Happy Birthday, POTV

Posted 1st August 2022 by Dave Cross
Planet of the Vapes celebrates its tenth birthday this week, marking a decade of providing tobacco harm reduction and switching to vaping advice to smokers. Created during a problematic period for UK Vapers, another online forum, Planet of the Vapes has gone on to enjoy huge success as the largest vaping forum in Europe and the second largest in the world.

Originally supportukvapers.co.uk, Planet of the Vapes came into being as UK Vapers ran into trouble with a vendor/manufacturer who took offence to some forthright honest comment about his products. The freshly homeless vapers found an alternative temporary online home thanks to the quick thinking of Toby Kilroy.

It didn’t take long for a new ethos to begin forming, supportukvapers became somewhere friendly and welcoming, offering support, advice and chat for all. Eventually, UK Vapers returned from its hiatus but many of the relocated had decided they preferred the new virtual vape meeting place.

Toby Kilroy commented: “When UKV temporarily closed in 2012, I did my bit to help keep it going by starting the supportukvapers.co.uk forum. Once it was back up and running again, those members who had moved campaigned for me to keep the new site running and POTV was born. Without UKV there would have been no Planet of the Vapes. I owe them a debt of gratitude.”

Over 500 members had joined by the end of the first month. Four weeks later, the numbers were almost hitting 800. Now Planet of the Vapes can claim 55,121 forum members, with a weekly newsletter going out to over 60,000 subscribers, and internet traffic generating over 2-million-page hits per calendar month. Comparing PotV to regional newspapers, only one is more read than our newsletter. Incredible stuff.

UWell

Rapidly becoming a cornerstone of the UK vaping community, Planet of the Vapes members offered friendly help to smokers and ex-smokers with tips for the best kit, and importantly how to adapt kit to make it more rewarding. The focus of this tended to be users making a purchase and reviewing it for other forum members, not the professional YouTubers you see these days.

What was the 6ml ‘Clearomiser’ style Raptor Tank like? Well, it offered the twin benefits of only being able to be used with an eGo battery and providing slightly more flavour than a cartomiser. Pretty damning stuff when compared to what we have today.

Everything was at a ground level with products developing every week. For example, Purplefowler reviewed a ground-breaking invention: the driptip. More precisely, a Ming driptip with a “pronounced rim and swollen base”. Unfortunately the video is no longer available, but maybe she will re-upload it over the course of the birthday week?

Forum members were also actively engaged in developing a new arm to the English language. Words were adopted or adapted to describe the equipment, experiences and techniques. Before long, thousands would be talking about tank crackers, carto punches, res/no-res wires, Kanthal, ribbon wire, silica wick, Ekowool and more besides.

You can reduce a long-term vaper to silent misty-eyed reflection just by mentioning any of the following: Lavatubes, Tesla, Aga-T, Pelle mods, Pluid, Grants Vanilla Custard, eVic, iHybrid, GP Paps, Golden Greek, Atmomixani, Provari, Spheroids and Sera filter wool, Smoc RSST, Z-atty, Foggatti, Lukkos Puzzle Box, Rocket Science Mods, Versa mods, Titanide, and the immense UD igo-L.

88 Vape

None of this would have been possible without all of the early e-cig adopters who saw that a market needed supplying with products. Forum members who shared their DIY recipes began selling juices online, others arranged imports of bulk orders of mods and atomisers.

The three online stores would take delivery of products when they were made (in small batch orders) leading to the sharing of the date and time of the F5 War as vapers refreshed browsers in the hope to buy this week’s greatest thing.

And that wonderful item would then lead to threads where PotV members discussed sticking buttons and lock rings, wicking and coiling issues, the best batteries, and advancements coil wire knowledge.

I tried annealing it with a torch to make it more manageable and it caught fire,” said Stealthvape’s Rob, discussing people’s desire to try out titanium instead of Kanthal. “Yes, caught fire like magnesium ribbon so don't do that with it!

Everyone was using fixed output mods or mechs, the problem of voltage drop and internal resistance was real. The variable voltage mod was a game changer. Then we had to come to terms with variable wattage – before temperature control put the cat among the pigeons.

The Electronic Cigarette Company

Cartos and clearos gave way to drippers and gennys. Tanks transformed into subohm tanks. The love of the home market was joined by enthusiasts going crazy for Pinoy devices as the Philippines matched the UK for invention and development. All the while, beautiful products were arriving from Greece.

The growth of the forum also posed a problem for new members – they had to think of a name. Almost as popular as the What’s in your hand thread, people were keen to explain how they created their forum name:

  • My name is due to the fact that I dance naked around Bunsen burners at Samhain
  • I drew a comic strip for a small press comic, one of the main characters being called Merino Teflon
  • My name is Michelle so I got nicknamed fowler after Michelle fowler from the early days of EastEnders
  • I chose the name ZT because I’m a dozy hippy idiot.”

Speaking of hand checks, many of the original pictures have survived server transfers and hosting site policy changes. Anyone wanting to see what we were all using ten years ago just needs to dip into the thread and marvel at the display of metal.

From attending the early Vape Fests as vapers, Planet of the Vapes became a key part of the event with a massive marquee alongside the businesses run by friends who started off as forum contributors. The site has seen strangers come along for information and find partners and life-long friends.

Vape Club

Much has changed in the world of vaping over the last decade, but Planet of the Vapes has been a constant home from home for those with a shared interest. Here’s to the next 10 years!


 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
JSB Vape