying the Right E-Cigarette Is So Difficult
Convenience Store E-Cigarettes
Here’s the problem. Most of the vaping devices that you’ll find in the local gas stations and convenience stores are designed for mouth-to-lung vaping. That’s good because that’s the inhalation style you want if you’re trying to switch from smoking to vaping. The downside, though, is that those devices store their e-liquid in expensive proprietary cartridges or pods that you can’t refill yourself. If you’re new to vaping, you may not know yet that most people who vape buy bottled e-liquid. If you buy bottled e-liquid, you’ll spend far less to vape. You’ll also have access to hundreds of different flavors rather than the half dozen or so flavors available for a proprietary convenience store e-cigarette.
Disposable e-cigarette cartridges and pods are a bit like ink cartridges for printers. Manufacturers charge a fortune for ink cartridges because they can. You don’t want to fall into that trap.
Vape Shop E-Cigarettes
The majority of vape shops are great businesses that bend over backwards to serve their customer bases. The problem is that the customer base for a typical vape shop doesn’t include beginners. Many vape shops don’t deal in e-cigarettes at all; they sell more powerful devices intended for experienced vapers. Among experienced vapers, devices for direct-to-lung inhaling are most fashionable — and direct-to-lung inhaling is an experience that really doesn’t resemble smoking at all.
Your best bet is often to buy your first e-cigarette online. In the United Kingdom, online vape shops such as Euro Vape have experienced success selling products geared explicitly toward beginners. Vaping devices such as the eGo e-cigarette are perfect for beginners because they’re inexpensive and work with any e-liquid. Most importantly, they’re designed for mouth-to-lung inhaling.
Why Is Mouth-to-Lung Vaping Best for Beginners?
As I mentioned above, the primary reason why you want a mouth-to-lung device if you’re new to vaping is because that’s how you already inhale if you’re a smoker. To switch from smoking to vaping, you’ll already have to acquaint yourself with e-liquid, tanks, atomizer coils and pressing a button rather than using a lighter. When you do press that button, though, what happens next feels just about the same as smoking if you’re using a mouth-to-lung device. If you’re using a direct-to-lung device, though, you won’t feel the slight air resistance that you do when smoking a cigarette. It simply won’t feel right.
The second reason why mouth-to-lung vaping works best for beginners is because it’s the only way to duplicate the throat hit that you feel when smoking. Throat hit is the hint of irritation that you feel in your throat when you inhale nicotine. If you smoke, you look forward to that feeling — especially when you haven’t had a cigarette for a while.
Throat hit is an important part of the satisfaction that you’ll feel when you get the vaping experience just right, and feeling throat hit requires an e-liquid with a fairly high nicotine strength. The trick with throat hit, though, is that you feel it only briefly when the vapor travels from your mouth to your lungs. If you use an e-liquid that’s strong enough to make you feel throat hit — and you inhale the vapor directly to your lungs — you probably won’t enjoy it. You’ll probably also cough.
Why Do Experienced Vapers Prefer Direct-to-Lung Vaping?
At this point, you might find yourself wondering why direct-to-lung vaping is so popular among experienced vapers if DTL vaping is so unlike smoking. Once you’ve been vaping for a while, you may feel so far removed from smoking that you no longer think about cigarettes at all. At that point, throat hit may no longer matter to you. You might actually find that you’d rather forgo the throat hit in favor of a smoother vaping experience that focuses more on flavor.
Direct-to-lung vaping devices work best with lower-nicotine e-liquids. Using a DTL device doesn’t mean that you’ll compromise the satisfaction that you experience with a mouth-to-lung device. Direct-to-lung devices produce such large vapor clouds that you’ll end up getting roughly the same amount of nicotine even if you greatly reduce the nicotine strength of the e-liquid you use. The difference is that you’ll experience almost no throat hit — and you’ll taste every nuance of your e-liquid’s flavor profile.
How to Identify a MTL or DTL Vaping Device
In general, you can tell a mouth-to-lung vs. direct-to-lung device simply by its size. Is the device about the same size as a tobacco cigarette, a ballpoint pen or a small cigar? It’s probably a mouth-to-lung device. Is it shaped like a small box or flashlight? It’s probably a direct-to-lung device.
You can also tell the inhalation style of a device by looking at the mouthpiece. A device intended for mouth-to-lung vaping will have a mouthpiece that’s roughly the same size as the filter of a cigarette. Direct-to-lung devices, on the other hand, have much wider mouthpieces to minimize air resistance and maximize vapor production.
How to Modify Your DTL Device for MTL Vaping
Let’s suppose that you’re here because you bought the wrong type of device. You have a direct-to-lung device, but what you want is a mouth-to-lung device. Although you’ll have the best mouth-to-lung vaping experience with a device designed for it, there are some things that you can do to improve your experience with the device you have.
- Use the highest-resistance atomizer coil available for your device’s tank. If the tank can use a 0.5-ohm or 1.2-ohm coil, for example, try the 1.2-ohm coil.
- Use the most narrow mouthpiece available for your device’s tank. Buy a 510 drip tip if possible. If the drip tip doesn’t fit your tank, you may also need a 810-to-510 adapter.
- Close your tank’s airflow collar a little to create some air resistance. With less air flowing through the tank, the atomizer coil will generate a bit more heat. Lower your device’s wattage to compensate.