Posted on October 16th, 2009 by Jack Stone
I’ve got a lot of inquiries about the nicotine content of BluCigs, so here’s the info.
They have 4 different nicotine strenghts, ranging from 16mg to 0mg (nicotine-free):
- Full flavor: 16 mg
- Light: 12 mg
- Ultra Light: 8 mg
- Non-nicotine: 0 mg
By comparison, the average cigarette contains anywhere from .7 to 1.4 mg nicotine. Obviously you’re not supposed to smoke the entire cartridge in one sitting.
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Posted on October 6th, 2009 by Jack Stone
Electronic cigarettes use electricity, as their name implies, to vaporize a nicotine solution into water vapor that is then inhaled just like the smoke from a tobacco cigarette. The only difference is you’re not actually inhaling smoke, but water vapor mixed with nicotine and flavorings.
There are three Main parts to an electronic cigarette, the battery, the atomizer and the cartridge. Most batteries have a small LED at the tip that lights up when you take a drag very similar to the way the embers on a tobacco cigarette glow when you drag. This helps you know that you’re battery is charged and also stimulates a real cigarette in case you’re trying to smoke incognito.
The battery is the largest part of the device and goes where the tobacco is on a regular cigarette and is about the same size as that.
The next piece of the atomizer, which is the workhorse of the electronic cigarette and is responsible for vaporizing the nicotine solution. I’m not a scientist so the inner workings of the atomizer are beyond my knowledge, but I do know it’s powered by the battery and I believe it basically keeps up the nicotine solution until it evaporates into a vapor. Once I the atomizer has a small metal wick that absorbs the nicotine solution from the cartridge. The atomizer has threads like a screw and screws into the battery or vice versa.
The cartridge side of the atomizer is a bare metal sleeve over which the cartridge slides. The cartridge is about the size of the filter on a tobacco cigarette and is located in the same place. You simply slide the open end of the cartridge over the metal sleeve on the atomizer and, when screwed onto the battery, your device is completely assembled.
The small metal Wick on the atomizer sticks out a little bit into the cartridge and makes contact with a small fabric filler that holds the nicotine solution inside the cartridge. The nicotine solution works its way up the little metal Wick in the atomizer and when you take a drag a pressure switch turns on the battery, sending current to the atomizer. At that point the atomizer heats up and vaporizes the small amount of nicotine solution on the wick, which you then inhale.
When you exhale, a small amount of vapor comes out and completely dissipates in a few seconds. The vapor, before and after you inhale it, has very little smell to it at all, which is why you’re able to smoke indoors and, in fact right next to someone, without them even knowing. Also, because the vapor dissipates so quickly you don’t have to worry about living in a cloud of smoke like you do when smoking a tobacco cigarette indoors.
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Posted on October 5th, 2009 by Jack Stone
There are two different ways to refill your electronic cigarette, depending on whether your brand and cartridges are manual refill or simply cartridge replacement types. My personal favorite brand of electronic cigarette, and I’ve tried quite a few, are BluCigs, and they only offer prefilled cartridges for sale. That said, you can refill those cartridges manually, and I do it all the time just to say a little bit of extra cash. But if you’re not the type that really feels like messing with the liquid and dropping small amounts into a cartridge yourself, buying prefilled cartridges is still significantly cheaper than tobacco cigarettes and is quite easy.
However, if you’re the type that wants to squeeze every last penny out of your savings on electronic cigarettes or wants to try some different types of liquids from different manufacturers you can manually refill your cartridges. All you have to do is find some eLiquid as they call it, and squirt a couple drops into your spent cartridge.
The eLiquid is fairly inexpensive; you can buy about 10 mL or right around $5-$10 from a number of different retailers online. The benefit of buying your own eLiquid to refill your cartridges is that you can sample different flavors and you’re not stuck with the few flavors offered by the company you bought your starter kit from.
Usually, eLiquid comes in a little eyedropper looking thing and all you have to do to refill your cartridge is slide the cartridge off the atomizer, just opposite of what you did when you first assembled it, and squirt just the few drops, maybe three or four, into the open end of the cartridge. If you haven’t seen inside the cartridge yet, most of them have a small fabric filler inside that acts like a sponge to hold the nicotine solution. When you refill your cartridge you have to be careful not to overfill it because this little sponge will become oversaturated and leak into your mouth when you take ahead. It’s not the end of the world if that happens, it just tastes a little nasty, so you want to be careful to only squirt three or four drops in there.
