Curious to start using e-cigarettes but aren’t sure where to begin or what they’re all about? Here are 10 of the most common questions we’ve come across from new or prospective users.
Unless you’re like Kimmy Schmidt from the recently debuted Netflix series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and were living in a an underground bunker for the past 15 years to avoid an apocalypse that never transpired, you’ve probably seen or at least heard of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs. E-cigs are battery powered devices that vaporize a nicotine-containing liquid that simulates the act and feeling of smoking a traditional tobacco cigarette, without any tobacco or flame. Although the first e-cig was invented all the way back in the 1960s, they didn’t really gain steam (pun intended) until the mid-2000s. They quickly morphed into a popular choice among people looking to cut back on or quit smoking, or to receive nicotine while in areas where traditional smoking is not allowed. At ecig.com, we’ve come across our fair share of people who were interested in starting up vaping (the term for using e-cigs, since the liquid used is being vaporized) but didn’t know where to start. As such, we’ve collected 10 of the most common questions we get from said people, complete with answers. We hope this can serve as a good primer for beginning vapers and those looking for smoking alternatives.
What exactly is an electronic cigarette (e-cig)?
An e-cig is a cylindrical device that produces vapor (technically aerosol) when the user sucks through the mouthpiece, known as the cartridge. Some are fashioned to look like a traditional cigarette (complete with a brown filter and white stem), while others eschew the design completely and are more modern looking. All e-cigs consist of four basic components: the cartridge, or mouthpiece, where the user takes his or her drags from; an atomizer, which is the e-cig’s heating element that vaporizes the liquid; a vaporization chamber where the liquid is aerosolized; and a power source to power the atomizer. There are lots of different variations among these four main elements, but for the sake of beginners, these are the most important. The final element is the liquid itself, known as e-liquid. It comes in a massive variety of flavors and nicotine content.
How does it work?
Most e-cigs work very similar to a tradition cigarette – by taking a drag or a puff from the cartridge, the vacuum causes air to flow through a pressure sensor, which turns on the atomizer and converts the e-liquid to vapor to be inhaled. Some models of e-cigs rely on a push-button operation, but are less common.
How much does it cost compared to traditional smoking?
This is a question with a lot of potential answers depending on what kind of e-cig equipment you use and how often you vape. There is the initial startup cost of purchasing the necessary equipment, and while this can again vary, a typical, good-quality starter kit that will provide you with everything you need to vape will run you somewhere in the neighborhood of $40. After that initial investment, vaping becomes much more cost-friendly than cigarettes. A 15 ml bottle of e-liquid is the equivalent of one carton (or 10 packs) of cigarettes, and costs about $10-$15. Cigarette prices depend heavily on your region, but using a rough average of $50 per carton, the cost savings from vaping are immediately clear. Depending on how much you smoke, you can save hundreds of dollars per year by choosing to vape instead.
Is it a healthier alternative to smoking?
This is an area that is currently unclear, predominately due to the fact that as we mentioned previously, vaping is still a relatively new practice. As such, none of the major health organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) can officially recommend vaping as an officially healthy alternative to smoking. Early research has been promising, but we’ll leave this one to the FDA who said after a 2014 study:
“E-cigarettes have not been fully studied, so consumers currently don’t know: the potential risks of e-cigarettes when used as intended, how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use, or whether there are any benefits associated with using these products.”
Can it help me quit smoking?
Much like question 4 above, this is a currently unclear area, legally speaking. And again, for the same reasons – there simply hasn’t been enough time in which e-cigs have been in widespread enough use to know the full answer. Many people have successfully transitioned fully from traditional cigarettes to e-cigs, but the bona fide research regarding the efficacy of e-cigs as a smoking cessation device simply isn’t here yet. Anyone trying to quit smoking should look into all alternatives (such as gums, patches, etc.) and consult with their physician. We’ll be sharing the second half of this story – questions 6-10 – very soon. Stay tuned! In the meantime, check out ecig.com’s selection of vaping starter kits to learn more. By Jerry Whitehead III