Vape Pod Review

Voopoo Drag S versus Voopoo Drag S Pro versus Vaporesso Gen Nano

The Voopoo Drag S, Voopoo Drag S Pro and Vaporesso Gen Nano are formidable Mod Pods which can meet the needs of any vaper. Which one is right for you?


What is a Mod Pod?

What is a Mod Pod? How is it different than a vape pod, vape mod, pod mod, or AIO vape pod? While there is no hard and fast rule, in general Mod Pods can match the performance of vape mod but have the flexibility of a vape pod kit. In the case of two of the devices reviewed, their vape pod can literally be affixed to a mod with a 510 adapter.

Refillable Vape Pod Kits
The Mad Vapes Collection of Vape Pod Kits

Vape Pods

Vape pods were initially popular because they are easy to use, autodraw devices that are great for vaping salt nic juices. Mod pods should offer similar functionality, even if they have more features because their assignment has expanded considerably.

One reason vape pods even exist is because of sales. Unlike with the 510 threaded tanks found on previous generations of vaping devices, a vape pod is only compatible with pods specifically designed for it. No more vaping a Crown Tank and sending UWell money for replacement cores while using a Smok box mod.


Vape Mods

Vape Mods
Click here to view the Vape Mods collection at Mad Vapes

The popularity of vape mods can be linked to the fact that freebase nicotine e-liquids are harsh at higher levels due to their higher pH level. This issue is easily avoided using a vape mod. The max-VG juices used in a classic sub-ohm tank are of a low enough nicotine strength that pH level of freebase nicotine never comes into play.

Salt Nic Juice Ad
Click here to view the Salt Nic Juice Collection at Mad Vapes


Pod Mods

Vape pod kits with sub-ohm coils and pods have been around for a while. They can handle thicker freebase nicotine. Some of these more powerful vape pod kits even have swappable coils and adjustable wattage. Referred to as Pod Mods, the ability to swap coils rather than replace the whole pod when the coil burns out makes a Pod Mod into an AIO as well.

But enough jargon. Mod Pods are closer in performance to vape mods than a Pod Mod. They can potentially vape nic salts when a high-resistance coil is installed and are smaller than vape mod. They have a menu with buttons to navigate. They have both button fire and autodraw activation. The Smok RPM 80 is an early example of a manufacturer heading in this direction.

Mod Pods are viable because of mesh coils. Do not underestimate what a game changer mesh has been in max-VG juice vaping. Many vape mods still offer upwards of 200 watts of power, but there are very coils that require even half this power. Mesh coils heat up so fast that most operate between 50 and 80 watts and still generate massive amounts of vapor. Lightning fast and efficient chipsets have also allowed vape companies to lower the wattage requirements of their sub-ohm coils.

The Voopoo Drag S family takes the concept of Mod Pod a step further than just a small mod that can conceivably vape salt nic juices. The TPP-X tank comes standard with the Voopoo Drag S Pro and the PnP Tank arrives with your Voopoo Drag S kit. Both attach magnetically to the device like a vape pod. They are cross compatible between the two Drag S devices. They also have an attachment so they can be used with a 510 threaded vape mod!


Voopoo Drag S

Voopoo Drag S Ad
Voopoo Drag S Mod Pod

If you are primarily interested in a Mod Pod for its larger battery and salt nic vaping, the Voopoo Drag S might be a better option than the more powerful Voopoo Drag S Pro.  It is the smaller and less powerful device. But it still features an impressive 5-60 watts of power, a 2500mAh battery and the GENE.TT Chip Set. This chip fires at 0.001 seconds. The legible TFT screen measures 0.96”. A pair of buttons allow you to navigate the colorful menu and the device can be turned off to prevent pocket firing.

Voopoo Drag S Specs
Voopoo Drag S

The Voopoo Drag S comes with the PnP Tank. With the 510 attachment, it can be latched onto your vape mod. The tank is also compatible with the Drag S Pro. It has an e-liquid capacity of 4.5ml and attaches to the Voopoo Drag S with magnets.

The Voopoo Drag S kit comes with the 0.3ohm PnP-VM1 Coil and the 0.2ohm PnP-VM5 coil. Neither of these is suitable for salt nic vaping. But as we will see, there are a lot of other PnP coil options.


Voopoo PnP Coil Series

1.2ohm PnP-TR1 Coil – rated for 10-15W (MTL)
0.6ohm PnP-TM1 Mesh Coil – rated for 20-25W (Half DL)
0.8ohm PnP TM2 Mesh Coil – rated for 12-18W (Half DL)
0.15ohm PnP-VM6 Mesh Coil – rated for 60-80W (DL)
0.2ohm PnP-VM5 Mesh Coil – rated for 40-60W (DL)
0.3ohm PnP-VM4 Mesh Coil – rated for 20-28W (Half DL)
0.45ohm PnP-VM3 Mesh Coil – rated for 25-35W (DL)
0.3ohm PnP-VM1 Mesh Coil – rated for 32-40W (DL)
0.45ohm PnP-M1 Single Coil – rated for 28-35W (DL)
0.6ohm PnP-M2 Single Coil – rated for 20-28W (DL)
0.8ohm PnP-R1 Dual Coil – rated for 12-18W (MTL)
1.0ohm PnP-R2 Dual Coil – rated for 10-15W (MTL)
1.2ohm PnP-C1 Ceramic Coil – rated for 10-15W (MTL)
0.25-2.0ohm RBA Coil – Rebuildable Option



Voopoo Drag S Pro

Voopoo Drag S Pro Ad

The Voopoo Drag S Pro may be the ultimate example of a Mod Pod. It also has a 0.96” TFT screen and the same features as the regular Voopoo Drag S. It has a bigger battery, 3000mAh, and turns out 80 watts of power versus 60 watts for the regular Drag S.

The biggest difference is that the Voopoo Drag S Pro comes with the TPP-X Tank instead of the PnP Tank. The tank also holds more e-liquid, 5.5ml versus 4.5ml.

Clad in beautiful leather, the sturdy Voopoo Drag S Pro is an exceedingly handsome device. The updates GENE.FAN 3.0 chipset is more efficient than the GENE.TT chip found in the Drag S. You can even download temperature control options.

The biggest difference between the Drag S and Drag S Pro is the tank that is included. While there is cross compatibility, the Voopoo Drag S Pro only comes with the TPP-X.

voopoo drag s pro specs

Unfortunately, there is no MTL coil with the TPP-X Pod Tank. If you want to vape salt nic juices with the Voopoo Drag S, you should probably get a PnP Tank. There is a 0.3ohm coil that operates as low as 30 watts, but this is too much for high nicotine strength salt nic juices. At least this slightly higher resistance coil comes standard.

The Voopoo Drag S Pro comes with the 0.15ohm TPP-DM1 Mesh Coil (60-80W) and a 0.3ohm TPP-DM4 Mesh Coil (32-40W). The emphasis is on vapor production and flavor. The TPP-X Pod Tank locks strongly into place with magnets and has a unique side fill design.


Voopoo TPP Coil Series

0.15ohm TPP-DM1 Coils – rated for 60-80W
0.2ohm TPP-DM2 Coils – rated for 40-60W
0.15ohm TPP-DM3 Coils – rated for 80-100W
0.3ohm TPP-DM4 Coils – rated for 32-40W


Vaporesso Gen Nano

Vaporesso Gen Nano
Gen Nano

In pictures, the Vaporesso Gen Nano looks an awful lot like a typical vape mod. Compared to the Voopoo Drag S and Voopoo Drag S Pro it even looks a bit staid. It has the classic rectangular design, a centered tank and an OLED screen that can be navigated with a pair of buttons. The brains behind the operation are the cutting-edge AXON Chip. It has the full suite of features and protections available on a standard vape mod. Pictures do not do justice to this beautiful Mod Pod. It is smaller and lighter than it looks. It also has a stout and high-quality feel with a rubberized shell.

Vaporesso Gen Nano
Vaporesso Gen Nano

Placed side-by-side with the Vaporesso Gen S, you can really see the size difference between. This is a device that fits easily in your pocket. The Vaporesso Gen Nano measures 115 x 40.3 x 24.2mm. It can fit a 22mm tank without overhang and has a classic 510 connection. The Vaporesso Gen S is a more traditional vape mod and measures 146 x 54 x 30mm. This is a big side difference.

The Vaporesso Gen Nano can shrink down its proportions through use of a 2000mAh built in battery. It doesn’t have the power reserves of a dual 18650 mod, but this is plenty for its purposes.  The amazing Vaporesso GTX 22 tank sees to that and is what makes this vape mod into a mod pod.

The Vaporesso Gen Nano has a maximum output of 80 watts. This can be reduced all the way down to 5 watts. The Vaporesso GTX 22 has an expansive coil selection, and several that take advantage of the low end of the power band.


With mesh coils, for most vapers there is not much need for more than the 80 watts of power. The Gen Nano comes with the 0.2ohm Mesh Coil (45 to 60 watts) and the 0.6ohm Mesh (rated for 20 to 30 watts). The coils are press fit. With the bubble glass Pyrex installed, the Vaporesso GTX 22 can hold as much as 3.5ml of e-liquid.


The standard 0.6ohm coil is a much higher resistance coil than either offered standard with the Voopoo Drag S or Drag S Pro kit. Don’t judge a book by its cover. There are even high resistance coils available as well. These include a 0.8ohm Mesh coil rates for 12 to 20 watts, pretty much identical to a Smok Novo 3 on paper! And then there is a 1.2ohm GTX Mesh MTL Coil. This coil requires a meagre 7 to 11 watts. With a 2000mAh battery and 3.5ml e-liquid capacity, you are talking a long time between fill-ups if you are using high strength nicotine salts. And the air flow controls can ratchet down the draw to the point where this restrictively built coil really delivers the authentic experience that nic salt vapers are looking for.


Here are the coils available for the 510 threaded Vaporesso Gen Nano.


Vaporesso GTX Coil Series:

0.15ohm GTX Mesh Coils – rated for 60-75W
0.2ohm GTX Mesh Coils – rated for 45-60W
0.3ohm GTX Mesh Coils – rated for 32-45W
0.6ohm GTX Mesh Coils – rated for 20-30W
0.8ohm GTX Mesh Coils – rated for 12-20W
1.2ohm GTX Mesh MTL Coils – rated for 7-11W





Mad Vapes Sitewide Black Friday Sale

Mad Vapes sitewide sale features 25% off. Enter promo code BLACKFRIDAY21

Black Friday Site Wide Vape Sale

Black Friday is here at Mad Vapes. For one day only, e-liquid, vaping products, vape mods, and vape pods are all discounted 25 percent. Just enter the promo code BLACKFRIDAY21 to enjoy this huge sitewide Black Friday promotion.



Shop Now Mad Vapes

For most adults, vaping is a daily habit. Perhaps seasonal stress or travel changes your vaping needs, but generally vaping deals are simply a great time to stock up. E-Juice savings are available sitewide with a coupon code and you can get ready for the New Year early.

You don’t have to wait until Cyber Monday to take advantage of discounted e-liquids and free shipping on qualifying orders. As long as you are shopping for loved ones Black Friday, you might as well cash in on our Black Friday vape deals. Just don’t forget the coupon code: BLACKFRIDAY21.

