Open vs. Closed Vapes:

Are They so Different?

What's the Difference Between Open and Closed Vape Systems?

There are a lot of vaping devices in the U.S. The choices in regard to sizes, shapes and colors are enough to boggle the mind. Yet, in spite of this, most vapes still fall into one of two broad categories: open and closed vape systems.

Knowing the differences between these two systems is important. The distinctions play into regulations and discussions around the topic of vaping. Here's an overview on open and closed vape systems and why their differences matter.

> How Open and Closed Systems Differ

The most pertinent distinction is how the two systems balance versatility and convenience. First, imagine a “boom box” from the ‘80s. The manufacturer provides a pre-determined configuration for the entire system. This is how closed vaping systems work. Adult vapor consumers can "take it or leave it," so to speak. In choosing a closed system, they select a more pre-defined vaping experience.

  • Closed systems use pre-filled cartridges for e-liquid (as opposed to refillable tanks)
  • Closed systems are simple to operate
  • Closed systems need no maintenance
  • Closed systems focus on convenience

Now, consider the second part of this analogy — the multi-component stereo system. Consumers can select specific parts, such as the media player, additional speakers, etc. to assemble a custom system. Open system vaporizers function in a similar manner. The capabilities of open systems vary because users can mix-and-match different parts:

  • Open systems offer customization
  • Different "mods" affect size, shape, power, etc.
  • Refillable tanks allow users to mix e-liquid flavors/nicotine levels
  • Adults who vape can also fine-tune wattage levels, airflow and other factors
  • Open systems cost more upfront and less down-the-line

> How These Differences Can Affect the Conversation

Many vapers who use open systems think that their products are treated differently than those who use off-the-shelf closed systems, and vice versa. But in almost all circumstances, this isn’t the case.

For starters, FDA has placed all vapor products regardless of brand, size or type under its jurisdiction and subject to the same restrictions and requirements. At the state level, legislators are doing more of the same, placing open and closed system e-cigarettes under the same restrictions on where they can be used and what flavors are allowed. This is why it’s important for you to make your voice heard about vaping legislation where you live, no matter what your preference.

> Personal Choices in Vaping

Adults interested in vaping should stay informed about alerts to contact your legislator when an issue regarding vaping is at hand. Even though open vs. closed vapes seem very different, they are essentially just different types of a product that legislation treats as one in the same. A ban on vaping would affect both and personal choices on vaping.