The body is manufactured from aircraft-grade aluminum, with the electrical components made of brass (unlike most other mods, which use stainless steel). And though brass is more expensive, he tells me it conducts electricity far better, which allows for more voltage to be delivered from the battery to the atomizer. This boosts the richness, thickness and general quality of the vapor you get from it.
As Chris explains how the refinement of the brass coil eliminates voltage drop and the importance of the thread pitch of the brass ring that screws into the e-liquid tank, I comment on the level of scrutiny he seems to undertake with his mod.
"I was a musician for 20 years and I suppose you could say that I'm creative and I have to create. I have to change; I have to perfect. I'm constantly refining, to the irritation of some people, but that's just the way I am," he says.
Modifying An Addiction
The way Chris describes every little detail reminds me of the phrasing other vapers have used. Vapers who say they are compelled to return to the forums each day to discuss not only the latest mods, but also the very experience of the act itself. That's not to mention discussing news of political or regulatory decisions that could affect their lifestyle. Indeed, for many in this world, the latter is a concern that is always close to mind. As one modder told me, "I mod because I want to know how to make my own gear should the World Health Organization try to get vaping banned worldwide."
For some, vaper modding is a hobby; a way of artistically expressing their creativity -- no different than a painter taking a brush to a canvas. For others, it's a business like any other, where profit is the end game. But to me -- a non-smoking, non-vaping outsider -- it seems there's a subset of the community where the very act of modding can signal a new obsession, a new addiction.
These are the vapers that not only fixate on their gear, but also fear the thing they've come to love might one day be taken away from them. The ones who worry about the WHO and the public perception of vaping. And for this small subset of vapers, I'm not sure the transference of a chemical addiction to a psychological one is that much healthier.
I ask Chris if he thinks I'm off the mark.
"I think the roots of all of this are in smoking."
"I think the roots of all of this are in smoking," he says. "These people were like me. They'd given up smoking and they'd smoked for years and it was so hard to give up smoking, and they become obsessed because it takes their minds off cigarettes. Some of them collect the things. They just buy them because they want them. It becomes a hobby to them. And that's fine; anything that keeps them off cigarettes is good."
Certainly that's something both vapers and the WHO can agree on.