We don’t need to explain why e-liquid is integral to your vaping experience. The freshest, primed coil and most cutting edge vaping device will avail you nothing with the e-liquids to fuel your favorite device. This is especially important for max-VG juice customers. There are no equivalents available at gas stations, unlike salt nic juices where you can find a tobacco flavored vape pod of similar nicotine strength at most gas stations.

Moreover, the typical vape mod burns more total e-liquid than a vape pod fueled by salt nic juices. You don’t want to run out of your favorite flavors, why not stock up this Black Friday?


Salt Nic Juices

Salt Nic Juice Ad
Click here to view the Salt Nic Juice Collection at Mad Vapes

Black Friday is a perfect time to stock up on your favorite salt nic juices. Bottled nicotine salts are 25 percent off. Bottled nic salts already provide big savings compared to prefilled pods. And if you live in a state without restrictions, bottled nic salts are also available in the flavors that most adult vapers prefer.

If you currently use a Juul, Vuse Alto or MyBlu Prefilled Vape Pod Kit, now is the time to switch to a vape pod kit and bottled nic salts. The flavors are better, the performance is better and it costs a fraction as much. Big Black Friday Vape Deals are just a cherry on top.


Disposable Vapes

Disposable Vape Ad
Disposable Vapes at Mad Vapes

Most adult vapers are just looking for good flavor, satisfying performance and an easy to use device. This is why prefilled pods dominated the market until the federal government took away all the flavors adults prefer and left only tobacco. This is also why disposable vapes are the hottest item in vaping.

Loaded with nic salts and still available in the characterizing flavors the vast majority of adult vapers prefer, there is no better item to stock up on than disposables. While there are bigger savings to be had if you go with a bottled salt nic juice and refillable device, disposable vapes are still a good price performer compared to prefilled pods. And they have the advantage of requiring no filling, charging, and there is no button to press anywhere in sight. You can sample new flavors or stock up on time tested favorites. Either way, Black Friday is the best time to stock up Mad Vapes extensive line-up of disposable vapes.


Vape Mods

Vape Mods
Click here to view the Vape Mods collection at Mad Vapes

Black Friday is a perfect time to upgrade to a new vape mod. This is exactly the style of flashy and tangible item that Black Friday is all about. And mores than e-juices or disposables, a vape mod might just make a great gift for the vaper in your life. There are some amazing new mods on the market. The Aegis L200 is dust, water and shock resistant. The Voopoo Drag S and Drag S Pro feature Pod Tanks that can either be affixed to a classic mod via 510 threading or magnetically attached to a Voopoo branded pod. Black Friday is the perfect day to make the jump to new gear. Don’t just shop for others. Treat yourself this Black Friday! With all that’s happening in the world of vaping, and the world writ large, you deserve it!


Vape Pods

Vape pods have come a long ways in the last six years. They are no longer just flimsy prefilled devices holding less than 1ml of e-liquid and with batteries less than 300mAh. Today, vape pods run the gamut of sizes and many boast the same functionalities as the mightiest vape mod. In fact, the main distinction between a vape mod and vape pod at this point is that a mod has standardized 510 threading and a pod only attaches to a specific device. The Voopoo Drag S and Drag X lay that reality bare with their new pod tanks.

Whatever style of e-liquid you prefer, there is a vape mod perfect for your needs. A nic salt vaper who loves disposables will feel at home with the Vaporesso XROS Mini. A fan of max-VG juices looking for something smaller than a mod that runs on a pair of 18650 batteries will love a Smok Nord 4, Smok RPM 4, Vaporesso Nano or one of the mighty Voopoo Mod Pods.

If you already have a favorite device and don’t want to complicate your life with an upgrade in gear, consider buying a back-up of your favorite device and do NOT forget to stock up on refillable vape pods or coils if you are using an AIO device.

Vape Coils

Like e-juice, you need a stream of fresh coils to keep your favorite vape mod or vape pod functioning. Mad Vapes Black Friday Sale is a great time to stock-up and hunker down for a long winter. Just don’t forget to enter the promo code: BLACKFRIDAY21 at checkout!


COPD Patients Benefit from Vaping

Researchers in Italy founds that patients with COPD benefitted from switching to vaping over the course of a five year study. 

COPD Patients Benefit From Switch to Vaping

A study conducted by the Center of Excellence for the Acceleration of Harm Reduction (CoEHAR) found that smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who switched to vaping from combustible cigarettes saw a 50 percent reduction in flare-ups over the course of a 12-month period.

It was not only acute COPD symptoms that saw improvement. Switching from cigarettes to vaping also improved their ability to perform physical activity and overall cardiovascular health.

Subjects who vaped and the control group periodically filled out health questionnaires. These surveys found, “significant and constant improvements in lung function [and] CAT scores”. The CAT Score is a standardized assessment used to assess COPD.

Improved Health

COPD impacts almost 16 million Americans and is a debilitating condition. Cigarette smoking is the primary cause of COPD. To measure fitness, the study measured progress using a 6-minute walking distance benchmark. The additional distance covered by the vaping group was on average over three-fold greater than the additional distance walked by the control group.

The study concluded that “E-cigarettes can be a massive remedy for COPD, and this is important for physicians, patients and their caregivers.”


Vapers in Study

As reported in Filter Magazine, the five-year COPD study found the subjects behaving very much like vapers everywhere in the world. They not only upgraded the devices they used over time, switching from starter kits to more advanced designs, but they also reduced their nicotine intake.


Bright Spots in Vaping COPD Study

The study found two major areas where the COPD group that ceased vaping excelled in comparison to the control group. The first was their physical condition. This might be considered harm reduction, although such concepts are forbidden in the United States. Despite the fact ex-FDA chief Scott Gottlieb has repeatedly stated it would be a net benefit if all smokers switched to vaping.

The second was a concept is just as taboo in the US: vaping as a method of smoking cessation. During the five-year CoEHAR study, only four vapers reverted to smoking combustible cigarettes. How many more nails need to be driven into the coffin of the “vaping as a gateway to cigarettes” myth?

If a CoeHAR study is not up to critics gold-standard, there is also the New England Journal of Medicine Study. In this study, vaping easily crushed Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) as a smoking cessation tool.

The upshot is simple. Very few adults who initiate nicotine consumption  on electronic cigarettes switch to combustible smokes. Most adult vapers are former smokers. Many adults who began as smokers switch to vaping and then quit. At least this is what a CDC survey found. Over half of US adults who quit smoking cigarettes in 2018 had switched to vaping in its place.


Nicotine Levels

The consumption of nicotine is the primary reason adult vapers use Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems. Mad Vapes would love for smokers to switch to vaping, and for vapers to reduce their nicotine levels until they live a life free from both nicotine and vaping. We have no interest in selling our products to adults who do not smoke or vape. And we do our utmost to prevent underage vaping, including adult signature on delivery and cutting-edge age verification procedures.

The CoeHAR study began in 2013. The state of vaping technology was significantly different back then. Vape mods and max-VG juices were only beginning to emerge. Most vapers, at least those not using prefilled gas station devices, used pen shaped e-cigarettes with cartomizers that burned high-PG freebase nicotine e-juice.

With 2013 vaping tech as it was, it is not surprising that most of the study’s participants started with 12 and 18mg/ml. This was a typical strength in a classic e-Cig. Yet there was progress from this point, and that merits mentioning.

Reduced Nicotine Strengths

Five years later, only two of the vapers studied were still using this higher strength freebase nicotine e-liquid.

Most of the participants were using 3 to 9mg/ml nicotine strength. While TPD standards in Italy bar nicotine strengths over 20mg/ml, the average vaper in this study was using well less than half this number.

The reduced nicotine levels occurred despite a bizarre Italian tax on vaping that punishes those using lower nicotine strengths. The Associazione Nazionale per i Vapers Uniti (ANPVU), an Italian vaping advocacy group, pushed for the repeal which took place in 2018.

It also occurred after nicotine salts had hit the market. These are smoother at higher nicotine levels and have changed the vaping landscape. It is impressive that the study participants stayed the course and did not switch to a more potent form of nicotine.

“The most important finding of the study is that COPD patients can abstain from smoking cigarettes indefinitely if suitable substitution is available. E-cigarettes can be a massive remedy for COPD, and this is important for physicians, patients, and their caregivers. The study confirms that ‘harm reversal’ is achievable and that it can be maintained for years. We are telling the world that substantial health gains are within reach when substituting deadly tobacco cigarettes for vaping products.”

Dr. Riccardo Polosa, Interview with Filter Magazine


UK Paves Way

Italy reducing their nicotine tax in 2018 is just one example of the abominable policies adopted at the local, state and federal level regarding vaping in the United States.

As reported earlier, the UK paved the way for prescription vapes. Through the offices of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), adults looking to quit smoking will soon be able to obtain vape juices through the pharmacy. This isn’t a matter of switching store fronts. The NHS is a national health care system that covers prescriptions. In other words, marginalized smokers will be able to obtain smoke and ash free cigarette alternatives without paying out of pocket.

NHS is an umbrella term for the UK’s taxpayer funded health care. It is not run for profit. They are notorious for slasing treatments that do not deliver.

Homeopathy, chiropractic care, herbal medicine, and other treatments have been kicked to curb in the last five years. This occurred despite the most wealthy and influential residents, such as Prince Charles, complaining vociferously, Compare this to the United States, where a $160 million has bought Michael Bloomberg considerable control over the vaping policies of the world’s largest economy.

The NHS also hosts the Using E-Cigs to Stop Smoking website. Vape hardware and juice manufacturers can submit their products through the same approval channels offered to pharmaceuticals and health devices. The UK does cap nicotine levels, but has generally avoided the hysteria and foolishness that dominate discourse in the US.


Wealthy Quit Smoking in 1990s

A quick perusal of smoking demographics makes it clear why prescription vapes are a good idea. The wealthiest ceased smoking decades ago. Perhaps this is why they suggest total nicotine abstinence as the gold standard and only solution. To suggest this approach for any other risky, legal, adult behavior would get you labeled a rube and laughed out of the very same room.

In the US, the group most likely to smoke or vape are members of the LGBTQ community according to CDC data. Rural Americans and those with less than a college education suffer worse health outcomes and have reduced access to cigarette alternatives due to online sales restrictions.

Vaping is largely absent in the circles where decisions are made. It is no surprise that it is viewed as a disreputable habit and is under siege. Nor is it surprising that vaping’s critics have almost no fundamental understanding of the industry. The scowl and grimace, wheeling out max-VG juices with names like Unicorn Milk to prove that vape juices are marketed to children.

Yet this style of vaping isn’t even the rounding error at a popular gas station when compared to Juul sales. And Juul Mint, which very nearly evaded the federal ban on vape pod flavors despite being commonly viewed as the catalyst of the teen vaping spike, never appeared on their radar. Vape mods are loud, thirsty and generate a fair amount of odor. Yet because of the colorful livery on max-VG bottles, they are erroneously tied to underage use.

What is notable for its absence in these discussions is alcohol. Second only to cigarette smoking in terms of annual death toll, it sends 130,000 minors to the emergency room annually and another 3000 to an early grave. But wealthy and college educated Americans imbibe at the same or greater rate than other demographic groups. And it is much less popular to suppress the vices of friends and family.





