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When Vaping, Do You Inhale?

Published 12 April 2021, Updated 10 April 2024

When Vaping, Do You Inhale?


The term 'vaping' refers to the inhalation of vapour created by an e-cigarette or other vape devices.

Many beginners who switch from smoking to e-cigarettes often ask whether you inhale when vaping - the answer is yes, you do inhale when vaping.

Smoking Inhalation vs Vaping Inhalation

When smoking a cigarette, you take a draw on the end of the cigarette, which starts the inhalation process. Smoke is then held in the mouth, and that smoke is then inhaled deep down into the lungs. The nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes then enter the bloodstream.

Vaping is used as a nicotine replacement therapy to mimic traditional cigarettes.

Similar to smoking cigarettes, when you inhale from an e-cigarette, the vapour is held inside the mouth. 

However, unlike cigarettes, much of the nicotine in vaping gets absorbed through the mouth, which is completely different to cigarettes. This is because nicotine is only one of four ingredients in vaping as opposed to being one of 3,000 chemical ingredients in combustable cigarettes. 

This results in nicotine being delivered to the bloodstream a bit slower, which is why smokers may not feel the nicotine hit as immediately as with cigarettes. However new products on the market such as nicotine salts allow vapers to experience quicker and larger nicotine hits as the nicotine enters the bloodstream much faster. 

Even though vaping mimics cigarettes, it can also mimic cigars and pipes. Inhaling is not compulsory and vaping e-cigarettes really gives you the flexibility of both. Not inhaling gives more of the full flavour of the e-liquid you’re vaping, which satisfies a lot of vapers and keeps them away from cigarettes.

If you have recently turned to vaping, then you are likely to have heard the phrases MTL and DTL. These are the two types of inhaling techniques. Mouth to Lung (MTL) and Direct to Lung (DTL). The type of inhaling technique you carry out really depends on the vape device you are using and what you want to achieve.

Mouth to Lung ('MTL') Vaping 

If you are making the switch from cigarettes to vaping and want the experience to be as similar as possible, then then MTL is for you. This is because MTL vaping is identical to the usual way of smoking cigarettes.

All you will need is a pod device or a pen style e-cigarette which takes high resistance coils. This will allows you to use higher nicotine strength e-liquids, normally between 6-20mg. You can find all of these vape products and more at our online UK Vape Store.

Inhaling into the mouth from these devices should feel tight and very similar to a traditional cigarette. However now the market is growing there are more devices on the market which allow a smoother, open draw alongside a good nicotine hit. Devices such as the Aspire Pockex and Caliburn by uwell are great examples. 

The inhalation technique of mouth-to-lung vaping is very simple and will be familiar to any smoker looking to make the switch:


  1. Draw on the mouthpiece;
  2. Hold the vapor in your mouth; 
  3. Take the vapor back into your lungs; and
  4. Exhale the vapor.  

Direct to Lung ('DTL') Vaping

If you are a hookah/shisha user or if you are interested in producing big clouds and getting a full bodied taste of the e-liquid you are vaping, then DTL style vaping is for you.

For DTL vaping you will need a sub ohm device and low resistance coils - normally below 1 ohm. Nicotine strengths for DTL are usually around 0-6 mg with shortfill juices.

When you take a draw on the mouthpiece, it will feel like you are sucking through open air - it should feel smooth and easy. This open airflow allows the vapour to travel directly into your lungs. 

The inhalation technique of direct-to-lung vaping is as follows:

  1. Take a deep draw on the mouthpiece, and
  2. Exhale immediately.

Final Thoughts & Recommendations

Whether you prefer inhaling mouth to lung or direct to lung or simply haven't figured it out yet, one thing is for sure, either one is less harmful to your health than continuing to smoke as shown by the NHS and Public Health England. 

If you have recently quit smoking to move over to vaping, we recommend going for a MTL style vape as this mimics a tobacco cigarette as closely as possible. 

If you have moved over to vaping from hookah smoking or cigar smoking, you may find DTL vaping more suitable due to the thicker clouds and more intense flavour.

To learn more about vaping, including our full beginner's section, check out our free online vaping guides.

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