People may not approve of e-cigarettes for whatever reason but I think it's worth being aware of their existence and what they bring to the table in terms of quitting the real thing so heres some info. I have put together.
What are E-Cigarettes?
E-Cigarettes, more and more known as PVs (Personal Vaporizers), are gadgets that burn liquid nicotine producing a nicotine vapour which you can then inhale. It is intended to produce a similar sensation to that of smoking a cigarette. The idea is to allow a nicotine addict to inhale it without the over 4000 chemicals, tar & tobacco of a real cigarette. Heres a picture of the mini e-cigarette, one of the most common, taken from wikipedia:-
A - is the LED (the colour varies) which lights up when you are inhaling/manually operating the e-cig or to warn of low battery and so on.
B - is the battery which powers the e-cig
C - is the atomizer which contains a wick which is heated to vapourise the liquid nicotine
D - is the cartridge which contains some material which can absorb the liquid nicotine - this will then vapourise when it is heated by the atomizer
Are They Healthy?
The big question. If you search you'll find plenty of info. on it. On the one hand you have the FDA in the USA which claimed their tests showed trace amounts of TSNAs (tobacco-specific nitrosamines) and they warned against using them. There was a very big reaction from the e-cigarette community and the tests were criticised for not comparing the results to similar substances found in nicotine inhalers for example.
Health New Zealand found traces along similar lines to the FDA but compared them to other products and found the levels to be well within safe levels. Health Canada warned against nicotine poisoning which is a bit OTT imo (if there is a danger of nicotine poisoning from e-cigs then there is just as much danger from patches, inhalers and the real thing). Some countries have banned e-cigarettes completely. I personally found this post on the e-cigarette forum very informative but I would also assume that the poster may well be biased - http://www.e-cigarette-forum.com/for...ttes-safe.html.
Unfortunately it's an area clouded with bias and differing agenda but hopefully more and more studies will be done over time.
My decision to buy an e-cigarette really came down to this. If I am happy to smoke a cigarette with tar, tobacco and a possible 4000+ harmful substances in it then I am damn well happy to smoke an e-cigarette which contains a substance (PG - Propylene Glycol) found in many food products, an amount of nicotine I control plus a small possiblity of TSNAs which well be very small levels if any.
O.k. What should I buy?
People discuss e-cigarettes in a few different terms. Battery life, vapour production and throat hit would be the big 3 imo. I think the clincher if you want to use these as an actual replacement for cigarettes would be the throat hit but thats just me. There are 3 main types of e-cigs:-
1. The pen style - like a pen basically and tends to have slightly better battery performance than the mini/super mini
2. The mini or super mini - more like a real cigarette in size but battery tends to have slightly worse performance than the penstyle
3. The Hybrid - hybrids are generally just a housing for larger batteries that can have any of the common atomizers from other e-cig types attached to them. They can house anything from a similar battery power to the 2 types above or something with more voltage which tends to give more vapour and throat hit. In either case the batteries tend to last much longer than the penstyle or minis.
The other differences between models are:-
1. Battery operation - can be manual (press a button to heat and vaporize) or automatic (detects when you are sucking on the cig and engages atomizer)
2. Cartomizers - a few models now have the cartridge and atomizer all in one. The advantage is that you are using a new atomizer with each new cartridge. Atomizers tend to have a life span of 5/6 weeks so this is handy. The downside is you can't refill the cartridges yourself.
There is a huge post on the e-cigarette forums covering all of these differences and much more - http://www.e-cigarette-forum.com/for...rough-6-a.html
I bought my first e-cig a week ago, a DSE901. I read and watched several reviews all of which rated it very highly particularly for beginners. It's one of the cheaper options too. I got mine for €34.99 at thevapourstore.ie. I haven't had mine for long (a week). First impressions were good but in the last few days I have found it quite inconsistent in terms of getting a decent throat hit.
The DSE901 uses an automatic battery and I suspect this may lead to the inconsistency. The other possible issue is that the atomizer is defective which is not uncommon. It's a strong possibility since the DSE901 is so highly regarded. I have ordered a 3 pack of DSE901 atomizers to see if they make any difference. Regardless of the problems I have had I have not smoked a real cigaretter since I got it. Any time I get a craving a quick blast of this has been just about enough.
Today I have been trying out my second purchase which is a Titan 510. This seems to be the current overall favorite amongst new and experienced vapers. Had to bring the terminology in eventually. E-cigarette users call themselves vapers not smokers. I ordered it hoping it would provide the throat hit I think I need to keep off the real cigs (or analogs as the vapers call them).
