How To Inhale A Vape Properly

How To Inhale A Vape Properly Oliver Norman

how to inhale a vape properly

While it may seem like a self-explanatory action, one of the most frequently asked questions we get here at LiQuid is “How do I inhale my vape properly?”. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to vaping or have been at it a while, knowing how to inhale a vape properly isn’t always obvious, and doing it “right” depends on a few different factors.

We’ll get into these factors and explore the most common vaping methods below which will help you learn how to vape. Before we do though there is one important thing to remember – if you are comfortable with the way you vape and it’s working for you, don’t feel like you should change anything.

For those people struggling with how to inhale a vape without coughing (especially common when just starting out), or those who just feel like they aren’t using their device properly, then we hope this guide will help you get the hang of how to properly inhale a vape and nail your preferred vaping technique!

What is Vaping and How Does it Work?

For those at the very beginning of their journey preparing to vape for the first time, let's cover the basics first:

Vaping is the act of using an electronic cigarette to inhale vapour which contains nicotine and flavourings, much like the act of smoking. The benefit of vaping is that it contains 95% fewer harmful ingredients and is considered far safer than cigarettes according to the most recent evidence from healthcare experts.(1)

Vapes are comprised of three main parts: a battery(also known as a vape mod), a vape tank or vape pod which is connected to the vape mod, and a vape coil which sits inside your vape pod or tank. If you're new to the vaping scene, and unsure what each of these things do, then you can find out more about each of these in our guide 'How to Vape Properly' which is linked at the end of this article. We've written this specifically for people new to the vaping scene and may be looking at trying vaping for the first time.

The battery passes a current through the coil, which then heats up. This coil is wrapped around a wick-like cotton in the tank. When you add your chosen e-liquid to the device's tank, it begins to absorb into this wicking material. When the coil wrapped around it heats up, it turns the e-liquid into an aerosol, or 'vapour' and you can then draw the vapour to inhale and exhale.

Balancing the right device and e-liquid type is important to ensure the vape you end up with is right for your needs and satisfies your cravings - learning the correct inhale technique is a key part of that, so keep reading to learn how!

LiQuid Vape Kits

Inhaling Cigarette Smoke Vs E-Cigarette Vapour

While the act of lifting your vape up to your mouth to inhale and exhale is very similar to smoking, there are some differences to be aware of when inhaling e-cig vapour. Not only that, but there are two preferred techniques that most vapers fall into: Mouth to Lung (MTL) and Direct to Lung (DTL) - read on and we will explain the differences.


Temperature Difference Plays a Part In Learning How To Inhale a Vape Properly

One of the biggest differences when inhaling a vape is the temperature. Because vaping devices turn e-liquid into an aerosol by heating it up with a coil, it feels much cooler than hot cigarette smoke. This can make the inhalation feel a little strange at first, give yourself time to adjust to this and it will soon feel more natural, and you'll be able to inhale properly and exhale with no problems.

For some, that heat plays a role in why they enjoy the act of smoking as it contributes to the sensation of having a ‘satisfying drag’. If you find your vape isn’t as ‘harsh’ as you’d like, increasing the amount of nicotine can help recreate the sensation. Take care not to go higher than what you are comfortable with, and try to find a balance between the vaping experience you want and the craving satisfaction you need.

Vape Juice Nicotine Strength and Harshness

Your chosen nicotine strength can play a major role in the ‘harshness’ of your inhale when vaping. Low-strength e liquids like 3mg or 6mg are typically smoother, with 12mg and 18mg being incrementally harsher tasting respectively.

Thick HVG e-liquids like Short Fill vape juices are naturally far smoother tasting because they are only available in lower strengths. They also carry more VG (typically 80%VG-20%PG) which increases vapour production and is a little softer to vape than higher nicotine, higher-PG 50VG-50PG e-liquids and best used in a vape like a sub-ohm vape kit.

Some users prefer a harder hit at a higher strength, but for those who want a smooth vaping experience at a higher nicotine level, there are also nicotine salt vape juice. These provide maximum craving satisfaction potential, but offer the smoothness of a 3mg or 6mg due to the special type of nicotine they use.

When it comes to your perfect inhale, choosing the right nicotine strength can be very important – go too harsh and you are likely to cough a little, but go too weak and your vape won’t satisfy -balance is key! If you like a harsher hit and are still coughing, try to take slightly smaller puffs so as not to overwhelm yourself.

How Long Should I Inhale A Vape For?

This is really down to personal preference, although most vaping devices will have a cut-off for safety after a few seconds of holding down the fire button or inhaling constantly on a puff-activated vape device.

Bear in mind that the longer you use your vape and inhale, the greater the risk of your coil giving you dry burn. This is when the cotton-wicking material has not had long enough since being vaped dry to absorb fresh e-liquid from the tank or pod.

Longer inhales keep the heat on for longer, so naturally you will need to give it longer before puffing again or you will likely get dry burn – a generally bad taste that can also ruin your coil if you aren’t careful!

A good general rule to get you started is to take shorter puffs on higher-strength e-liquids and similarly, those that produce big clouds. Doing this will reduce the risk of coughing and dry burn. If it’s a little lower in nicotine or is exceptionally smooth, you will likely get away with a longer puff, just be mindful of your coil!

inhale nicotine

Different Vape Products Require Different Inhale Techniques

There are three main inhale techniques that vapers practice, MTL, DTL, and RDL - RDL is a newer technique brough about largely by the rise of disposable vapes. We will explain all three in this section so you can work out which is the best fit for your journey.

What is MTL Vaping?