Once you’ve done that just slide the cartridge back on top of the atomizer, make sure your battery’s charged, and take a puff.
It’s really that easy, although sometimes it might take a little bit for the nicotine solution to work its way up into the atomizer after you refill it, so be patient the first few times and it may take you a little bit of practice to get down the process. But once you do, you can enjoy all kinds of different flavors by manually refilling your own electronic cigarette cartridges.
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Posted on October 4th, 2009 by Jack Stone
I’m not the type of person that likes to draw attention to himself, so when my worries when I first got my electronic cigarette was whether or not I’d be able to smoke inside without attracting too much attention or risking anti-smoking zealots yelling at me or some other kind of crazy reaction. I didn’t want to have to explain to every single person that I was actually smoking a real cigarette, so I was a little worried about that at first. But what I found out was that this crazy scenario I had built up in my head about people going nuts in drawing too much attention to myself because I was smoking an electronic cigarette indoors didn’t actually even happen.
When I first got my electronic cigarette it took me about a week or two before I got up the nerve to take it to a bar or restaurant. Like I said, I’m just not the type of person that likes to draw attention to himself. So, one night, I finally decided to take it with me to a local restaurant I frequent and see what happens. As soon as we sat down I pulled out the device and started smoking it, and to my surprise, no one said anything except my server when she came back to greet us.
The thing I didn’t think about until I tried smoking at a restaurant was that the electronic cigarettes don’t produce any smell and only produce a very small visible vapor that actually completely dissipates in a matter of seconds, so unless you were looking right at me as I was taking a hit in that restaurant you would never have even known I was smoking anything at all, which is probably the case for 99% of people in that place that night. It was only my server who said something when she came to greet us at the table and she didn’t even tell me I couldn’t smoke inside; she could tell right away I wasn’t smoking a real cigarette and, not being able to smell any smoke, only asked me what it was I was smoking. I told her what it was and she seemed really interested and, in fact, ask me for the website where I bought the device as I was leaving.
It was really that simple, the whole time I was thinking somebody was going to come out and throw a drink in my face for smoking inside or some other crazy scenario like that and in reality nobody even noticed I was smoking anything at all except my server, who wanted one for herself!
That gave me a little more confidence to try smoking my new e-cig at other restaurants and bars. I’ve since smoked in over 20 restaurants and bars and found similar responses every time. About a third of those times an employee actually approached me and said I couldn’t smoke inside, but when I explained that I was smoking electronic cigarette and not a traditional tobacco cigarette they had no problem with it at all. What actually found out, was that I actually received a bunch of good attention from people, mostly employees at the restaurants and bars who smoked themselves and were just fascinated with the device and wanted to know where they could buy one.
After this whole experience I feel like I should be selling these things because I could probably make a pretty good living at it considering the number of people that approach me and ask where to buy them.
So, the moral of the story is that smoking electronic cigarettes indoors, in my experience, was as easy as simply explaining to the occasional employee what the device was and where they could buy one. At no point did I ever receive any grief from anybody for smoking inside and no one told me to go outside or stop smoking when I explained what the device was, so that was a pretty big relief and now I’m a happy regular indoor smoker bypassing the smoking bans with my spanking new electronic cigarette.
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Posted on October 3rd, 2009 by Jack Stone
All across the United States there are smoking bans in place preventing people from smoking cigarettes indoors. For anyone who is a smoker before this, you probably miss the days when you used to be able to smoke inside a bar or restaurant without having to be forced outside in the freezing cold or rain like some sort of animal.
One of the greatest things about electronic cigarettes is that they don’t actually produce any smoke. Instead, they produce a water vapor, so they are any different from running a vaporizer or boiling water inside. Because of this they are able to get around smoking bans and allow people to smoke inside even where smoking bans are in place.
I’ve personally tried this and most of the time, like in a restaurant, my server came up to me and said I couldn’t smoke inside. However, after a quick explanation of how the electronic cigarette works and the fact that it doesn’t produce smoke, nobody seem to have any problem with me smoking indoors.
