People vape for many reasons, and there are also many different ways to vape – and one debate concerns inhaling vapor into your lungs and how long you should hold it.
To give you all the info you need on this discussion – and to help you get the most from your vaping – in this post, we answer the question, how long should you hold in a hit from a vape?
How to smoke cigarettes, cigars and pipes
Before we talk about vapes, let’s remind ourselves of how most people smoke cigarettes as well as cigars and pipes – this will help us understand how to vape since many people switch from cigarettes to vapes as a way of stopping smoking.
When you smoke a cigarette, you take a drag from the cigarette and then inhale the smoke into your lungs. The smoke contains nicotine from the partially combusted tobacco, and this is then absorbed by the alveoli in the lungs.
Most smokers hold the smoke in their lungs for just a second or two before exhaling.
As a result, many former smokers vape in much the same way, partly just out of habit.
When smoking cigars or pipes, on the other hand, it is normal to simply draw the smoke into the mouth, hold it there and then blow it out again.
Cigar and pipe smoke can be absorbed more easily through the mucous membrane in the mouth, so pipe or cigar smokers are able to get their nicotine hit without needing to breathe the smoke into their lungs.
Many cigar and pipe smokers also like to breathe the smoke out through the nose, which allows them to taste and smell the tobacco more.
How to vape – a brief overview
Now we’ve seen how cigarettes, cigars and pipes work, now let’s look at the theory of vaping – and how holding the vapor in the lungs plays a part.
Nowadays, in terms of heating and airflow, there are two types of vape – those with a button and those with an airflow detection system.
If you have one with a button, you need to press the button to activate the heating element. Then, with the button held down, you take a draw from the vape, and the vapor will be delivered to your mouth.
With vapes that include an airflow detection system, the process is even simpler. Since there is no button, all you do is take a draw from your vape, and it will automatically detect that you are using it, engaging the heating element accordingly.
Some people prefer to take a couple of short “primer puffs” to warm up the heating element – this is said to improve the flavor and increase the amount of vapor that is produced.
Following this, you should take a draw of around three to five seconds – and what you do next depends largely on how you are vaping and your personal preference.
Three ways to vape
There’s more than one way to vape – so let’s look at the three main techniques now.
1. Mouth only
Although many people use vapes as a way of quitting cigarettes because they see it as a healthier option, other vapers have never smoked and enjoy it mostly for the wide range of tasty flavors that are available.
For this latter group, often, the most popular way of vaping is simply to breathe the vapor into the mouth, leave it there for a few seconds to taste it and then breathe it out again without it ever entering the lungs.
2. Mouth and inhale
Many former smokers, on the other hand, prefer to draw the vapor into the mouth, hold it there for a moment to taste it and then inhale it into the lungs.
Part of this is simply due to habit – that’s how smokers learned to smoke, so it’s just the way they continue to vape once they make the switch.
However, if they are vaping with juice that contains nicotine, they may also believe that this helps them absorb more nicotine into their system – a controversial idea that we’ll come back to in just a moment.
Finally, some vapes have a direct-to-lung delivery system. With these, instead of first breathing the vapor into the mouth and then inhaling it, the vapor is breathed directly into the lungs, where it may or may not be held, and is then exhaled again.
Many newbie vapers who have also smoked may find this strange at first, but once they get used to it, a lot of people find they prefer it.
How Long Should You Hold in a Hit from a Vape?
So should you hold your hit in your lungs? And for how long? Or doesn’t it matter?
This is a more controversial topic than you might imagine since some people claim you need to hold the vapor in your lungs while others maintain that it’s not necessary.
For people who inhale vapor into their lungs, it’s normal to hold it for a second – or up to two or three seconds – before exhaling.
However, vapor is not the same as cigarette smoke, and it appears that the nicotine can be absorbed by the mucous membrane in the mouth just as effectively – in a similar way to the nicotine in pipe or cigar smoke.
Furthermore, it also seems that holding a hit for longer than a second or two doesn’t have any additional benefits – meaning you won’t get a stronger hit – so there’s no reason to do it.
The bottom line is this: if you enjoy holding the vapor in your lungs for a couple of seconds, then you can because it will help you get your nicotine hit – but doing it for longer won’t make any difference.
At the same time, just holding the vapor in your mouth will also allow you to get a hit, so if you don’t want to inhale or hold, you don’t have to.
Does holding increase the amount of CBD or THC you absorb?
But what about when it comes to CBD or THC?
According to weed folklore, holding your toke longer allows you to get a stronger hit and a bigger high, but the truth is, this has no basis in fact.
When you take a puff on a joint, the cannabinoids from the smoke are absorbed right away, so holding for longer than a couple of seconds won’t have any further effect – and holding for longer may actually damage your lungs.
The same is true when you vape CBD products or when you use a dry herb vape to smoke weed for a THC hit.
Holding your breath may make you feel light-headed, it may increase your heart rate and it may even deliver a slight adrenaline hit – all of which may make you feel as though you are experiencing a kind of rush.
But holding the smoke or vapor in your lungs won’t result in you absorbing higher quantities of CBD or THC.
To finish, here are a few tips that will help you gain the maximum enjoyment from your vaping while also helping you to inhale and hold if you are having trouble doing so.
Start with small puffs
If you are new to vaping, try starting with smaller puffs. If you take a big puff and then try to inhale, the sensation is likely to be harsh on your throat, and it will probably just make you cough.
Instead, if you just take it easy, you can allow your throat to gradually get used to it, increasing the size of your puffs as you go.
Take a slow draw
Similarly, if you take a slower draw, this will be less likely to make you cough. This is a mistake many former cigarette smokers make at first since they don’t realize they don’t need to puff so hard.
Exhale through the nose
Whether you only hold the vapor in your mouth or inhale it into your lungs, exhaling through your nose will allow you to experience the flavor more intensely.
Reduce nicotine levels
If your vape makes you cough when you inhale, experiment with juices with lower nicotine content since this may solve your problem. If you want a bigger nicotine hit, you can always increase the levels again later.
Experiment with different vapes and different juices
Also, experimenting with different vapes and juices can make a big difference to your overall vaping experience.
Try different strains
If you are smoking or vaping weed and are no longer feeling an effect, rather than taking bigger puffs or holding them for longer, you could try experimenting with different strains.
Otherwise, try taking a tolerance break – because it could just be that you are smoking too much and your tolerance is already sky-high!
Personal preference – but maybe not useful to hold
As we’ve seen, some people enjoy holding the vapor in their lungs for a couple of seconds, but beyond this, there’s really no need.
As a result, it all comes down to personal preference – but you shouldn’t expect to get a bigger hit from your vape just because you hold it down for longer.