1. Buy good quality juice
Pre-packed juice from a large, US company is probably safe and probably contains what it says it does, but do you know what that stuff is? Your local vape store that specializes in hand mixing e-liquids is also probably safe. Here’s an article about a Juicemaster General who uses only 4 ingredients. That sounds like a good guideline, generally fewer ingredients (and ones with names you recognize) is better. But the vast middle ground is risky. It’s very hard to know what’s in that juice and many studies have bad chemicals in it. Here’s an article on Gizmodo.com with some technical explanations of the risks.
2. Keep your vape to yourself
Even if there is no nicotine in your vape, the smoke itself can harm your lungs – just ask a firefighter if inhaling smoke into your lungs is a good idea. Some e-liquids have heavy metals and other risky ingredients even in the exhaled smoke. You’ve decided to take that risk, don’t put those around you at risk for second-hand vape smoke. Be courteous, exhale away from people. Besides, it’s just rude to blow smoke over your friend’s head or into the circle of friends on a sidewalk (I walk by a lot of vaping kids in groups).
3. “Mod” at your own risk
If you are buying an APV, vape pen or user-rebuildable atomizer then buy from a reputable source, not some guy on the street. E-cigarettes are designed to use the battery and atomizer power included in their packaging. Changing the voltage and power or making other custom modifications can cause e-cigarettes to heat up and stop working, or cause batteries to melt or explode in your face.
4. Don’t spill when re-filling!
The liquid used for producing vapor in e-cigarettes and vapors is highly concentrated nicotine often mixed with flavorings. It’s filled with neurotoxinsand even a few drops on your skin can cause vomiting and seizures. A teaspoon is enough to kill a small child. The nicotine isn’t the only dangerous chemical in e-liquids, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin are found in the mix often and they can be hazardous if ingested by children and pets. So watch those small bottles and pre-filled disposable cartridges and don’t spill when re-filing!
Here’s an article from Poison Control. Calls to them about e-cigs jumped in 2014 but slowed in 2015.
5. Use your head
Watch how much nicotine you are taking in. Nicotine is addictive and can cause cancer. Read articles on vaping safety, even the ones you don’t agree with. It can take years for negative side effects to become clear. Since you are taking the risk, you need to take care of yourself.