Posted March 24, 2012 by Jack Keenan in About e-Cigarettes

Avoiding Electronic Cigarette Scams

Electronic Cigarette Scam
Electronic Cigarette Scam

Perhaps because of overly aggressive marketing or a few companies out to make a quick buck from a hot trend and then disappear, some people who might buy an e-cig are worried that they could be falling into an electronic cigarette scam. In fact, the electronic cigarette is a wonderful product that has made a positive difference in the lives of many people, including myself. However, there are some behaviors and tactics that I’ve noticed in the electronic cigarette industry and disagree with. By learning to recognize and avoid electronic cigarette companies that engage in these behaviors, you can make sure that you will be as happy with your electronic cigarette as I am with mine.

Chinese E-Liquids

The Chinese are the inventors of the electronic cigarette, and because they have the ability to manufacture high-quality electronics in high quantities at low prices, they continue to supply most of the e-cigarettes sold in the United States. Some of the companies you’re likely to see frequently when reading about e-cigarettes include Ruyan, Joye, Boge, Janty and Dekang. This isn’t a bad thing; these companies make high-quality products as long as you aren’t unfortunate enough to receive a knock-off. With the exception of the ProVari, just about every electronic cigarette you can buy in the United States comes from China.

Dekang E-Liquid Bottle

The standard Dekang e-liquid bottle

The potential problem, however, happens when you start to experiment with different e-liquids. Dekang is the world’s largest manufacturer of e-liquids, and with the exception of the Dekang Gold and Dekang Silver lines which must bear the Dekang logo, allows manufacturers to resell those e-liquids under their own names. This means that one company’s “Kamel,” “Domestic Blend” or “Desert” tobacco e-liquid might be exactly the same as another’s, because both companies are Dekang resellers. While Dekang makes high-quality products, you may experience frustration if you purchase e-liquids from several different manufacturers and end up getting the exact same flavor over and over. By studying the list of Dekang’s flavors, you can become familiar with the company’s product lineup and learn to tell which companies are simply putting a new name on something you’ve already tried. Also, you can safely assume a company is selling Chinese e-liquids if the website says nothing about the origin of the e-liquids being sold.

Unrealistic Performance Claims

Electronic Cigarette Scam Battery

Good for hours, not days.

One potential electronic cigarette scam that I’ve seen recently is the claim that a small cigarette-sized battery can last for 500 or more puffs. I’ve used quite a few electronic cigarettes, and I’ve never found a battery that comes close to this kind of capacity unless you’re taking short half-second puffs like you might with a real cigarette — but electronic cigarettes don’t work that way. You can’t get more vapor by puffing harder, so the trick is to take puffs that are long and slow. In general, I find that the number of puffs I can get from a standard 3.7-volt electronic cigarette is a little under half of the battery’s rating in mAh. For example, a cigarette-sized 90 mAh battery is good for around 40 puffs.

Poor Customer Service Infrastructure

A lot of American electronic cigarettes are smaller than you might think; they’re essentially side gigs, and their owners remain at their day jobs. The electronic cigarette industry is new and wide open, and a lot of people are trying to get in. Many of the best e-liquids come from small companies with one owner/employee who does essentially everything. I highly recommend trying these companies when you want to experiment with new e-liquids. Small companies are also great sources for accessories such as atomizers, cartomizers and spare batteries. If you are just buying your first electronic cigarette, though, I suggest looking for an established company with both an email address and a phone number for customer service. You should be certain that you can get a hold of someone of you experience a problem.

Poor Warranty Policy

Always familiarize yourself with a company’s warranty policy to make sure that your first purchase doesn’t turn out to be an electronic cigarette scam. Many companies offer no guarantee except that their products won’t be dead on arrival, and you need to be certain that you’ll have some recourse if your electronic cigarette fails before its time. Volcano, Envy and ProVape have some of the best warranties of the electronic cigarette companies I’ve dealt with, and I have found all three companies’ customer service departments to be quite responsive. All three companies have one-year standard warranties, and Envy even has a 30-day money-back guarantee. All three companies are great choices if you’re shopping for your first electronic cigarette.

Keep in mind, though, that an electronic cigarette’s warranty won’t cover consumable items such as e-liquids, atomizers, cartomizers and batteries that lose their maximum capacity under normal use. E-liquids can’t be resold, attachments such as atomizers and cartomizers undergo great strain from heat and batteries will lose their capacity after being recharged hundreds of times. Electronic cigarette warranties are intended to cover legitimate product failures only.

Have You Experienced an Electronic Cigarette Scam?

Have you been scammed by an electronic cigarette company or picked up pointers from others about how to avoid them? Leave a comment about your experience to help future electronic cigarette users. Keep in mind that this is not a forum for bashing companies, so please leave specific company names out of your comments.