Posted October 3, 2011 by Jack Keenan in About e-Cigarettes

E-Cigarette FAQ

Electronic Cigarette E-Cig FAQ Frequently Asked Questions
Electronic Cigarette E-Cig FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

This page answers some of the most common questions that people have about e-cigs. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

[learn_more caption=”What is an e-cig (electronic cigarette)?”] An electronic cigarette is a battery-powered device that uses an atomizer to heat nicotine-infused liquid, turning it to vapor for inhaling. E-cigs allow smokers to satisfy their nicotine cravings without cigarettes, using a system that resembles a cigarette in appearance, taste, feel and usage.

Learn more: What are electronic cigarettes?[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”How do e-cigs work?”] An e-cig consists of three primary parts: a battery, an atomizer and nicotine-infused liquid. The atomizer contains a heating element that turns the liquid to vapor that you draw into your mouth and inhale as you would cigarette smoke. Batteries can be automatic or manual; an automatic battery turns on when you draw air through the device, while a manual battery has a button that gives you complete control.

Learn more: What are electronic cigarettes?[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Why should I buy an e-cig?”] You should consider buying an electronic cigarette if you are a committed smoker who does not want to quit, but wants an alternative that does not involve smoke or burning tobacco. E-cigs leave no lingering odors in rooms and on clothes, do not cause bad breath, and allow you to control your nicotine intake more finely. Want to lower your nicotine as slowly as possible? E-cigs allow you to do it one milligram at a time.

E-cigs are also permitted in many places where cigarettes are not, such as rental cars, non-smoking apartment communities, hotels and some airliners.

Learn more: Switching to Electronic Cigarettes: My Story[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Are e-cigs safe?”] Electronic cigarette liquid generally contains pharmacy-grade propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin, nicotine and natural and/or artificial flavoring. According to a 2010 study released by Boston University, “few, if any, chemicals at levels detected in electronic cigarettes raise serious health concerns.”

The study also found that electronic cigarettes are up to 1,000 times less carcinogenic than regular cigarettes, and that “we know a lot more about what is in electronic cigarettes than regular cigarettes.” The current evidence suggests that e-cigs are comparable to other nicotine replacement products such as gum and patches.

However, long-term clinical studies on e-cigs have not yet been conducted, so I do suggest asking your doctor for advice.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Is it difficult to switch to e-cigs?”] It isn’t easy at first, for a few reasons. For one, you will have to overcome the expectation that electronic cigarettes provide the same experience and taste as real ones. Although the experience is similar, it isn’t the same.

Secondly, it is important to pick the right product, because a product that doesn’t work correctly won’t allow you to maintain the nicotine levels that you need to avoid cravings.

Lastly, it is my unproven hypothesis that since real cigarettes contain many chemicals that e-cigs do not, your body may continue to crave the chemicals other than nicotine for the first few days after switching to e-cigs.

Once you get past that point, though, it does become easy; it’s been well over a year since I last thought about buying real cigarettes.

Learn more: Why People Fail When Switching to Electronic Cigarettes[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Do e-cigs taste and feel like real cigarettes?”] Electronic cigarettes create a feeling in the mouth, throat and lungs that is very much like what you would expect from real cigarettes.

The taste varies greatly, however. There are hundreds — if not thousands — of different electronic cigarette liquids or “e-liquids” available, and each one has a slightly different flavor. That’s the main reason why I started — because I find manufacturer’s descriptions to be a bit lacking at times. You’ll never get exactly the same taste from an e-cig as you would from a real cigarette, because cigarettes taste like the smoke from burning tobacco, and electronic cigarettes do not produce smoke.

However, some e-liquids provide very realistic cigarette flavors, while others provide something entirely different. How would you like to get a cool rush of mint while you satisfy your nicotine cravings? How would you like to taste chocolate, vanilla, cherry, butterscotch, pineapple, coconut, or dozens of other flavors? Only e-cigs can provide that kind of experience.

Learn more: Does an Electronic Cigarette Taste Like a Real Cigarette?[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”What are the different types of e-cigs?”]The most common types of electronic cigarettes fall into these groups:

Cartridge-based: These e-cigs use disposable foil-capped cartridges to deliver liquid to the atomizer. A cartridge usually contains a saturated foam filler material that wicks the liquid to the atomizer as you use the e-cig. You can identify a cartridge-based electronic cigarette by the fact that is has a reusable atomizer. Cartridges are generally quite inexpensive; around $3.00 for a pack of five. However, cartridges are very problematic and either leak or wick liquid too slowly. Not recommended.

Cartomizer-based: A cartomizer is a sealed unit that contains the electronic cigarette’s atomizer as well as the liquid. Cartomizers rarely leak, tend to wick liquid more reliably than cartridges and also have the benefit of giving you a fresh atomizer with each unit. Often, you can even reuse a cartomizer by prying the top off and adding liquid from a bottle. Cartomizers cost slightly more than cartridges, however — about $12.00 per pack of 5. Each pack is roughly equal in nicotine to 3-5 packs of real cigarettes. You can also buy and fill your own cartomizers.

