As a smoker of 10 years, I’m always, always hesitant of the idea of any anti-smoking device, patch, or aid that tries to make me quit smoking. Even more so is the endless struggle I have to cope with from the relentless – though loving – nagging of friends, family, and coworkers who want me to quit. The simple truth that they will never tolerate is the fact that I love to smoke.
A cigarette with my coffee is my impeding coup de grâce of leisure. But after receiving my first electronic cigarette kit from an acquaintance, I think my outlook is starting to change. With a bit of time doing some research online, I was amazed by the huge “e-cig” online community, the variety of different models, and the whole modification/DIY scene making all sorts of flavored recipes to inhale. I don’t think trying to quit smoking will ever be this much fun!
Electronic Cigarettes Intro
- E-cigarettes, or e-cigs, have a cartridge (the butt end) attached to a rechargeable battery and contains an ‘atomizer’ that vaporizes a liquid to produce the vapor when inhaling. Hence, the slang to vape or vaping.
- E-Juice, slang for the liquid that vaporizes, is made from either propylene glycol (used in toothpaste) or cooking grade vegetable glycerin, water, flavoring and optional strengths of nicotine. That means none of the tar, ash, carbon monoxide or the thousand other chemicals found in a regular cigarette. A much more healthier alternative
- They don’t contain any tobacco or create any second hand smoke. A loophole for most, if not all, anti-smoking bylaws or restrictions.
- Since there’s no smoke, there isn’t any instant or even a lasting odor. This means not having to listen to other people bitch and complain.
- There’s no debating the cost savings compared to traditional smoking.
The kit I received was distributed by a Canadian company called Smoke NV. Being pretty naive and new to e-cigarettes, I was pretty impressed at first by the simplicity and ease of the kit. The taste itself was a tobacco vanilla, similar to the vanilla Bullseye cigarrellos I smoke but with absolutely no ‘kick’ to them. Hence why I just had to move on. Like most of the electronics in my house, it didn’t take long before I started thinking about what kind of modifications were out there and if there was any type of an online e-cig ‘scene’ out there.
Of course, it’s the internet! It didn’t take long to come across online community forums, like ECF, VAPEatron , and Totally Wicked. It never occurred to me that there was such huge following. What I really liked about these sites is they had a ton of user made info where members shared reviews, mods, and suppliers for a great variety of different models. The new members boards and FAQ threads were great for beginners and to help readers locate local suppliers in their area.
It was there I figured out the kits, like those sold by Smoke NV, are only now starting to pop up at the local tobacco shops and pharmacy/grocery stores.With these particular models, called cartomizers, the companies here want you to pay for their grossly overpriced disposable cartridges. The cost around $20-25 for a 5 pack, each lasting the equivalent of a claimed ’35-40′ regular cigarettes. But don’t bother, they don’t, and there’s much much better alternatives.
Even before my first disposable cartridge ran out, I wanted find a cheaper alternatives to replace or refill them. I had read online I could just pop off the end cap of these cartridges and refill them with e-juice. This was never meant to be a permanent solution, but simply to get an idea of what could be done with them. Out of mere luck, I checked out a local tobacco shop and inquired about the so-called ‘e-juice’. The middle-aged middle-eastern man behind the cash register, smiled at me and handed me a piece of laminated paper. It was a simple long list of all sorts of different flavors. Almost the kind of thing you happen to see at a bubble tea shop than a tobacco shop. Being a sucker for a caramel mocha, it wasn’t a long decision. He handed my first vial for $10 and soon enough it was love at first vape.
One of the popular brands is the Joyetch eGo-T. This top tier tank system of e-cigarettes makes the kits from Smoke NV seem like a complete waste of time. With a huge non-leaking battery capacity and easy refillable liquid cartridges, this kits seems like the way to go. But for $120, this kit may scare a lot of newcomers who don’t want to invest big when they aren’t sure what smoking an electric cigarette is going to be like. An idea might be checking out Vapor Nine because they have the Nebula Express Kit, which includes a battery, 2 cartridges and a usb charger for only $8.95. It’s a great deal for those people interested in e-cigs but don’t want to spend a whole lot of money on an initial investment. Then, maybe hit up JJ and check out all the flavors his site has got to offer or figure you might want an upgrade down the road.
The biggest factors when choosing between the different models and cartomizers is a combination in price, battery power, cartridge size, the ease to refill, and the risk of leaking e-juice killing your battery.
- Some e-cigs have a tighter sealed cartridges that protect the battery the best but also need a syringe or syringe capped vial to refill them through the tiny allotted holes.
- Models that have tank systems are easier to refill but some kits are little pricey, around $70-$100+ depending on the battery and cartridge size.
- The brand Joyetech comes highly recommended and offered such models as the 510-T and eGo-T. But since of lot of these e-cigs come from China, be very weary of knock-off models (EGO, eGO) but also check out the online forums because some of them might be just as good, if not better, like Riva.
- The less expensive KR808D-1 model is a little weak on the throat hit but you can just pop off the end cap of the disposable cartomizer and simply squeeze a few drips from your e-juice vial.
- Vapor Nine produces the Vapor Canon which is a 510 model with an adapter to use KR808 cartridges.
- Do your research. Check out online community forums, such as ECF, VAPEatron , Tottally Wicked. Their new members boards and FAQ threads are great for beginners and to find out about local suppliers in your area.
For further review of any health concerns with electronic cigarettes, check out the following links:
- Safety Report on the Ruyan® e-cigarette Cartridge and Inhaled Aerosol. Laugesen M, Health New Zealand Ltd.
- Technical Review and Analysis of FDA Report:”Evaluation of e-cigarettes.” Exponent Health Sciences.
- Ben Thomas Group report: No cancer-causing chemicals in NJOY vapor.
- Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as potential tobacco harm reduction products. Heavner, K. et al. Tobacco Harm Reduction.
- Electronic cigarettes: a survey of users. J.F. Etter. BMC Public Health.
- A Clinical Laboratory Model for Evaluating the Acute Effects of Electronic “Cigarettes”. Vansickel AR, et al. Cancer Epidemiology, Bio. & Prevention