Mouth-to-lung, or as it's abbreviated MTL is a vaping technique most associated with basic starter vape kits. This name gives away a little about this technique. It is the inhale style most similar to smoking traditional cigarettes and when you inhale your vape, it will give a throat hit and minimal vapour production like you'd get from smoking. An MTL vape kit is normally in the style of a vape pen or pod vape and uses high resistance coils that can be ran at lower wattages for optimal performance. 


  • A familiar technique that will feel natural for recent ex-smokers
  • It can give a more intense flavour
  • It can help prevent coughing when vaping high nicotine strengths


  • It can increase the risk of coughing when using High-VG devices
  • It does not allow you to blow large clouds

How Do Vape Correctly With an MTL Vape?

  1. Inhale gently using your vaping device.
  2. Hold the vapour in your mouth for a second.
  3. Now inhale into your lungs.
  4. Smoothly exhale.

When you use a vape pen that does MTL vaping, try to be calm and gentle in following the above steps, don’t panic if learning how to inhale properly takes some getting used to! If you used to smoke a cigarette, try to apply the same principles when MTL vaping, and you will be able to inhale without coughing in no time.

What Vapes Suit MTL Vaping?

  • Any basic vape starter kit with a coil rating of 1.0ohm or higher
  • This includes most pod systems like the EDGE GO

What E-liquid Suits MTL Vaping?

  • 50-50 e-liquids in a standard nicotine range of 0mg, 3mg, 6mg, 12mg or 18mg.
  • Nic salt e-liquids

original £1 e-liquids

What is DTL Vaping?

DTL stands for direct-to-lung or direct-lung. Again, the clue is in the name! This technique is a little different to smoking a cigarette, and is better suited to different vape devices that can run thick HVG juice. Learning about DTL vaping and how to inhale correctly is something that's recommended for more advanced vapers. Because if you inhale incorrectly with a larger vape kit that's higher powered than a regular vape kit, chances are you're going to really make yourself cough.


  • Allows for inhaling bigger volumes of HVG vapour without coughing
  • Allows you to exhale big clouds which can be handy for vape competitions


  • Only suitable for lower nicotine strengths or becomes too harsh
  • Only suitable for larger high-power devices which are not ideal for beginners
  • Less natural feeling than MTL inhalation making it harder to adjust to

How Do I Get The Best Vape Experience From DTL Vaping?

  • When firing the device, take one smooth deep inhale straight into your lungs.
  • Do not attempt to hold the vapour as this will make you cough.
  • Smoothly exhale the vapour cloud.
  • Allow for a clear breath between DTL puffs, it will help keep your chest clear and won’t overwhelm you.

Just like MTL, don’t panic and inhale the vapour calmly and smoothly to avoid coughing. This technique is a little more specialised, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t master direct lung first time around!

browse £1 high-VG e liquids

RDL Vaping

RDL stands for restricted direct lung vaping. It is a newer technique that functions in the same way as DTL vaping, however as the name suggests the devices which offer this style of inhale have a reduced airflow - still more open than MTL kits and coils, but slightly more restricted than typical DTL inhales.

The type of vape kits most commonly associated with RDL Vaping are refillable pod kits with sub-ohm coils. Despite being sub-ohm, this style of inhale technique is actually preferred by many disposable vape users transitioning to refillable vape kits. This is because disposable vapes have a very open airflow which naturally lends itself to the RDL styel inhale, so some device manufacturers have started releasing pods and coils tailored to this style with a sub-ohm rating despite still being designed for nic salts.


  • Allows you to inhale more vapour without coughing - a middle ground between MTL and DTL.
  • Well suited to ex-disposable users looking for an alternative that offers the same open airflow experience.
  • Lets you make the most of nic salt e-liquids and lots of kits are now tailored to this experience.


  • despite being tailored towards nic salt users, many still prefer the MTL style inhale as it feels more natural.
  • some pod kist only offer RDL style pods meaning this style can exclude certain options when choosing a device you want to try.
  • Less natural feeling than MTL making it harder to adjust to for new vapers.

How do I do it?

  • Take one smooth deep inhale straight to your lungs.
  • Smoothly exhale the vapour cloud.
  • Allow for a breath between puffs, it will help keep your chest clear.

What Vaping Devices Suit RDL Vaping?

  • 50-50 pod type vape devices with a coil rating of 0.9ohm or below
  • This applies to many mods and pod-mods, however, these are all called ‘sub-ohm vaping devices.

What E-liquid Suits RDL Vaping?

  • 50-50 nic salt e-liquid like our £2 Bar Salts range
  • Can also be used to enjoy thicker 70-30 HVG vape juice but is more aligned to nic salt vapers who prefer the open airflow offered by disposable vape kits.

      LiQuid Bar Salts

      How Do I Know Which Vaping Style is for Me?

      Your chosen device and e-liquid will make a big impact on the style that best suits you, but there are always exceptions to these guidelines, and it is entirely up to you to decide which technique you prefer.

      The important thing to remember when you start vaping is to adjust for the differences between vaping and smoking, and be prepared to explore your options to find the perfect balance to master inhaling your vapour to vape safely. There are many vape products out there on the market today to cater to all levels of vape user. 

      If you're considering make the switch from smoking to vaping, we hope this guide on how to inhale a vape properly has helped you understand the different ways to inhale from a vape to get your nicotine hit. 

      To learn even more about the basics of vaping, check out our guide on How to Vape Properly. If you have seen any jargon here that left you with more questions – Our Jargon Buster should help you get your head around the vaping lingo.



        Leave a comment

        Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.