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[personal profile] transmothra

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

I recently had a friend ask me about electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes (known to their users as personal vaporizers). Actually, lots of people ask me about them. I switched from traditional (“analog”) cigarettes back in August, and basically haven’t smoked since.

Mainly people want to know if they’re cheaper. There’s really no question about whether they’re healthier. They’re not healthy, it’s just that they’re far, far less dangerous. Basically, a traditional cigarette contains thousands of chemicals, a couple dozen or so of which are known carcinogens. The fluid you vaporize in an e-cigarette generally contains just a few ingredients: nicotine (in varying strengths or it may even be absent), food flavoring, and either propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin.

They’re extremely cheaper than regular cigarettes – however, there is an initial buy-in, and you do have to continually purchase replacement parts. I’d say that since August, i’ve spent maybe $200 – $250 in total on supplies. That includes extra parts (batteries, atomizers), fluid (what you “vape”), and accessories (some which i highly recommend having due to the extra convenience, some which are completely unnecessary but make vaping more enjoyable).

On the other hand, i was smoking 1-2 packs a day. One carton of crappy cigarettes in KY costs around $35 right now. That’s well over $100 a month right there, and that’s on the extremely LOW end – in practice, i was actually spending more like $160 a month; in Ohio that would have been over $200 every month! Compare that to the $200 or so i’ve spent on all kinds of crazy vaporizin’ crap in the past FIVE months!

HOWEVER, most people only think they spend $4.50 on cigarettes over the course of their entire lives, because that’s what a single pack costs them right now. Try to convince someone just how much they ACTUALLY spend and they just won’t believe you. But tell them they could spend all that money on something COOL (that still exists after one use), and they might pay a little attention. So, the price to start vaping scares the crap out of most smokers, unless they actually take the time to think about it and compare it to what they actually really spend on cigarettes.

The three etailers i’ve used so far are:

I did lots and lots of research and wound up having extremely positive experiences with each one, especially Cignot, who are extraordinarily fast and helpful.

A great starter kit would cost around $35 (that’s for an “unboxed” Joye 510 model from Cignot), and that includes 2 batteries, 2 atomizers, and 5 cartridges, plus a wall charger for the batteries.

Extra batteries for the 510 model are ~$10. Batteries last a couple of hours, so eventually i splurged on a couple of batteries for the Joye eGo model (aka the Riva), which fits onto the 510 atomizer. They cost around $20 each. I just got it today and i can’t seem to make the damn thing die. It’s been well over 12 hours now. Batteries are said to last through around 300 charges or so.

Extra atomizers cost about ~$10. It’s always good to have a few on hand, as this is what makes the whole thing work. Atomizers should last around a month or more if you know how to take care of them. Many people complain that this is a big weak point and they often last just a few weeks before needing replaced. I’ve got a couple that i’ve had since August. It’s kind of a hassle to care for them, but i’m a cheapskate and don’t want to pay more than i have to!

Cartridges don’t really need replacing that often, but you can generally get a 5-pack for around $5 or so. Cartridges contain the fluid, and they need to be constantly refilled, but it’s not much more bother than taking out a cigarette and lighting it, and they should generally last a bit longer than a few cigarettes’ worth of time.

Fluid: this can vary pretty greatly. Expect to pay around $10 for a 10ml bottle, up to around $20 for a 30ml bottle. You can get different strengths of nicotine, and just about any flavor you can imagine (and i’ve seen some really, really weird ones). For me personally, i get ~18-24mg strength nicotine, and a 30ml bottle lasts me maybe a month or so.

As for accessories, i can’t recommend having a Personal Charging Case enough. These suckers will let you leave the house and still be able to charge your spent batteries while you’re on the go. One case can fully charge a battery about 3 times or so. That second battery comes in handy, but i recommend having at least three, unless you go with a big battery like the eGo. Then there are USB chargers, car adapters, and USB “passthroughs” (allowing you to hook up your vaporizer to a USB port and save your battery power). Then there are all the really crazy things like weird parts and add-ons and mod kits and stuff. Anything you can think of, somebody sells one, or the parts to make it yourself.

HOT TIP: never, ever buy from a kiosk at the mall, or in a convenience store. Those things they sell are HORRIBLE. And never get a “disposable” anything, ever. You pretty much have to buy this stuff online for now. Which is a great reason to stock up, because anything you run out of, you have to wait to have shipped!

For lots more information, see

Hope this helps!

March 2011

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