The Vuse Solo is Now FDA Approved

Vuse Solo Receives Marketing Granted Order

The Vuse Solo and the Vuse Solo Original Tobacco flavored cartridge were approved by the FDA.  Announced on the FDA website, these are the first electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDs) to pass through the Premarket Tobacco Product Application (PMTA) approval process.

The PMTA application process consists of multiple steps through which the FDA reviews vaping products. The purpose of PMTAs is to assess the public health impact of new tobacco products. Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDs) fall under the tobacco umbrella.

Manufactured by RJ Reynolds, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco, the Vuse Solo is a mass produced cigalike that was launched in 2013. It is not a huge surprise that a tobacco flavored e-cig manufactured by Big Tobacco is the first vape product to receive a Marketing Granted Order (MGO).


Vape Flavors

The fate of Vuse Solo Menthol flavor is not yet known but the 10 characterizing flavors they submitted for approval were received Marketing Denial Orders (MDOs).

The ten flavored Vuse Solo cartridges had already been removed from the market in January 2020 by the federal ban on prefilled vape pods. Popular salt nic vape pods were the target but rule makers were unable to craft language which did not also knock out older prefilled cartridge designs and cigalikes.  It is unclear if all flavored vapes will share this fate and be rejected by the FDA. One must hope this was an acknowledgement of the early ban.

The Vuse Solo is a dated piece of hardware but worth review. Hopefully, it remains a time capsule of vaping’s past rather than a glimpse into a grim future.


Vuse Solo Review

Vuse Solo
Vuse Solo Approved by FDA

The Vuse Solo is a basic cig-a-like. It adheres to several basic principles, which still hold true today. Most adult vapers just want a compact, easy to use device that delivers satisfying performance. Unfortunately, the Vuse Solo was clearly judged by the marketplace as not delivering this well enough and was soon superseded by newer technology.

The Vuse Solo is draw-activated. The snap and go cartridges hold 0.5ml of e-juice. The Vuse Solo uses a proprietary charger, much like the Vuse Alto and Juul. There is no cross compatibility with mini-USB, USB-C, or any other common cord. The Vuse Solo uses freebase nicotine but at the rather hefty nicotine strength of 4.8 percent.

The Vuse Solo measures 120mm x 10mm. It is longer than a combustible cigarette but approximately the same diameter. Weighing only 15 grams, it possible to hold it in your mouth and operate it hands free like an actual cigarette. But hard plastics makes this less than enjoyable than it may sound on paper. A pliable plastic or silicone mouthpiece would greatly improve this aspect of the Vuse Solo experience.

The Vuse Solo does deliver when it comes to simplicity. All you do is charge it and snap on a cartridge. What you see is what you get.


Vuse Solo Vaping

The Vuse Solo was built at a time when the gold standard was imitating the smoking experience. It has a tight draw meant to mimic a filtered cigarette.

It was not engineered for long drags. The second-generation cartridge of the Vuse Solo is slightly improved, but any inhalation of more than 2 seconds has a good chance of kicking out a dry hit.

Despite marketing copy that touts a special “digital vapor delivery processor”, ramp up speed is slow compared to a more modern device. Today’s disposable vapes and the eGo cartomizers of 2013 both utilize a cotton polyfill design, the Vuse Solo has a wrapped coil and cotton. It comes off second best when compared with either.  Its larger stablemate the Vuse Vibe has a lower nicotine strength but the far better vapor production more than offsets this difference. In fact, the vapor production on the Vibe is strong enough where the 4.8 percent e-juice found in the Solo would not be viable. This is due to the differences between freebase nicotine, which the Solo uses, and nicotine salts.


Vuse Solo and Salt Nic Juices

The story of the Vuse Solo and its eventual decline in popularity can be traced to the invention of nicotine salt e-juices. In 2013, salt nic juices simply weren’t on the radar. When they appeared, first in the form of Juul, the Vuse Solo went from entry level c-store staple to also-ran overnight.

By the time Juul hit the market, adult vapers had already begun to ditch cigalikes for larger vape pens that could be refilled such as the eGo Twist cartomizer designs and also vape mods.

Mods especially generated better flavor, exponentially more vapor, and thrive with lower nicotine, max-VG juices. Delivering satisfaction through bigger vapor production and less nicotine strength proved more appealing than a freebase nicotine cigalike with wispy puffs.

But mods are large, complex, and relatively thirsty. The more direct competitor to the Vuse Solo is a vape pod kit. Initially, this was just Juul. Then refillable vape pod kits hit the market. These not only had far better performance but allowed for big savings by dint of being refillable.


Vuse Solo versus Vape Pod Kits

There isn’t much difference on paper between a Vuse Solo and a Juul. Both have 270mAh batteries. The nicotine strength is comparable: 4.8 percent for the Solo and 5 percent for the more potent Juul. Juul pods hold 0.7ml, which is a bit more than Solo. They are also less prone to dry hits. Compared to a Vaporesso XROS Mini or Smok Novo 4, the Vuse Solo is totally outclassed. With batteries three to four times larger, far more wattage, five times the juice capacity, far superior coils and a universe of flavored juices to choose from, the case for the Vuse Solo becomes pretty scant when a nice refillable vape pod kit will only set you back twenty to thirty dollars.

The big difference is that vape pods are optimized for salt nic juices and the Vuse Solo still uses freebase nicotine. Salt nicotine has a lower pH level, meaning it remains smooth even at higher potencies. It also crosses the blood brain barrier more readily. There is nothing wrong with freebase at lower potencies.

Most vape pods have a coil option designed for these lower nic options, but at the elevated levels found in the Vuse Solo it is found wanting. And the Vuse Solo can only function when it is filled with a potent e-juice because the vapor production is minimal. Nothing wrong with this approach, it is just that nic salts are more efficient.


Vuse Vapor

Keep in mind, harshness was presented as feature back when the Vuse Solo was launched in 2013. There are still vapers who look for a throat hit and feel it adds authenticity to Mouth-to-Lung vaping. The original Blu E-Cigs also had a high nicotine strength using freebase nicotine.

The Vuse Solo uses high-PG juice. This was fairly common in 2013, and was the preferred fuel for cigalikes. Compared to max-VG juice or nic salts, there is a lot less vegetable glycerin in the mix. This means less vapor and more flavor. These distinctions were once the currency of the vaping realm, but designs like the Vuse Solo have faded from the cutting edge to behind the shelf at a local gas station.

Other Vuse Vapes

The Vuse Solo has been largely supplanted in their lineup. The Vuse Alto was designed from the ground up as a salt nic vape pod and is Vuse’s flagship model. Vapers looking for a freebase cigalike with lower nic are steered by Vuse to 1.5 percent nicotine strength Vuse Cero. They also have a third freebase device that uses less potent freebase nicotine in the Vuse Vibe. The Vuse Vibe holds 1.9ml of e-juice and has a nicotine strength of 3 percent.

But the biggest gains in vaping performance are to be found when you step out of the gas station and into a vape shop, be it brick and mortar or online.

Salt nic juice and refillable vape pod kits are comprehensively superior to the Vuse Solo. You have a wider selection of lower nicotine options, tastier flavors, less waste is generated, and you can save money in the process. Modern refillable vape pod kits are still small and autodraw. With devices like the Vuse Solo, the Vuse Alto, Juul and disposable vapes you are paying extra for the privilege of not squeezing juice from a bottle into a pod.

The nicotine strength in the Vuse Solo is high, but the total amount of vapor generated is quite low. The net result is an entry level device that was middling at the time and thoroughly outshined by salt nic vape pod kits and disposable vapes in 2021.


Vuse Solo Flavors

The Vuse Solo has always focused heavily on Tobacco flavor. Most adult vapers prefer flavored e-juices and have been looking elsewhere for the better part of a decade.

The Vuse Solo flavors barred in the 2020 federal flavor ban were Berry, Crema, Nectar, Melon, Mint, Chai, Tropical and Fusion.

Fans of Mexican food should note that Crema was not a sour cream flavor with a blast of salt. The Vuse naming convention was a bit odd. Menthol is a pure cold flavor and Mint is the tobacco and menthol blend.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the Vuse Solo flavors, or the signature Original Tobacco. It has a decent enough tobacco flavor, if that is what you are looking for. The lack of vapor production, which is a requirement because otherwise the freebase nicotine formula would be super harsh, is propped up by decent flavor profiles which were excellent when still available in the larger Vuse Vibe.


Final Approval

It makes perfect sense that the Vuse Solo was the first device approved in the PMTA process. It is a real throwback and only available in Menthol and Tobacco.  As a starter kit, it is functional and compact. It fills an important role in initiating combustible smokers into vaping.

Hopefully, the PMTA process does not weed out the many superior devices and flavors which are still available on the market.


Big Tobacco’s Advantage

Backed wit Big Tobacco money, the Vuse Solo always had a much better chance of navigating the PMTA process.

Altria’s partnership with Juul, a vape pod kit that was so popular with minors that it is widely reported to be the catalyst for the teen vaping epidemic, has a similar advantage.

It is important to note that Big Tobacco does not suffer if the flavors most popular with adult vapers are banned. They still have their wide array of combustible cigarettes available everywhere and vapes that are available only in tobacco flavors due to the federal flavor ban on prefilled pods and cartridges.


Regulatory Capture

Big Tobacco already benefited from the passing of the PACT Act. They own the shelf space. Chasing off online retailers of vaping products creates a whole new class of customers.

The PACT Act and PMTA are beginning to look a lot like regulatory capture. Regulatory capture is when government agencies are dominated by the largest stakeholders in the industries they are meant to regulate. Public interest takes a backseat. Independent vape companies have been left out in the cold during the decision-making process. The proof is in the restrictions that have passed. Except for Tobacco 21, online retailers of open systems have borne the brunt of the PACT Act and stand to lose everything if the PMTA process proves to punitive.

Senators continue to cross a line set by the Supreme Court case Pillsbury v. The Federal Trade Commission, pressuring the FDA to reject all flavored vaping products.


Undue Influence

The wealthiest Americans ceased smoking long ago, and nicotine consumption or addiction simply is not on their radar. This is why total nicotine abstinence is so often suggested as the only viable option for vapers who do not like tobacco flavored e-juices. That they might be funneled back onto combustible cigarettes and into the arms of Big Tobacco is largely ignored.

For any other risky adult behavior, a recommendation of total abstinence would surely be mocked. Vaping demolished nicotine replacement therapy as a cessation method in a New England Journal of Medicine Study, yet the patch and gums are still presented as a panacea by anti-vapers. They seek a world where no one is addicted to nicotine, an admirable goal, what they may end up getting is a Big Tobacco monopoly on cigarette alternatives and increases in the smoking rate.

Mad Vapes has no interest in selling our products to minors and have extensive safeguards in place to prevent our products from falling into the hands of minors. This includes industry leading age verification software and an adult signature upon delivery policy for all our orders. The PMTA process and PACT Act are challenges faced by the industry, but we are in it for the long haul.  