Now, I can go out to bars or restaurants and smoke inside and more often than not the only attention I received is from people asking how I’m allowed to smoke inside and me explaining them smoking an electronic cigarette. Most people are amazed by the device and how it works and I almost always get asked where to buy them.
I think I’ve started a trend that a few of the bars and restaurants I frequent and am starting to see more and more people at those places smoking these things, many of those people asked me personally where to buy them and mentioned that they couldn’t be happier being able to smoke inside again.
One of the things I didn’t miss from before the smoking bans was coming home with my clothes reeking of stale cigarette smoke. I have to change almost right when I got home, especially if I was in a bar were a lot of other people were smoking; you just couldn’t continue wearing those clothes because they smelled so bad. So, in that respect, the smoking bans weren’t so bad. The good news for me now is that electronic cigarettes don’t smell at all, even when you’re standing right next to one, and so I can smoke all night at the bar or restaurant and come home smelling just as clean as I did when I left.
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Posted on October 2nd, 2009 by Jack Stone
Cartridge prices vary dramatically based on a number of factors. Obviously the brand and/or model electronic cigarette you purchase will determine the cost of new cartridges, but also, your cartridge replacement costs will depend on whether or not you use prefilled or manually filled cartridges.
Prefilled cartridges are offered by a number of companies at a wide range of prices. As an example, BluCigs offers replacement cartridges ranging from $.80 to $1 each; I’ve seen other brands sell cartridges as high as several dollars each, which in my opinion is far too expensive. As mentioned in another article, if you buy prefilled cartridges you don’t have to worry about wearing out your cartridge casings. However, if you manually refill your cartridges with the eLiquid you’ll eventually wear out the casings and need to purchase more.
Manually refilling cartridges
Generally, you can save a little bit of money by refilling your cartridges manually, you have to be willing to get down and dirty with the eLiquid and not mind running the risk of overfilling and sucking a bit of the fluid into your mouth, which is not a very pleasant experience. Nonetheless, once you get the hang of it, manually refilling your electronic cigarette cartridges isn’t all that tough. The cost of manually refilling your cartridges will totally depend on the eLiquid you decide to purchase as a refill. I’ve seen 10 mL bottles range anywhere from five dollars on up to $25, so that should give you some idea of what you’re looking at.
Whatever you decide to do you should find out a little bit of information about the cartridge life of your electronic cigarette because the amount of fluid your particular brand goes through will also be a factor in how much you spend overall on replacement cartridges or eLiquid. For example, one brand might go through 1 mL fluid every hour or so, whereas with another brand that might last a bit longer. Try to find an electronic cigarette review website that covers the approximate lifespan of those cartridges or talk to someone you know who has experience with a particular brand you’re considering purchasing.
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Posted on October 2nd, 2009 by Jack Stone
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about the recent FDA press release regarding electronic cigarettes. Most of the information on the Internet is simply wrong; most of it is written by people that heard about the press release from another website or a friend but never bothered to read it themselves, so it’s understandable that most of this information is inaccurate. I personally read the press release myself and can tell you exactly what the FDA thinks about electronic cigarettes according to this press release.
Basically, the FDA took a very small sample of brands, brands which they didn’t actually name, and tested a few cartridges from those brands. They found trace amounts of toxic chemicals and tobacco specific nitrosamines in these cartridges and that’s all. It’s my understanding that they actually only tested to brands and a very small sampling of cartridges from those brands. That’s really all the press release said, so it’s a bit misleading, and a number of prominent tobacco researchers and scientists have come out in opposition to the press release because it so easy to misinterpret. The press release almost makes it sound like the FDA did a comprehensive study and found that electronic cigarettes are dangerous, when in fact, they did no such thing.
In addition to the fact that the press release refers to results that can in no way be considered a scientific study, the FDA failed to mention that the chemicals found in the cartridges are also found in tobacco cigarettes, but in much higher concentrations. Tobacco cigarettes also contained thousand more dangerous chemicals that were not found in the cartridges. Additionally, the tobacco specific nitrosamines that were found are also present in FDA approved stop smoking devices that you can by your local pharmacy.