Tank-based: A tank-based e-cig has a large tank that you fill from a bottle before placing it inside the atomizer unit. The atomizer has a small nozzle that goes into a hole at the bottom of the tank, allowing liquid to drip down into the atomizer’s reservoir as you use the e-cig. Tank-based e-cigs are highly convenient, and some tanks hold enough liquid to last for a day or more depending on your usage pattern.

Drip-based: A drip-based e-cig has an exposed atomizer with a long plastic mouthpiece. You drip liquid from a bottle onto the atomizer directly through the hole at the top of the mouthpiece before using the e-cig, and add additional liquid after every few puffs. Coupled with a low-resistance atomizer, a drip-based e-cig delivers the most vapor and flavor available with an electronic cigarette.

Learn More: Volcano Inferno E-Cig Review[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”What e-cig should I buy?”]The short answer is this: I strongly recommend the Volcano Inferno. The starter kit costs $74.99 and is available in both tank and drip configurations. If you don’t have room in your budget, try the Volcano Express Starter Kit instead. Although it doesn’t have quite the same performance or flavor selection, it will give you a good idea of what electronic cigarettes are all about and help you decide whether you want to pursue them further.

Learn More: The Best E-Cig: A Buying Guide for Electronic Cigarettes[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”How long do e-cigs last?”] You can expect an e-cig battery to last for approximately one year before it begins to lose its maximum charge capacity, while an atomizer must be replaced about every 1-2 months. Atomizers can fail suddenly, so it is always a good idea to have an extra one available. One of the benefits of using cartomizers is that you do not have to worry about atomizer failure; you get a new one every time you change cartomizers.

Liquid usage depends on the person; I go through approximately 2 ml of liquid each day, so a 15 ml bottle lasts about one week. I typically buy liquid at the 16 mg nicotine level, and formerly smoked one pack of light cigarettes per day — that might give you some idea of what your usage pattern will be if you switch to e-cigs.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”How much do e-cigs cost?”] My recommended e-cig — the Volcano Inferno — costs $74.99. You can save some money by opting for the less expensive Volcano Express Starter Kit instead. This kit costs $22.99.

After you purchase the starter kit, though, the savings begin to mount up quickly. For example, cigarettes currently cost about $7.50 in my state, and I go through one 30 ml bottle of electronic cigarette liquid — which costs $19.99 — every two weeks. A pack-a-day cigarette habit would cost me over $2,700 per year, while electronic cigarettes cost a little over $500 yearly. Even when you include the cost of an occasional new atomizer, shipping expenses and experimenting with different liquid flavors, it’s still a savings of well over $2,000 per year.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”How do I maintain my e-cig?”] Whenever you change batteries, thoroughly clean the terminal of the battery with a paper towel before charging it. I also like to blow the excess liquid out of the atomizer to avoid buildup. Some people recommend “deep cleaning” atomizers periodically with hot water or grain alcohol, but I don’t find that deep cleaning improves the performance or extends the life of an atomizer enough to bother. Keep your e-cig in a room temperature environment and out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Never use your e-cig with a dry atomizer. If your e-cig has a manual battery, take care when storing it in your pocket to avoid turning the battery on accidentally.

Learn More: How to Clean an E-Cig[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”What is atomizer resistance?”] An atomizer’s ohm rating indicates its resistance; a low-resistance atomizer has a rating of approximately 1.5 ohms, while a standard-resistance atomizer has a rating of about 2.5 ohms. A low-resistance atomizer generates more power with a standard 3.7-volt battery, resulting in more vapor and more intense flavor. However, low-resistance atomizers are only compatible with large e-cig batteries such as the one included with the Volcano Inferno e-cig. A low-resistance atomizer can considerably reduce the life of a small cigarette-style e-cig battery, causing it to fail early. I only use low-resistance atomizers.

Learn More: What are Low-Resistance Atomizers?[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”What are some common e-cig terms and their definitions?”] Vaping: The act of using an electronic cigarette; the e-cig equivalent of “smoking.”

Throat Hit (TH): The slight irritation that nicotine causes in the throat. Because many smokers equate this feeling with the satisfaction that one obtains from a cigarette, some look for a high level of throat hit in e-cig liquids.

Dripping: Placing an open mouthpiece over the atomizer of an e-cig and sending liquid down the hole before using the device. Dripping allows an e-cig user to have complete control over vapor production and greatly enhances the reliability of an e-cig.

Analog: A real cigarette.

Mod: An altered electronic cigarette; some users make modifications to their e-cigs in an attempt to produce a greater amount of vapor, extend battery life or enhance their e-cigs in other ways.

Personal Vaporizer (PV): Alternative term for an electronic cigarette.

Smoke Juice: Alternative term for electronic cigarette liquid or e-liquid.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”What are propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG)?”] Propylene Glycol (PG) is the standard base for electronic cigarette liquids. It turns readily to vapor when heated, carries flavor well and is classified as “Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS)” by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Vegetable Glycerin is an alternative base. VG does not carry flavor as well as PG, but it generates a large volume of thick vapor and is often used in conjunction with PG in electronic cigarette liquids for the best possible combination of flavor and vapor production. Some e-liquids consist solely of VG and are intended for e-cig users who are sensitive to PG.

Learn More: Propylene Glycol (PG) vs. Vegetable Glycerin (VG)[/learn_more]