UK versus PMTA


If you are tracking PMTA and PACT Act, it is impossible not to watch with envy as the United Kingdom embraces a compassionate and science-based approach to vaping. The UK’s National Health Service promotes e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool on their website Using E-Cigarettes to Stop Smoking.


They can avoid the highly paid lobbyists and activists because they are an enormous organization with skin in the game. The NHS only cares about the bottom line. The hobby horses of billionaires are of no consequence. The NHS only adopts measures that work and are cost-effective. Treatment modalities found lacking on are given the axe. Myriad alternative medicines, homeopathy and supplements have gotten the axe, despite support for these treatments by the elites in UK society such as Prince Charles.


The UK hosts a website titled and has begun a process through which vaping products can be prescribed by doctor. This is no small deal as it will allow prescription drug coverage for vaping products. We covered the UK’s prescription vape initiative in a previous feature. Covering the cost of vaping for the most marginalized citizens in the most recent NHS initiative. On this side of the pond, approving an e-cig that peaked in popularity 7 years ago is the best we can do.




Vaping Synthetic Nic Salts

Vaping Synthetic Nicotine Salts

Synthetic nicotine is one of the newest innovations in vaping. Often referred to as Tobacco Free Nicotine (TFN), this is actually the brand name of a Next Generation Labs product. Technically, it is non-tobacco nicotine if derived from plant material or synthetic nicotine if entirely manufactured from starter materials. In every case, there are advantages to moving away from the tobacco plant.

Advantages of Non-Tobacco Nicotine

Tobacco is an energy intensive plant. There are massive pesticides and fossil fuel inputs required to cultivate the massive quantities of tobacco that are used globally in the making of tobacco products.

Switching to non-tobacco nicotine allows e-juice manufacturers to cut the cord with Big Tobacco. Previously, the nicotine in e-liquids was sourced from tobacco derived nicotine. Reducing reliance on the industrial agriculture infrastructure owned and operated by the tobacco industry is no small deal. Synthetic nicotine offers performance advantages as well.

Mad Vapes carries a wide range of synthetic nicotine, TFN and non-tobacco nicotine products. This includes regular e-liquids, salt nic juices and disposable vapes.

Synthetic Nicotine Ad
Non-Tobacco Nicotine E-Liquids

Vaping Experience: Synthetic and Non-Tobacco Nicotine

Synthetic and non-tobacco nicotine has a more neutral flavor than tobacco derived nicotine. This means that e-juice flavors shine a bit brighter with synthetic nicotine.

This clearer flavor profile makes synthetic nicotine a perfect fit for salt nic juices. With an emphasis on flavor and satisfaction instead of vapor production.

Salt Nic Juice Ad
Click here to view the Salt Nic Juice Collection at Mad Vapes

This does not mean that synthetic nicotine, TFN and non-tobacco nicotine aren’’t a good fit for box mods and max-VG juices too. But this style of nicotine really goes hand in glove with nic salts.

Vaping Synthetic Nic Salts

When vaping a nicotine salt e-liquid made with synthetic nicotine, the same precautions apply as they do when vaping a tobacco derived salt nic juice. The flavor difference is marked enough where that is worth being kept in mind as well.

Most nicotine salt juices have a nicotine strength range of 25 to 50mg/ml. A lower wattage device with a high resistance coil is the only way to vape salt nic juices. A sub-ohm tank and box mod is entirely unsuitable at high wattage. The vapor production is so great that the level of nicotine in each puff runs the gamut from absurdly unpleasant to dangerous.

As we will explain later, nicotine salts could in theory be used in less potent formulations. Tru Nic of One Hit Wonder is an example of a max-VG juice with lower nicotine strength options that is made with nicotine salts. It is the exception. Freebase nicotine is perfectly suitable for high-VG formulas and the advantages of nic salts only really show up in a noticeable way at strengths greater than 18mg/ml.


Synthetic Nicotine

Unlike tobacco derived nicotine, synthetic nicotine does not use any part of the tobacco plant. The dominant player in the synthetic nicotine market is Tobacco Free Nicotine (TFN) by Next Generation Labs (NGL). An R and S isomer nicotine, the manufacturing process is protected by a wall of patents and proprietary technologies. But there is no question they have cracked the code and figured out a way to make synthetic nicotine affordable.

Tobacco Free Nicotine
Tobacco Free Niootine by NGL

There are other synthetic nicotine products on the market. Contraf-Nicotex-Tobacco (CNT) of Heilbron Germany is NGL’s stiffest competition.

Unlike like NGL, CNT only makes synthetic nicotine rather than plant derived non-tobacco nicotine. They also believe that only S-Isomer Nicotine is functional and useful. There is no s-isomer nicotine to be found in their products. For more information on the science behind synthetic nicotine, check out our feature: What is Synthetic Nicotine?

CNT Logo


Synthetic Nicotine Salts

On a molecular level, there is nothing to separate tobacco-derived nicotine from its synthetic cousins. The ratios of S and R isomers may vary but it is otherwise indistinguishable from naturally occurring nicotine.

Synthetic nicotine can be used for traditional freebase nicotine or for salt nic juices. The standard form of the nicotine used in vapes is freebase nicotine. This is the original style of nicotine and only started to face competition from salt nic formulas in 2015 with the launch of Juul.



What are Nic Salts?

Nicotine salts are created when regular/freebase nicotine is processed through a chemical reaction that typically uses benzoic acid. Other formulations and techniques can accomplish the creation of nicotine salts, but benzoic acid is most common and effective.

salt nic versus freebase
Freebase Nicotine versus Nicotine Salts

The application of benzoic acid tweaks the molecular structure of nicotine and changes the freebase nicotine into a nicotine salt.

It is impossible to write about nicotine salts and not mention that the word salt is misleading. Outside of the scientific realm, you may picture table salts or something granular. The reality is that nicotine salts function much the same way as regular nicotine. The foundation of the e-juice remains the same, vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. That the ratios typically used in in these e-juices are different is due to the unique characteristics of nic salts.

Nicotine salts have a lower pH level and according to studies cross the blood brain barrier more readily. There is no reason you cannot put a smaller amount of nicotine salts in a max-VG juice, and One Hit Wonder does exactly that with Tru Nic.


Salt Nic Juices

The main reason that salt nicotine is not used in more max-VG juices is because it costs more, and freebase nicotine is perfectly suitable for those purposes. The purpose being an e-liquid with a nicotine strength of 3 and 6mg/ml.

When you start dealing with higher nicotine strengths, the advantages of nicotine salts really start to stand out.  Most salt nic juices are sold in 30ml bottles. They generally have a VG/PG ratio of 50/50. The available nicotine strengths usually range between 25 and 50mg/ml.

These specifications are common because they take full advantage of the lower pH level of salt nic. High pH levels translate to harshness.

Nicotine salts can be added in greater quantity and the vape juice does not become too stiff and caustic to vape. Nicotine salts also cross the blood barrier more readily according to research from nic salt pioneer Juul Labs. The original Blu cigalikes experimented with freebase nicotine strengths this high. The product proved to be quite unsatisfactory, and the vapor production had to be slashed to almost zero to keep it from being too rough on the user.

There is no comparison between the old Blu e-cig and the cheapest disposable vape on the market. This is all because of salt nic juice. The flavor of disposable vapes is further enhanced because many of the manufacturers also use synthetic nicotine.


Vape Pod Kits

Refillable Vape Pod Kits
The Mad Vapes Collection of Vape Pod Kits

A higher nicotine strength means less vapor is needed to provide a satisfying user experience for adult vapers. Creating vapor requires a coil and battery. If less vapor is required, the battery can be smaller and the coil higher resistance. This allows manufacturers to use smaller batteries, and this results in a smaller vaping device.

A less powerful device requires a smaller battery. This further shrinks the size of the device. Burning less e-liquid per puff, a smaller reservoir of e-juice is required to a get a vaper through the day. Fewer overall puffs are required, less vapor is produced

Vape pod kits were initially designed to provide a refillable alternative to the popular Juul pod system. They may have started as low-wattage devices but this class of e-cig has expanded dramatically. There are now vape pods with outputs exceeding 50 watts. There are sub-ohm coils, allowing them to match vape mods stride for stride. The main defining trait is that there is no standardized threading. Only pods built expressly for that device will be compatible.


Freebase Synthetic Nicotine

The path of less vapor, smaller devices and higher nicotine strengths is exactly the opposite of the developmental path of freebase nicotine. Ten years ago, there were very strong freebase nicotine e-juices. These could range up to 36mg/ml, which is stronger than the lower end nic salts. But the throat and chest burn on those strengths was quite severe.

There are fans of tobacco flavored e-liquids who loved the authenticity of potent freebase vape juices, which usually were heavy on PG and designed for use in eGo style cartomizers. But most adult vapers wanted sweet fruit, beverage, and dessert flavored e-liquids. Physical pain was not considered a selling point, and a different approach was adopted. This was the mighty box mod.

Vape Mods

Vape Mods
Click here to view the Vape Mods collection at Mad Vapes

Most mod users are using 0, 3 and 6mg/ml nicotine strengths. They deliver a satisfying experience by dint of the massive vapor product and sheer volume of e-liquids consumed in each puff.

The upshot is that there are two major types of vaping. Lower potency freebase e-liquids vaped with more powerful devices and potent nic salts vaped in smaller vape pod kits and disposable vapes.

There is no reason why nicotine salts cannot be used in lower strength, max-VG juices instead of freebase nicotine. But it does cost more per ml and wouldn’t take full advantage of salt nicotine’s greatest advantage.


England to Offer Prescription Vapes

England could be the first country in the world to prescribe e-cigarettes medicinally to help reduce smoking rates.


UK May Be First Country to Offer Prescription Vapes


UK Vaping Regulations

England could be the first country in the world to prescribe e-cigarettes medicinally to help reduce smoking rates.

Public Health England, an executive agency in the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care, has long advocated for smokers to switch to e-cigarettes. Their research has found that vaping is 95 percent less harmful than cigarettes.

No other country has embraced vaping for harm reduction to this extent and the United Kingdom’s health services are the foremost experts in this field. The results speak for themselves.  The UK has outperformed EU countries in smoking cessation.

As reported in guidelines released on the Health and Social Care Portal of website, medical regulators will work with vape manufacturers to fully assess the safety and efficacy of their products. The goal is to get electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), commonly known as vapes and e-cigarettes, into the hands of smokers. By offering it as a prescription, the poorest and most marginalized smokers will now have access to e-cigarettes.


Science Based Medicine

The UK’s science-based approach to smoking cessation contrasts sharply with the binary choice of total nicotine abstinence or nicotine replacement therapy promoted by medical authorities in the United States. Any discussion of cessation or harm reduction using ENDS devices is prohibited in the US.

Public Health England has advocated electronic cigarettes as an alternative to combustible cigarettes for close to a decade.  But the ability to prescribe e-cigarettes will for the first time allow underserved and marginalized groups, who are far more likely to smoke than the wealthy, to access tax subsidized cigarette alternatives with a doctor’s prescription.



National Health Service

Taxpayer dollars. The National Health Service (NHS) is paid for by taxpayer dollars. It is a massive operation and has skin in the game. It is not operated for profit. The pharmaceutical industry and anti-vaping lobbyists have far less sway in the UK, where bucket loads of cash cannot buy favorable outcomes as easily.