So what is the FDA saying with this press release? Well, if you consider the facts, it seems the FDA is saying that they found some chemicals that may or may not be damaging in electronic cigarettes, and those chemicals are also found in smoking cessation devices and, surprisingly, many foods we eat on a regular basis. Not only that, but there’s no evidence to suggest that tobacco specific nitrosamines found in the quantities they were in the cartridges tested by the FDA are even dangerous to humans at all and those concentrations.
To me, and apparently to a number of prominent tobacco researchers, this press release is almost like the FDA trying to rally opposition to pizza because it contains saturated fat. If you’re considering electronic cigarettes, the question you have to ask yourself is, do I think they’re more dangerous or less dangerous than tobacco cigarettes? For me, the answer to that question is dead simple, they can’t possibly be worse than tobacco cigarettes and that’s why I switched.
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Posted on October 1st, 2009 by Jack Stone
Electronic cigarettes are incredible little devices that pose a huge potential to get people off of tobacco cigarettes. One of the biggest questions I hear from people considering electronic cigarettes is whether or not they’re cheaper or more expensive than tobacco cigarettes. The short answer is that they’re significantly cheaper; the long answer, however, is that it depends on what brand you buy.
There are a number of brands of electronic cigarettes for sale that are, in my opinion, simply way overpriced. These brands are taking advantage of the fact that the product is so new and people know so little about them that they can get away with charging a lot more based on customers lack of knowledge. I’ve seen electronic cigarette starter kits for sale ranging anywhere from $30 always up to $200, and I can tell you from personal experience, that the best electronic cigarette brands cost around $40-$70. Anymore than that and you’re probably just hang and unnecessary premium.
Because electronic cigarettes work differently than tobacco cigarettes, it’s not so easy to figure out the cost difference. With a pack of tobacco cigarettes you might spend six dollars for a pack that will last you 20 cigarettes. When you buy electronic cigarettes, however, you usually have to buy a starter kit first, which is the biggest investment you’ll put into the devices and like I said above, should cost you anywhere from $40-$70.
My own personal favorite brand, Blu Cigs, costs $60 for a starter kit. That starter kit comes with 25 cartridges, which is a sample pack, including 5 non-nicotine cartridges. So, ignoring the five non-nicotine cartridges, you get 20 cartridges with the starter kit. Each of those cartridges last about the equivalent of six cigarettes, so you’re getting the equivalent of 120 cigarettes for $60. By comparison, you could get 200 tobacco cigarettes at six dollars per pack for about the same price. So, if all you ever bought was the starter kit, you get about 80 cigarettes more for the same price by sticking with tobacco cigarettes.
However, you only have to buy the starter kit once, and the savings really come in the first time you buy replacement cartridges without a new starter kit. You can buy 25 replacement cartridges and Blu Cigs for $25, which is the equivalent of 150 cigarettes. By comparison, you have to buy 7 1/2 pack of cigarettes at six dollars per pack, for a total of $45 for 150 tobacco cigarettes. So, your very first refill, you save $20 by going with the electronic cigarettes from Blu Cigs.
Your savings only go up from there; if you only ever buy 25 cartridges at a time at a cost of $25 total, you’ll be saving about $20 every time you buy a new electronic cigarette cartridges instead of buying tobacco cigarettes.
The savings increase even more if you buy your cartridges in bulk. Blu Cigs offers 100 cartridges for about $80, which is about 20% less than if you buy 25 cartridges, so you’ll save even more in this case.
Based on these numbers, you should be able to figure out how much you’ll save based on the amount you currently smoke, but I can tell you as a pack a day smoker I save a bare minimum of $600 every year by smoking electronic cigarettes. Not to mention the fact that I’m not inhaling tobacco smoke and all the dangerous chemicals found in.
I’ve found that my lungs feel a million times better smoking electronic cigarettes than they did with tobacco cigarettes. I no longer have my smokers cough, which was quite disgusting in the morning when I would cough up phlegm… that’s completely gone now. I’ve even started running and exercising more because the electronic cigarettes don’t seem to affect my lungs nearly as badly as tobacco cigarettes did.
So, this is one of the reasons I’m such a proponent of electronic cigarettes; because not only do I save $600 or more every year over tobacco cigarettes, but my lungs are healthier and I feel better as well.
Check out our review of Blu Cigs to find out if they’re right for you.
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