So about 6 months ago after noticing a couple of friends smoking e-cigarettes, I embarked on a journey of research to find my first electronic cigarette. It seemed perfect, a safer non-carcinogenic substitute for smoking which provides nicotine, but “Vapour” (Vape) instead of toxic smoke.
For those who haven’t seen the emergence of this new technology, e-cigarettes are basically small portable battery powered ‘vaporisers’. Rather than inhaling the smoke of burning tobacco, you’re inhaling vapour of a heated up liquid. You still get the nicotine (optionally), and the sensation of inhaling, and something to do with hands, but not the smoke. The claim is that it’s not carcinogenic because you’re not inhaling smoke. Now e-cigarettes are relatively new so there haven’t been in-depth long term studies, however there’s no proof to show any harm. On the other hand there HAVE been indepth long term studies with normal cigarettes/tobacco, and the science is in – cancer and heart disease. For me it’s a no brainer. I also have no doubt that e-cigarettes will be scaring the hell out of big tobacco.
So I dove into this new world to find my first e-cigarette. However it’s not quite as simple to ‘get started’ as some people may expect. In fact it’s damn confusing and daunting at how many options and variations there are out there.
The first thing I disovered is that those very small ‘realistic’ looking e-cigarettes – the ones that try to look exactly like a cigarette are not what you want. They have a very short battery life and the quality of the ‘vape’ is much lower than some of the alternatives. These seem to be the first options smokers look at, because that’s naturally what they’re used to. But after doing some reading, and when considering it objectively, there’s no reason your e-cigarette needs to look exactly like a cigarette. Electronic cigarettes range in sizes – some are the size of cigarettes, some the size of pipes, some smaller, and some larger. As technology improves, I have no doubt battery life will increase and good quality units will become smaller and smaller.
When you first look into all this, there is a ridiculous number of brands/different components/terminology etc. It took me some time to read around and research on the best way to do it, so I’ll try to explain how it works as simply as possible. There’s basically 3 main parts that make up an electronic cigarette:
- The battery: These come in varying strengths & sizes.
- The ejuice: (the liquid that you smoke). This can be premade, or you can ‘mix it up yourself’ with different flavours/ strengths etc. Premade is easiest.
- The cartomiser: (the bit that holds the ejuice). This varies in different setups. The one I use is easy to use and vapes well and is called a “Clearomizer”.
There are variations on each part, and many people buy all the parts seperately. There are a lot of different opinions on what setups work best (ie what types of components/battery strengths/cartomizer/nicotine strength/etc). But it’s probably easiest to get a ‘starter pack’ like I got which just comes with everything you need, then later on you might want to experiment with other options.
So there is a tonne of literature and forums on the web about various setups and startup-kits etc but – the aim of this article is to provide people with a quick “getting started” solution amongst all the confusing information out there. The “setup” that I started with is probably the simplest to use and maintain, and yet uses some of the most popular/well known brands. There are a lot of options which each have their own benefits, but can be VERY complicated to get started and take a lot of effort to maintain going forward. So with this in mind let’s get started. There’s hundreds of sites to order e-cigarettes from, but the 2 I’ve used are – Vapeking (Australia) and Health Cabin (China). I got this one for my “starter kit”:
http://www.vapeking.com.au/VK-STAR-Kit-p/vak0022.htm (~$70) which comes with “ejuice”, but no nicotine content (ejuice with nicotine is currently illegal in Australia due to our over-paranoid disgusting nanny state restrictions). The new ‘upgrade’ to this provides ‘variable voltage’ (released after I bought mine) as well – http://www.vapeking.com.au/VK-TWISTAR-Kit-p/vak0026.htm – this would be worth the extra $10.
So I then ordered nicotine ejuices seperately with different flavours from Healthcabin overseas. It would also be an option to buy a “starter kit” and nicotine ejuice in one order from overseas to save on time/shipping. To take that path, you could consider one of the following starter packs + then add your own selection of e-juices:
http://www.healthcabin.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1090_1169&products_id=8147 (~$20 – notice only one battery, no ejuice in the pack, no case etc)
So a few things to mention here – there are some variations in the components that come in these packs:
- you can choose different colours of the battery/cartomizer etc.
- you can choose different battery sizes (650mah is the small one I was using which probably lasts a good full night & day (10 hours’ish?) of vaping. The 1100mah looks the same but is longer, and lasts much longer.
- some batteries have usb charging, which means you can charge while you vape, this is called ‘pass thru’.
- there are different strengths of nicotine. the one i used was 11mg.