1. What are they?: electronic cigarettes are designed to give the satisfaction of smoking without burning tobacco. Instead, a water-based nicotine vapor (or nicotine-flavoring) is automatically released and inhaled when the user draws on the e-cigarette. Although the nicotine or other flavoring therefore still reaches the user’s lungs, the only thing exhaled is a harmless and odorless water vapor.
2. Are they really a better alternative to traditional cigarettes?: there’s no longer any secret in the fact that the smoke produced by burning tobacco contains a long list of harmful carcinogens. Smoking the “traditional” way, therefore, is not only harmful to yourself but can also damage the health of those around you. That is why, of course, smoking is widely banned in many public places – such as offices, restaurants and bars, parks and so on.
Do away with the smoke from burning tobacco, therefore, and you’ve immediately made e-cigarettes a better alternative to traditional cigarettes – on the most important of health grounds. In the process, you’ve also removed many of the objections to “smoking” in public places and should find that you’re once again welcome into restaurants, bars, parks and beaches and even into your own office, with an electronic cigarette between your lips.
3. Who can smoke them?: The simple answer is that, for anyone who enjoys the experience of “smoking”, electronic cigarettes offer a much safer substitute than the conventional method of inhaling the fumes of burning tobacco. It is widely acknowledged that the major health risks (to you and those around you) come from the tobacco smoke, rather than the nicotine itself.
Nevertheless, electronic cigarettes still involve the using inhaling doses of nicotine or some other favored alternative. Anyone allergic to nicotine or the ingredients of inhalants generally, therefore, should not smoke them.
Of course, there are potential side-effects with any kind of inhalant – including an electronic cigarette – and so they should not be used by pregnant or breast-feeding women.
Smoking electronic cigarettes is clearly an adult activity and they should not be used, therefore, by anyone under the age of 18.
Although they might be used as a helpful aid by those wanting to wean themselves from the habit of smoking tobacco, electronic cigarettes are not intended for those wanting to kick a nicotine dependence – there are other, probably more effective substitutes for those with such an aim in mind. Indeed, those wanting to give up smoking or those with any doubts about the suitability of electronic cigarettes would do well to consult their health care provider or doctor.
4. Where can I smoke electronic cigarettes?: One of the most compelling attractions of an electronic cigarette, of course, is that there is no second-hand tobacco smoke to harm, offend or annoy those around you. Since there is nothing from an e-cigarette to cause such a public “nuisance”, therefore, there is no logical reason for your being unable to smoke one where smoking is otherwise banned.
When it comes to making rules and regulations about what we can and cannot do, however, logic sometimes flies out of the window – and electronic cigarettes are not alone in this. So, you could find that some kill-joy continues to prevent you from enjoying a non-harmful, nuisance-free electronic “smoke” at your workplace, a bar or a restaurant.
5. How do I get started?: There are many brands of electronic cigarette in this rapidly expanding market and practically every brand offers a “starter-pack” of one kind or another for those who want to give them a try. This might range from a single, disposable electronic cigarette to an affordable yet complete kit of everything you will need to assemble, refill and recharge your own device. In the majority of cases, you will also be able to take advantage of a money-back guarantee, promising you a complete refund of your expenditure if you are not completely satisfied or decide that e-cigarettes are not for you after all.
6. Do they look like the real thing?: As the market has grown and the electronic cigarette has been developed and refined, you’ll find that most of the current models on offer are incredibly realistic and authentic – with an appearance that makes them practically indistinguishable from a regular, conventional cigarette.
7. What gives them their taste?: One of the important components common to any type of electronic cigarette is a fluid-filled cartridge. Although the fluid is harmless to health, inert and water-based, it contains soluble flavorings that give the substance its taste when the user draws on the cigarette and a tiny amount of the fluid is atomized.
For those who want the authentic taste of a regular cigarette, therefore, a standard flavoring for the fluid is tobacco. The ingenuity of the developers of today’s e-cigarettes, however, knows no bounds and it is now possible to savor a “smoke” that tastes of strawberry, apple, pineapple or even chocolate.
8. How long do they last?: To rephrase this question slightly, it’s really a question of how long each of the active components – the battery, the atomizer and the cartridge – are likely to last:
- The battery – which invariably fits into the main body of the cigarette – is a special, rechargeable lithium ion battery which will typically last 4 to 5 hours of regular puffing on a full charge. Since each battery can be recharged an average of 1,400 times, this should last you around 4 to 5 years;
- Refillable cartridges – different brands are likely to last different lengths of time. Typically, however, each cartridge is designed to provide between 250 to 300 drags, or roughly the equivalent to a whole packet of regular cigarettes; and
- An atomizer – this turns the fluid in the cartridge into the vapor and you will probably decide to change it whenever it appears to be working less efficiently (when the flavor, for instance, has become less to your taste). Clearly, this will probably according to your individual preference.
9. Where can I get them?: If you want to purchase your smokeless cigarettes from a store, much will depend on where you live and the brand you wish to buy. A number of stores stock the leading brands. By far the easiest method, however, is to review all of the brands currently available and simply purchase your supplies online. With brands such as South Beach Smoke you can get set up with their Home Delivery Program, this will schedule a monthly delivery of refill cartridges so there is no need to worry about running out.