Become a Patron!

The good old days. (I wax nostalgic on my vaping past)

Kyle M.

Member For 4 Years
I started vaping in late 2014 with a Stingray-X clone and Stillare Clone. The first thing I learned was how to build and wick an RDA, in the 7 years since I've used a great number or RDA's, RTA's, and even sub tanks. I quit vaping in late 2019 and gave away and/or sold a lot of my gear. I kept one mod, one RDA, one RTA, one Sub tank, my batteries, and building supplies. I just started vaping again about a month ago and went on the search for another RDA, there were plenty of options online but I thought I'd try to support a local B&M first. I went to five vape stores before I finally found one single RDA, a Nightmare which I purchased and have been very happy with.

Every store I went in said they stopped selling rebuildable atomizers and building tools/accessories in about 2019. It seems all anyone carries around here anymore are pod systems and disposables, I can't even find coils for most sub tanks around here. Most of the vape shop employees I talked to had been vaping awhile and were rebuildable guys themselves, but a few acted like I was speaking a foreign language. They all assured me that the rebuilding life was dead.

As I mentioned RDA's and RTA's seem pretty available online, and a lot of the YouTube reviewers are still doing new stuff, but I'm guessing they're mostly die hard builders like myself. So what's going on? Is rebuilding dying off? Are new vapers going the pod/disposable route and not even bothering with building? Are all of the old coil builders giving it up? Or do I just live in a bad area for finding this stuff?

I remember back in 2014 when all of my buddies vaped, we'd get together on weekends and have build parties all night long. We each had tackle boxes full of RDA's, RTA's, wire, cotton, and tools. It seemed like you could buy a mod or atomizer/tank on Monday and it was obsolete Friday, the industry was growing and technology was advancing at an unheard of rate. It truly was an incredible time in the history of vaping, and one I'm glad to be able to say I was a part of. I remember running to the vape shop to buy an Aspire Atlantis the day they got them in, and driving 120 miles round trip to over pay for a Sigelei 150 when it launched. I remember people who thought sub ohm builds were super dangerous and balked at high wattage mods because no one would ever vape at over 50 watts.

Back then you could walk into a vape shop and there was always a group of people in the back building something and just hanging out, now I go into vape shops and they not only don't have people hanging out building they don't even have a lounge anymore.

In 2022 I'm the last of my group of friends that vape and I can't even go to the vape shop to hang out. I truly miss the good old days and remembering them brings a tear to my eye. I can only imagine what it was like for those of you who started way back in 2009.
Last edited:


Gold Contributor
Member For 4 Years
A lot of things seem to be heading more toward pods and disposables the past couple years. Probably targeting the younger crowds who likely have little interest in doing the work of rebuilding. Plus it's more profitable for the companies I'm sure to sell replacement pods and coils vs letting the user rebuild on a tank they bought once year after year.

No clue about vape shops, been vaping 5yrs and I've never stepped inside one. So I guess I don't know what I was missing in how they've changed, most of the ones around me are more head shop and cbd centric. Which doesn't interest me at all. Now they've gone from the fads of pods to side by sides and now aio's like the billetbox types seem to be one made by everyone.


Senior Moderator
Staff member
Senior Moderator
VU Donator
Diamond Contributor
Member For 4 Years
VU Patreon
In my 9+ years of vaping, I've bought one LG Brownie battery and one bottle of e-liquid in a brick & mortar vape store, and that is it. All the "socializing" I've done related to vaping has been done here on the forum, or face-to-face with family members who picked up vaping but later quit.

The consensus here, in the last three years at least, has been unflattering to vape store employees in a general sense, because we've heard of so much bad advice being given to new vapers, fake re-wrap batteries being sold, an undeserved emphasis on Smok gear to the neglect of other, better brands when Smok stuff was mostly garbage (and I agree that they've done a bit better job in the past couple of years, but for a while there, almost everything they sold was just plain junk). Most of us have been interested in the promotion of vaping, and to bring new people on board, their vaping experience in the beginning has to be better than smoking. If it isn't, they'll go back to smoking. B&Ms haven't helped that much, again in a general sense. I'm sure there are experienced and ethical people in many stores, but they aren't the ones we hear about.

I have found, just in working with members of my family that I was trying to get to switch away from cigarettes, that people don't always want to make a hobby out of vaping. They want simple, quick, reliable things that don't interfere in their lives too much. That's not my take on it, but it was surely theirs.

The most critical developments in vaping have occurred recently with state flavor bans and the passage of a law in Congress that outlaws the shipping of vape gear and everything else related to vaping by the postal service. We're lucky to be able to order anything and have it sent through the mail (or UPS or FedEx) these days. So you can bet your last dime that what vape shops remain open online are going to carry the items that sell best, and that are most profitable for them. And they are going to hurt you with shipping charges, because most everything requires an adult signature. Shipping averages about $15 now, instead of about $6 last year, and you have to buy a much higher dollar value of items before you can be eligible for free shipping.

Everything I've ordered in the last few months has come from China, except for one order of nicotine and a few flavors orders. I don't see any way around it, really.

Kyle M.

Member For 4 Years
I haven't noticed an increase in shipping prices myself, I haven't paid over $8 for shipping it's just the shipping times with the private delivery services. I order a large amount of items online considering I have about 9 fairly expensive hobbies I rotate through, and $8 to ship some vape gear is nowhere near as bad as shipping on some other stuff I order. I've heard vape shop horror stories but every one I've been to has had helpful and knowledgeable staff.

Just Frank

Platinum Contributor
Member For 4 Years
Are all of the old coil builders giving it up? Or do I just live in a bad area for finding this stuff?
No, there's still people learning how to build from scratch. I got into it two years ago. Vape shops are all about maximizing profits. Stock coils and pods are their bread and butter. It's repeat business, vs a spool of wire that lasts months or whatever.

Most typical vapers are lazy and want discreet units. Maybe I should've added the word "younger" to that sentence as well. I dunno, I live in a rural area in a Midwest border state. I rarely see people vaping around here. When I do see someone vaping, it's usually a Novo or some other slim pod device. I get it, some people just want a nic fix device. I'm not that type of vaper. I enjoy the act of blowing flavorful clouds too much.

Newer vapers don't have any options anymore. It's buy what the shops are pushing or doing some research online. Most go the quick and easy route I'm guessing.

VU Sponsors