The National Health Service, which is the UK’s national health care provider, is no pushover. They are a conservative organization and extremely wary of controversial treatments.

They are also very quick to discard health modalities determined to be ineffective or overpriced. E-Cigarettes would not be promoted if they did not make sense with the bean counters.

Keep in mind that while the NHS is on the cusp of offering prescription vapes, they refuse to cover dietary supplements, chiropractic medicine, homeopathy, naturopathy, herbal medicine, natural medicine, and other alternative treatments. This isn’t some impulsive operation looking to grab headlines.

Tellingly, the NHS jettisoned alternative natural health treatments despite the vehement complaints of wealthy luminaries, lobbyists, and Prince Charles himself.

At the same time, the NHS has long hosted the “Using E-Cigarettes to Stop Smoking” resource page.

The only goal of the massive national health institutions of the UK are to provide effective and affordable treatment options for their citizens.

Public Health England and the National Health Service would scrap support of e-cigarettes immediately if they did not have proof that they worked.


The Path to Prescription Vapes


The full scope of the process is being finalized, but the pathway for prescription vapes is going to be open soon. Research and applications will be submitted to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This is the same channel that every drug and medical device must pass through.

Once approved, clinicians would be able to prescribe e-cigarettes to a patient to help them quit smoking.

According to the press release, “E-cigarettes contain nicotine and are not risk free, but expert reviews from the UK and US have been clear that the regulated e-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking. A medicinally licensed e-cigarette would have to pass even more rigorous safety checks.”

E-cigarettes are the most popular smoking cessation method in England. The NHS reports that in 2020, “E-cigarettes have been shown to be highly effective in supporting those trying to quit, with 27.2% of smokers using them compared with 18.2% using nicotine replacement therapy products such as patches and gum.”

Vapers working with the Stop Smoking services offered by the NHS have the highest smoking cessation rate of any group: 68 percent.


Vaping Crushes Nicotine Replacement Therapy

This major breakthrough for UK smokers and vapers can be traced to a study first published in February 2019 in the  New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) study.

A massive study facilitated through the Stop Smoking offices of NHS, researchers found vaping was twice as effective as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for smoking cessation. What is nicotine replacement therapy? It is the patch, nicotine gum and similar synthetic nicotine products manufactured by the pharmaceutical industry.

Billions have been poured into the development of NRT over the last four decades. Compared to vaping, where even a hint of the word cessation will bring regulators to your front door in the US, pharmaceutical companies have worked tirelessly to improve NRT and develop a whole infrastructure around using these products. They have created intricate protocols to titrate nicotine levels. The admirable goal is to facilitate total cessation. Unfortunately, when pitted toe-to-toe with a very basic electronic cigarette NRT came up second best in a two horse race.

The NEJM study found that what was essentially a 2013 era vape starter kit proved twice as effective as nicotine replacement therapy. We are talking about a classic e-cig loaded with freebase nicotine. A device that cost maybe $10 at the time.

In response to this groundbreaking study, the NHS and Public Health England examined new ways to incorporate e-cigarettes into a comprehensive harm reduction and smoking cessation program. With the goal now to get e-cigarettes into the hands those unable to afford making the switch, prescription vaping products were inevitable.


Vaping Dark Ages in US

As readers are painfully aware, the US has taken a quite different approach to vaping. As teen vaping rates increased in the US, the UK did not encounter this issue possibly due to a cap on nicotine strengths at 20mg, politicians became obsessed with denying access to e-cigs, no matter the cost to adult vapers and smokers.

Total nicotine abstinence or NRT remain the only approved games in town. An inexplicable obsession with vaping flavors still clouds the debate, even after the 2019 Youth Tobacco Study conducted by the CDC found that flavors are not one of the primary reasons that teens vape.

why kids vape
reasons minors vape

Goal Posts Moved

The NEJM study pulled the rug out from under the US approach. Not surprisingly, the goal posts were promptly moved.

Critics of vaping seized on the fact the NRT patients who successfully quit smoking were more likely to be totally abstinent from nicotine.  That far more people were successful quitting with e-cigarettes was ignored or even decried as detrimental because this meant this meant there were now more vapers!

It was illuminating to see how quickly the health and lives of those who successfully moved from combustible to electronic cigarettes was dismissed.

Bad Faith Actors?

One tired old myth of the anti-vaping lobbywas destroyed by the NEJM study: the debunked theory that e-cigarettes are a gateway drug to combustible cigarettes.

A true zombie myth that refuses to die, this specious argument had already been debunked a dozen times. The fact it still appears on the Orwellian-named Truth Initiative website is evidence they are either not arguing in good faith or woefully uninformed.

The retraction and controversy surrounding a bogus vaping heart disease study written by their scientific advisor Stanton Glantz, reported on in the USA Today, suggests that the former rather than the latter may be the case.


Balanced Debate

Buried in the media coverage on teen vaping from 2017 to 2019 was the fact that former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb stated that it would be a net positive if all current smokers switched to vaping. Nary an interview or press release did not acknowledge this fact. Yet these quotes were studiously ignored in main stream media coverage of his appearances.

Consider this quote from an FDA press release: “While it’s the addiction to nicotine that keeps people smoking, it’s primarily the combustion, which releases thousands of harmful constituents into the body at dangerous levels, that kills people.”

A fair debate on vaping in the US is unlikely. With $160 million dollars, Michael Bloomberg has bought the energies and advocacy of dozens of politicians and government offices. As the Stanton Glantz scandal demonstrated, the possibility that scientific outcomes were also purchased is not out of the question.

Mysterious Lung Ailment and Inaccurate Reporting of Lung Ailment

The mysterious outbreak of lung disease in the fall of 2019 is another good example of how the media has skewed coverage of vaping.

The cause of the lung disease was identified by Labor Day by Leafly Magazine: vitamin E acetate used in black market THC cartridges.

Even the state of New York Department of Health, a true enemy to adult nicotine vaping if there ever was one, posted warnings about that vitamin E acetate was responsible and to avoid THC cartridges on September 5, 2019,

Scroll through news coverage at the time and you will find countless articles suggesting that perhaps commercially available nicotine vapes were responsible.

There were outliers.NPR reported the sharp spike in lung disease hospitalizations pointed to a single culprit and commercially available nicotine products were not associated with any of the incidents.

The state of Michigan was a bit more careless in their response to vaping lung disease. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services did not ban vitamin E acetate from THC cartridges until the end of November.The Detroit Metro Timesreported that they neglected to mention THC cartridges were involved at all until well into October. This intentionally obtuse approach falsely shifted the blame to nicotine products and the generic “e-cig”.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer campaigned for cannabis legalization and accepted donations from lobbyists from the powerful industrial hemp and cannabis industries. Was she repaying a favor when Michigan completely failed to provide clear guidance to its citizens regarding the outbreak of vaping lung illnesses. There is no question that it took an unacceptably long period of time for THC cartridges to be called into question by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

 The CDC was also slow, not until December 2019 did they finally make it clear that commercially available nicotine products were not responsible. 

Even coverage of the CDC announcement was skewed. But the buried lede speaks for itself.

“Pure THC oil has a viscosity like that of vitamin E acetate. Cutting THC oil with vitamin E acetate has been reported to be common in the illicit market.9-11 The FDA reports that most case-associated THC product fluids contain vitamin E acetate, at an average concentration of 50% by weight, ranging from 23 to 88%.8 By contrast, the FDA detected no vitamin E acetate in 197 case-associated nicotine products analyzed to date. The viscosity of vitamin E acetate makes it undesirable as an additive to nicotine solutions; the propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin in nicotine solutions create a fluid with a much lower viscosity than that of vitamin E acetate.

Centers for Disease Control, ” Vitamin E Acetate in Bronchoalveolar-Lavage Fluid Associated with EVALI”, 12/20/2019

The PACT Act

Thanks to the strict PACT Act, combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes manufactured by Big Tobacco and sold at gas stations are the only options available to smokers and vapers who choose not to embrace total nicotine abstinence.

Mad Vapes has no interest in selling our products to individuals who do not already smoke or vape. We are hard at work to supply the best vaping products to adults over the age of 21 who already vape or smoke.

We have industry leading age verification technology to prevent the sale to minors. In any event, research has shown that most underage vapers were obtaining their vapes from peers. Tobacco 21 laws addressed this issue and are largely to thank for the decline in vaping rates.

Will the United States ever embrace a humane and compassionate approach to smoking and vaping? It seems unlikely at this juncture. The wealthiest Americans have long since quit smoking. Smokers and vapers have no access to levers of power. Compare the fate facing vaping with the way alcohol is treated. According to the CDC, 3500 minors die each year from underage drinking. An additional 130,000 end up in the emergency room. Nary a peep about that epidemic.

Wealthy Americans imbibe just as frequently as any other group. It is not hard to connect the dots here. Vaping is viewed as an alien and disreputable habit by the people making the rules. Imposing obstacles on users has no impact on anyone in the immediate social circle of the wealthy and influential backers of the anti-vaping movement.

Regulatory Capture

It is a bit strange that the PACT Act leaves the vaping market open to e-cigarettes that have access to shelf space at gas stations. Big Tobacco and their partners control this space.

The product most typically associated with underage vaping, Juul, will surely benefit as small and independent vaping companies get driven out of business by harsh new rules. The words regulatory capture come to mind.

Regulatory capture is a theory that often plays out in practice in the United States. It occurs when government agencies are dominated by the biggest stakeholders in the industry they are meant to regulate and not by public interest.

An unrelated form of corruption would be when elected officials grandstand and menace to influence the decisions of regulatory agencies. Current US Senators badgering the FDA to reject PMTAs certainly seems to cross that line. The Supreme Court case Pillsbury v. The FTC in theory bars exactly this type of meddling.



Vape Mail Ban 2021

The PACT Act vape mail ban denies legal age vapers access to the e-liquid flavors and vaping devices they prefer. 

Responding to the Vape Mail Ban

Mad Vapes is working with regional and specialty to carriers to expand our shipping network. Orders may now take up to 14 days to receive and not all areas of the country will be initially covered.

We will continue to add new regions and look forward to providing our loyal customers with the same great service and value that they have come to expect. Subscribing to our newsletter or checking in for updates is the best way to stay apprised of the status of your area. We will provide status updates.

USPS Vape Mail Ban

As of October 20, 2021, the United States Postal Service will no longer ship vape products. The PACT Act, an acronym for the misleadingly titled Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act, prohibits the shipping of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) devices and e-liquid products through USPS.

The stated goal of the PACT Act was to prevent all cigarette trafficking. Whether intended or not, the result is a mail ban that threatens the viability of the independent vaping industry and might just help boost combustible cigarette sales.

The small, independent businesses in the vaping industry have suffered a grievous blow that primarily impacts adult vapers and smokers seeking options other than combustible cigarettes.

One of former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s most overlooked comments is that it would be a net gain in all cigarette smokers switched to an ENDS.



The PACT Act was passed by Congress in late 2021 as part of the massive Covid Relief Act.  Preventing online sales to minors is certainly an admirable goal but Congress went far beyond that.

