Pods, mods and everything in between: A look at vaping devices on the market

Vaping Unveiled

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — For some, the confusion surrounding the differences between all the types of vaping and e-cigarette products on the market might be as foggy as a vape cloud itself.

News 3 visited a Savannah-based vape shop, Mary Jane’s CBD Dispensary, to help clear up some of the uncertainty about telling these products and devices apart from the others.

“A good rule of thumb is that every e-cigarette is a vape, but not all vapes are e-cigarettes,” Patrick Stillwaggon, the assistant manager for Mary Jane’s CBD Dispensary, told News 3.

He explained that an e-cigarette typically refers to a vaporizer that uses nicotine, and they’re usually smaller, slimmer and similar in appearance to a pen.

“This one is called the JUUL,” he demonstrated. “This one’s a pod-style vaporizer that comes pre-loaded with nicotine salt cartridges.” 

Stillwaggon added that JUUL cartridges, which are also called JUULpods, click in and can be disposed of and replaced.

“Also, what people might consider an e-cigarette might be a small, cartridge-style pen, however, most cartridges these days do not actually contain nicotine,” Stillwaggon said. 

Most cartridge-style pens with the screw-in battery (like the one in the image below) according to Stillwaggon, will contain CBD.

In states where marijuana is legal, he says, you might find THC in those cartridges.

There are other styles of vape products that don’t come with pre-loaded cartridges.

“These are simple nicotine salt vaporizers,” Stillwaggon said. “They are a pod-style, much like the JUUL; however, instead of being pre-filled, it comes with a pod that is loaded [later].”

He says that these types are typically used with nicotine salts, which are of a much higher concentration than the average nicotine liquids.

“They’re going to be about 50 milligrams or higher per milliliter, versus about 6 to 12 [milligrams or higher per milliliter] with your normal nicotine vapes,” Stillwaggon said.

In his shop, they don’t sell nicotine, but nicotine liquids or CBD liquids are able to be used in these types of vaping products.

“Then, you have the common one that you have folks blowing big old clouds off of,” Stillwaggon said. “This is going to be your mod-style, your boxes.”

These styles can come with either a fillable tank or a drip filter, which Stillwaggon explained has a few pieces of cotton that the user can place a few drops of vaping liquid onto, “and then just go at it.”

“A lot of times you’ll see an LED readout screen, like on this one,” he demonstrated. “They have really high battery life, and they’re typically for your more connoisseur folks, your folks who want to blow huge clouds, get the best flavor, that kind of thing.”

The mod-style devices, he explained, are customizable for users; they’re able to replace the head of the device, for example, “to one that might be better for flavor, one that might be better for blowing big clouds.”

He clarified for those types of devices, users are only able to vape nicotine liquids up to 12 milligrams “versus the nicotine salts, which you can use in pod-style vaporizers.”

Benefits of CBD vaping 

“We sell about of CBD vape stuff because we are, you know, just CBD,”  Stillwaggon said.

“However, a lot of folks typically buy the pod styles.”

He says the Juuls are the most popular items sold, with the bigger, mod-style devices coming in second.

Stillwaggon explains that the benefits of vaping CBD products include pain relief, anxiety and help with depression. 

“It just generally clears your mind and calms you down,” he says.

Others have said that vaping CBD can help with mood and a better night’s sleep.

Negative reputation of vaping

Stillwaggon is fully aware that lately, vaping has gotten a bad rap as a result of the mounting reports of lung problems emerging in recent months.

He says a lot of these health issues stem from the use of black-market THC cartridges.

“With those screw top-style cartridges, in legal marijuana states, dispensaries are selling THC cartridges,” he said.

“However, in states where it isn’t legal, a lot of times, you’re seeing what’s called counterfeit knockoff cartridges,” Stillwaggon said, adding, “Folks will buy the empty packaging and empty cartridges online and fill it with their own THC oil.”

Without quality control, he said, that leaves room for vape products to be tainted with anything from vitamin E oil and other contaminants that shouldn’t be vaped.

“When you purchase a legal vape product, you are pretty much guaranteeing that you’re not inhaling those products,” Stillwaggon said.

Mary Jane’s CBD Dispensary, he says, ensures third-party testing to check the safety of their products before they sell them.

“We make sure that every product that we put on our shelves, especially the vape products, are rigorously tested to make sure they don’t have anything, any pesticides, heavy metals, microbials, or any of that vitamin E oil, which is causing those [health] issues,” Stillwaggon told News 3.

In light of information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlighting possible dangers associated with vaping, he says he “100 percent” understands people’s reluctance to vape.

“There’s definitely a lot of hesitance with regards to vape products these days, however, I think a lot of it has to do with how the media has portrayed it, and how the media has forgotten to draw the distinction between legal and illegal vape products,” he says.

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