Having tried it so far I think it's fantastic. Great throat hit on the high strength cartridges and not bad on the medium. Haven't tried the low strength. You can also taste the flavour much more clearly. Yes there are flavours. The tobacco flavour that comes with the 510 actually has a kind of caramel tinge which is quite nice.
One final point I think worth mentioning is that you may well find yourself inhaling more nicotine using e-cigarettes simply because the higher strength cartridges will give the best throat hit. I'm o.k. with that and will move to a lower strength gradually. In fact I find medium strength almost good enough so I may go with that for now.
Is this a good method to give up real cigarettes?
Well in my case time will tell. I have smoked 20 a day for the last 23 years approx. and have never succeeded in stopping for more than a couple of days. My original plan was to buy an e-cigarette and see if I could reduce my real cigarette consumption to 2 or 3 a day. I have so far been successful in not smoking any.
E-cigarettes are not an approved method for giving up smoking. They are at the very least an effective replacement. Since you are only inhaling water vapour containing nicotine you will get the benefits you would from giving up real cigarettes, i.e. sense of smell returning, breathing more easily and so on. You are getting a similar sensation to smoking with much less of the harmful effect. There is less of a buzz from e-cigs. I suspect that to be because some chemical in real cigarettes is the real cause of head rush rather than nicotine. It doesn't bother me in any case.
Someone asked how long I expected to be using e-cigarettes. It's very hard to know when you have been a smoker for over 20 years. It's simply a positive to be on something far less harmful. Nicotine is addictive but on it's own is not very harmful from what I have read (again you should research this yourself - I am not a doctor or an expert on nicotine). I won't lie it's entirely possible I could end up a long term vaper trying different models and flavours of liquids. I can live with that far more easily than continuing the way I have been.
As long as you walk into the e-cigarette world with your eyes open I don't see why anyone couldn't get huge benefits from making the switch. I really can't believe these things are not bigger. They have the potential to save many many lives imo and the sooner proper testing is done to ensure they are completely safe the better. Until then I am happy to take a punt on it. It's up to you to decide for yourself.
Final Words of Advice
I bought the DSE901 starter pack which included 2 automatic batteries, 1 atomizer, 1 mains charge for the batteries and 5 cartridges of varying strengths. If someone asked me now what I would recommend I would suggest a Titan 510, a USB passthrough (connect and power the e-cigfrom the PC) and a charge case (cigarette box shaped charge for your batteries). USB passthroughs and portable chargers are available for most models.
If the starter pack you buy does not include an extra atomizer I would buy one anyway.
Also consider getting a few e-liquids of different flavours to try out. You can get refillable cartridges or refill the ones that come with the starter pack (not necesarily with all models but certainly the ones I mentioned here). Refilling can be cheaper and if you find a nice flavour you may be able to try out zero nicotine liquids where the flavour is enough to keep you happy.
Whether you use pre-filled cartridges or refill them yourself you will save a good chunk of cash. There will be a reaonable initial outlay for the parts etc. but from then on you'll be mainly buying liquid or cartridges and the odd replacement battery/atomizer so it will be much cheaper than the real thing.
Finally I went for the white cigarette look when buying. You can buy most models in a variety of colours. I think I should in hindsight have gone for black or a non-cigarette related colour. You can even get pink for some if you wish. E-cigarettes are legal indoors, on airplanes and so on. This is excellent but I think if you plan to use them inside you are better off with something that is obviously not a real cigarette. Again just my opinion.
http://www.thevapourstore.ie - The only Irish supplier I am aware of. Excellent customer support, very fast delivery and just the other day added the DSE905 to their list which is a hybrid for the DES901 amongst others. I would imagine it would provide a very consistent throat hit and may try it at some point.
http://www.e-cigarette-forum.com/forum/ - tons of info, reviews, mods, forums for the suppliers (including thevapourstore.ie) where you can get quick feedback from questions about their products
http://www.theelectroniccigarette.co.uk/ - where I bought my Titan 510. Again good service and delivery (which was good from the UK considering the weather the last few days)
http://www.e-cig-reviews.com/ - I like this guys video reviews but more importantly he has loads of discount codes you can use on the sites he lists. There is one there for theelectroniccigarette.co.uk. He also has some tutorials and advice videos. Well worth a look.
http://www.eastmall.net - This is a US site but the prices are great. You may find it cheaper than the others including delivery. I am awaiting stuff I just ordered so I can't report on delivery speed etc. They do multi-packs of batteries and atomizers and particulary manual batteries for the DSE901 which I am keen to try so that attracted me to them.
Thats about it. At some point I might try a Hybrid and report on it but the technology here is very young. I fully expect it to get better and better over the coming years.