Known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, it was an omnibus bill which included a lot more than just pandemic relief. The bill provided political cover for passing laws which might not have a chance independently but were not so important that any politician would be willing to stall the passage over.

The wealthy quit smoking decades ago, which is one reason bills like this pass with so little resistance. Alcohol on the other hand remains popular than those in higher income bracket. Underage drinking sends 130,000 minors to the emergency room annually and kills 3500 according to the CDC.


Other Restrictions

While the mail ban is the component most visible to consumers, several other restrictions are also included in bill.

The most notable and first changes to take effect were updates to the Jenkins Act. The 1949 Jenkins Act is a federal law which requires any party that sells and ships cigarettes across state lines to an unlicensed party or distributor to report the sale to the tobacco tax administrator in the buyer’s state.

The Appropriations Act amended the Jenkins Act to include electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). An ENDS was defined as “any electronic device that, through an aerosolized solution, delivers nicotine, flavor, or any other substance to the user inhaling from the device.” No exception was made for CBD or similar products. Perhaps understandably, considering the grey area of their legality at the state and federal level.

The rewritten law covers e-cigarettes, e-hookahs, pens, disposables, pods, liquid, parts, and accessories. Even components sold separately are covered. There are no exemptions for hemp, medical marijuana, or CBD.


Taxes and Penalties

With vapes now subject to the PACT Act and Jenkins act, online retailers must comply with the following restrictions:

  • Register with the US Attorney General.
  • Verify age of customers using a commercially available database.
  • Use private shippers that collect an adult signature at the point of delivery.
  • Register with the federal government and with state tobacco tax administrators if selling in states that tax vaping products.
  • Collect all applicable local and state taxes and affix any required tax stamps to the products sold.
  • Send each taxing state’s tax administrator a list of all transactions with buyers in their state. This includes the names and addresses of each customer sold to, the quantities and types of each product sold.
  • Maintain records for five years of any “delivery interrupted because the carrier or service determines or has reason to believe that the person ordering the delivery is in violation of the law.”
  • Shipments cannot exceed 10 pounds
  • All packages be marked that they contain cigarettes.

Vape companies who do not register, pay all appropriate excise taxes, or comply with the shipping and reporting rules of the law are subject to severe penalties, including up to three years in prison.


Increased Cost to Online Retailers

The Jenkins Act rules being applied to vape products will hit online retailers in the pocketbook due to the increased logistical and administrative burden.

Registering with states, ironing out the logistics with regional carriers, navigating the PMTA process, and keeping apprised of constantly changing state laws costs money.

Such obstacles are easy for a Big Tobacco partner like Juul, RJ Reynolds Vuse or MyBlu to figure out. And online sales are not a crucial part of their business model. They dominate the shelves. For many small vaping businesses, these obstacles proved insurmountable, and they closed their doors.


Increased Cost to Consumers

The application of cigarette taxes on all vapes will hurt the consumer. Providing an incentive to switch back to combustible cigarettes and driving all vape manufacturers not owned by Big Tobacco companies out of business was presumably not a goal of the law.

But the reality is that it serves as a de facto ban on vapes for anyone who does not have access to a brick and mortar vape shop or does not want to purchase prefilled, tobacco flavored vape pods and e-cigarettes manufactured by companies like Altria and RJ Reynolds.


Reduced Access for Marginalized Vapers

There is also the issue of access to vapes. There are many areas in the US that due to population density and location are simply not going to be covered by regional carriers. USPS is the only option for these zip codes. Mail service in remote areas is often centralized in PO Boxes that regional carriers, UPS and even FedEx cannot access. The population is not large enough to support a local business that sells the e-liquids and hardware of independent manufacturers.

smokers by age
smokers by age

Underserved rural communities historically have higher rates of smoking and lung cancer deaths than urban areas, the most remote of these areas will be difficult to serve but we are exploring every option.


Adult Signature Required

Before the passing of the final rule of the USPS vape mail ban, a person over 21 had to be present to sign for every e-juice and hardware order. Continuing USPS service but requiring that someone over 21 signs for an order would have been a less onerous restriction that effectively would have removed any possibility of the online sales of e-cigarettes to children.

why kids vape
reasons minors vape

A revised Preventing the Sale of E-Cigarettes to Children Act is surely out of the question in the current political environment. Anti-vaping advocates are simply too well-funded by Michael Bloomberg and completely invested in their narrative that the e-juice flavors most popular with adults are targeting children. They point to nostalgic packaging and flavor profiles, that on occasion recall 1980s cereal and candy flavors, as evidence.

The tobacco lobby too strong and the wealthy too indifferent to the plight of smokers and vapers for a sweeping legal reprieve. For anyone who lives in a remote rural area and uses an e-cig rather than a combustible cigarette product, they have nowhere to send their business buy back to the tobacco industry. A black October indeed.


Tobacco 21

In October 2020, there were rumblings that the age for purchasing any tobacco product, and that is what e-liquids are currently classified as, in the US would be raised to 21.

By December 2020, the outline of this plan was clear. CDC research had demonstrated that most minors who vaped were obtaining their products from peers just over the age of 18 and not yet 21.

This is the same CDC study that found flavors were not the primary driver of underage use. The Youth Tobacco Survey was released months behind schedule, possibly because it did not deliver the results that anti-vapers wanted?

In any event, the attacks on characterizing flavors continues unabated and still unsubstantiated.

While businesses were blamed for selling to minors, it was siblings and friends who were snapping up products like the popular Juul Mint pod and selling them to high school students.

USPS orders were not a major conduit, since the by far the most popular product with minors was the Juul prefilled vape pod system and this was sold mostly at convenience stores and gas stations.


Ban on Prefilled Pod Flavors

The Tobacco 21 laws were followed closely by a ban on flavored prefilled vape pods. This rule removed all but tobacco flavors from the menu of prefilled pods. Businesses that manufactured old fashioned prefilled cig-a-like cartomizers were also hit by this rule, despite having the oldest customer base in the market. The result was that legacy businesses with older clientele were driven out of business.

Tobacco 21 and the ban on vape pod flavors were logical responses if you were to believe teenage vaping was epidemic that had to be addressed at the expense of adults.

Compare the socio-economic class of the children featured in the anecdotes describing teen vaping outlined in this Wall Street Journal article to the typical smoker seeking an ash free alternative in the sweet fruit and beverage flavors they prefer.

The laundry list of restrictions, rules, and laws on vapes is proof of who has sway and is calling the shots in a “democracy”. Mad Vapes has no interest in selling to minors and has always viewed underage use as an existential threat.

The efforts by the Food and Drug Administration succeeded in reducing the teen vaping rate before the vape mail ban. Reputable businesses were already carding and age verifying with the same cutting-edge software that the firearms industry uses. The illegal and morally dubious practice of intentionally selling products to minors was never something the industry pursued. The assumption that the vape companies were not acting is good faith was simply presented as fact by rabid anti-vaping activists whose goal is enforced nicotine abstinence.

It is interesting to ponder how well received a program of total abstinence would be for any other risky adult behavior other than vaping.


Cannabis and the PACT Act

The ban on mailing vaping products through the US postal service delivery system has been known for nearly a year but only started took hold in October.

Whatever their intended goal, the federal law also swept up the much more politically popular hemp and cannabis industries as well. Due to investments in hemp and a generally distaste for the war on drugs, THC products seem to be held in higher regard than nicotine. How long this remains the case remains to be seen.

While the onerous state level tax regulations, related to the Jenkins Act, are not uniformly applied upon nicotine and cannabis, the actual ban on mailing vaping products does impact the sale of marijuana derived products.

The cannabis industry has much stronger political backing than the nicotine vaping industry. When the PACT Act passed by Congress, the myriad interests of the cannabis industry did not foresee getting entangled in the federal crackdown on nicotine vapes. This resulted in the PACT Act being delayed until October, even though it was signed last year.

With United States Postal Service delivery services no longer available to online vape stores, Congress has prevented online sales to legal age vapers who are seeking smoke and ash free combustible cigarette alternatives.


Fed-Ex and UPS

A ban on shipments of ENDS devices and nicotine e-liquids was instituted by FedEx and UPS earlier this year. The loss of their competitively priced shipping services immediately removed fast and competitive shipping options. These private delivery companies have logistical networks that spread worldwide, and this represented a major blow to online retailers.

Starting on April 5, 2021, UPS “will not transport vaping products to, from, or within the United States due to the increased complexity to ship those products.”

FedEx ended vaping shipments on March 1, 2021. They refuse to ship any tobacco products or electronic cigarettes.

This leaves manufacturers of hemp vapor products with fewer options for shipping their goods to consumers. And even when nicotine, hemp or CBD vapor product manufacturer finds a shipping company to ship its products to consumers (which is likely to be prohibitively expensive given that USPS, UPS, and FedEx are no longer options), the manufacturer still must comply with the stringent rules of the PACT Act.


Private Shipping

During the ten months between the passage of the PACT Act the USPS implementing the final rule for implementation, Mad Vapes has been hard at work developing a network of regional carriers to meet the needs of their customers. These specialty delivery services will eventually cover much of the country, but many zip codes will not be able to receive shipments.

It is likely that the bill will have unintended consequences. Adult consumers who had switched to nicotine e-liquids now may only have cigarettes as an option. We are working hard to expand our private delivery network and look forward to serving you again.


Vape Mail Ban Shipping Update

Vape Mail Ban 2021

To All Our Valued Customers and the Vaping Community,

As of October 20th, 2021, Madvapes can no longer ship any vaping related products using the United States Postal Office (USPS), which was our primary method for shipping. This new law prohibits the USPS to ship any vape e-liquids, vaping hardware and vaping accessories. Earlier this year, similar restrictions were instituted by FedEx, UPS and DHL.


The USPS vape mail ban can be traced back to last year’s PACT ACT. Since that law passed, we have worked tirelessly to develop an extensive network of regional and specialist carriers.

There will be initial service interruptions as we transition to our new shipping partners.  We are truly sorry for this. We will continue to increase our coverage area each week. Please allow up to 5-14 days to receive your order. It pays to order ahead and take full advantage of our weekly promotions.

We recommend subscribing to our email newsletter so you can receive updates as our area of shipping coverage increases. You can subscribe at the bottom of every page on our website in the footer area. We recommend checking in weekly to see if your area has been added to our coverage map.

Madvapes takes pride in its customer service and selection of vaping hardware, e-liquids, and accessories. We are not going anywhere and will continue to serve the vaping community with our wide range of high-quality vaping products.

Shop Now Mad Vapes
Shop now at Mad Vapes



Smok Nord 4 versus Smok RPM 4 Vape Pod

Smok Nord 4 versus Smok RPM 4

If you are an adult vaper who switches between salt nic juices and max-VG juices, a sub-ohm tank and box mod may not be the ideal device for you. While a box mod offers unmatched power, you should never vape nic salts out of one. Moreover, they can be a bit bulky.

This is where the ever popular refillable vape pod kit steps in. The first generation refillable vape pod kits were little more than refillable nicotine salt conduits, essentially a refillable version of Juul. This could save you a lot of money but limited the style of e-liquids you could vape. It was technically possible to enjoy max-VG juices from an old Smok Novo, but it was not built for this.

Today, it is disposable vapes that have taken the vaping market by storm. With a federal ban on flavors in prefilled vape pods, they are still available in the sweet e-juice flavors that adult vapers prefer.

Smoktech has a substantial lineup of vape pod models. The Smok Nord 4 and Smok RPM 4 both share lineage with extremely popular predecessors. They are roughly the same size. Both are come with two pods and each pod is compatible with a specific set of coils. In the case of both, the RPM coil family is one of the pod options. But there are differences that are worth exploring before you decide which one better suits your needs.


Best Disposable Vape Alternative

Disposable Vape Ad
Disposable Vapes at Mad Vapes

With the popularity of salt nic juices, it is natural that many adult vapers will gravitate towards small and efficient vape pod kits like the Vaporesso XROS Mini and Smok Novo 4. We reviewed several of these in our showdown of the Best Vape Pods for Salt Nic Juice. But max-VG juice vapers also enjoy the sleek lines and compact designs of the refillable vape pod kit. Therefore, many manufacturers have launched powerful pod mods that can nearly match box mods in terms of vapor production.

Salt Nic Juices

Salt Nic Juice Ad
Click here to view the Salt Nic Juice Collection at Mad Vapes

Salt nic juices are the reason vape pods came into being. A quick primer, nicotine salts are created by adding benzoic acid to the freebase nicotine used in standard max-VG e-liquids. This lowers the pH level and allows the nicotine to cross the blood brain barrier more readily. The lower pH level means that much higher concentrations of nicotine can be added to an e-juice without making it too hard to tolerate. There is no reason why small quantities of nic salts can’t be used in max-VG juices. But generally, the advantage is in the ability to add more.

This is why most salt nic juices have a nic strength between 25 and 50mg. E-Juices with this much nicotine should not be vaped out of box mods and sub-ohm tanks. They also are not suitable in the vape pods below when the wattage is turned up and a low-resistance coil is installed.

Tobacco Free Nicotine

Synthetic Nicotine Ad
Non-Tobacco Nicotine E-Liquids

There are also synthetic nicotine e-liquids. These can be either max-VG freebase juices or salt nics. The use of non-tobacco nicotine is all that sets these e-juices apart from tobacco derived e-liquids. Tobacco Free Nicotine (TFN) is actually a brand of non-tobacco nicotine made by next generation labs.


What is a Refillable Vape Pod Kit?

Refillable Vape Pod Kits
The Mad Vapes Collection of Vape Pod Kits

When we deep-dive the Smok Nord 4 and Smok RPM 4 below, it will become clear that they can match the performance of a vintage tube mod and even some box mods. What is the difference between a mod and pod?

A vape mod has standardized threading and uses a tank. The tank need not be sub-ohm, although most designs and mod coils are, but it does have to use 510 threads. This gives the user the flexibility to mix and match their favorite tank and mod combinations.

Vape pods do not offer this flexibility. The pods we review today have swappable coils used in multiple devices but the coils themselves must be inserted into a proprietary refillable pod design. Both the Nord 4 and RPM 4 can use RPM coils. But a Nord 4 cannot use an RPM pod and vice versa.

At its most basic level, a refillable vape pod kit is a device with a refillable pod that is only compatible with that line of devices. There is no way to affix an XROS pod on a Novo.


What is a Pod Mod?

A pod mod is a mix between a pod and mod. What is the difference between a pod mod and an AIO? Mostly marketing preferences, a pod mod should have adjustable wattage and at least one low resistance coil option. Keep in mind that RPM, an acronym Smoktech uses for coils and devices, stands for Real Pod Mod. It is clear Smok’s vision of a pod mod includes swappable coils. Both devices today reflect that preference.

Vape Mods
Click here to view the Vape Mods collection at Mad Vapes

The Smok Novo 4, the most recent entrant in the Smok Novo family, now has swappable coils at all. It is not inconceivable that Smok will do away with the classic vape pod design entirely. It is wasteful to throw away a durable plastic pod because the coil inside has worn out. As much as I like the efficiency and ease provided by a pod that is tossed when its service life has ended, the swappable pod approach is more environmentally friendly.


What is an AIO Vape Pod?

An AIO is a vape pod with swappable coils. Or at least that is typically how it is defined. These are not exactly terms of art. The original vape pods did not have swappable coils and there were leaking issues with some early models.

This issue has been addressed. Smok now has several lines of LP coils. The LP1 is compatible with the Smok Novo 2. The Smok RPM 4 comes with two pods. One of these pods is compatible with the classic selection of Smok RPM coils. The second works with LP2 coils. LP stands for “leak proof”. There is really no such thing as totally leak-proof in the world of vaping, but they have come a long way from some notorious juice dumping tanks. There are three levels of stopper to prevent unwanted leakage.


Smok RPM 4

Smok RPM 4 Vape Pod Kit

On paper, the Smok RPM 4 is slightly less capable than a Smok Nord 4. But this does not mean it is not a formidable piece of vaping hardware. With a built-in 1650mAh battery, it has a maximum output of 65-watts.

Smok RPM 4 Specifications
Smok RPM 4 Specs

With a surprisingly large 0.96” TFT display, the Smok RPM 4 gives you easy access to wattage adjustment, puff counts, battery life and coil resistance. The rectangular shape is easy to hold and store. The e-liquid capacity of RPM 4 is 5ml. It shares a lot of DNA with the original Smok RPM 40 but is a huge upgrade. What it shares is compatibility with the wide range of Smok RPM Coils. It also works with the newly launched family of LP2 coils.


Smok RPM 4 Pods

Smok LP2 Coils
LP2 Coils and RPM Pod

The Smok RPM 4 Vape Pod Kit comes with two pods. One pod is compatible with RPM coils and the other is compatible with LP2 coils. Both pods hold 5ml. The pods are swappable and press fit. There is a side fill slot that is plugged with a silicone stopper.

If you are looking to vape salt nic juices in your Smok RPM 4, you are probably going to be limited to the RPM pod. There is a legendary and beloved 1.0ohm single coil and the 1.2ohm Quartz Coil. Both are sold separately.

The Smok RPM 4 comes with a 0.6ohm RPM coil and the Smok LP2 0.23ohm Meshed Coil. The LP2 is not going to be useful for salt vapers. It runs between 20 and 45 watts. Unless you run it below its recommended power, have an unusual resistance to nicotine or use lower nic strength salts, it will quickly ruin your day if you try to vape 50mg nic salts out of it. This is to be avoided. The 0.6ohm Coil is also for freebase max-VG juice. Operating between 15 and 25-watts, it can vape lower strength nic salts in a pinch, but the purpose built salt nic coils are much more effective.


Smok Nord 4

Smok Nord 4 Ad
Smok Nord 4 at Mad Vapes

The Smok Nord 4 is an amazing piece of equipment. It does not get the “Real Pod Mod” moniker that RPM coil family gets but with an output up to 80 watts, it probably deserves it. The built-in 2000mAh battery is impressive, especially considering the size of the device. There is a screen for controlling wattage, the range is 5 to 80 watts.

Smok Nord 4 Specs
Smok Nord 4 Specifications

Out of the box, the Smok Nord 4 comes with two pods and two coils. Both coils are low resistance. With a greater power output, the Smok Novo 4 is clearly designed to put through its sub-ohm paces, although it is equally capable of vaping salt nic juices as the Smok RPM 4 when the RPM 4 higher-resistance coils are used.

The e-liquid capacity of the Smok Nord 4 is 4.5ml. The OLED screen is very clear and easy to use, although significantly smaller than the RPM 4’s TFT.


Smok Nord 4 Coils

RPM Coils at Mad Vapes

The Smok Nord 4 comes with a pair of pods and a pair of low-resistance coils designed for max-VG juices. The 0.16ohm RPM 2 coil and the 0.4ohm RPM coil are installed in their respective pods. Neither of these coils are suitable for vaping salt nic juices. You can always order a 5-pack of RPM 1.0ohm SC coils if you want to switch between nic salts and freebase.

Versatility is the name of the game, as the 0.16ohm is a cloud belching monster. The ramp up time is quick, and the flavor is perfect. It can take full advantage of the Smok Nord’s power band.


Final Thoughts

On paper, the Smok Nord 4 gets the edge. It can use the same high-resistance RPM series of coils to vape nic salts. It has a larger battery and comes with a low-resistance 0.16ohm coil which is at the cutting edge for vaping max-VG juices in a vape pod. The 20 watts greater output and 350mAh larger battery are significant increases.

In terms of form factor, it is close. The Smok RPM 4 has the bigger screen and has a larger e-liquid capacity. Whether 5ml or 4.5ml, that is a lot of salt nic, but the larger tank can make a difference when burning through max-VG juices at higher wattage.

They are close in terms of dimensions. If you have a strong preference for form factor, that should inform your final decision.

The fact is that neither device currently has a coil that operates at the top-end of their power band. Until there is an 80-watt coil, the Nord 4’s true power will remain largely untapped. The primary deciding factory is battery size and coil preferences. Both use RPM coils, so it boils down to the RPM 2 versus LP 2 family. But as these are of the same generation, there is not much separate them.



New Air Factory Synthetic E-Liquid Flavors

New Air Factory Synthetic E-Liquid Flavors

Air Factory E-Liquids was founded in 2016. Located in Los Angeles, California, Air Factory immediately made a splash in the competitive e-juice market with their commitment to outstanding flavors and high-quality ingredients. It may sound like corporate jargon but their commitment to three fundamental pillars is demonstrated by the quality of their vape juices.

The three pillars are quality, taste and satisfaction. The quality is guaranteed through the sourcing of top-notch flavors and ingredients. Taste may seem subjective but the popularity of their flavors attests to their success on this front. Satisfaction is ensured through rigorous safety and quality control measures.

Air Factory E-Liquids
Air Factor E-Liquids at Mad Vapes

Air Factory is also committed to responsible marketing and providing high-quality, lab tested and traceable e-liquid products in the enjoyable flavors that adult vapers prefer. Their products are intended only for adult addicted smokers and adult users of nicotine delivery systems. They offer a wide range of nicotine strengths, ranging from nicotine free to 50mg salt nic juices.


Air Factory Synthetic E-Liquids

Synthetic Nicotine Ad
Non-Tobacco Nicotine E-Liquids

There are four Air Factory Synthetic E-Liquids with new names. This naming convention also applies to the salt nic juice versions of these juices. Here is a list of the changes. The PMTA name is the name applied to the Air Factory E-Liquid which uses tobacco-derived nicotine and was submitted pre-market approval to the FDA.

Air Factory
Air Factory E-Liquid Names


Air Factory Synthetic E-Juices (TFN) Freebase

The freebase nicotine version of Air Factory Synthetic E-Liquids (TFN) are sold in 100ml bottles. They are available in 0, 3 and 6mg nicotine strengths. With a 70 percent VG blend, these max-VG juices are optimized for a vape mod and sub-ohm tank. Thanks to advances in technology, refillable vape pod kits can now handle these 70/30 PG/VG e-liquids as well. The lower nicotine levels of these freebase juices are optimized for direct lung vaping but are a great option for adult vapers who want to steer clear of the potent nicotine levels generally found in salt nic juices.

Vape Mods
Click here to view the Vape Mods collection at Mad Vapes


Razzberry Blast Air Factory Synthetic E-Juice (Max-VG)

Razzberry Blast Air Factory E-Juice (TFN) is a freebase nicotine version of a vaping classic. Blue Razz vape juices have been a huge hit since the earliest days of vaping. While they have proven especially popular in nic salt disposables and bottled salt nic juices, the flavor profile works extremely well in freebase max-VG juice.

The fundamental flavor of Blue Raspberry is sweetness. But it is not a cloying mess because of the tartness of the raspberry flavor. Artificial raspberry was color coded “blue” decades ago because of surfeit of red fruits. Apple and cherry got priority and the doughty raspberry flavor was assigned blue. But as far as vape flavors go, raspberry takes a backseat to no other fruit.

Wild Watermelon Air Factory Synthetic E-Juice (Max-VG)

Wild Watermelon Air Factory Synthetic E-Juice (TFN) is comparable to Air Factory’s tobacco-derived Melon Lush. It is a combination of watermelon, honeydew melon and cantaloupe flavors. We get to see a bit of vaping alchemy at play. Against all odds, the mediocre honeydew melon fruit is used to inspire an outstanding vape juice flavor.

It remains unclear why an unwelcome interloper in fruit salads like honeydew makes such a great e-liquid flavor. The fact e-liquids are inspired by a fully ripe honeydew at the height of its flavor probably plays a big role. The addition of cantaloupe and watermelon notes adds considerable flavor depth, pushing honeydew to an unusual role as one of the background flavors.

Strawberry Twist Air Factory Synthetic E-Juice (Max-VG)

Strawberry Twist Air Factory E-Juice (TFN) is the synthetic nicotine version of Strawberry Kiwi Air Factory Synthetic E-Juice. The use of neutral flavored Tobacco Free Nicotine really draws out the tropical kiwi flavor, which adds much more than just sweetness. As distinct as the kiwi notes are, there is a great blast of strawberry flavor which dominates this max-VG juice. The taffy soft flavor affect is brilliant. This is one of the best strawberry juices on the market and perfect option for adult vapes who prefer vapor production and flavor.

Berry Burst Air Factory Synthetic E-Juice (Max-VG)

Berry Burst Air Factory Synthetic E-Juice is the TFN equivalent of berry rush. You will find familiar fruit notes here: strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and even juicy blackberry. More impressively, the flavor roughly mirrors the flavor profile of the soft confectionary that is taffy. The authentic fruit notes, especially the berry tartness, fuses all of the flavor elements together. This is an ideal e-liquid for cloud chasing but has a enough great flavor to be enjoyed more discretely as well in a refillable vape pod kit.


Air Factory Salts Synthetic (TFN) E-Liquids

Salt Nic Juice Ad
Click here to view the Salt Nic Juice Collection at Mad Vapes

The same great Air Factory Synthetic e-juice flavors are also available in potent salt nic juices. Air Factory Salt Synthetic E-Liquids use a 50/50 VG/PG blend. They are sold in 30ml bottles. The available nicotine strength is currently 50mg.

The greater smoothness of nicotine salts combined with the neutral flavor of synthetic nicotine really lets these flavors shine. Perfect for MTL vaping, discrete vaping on the go and restrictive hits. Air Factory Salt Synthetic are a perfect disposable vape alternative.

Disposable Vape Ad
Disposable Vapes at Mad Vapes

They have the same nicotine strength as the typical disposable vape. But you can save money by switching to bottled nic salts and filling up your own device.


Razzberry Blast Air Factory Salt Synthetic E-Liquid

Blue Raspberry is a classic salt nic juice flavor. It just works so well. It is a nostalgic flavor, recalling various icy treats and confections infused with raspberry flavors. It is lilting and airy, sweet but not overly saccharine. The clearness of the TFN, lacking the hint of flavor found in tobacco-derived nicotine, really allows the fruity notes to shine. If you are looking for an alternative to your favorite blue razz disposable vape, this is a great option.

Refillable Vape Pod Kits
The Mad Vapes Collection of Vape Pod Kits

Wild Watermelon Air Factory Synthetic Salt E-Liquid

Wild Watermelon Air Factory Synthetic Salt is not a Lush Ice flavor. If you are looking for watermelon, that is here in droves. But there is no cooling menthol in this formula. What it does have is surprising balance. The watermelon notes are not floral or perfumed.

Air Factory captures a bit of tantalizing confectionary watermelon sourness and blend this with a ripe watermelon sweetness. Cantaloupe is a big player as well. It drips with flavor and adds a bit of tropical kick. Honeydew is in the background but still fantastic. It is always worth mentioning that for a fruit that turns into flavorless dreck in a mixed fruit bowl, it really makes an outstanding vape juice flavor.

Berry Burst Air Factory Synthetic Salt E-Liquid

Some compare the flavor of Berry Rush Air Factory Synthetic Salt to stretchy taffy, but it is fruit notes that dominate. The synthetic version of Berry Rush Air Factory Salt, all the berry all-stars are present. This means plenty of strawberry, blueberry, blackberry and raspberry flavors fused together in each draw. A great disposable vape alternative, this flavor might be the best Vuse Alto Mixed Berry alternative ever created. That long-gone prefilled pod flavor had plenty fans. Now they can save money by switching to bottled salt nic juice vaped in a refillable vape pod kit.

Strawberry Twist Air Factory Synthetic Salt E-Liquid

Strawberry Twist Air Factory Synthetic Salt E-Liquid uses TFN but stays true to the original Strawberry Kiwi Air Factory Salt. There is a taffy style mouth feel and flavor, but authentic fruit notes abound. A perfect vape for fans of salt nic juices, this sophisticated flavor makes a great disposable vape alternative.


Tobacco Free Nicotine (TFN)

Air Factory E-Liquids now offers many of their flavors with non-tobacco nicotine. Compared to tobacco-derived nicotine, synthetic nicotine has a more neutral flavor. The result os clearer vaping flavors. Tobacco-derived nicotine relies on an industrial agriculture infrastructure owned and operated by Big Tobacco. The use of synthetic nicotine circumvents the leaf tobacco industry entirely.

The biggest player in the non-tobacco nicotine market is Next Generation Labs. Their Tobacco Free Nicotine (TFN) has become synonymous with synthetic nicotine. It is found in most non-tobacco nicotine e-liquids. For more information, check out our feature: What is Tobacco Free Nicotine?



At this time, Tobacco Free Nicotine is used loosely to describe all non-tobacco nicotine products. This is similar to how all copier machines were referred to as Xeroxes for decades. But TFN is trademarked product of Next Gen Labs. The use of a brand name as a generalized term is the result of TFN’s market penetration and the fact a more generalized term has yet to catch on. The ingredients and processes used to make TFN are proprietary, but it is worth noting that nicotine occurs naturally in nightshade plants like tomatoes and egg plants. The levels are lower than those found in selectively bred tobacco strains but can be extracted.


Synthetic Nicotine

Unlike Tobacco Free Nicotine, synthetic nicotine is a generalized term and describes nicotine made without the use of any plant materials. Contraf-Nicotex-Tobacco or CNT is a German manufacturer of synthetic nicotine and the other major player in the non-tobacco nicotine game. Our deep-dive, What is Synthetic Nicotine?,examines the science behind synthetic nicotine. CNT only manufacturers S-Isomer synthetic nicotine and feels any non-tobacco nicotine with R-Isomer is not the finished product. Next Gen Labs has a totally different view. A lengthy interview in the Tobacco Reporter lays out these competing visions.


R and S-Isomer Nicotine

R-isomer versus S-Isomer
Nicotine Isomers

The nicotine molecule, C10 H14 N2, is the same whether it is manufactured in a lab or processed from tobacco leaves. Synthetic might be a word avoided by marketers, but this is the reality.

There is more here than meets the eye. This is because nicotine has two major isomers: S-isomer and  R-isomer. The S-isomer is the variant which has a physical effect on the user. In nature, the R-isomer occurs in only small amounts and is inert. Science Daily points out it is the process of smoking tobacco in combustible cigarettes that increases R-isomer to detectable levels through racemization.

But if it is not common in nature, the production of synthetic nicotine results in an even split of R and S isomer. It is simply easier to produce synthetic that contains both the R and S isomer. But the R isomer has no physiological effect, or at least not the one associated with S-isomer nicotine. As it is essentially inert, twice the amount of R-S nicotine is required to match the potency as a pure S-isomer variant.

If you are looking for an analogy, the R-isomer waters down the S-isomer which is the molecule that impacts the user.


Pure S-Isomer versus R-S Nicotine

CNT Logo

The manufacturing of S and R-isomer is an area where the major manufacturers of synthetic nicotine disagree. CNT director Torsten Siemen states, “We think R-S nicotine, which contains a significant amount of R nicotine, can only be considered to be an intermediate, which requires further purification to the S form. For these reasons, CNT does not sell R-S nicotine.”

By Siemen’s reckoning, “In the best case, the same quantity of R-S nicotine can be considered to be only 50 percent effective, but we also foresee mislabeling concerns by describing R-S nicotine as equivalent to nicotine USP/EUP. Eur. For these reasons, CNT does not sell R-S nicotine. The nicotine used in the pharmaceutical industry needs to have a specific optical rotation that only S nicotine can achieve.”

It will be up to the consumers and scientists to determine if these are just swipes at a rival company or if the future of synthetic nicotine will be entirely S-isomer.


R-Isomer Nicotine

Tobacco Free Nicotine
Tobacco Free Niootine by NGL

Ron Tully, one of the founders of Next Generation Labs, is ready to go to bat for including R-isomer nicotine in non-tobacco formulas. R-isomer nicotine does not have the physiological impact of S-isomer, but he feels the potentialities of R-isomer blended with pure S-Isomer nicotine deserve further exploration.

NGL Labs will continue to market and sell R, R-S and synthetic S-isomer nicotine. “Nicotine has been studied extensively in its naturally derived tobacco form, which includes the naturally occurring S and R isomers, which are metabolized in the consumption of current cigarette, vape and smokeless tobacco products”.

Scientific research generally focuses on tobacco derived nicotine which contains naturally occurring r-isomer molecules, “There is nothing to indicate that the R isomer is anything other than a positive attribute to the nicotine molecule.”

“We are at an early stage in the evolution of isomeric nicotine and its utility. NGL is trying to ensure that companies have the option based on their evaluation of the utility and safety of synthetic nicotine in their products.”


S and R Isomer Nicotine

Patents have been granted to NGL for their S and R Isomer blends. A press release following an announcement that Australia had granted a patent for the use of TFN Combinational R- and S-Isomer synthetic nicotine in tobacco cessation products, Ron Tully expanded on his vision for Tobacco Free Nicotine.

“Next Generation Labs believes future combinational R- and S-isomer nicotine formulations may prove to be less addictive than natural or biosimilar standalone S-isomer nicotine, and could potentially help achieve the broader public health goal of providing adult consumers with a satisfying, but non-addictive form of nicotine to replace current products. These new variable isomeric ratios of synthetic nicotine products may ultimately assist adults in quitting or reducing their overall dependence on current tobacco, vape and nicotine products that deliver only the purported highly addictive ‘S’ form of nicotine.