Electronic Cigarette
Guide

What are Electronic Cigarettes?

It’s a good idea to have a solid understanding of electronic cigarettes if you’re thinking about trying them for the first time.

They consist of two main components: the flavor cartridge and the battery. The cartridges are what is known as a cartomizer these days. Meaning the e-liquid and atomizer that vaporizes it are both in the same casing. That makes them the most convenient way to vape hands down. While many old-school cartomizers had leaking issues and inconsistent flavor, most brands that still exist today have solved both those problems.

Aside from that, there are two main types of e-cigarettes, manual and automatic. Manual devices have a button or switch that needs to be engaged to activate the atomizer and draw from the vape. Automatic ones use advanced chipsets to fire the atomizer as soon as you start to take a drag. Both have their pros and cons depending on what sort of experience you’d prefer. But what’s a fact about both kinds of e-cigs is there is no real maintenance involved. That is because of the disposable nature of cartomizers. You just have to load in a new cartridge and toss the old one, which keeps the vapor as fresh as possible since you’re always using a brand new atomizer.

E-cigarettes first hit the US market around 2008. It didn’t take long for them to become a cultural sensation, likely due to it giving smokers a chance to regain some of the freedom they had been losing for years. This period in vaping history was somewhat of a gold rush, with tons of brands all duking it out to see who would be left standing. Fortunately, this means that the companies still around today have proven to produce high quality and safe products. The consistent quality of e-cigarette devices has also significantly improved over the last ten years, meaning that most reputable brands are capable of producing a potent vapor these days.

What Is An Electronic Cigarette?

How does an E-Cig Work?

Vapor cigarettes work by having an atomizer heat the liquid, which is also known as e-liquid or vape juice, to its boiling point and turns it into vapor.

The atomizer is powered by the battery to produce the heat. Since it isn’t burning anything and instead creating vapor, it’s how we get to the name vaping. It is the same basic technology as a fog machine that we all remember from our childhood at prom.

The e-liquid is inside of a cartridge that connects to the atomizer heating end. The other end of the atomizer end draws the power and connects to the battery. Historically the devices had these three pieces be separate. Now they almost all have the atomizer contained within the cartridge resulting in zero maintenance required.

Why choose
e-cigarettes?

Harm Reduction

There are several fantastic reasons to switch to vaping, but none are as important as personal health.

Since their introduction, hundreds of peer-reviewed studies have shown an extremely high amount of harm reduction value of vaping compared to combustible cigarettes. One of the most famous was a 2015 study by Public Health England, England’s governmental health agency. This large-scale study found that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking.

But new research is published every week about vaping. A very recent study out of the Journal of Aerosol Science indicated that the “excess lifetime cancer risk” (ELCR) of a regular vaper is around five orders of magnitude lower than that of a habitual smoker. That’s over 50,000 times less dangerous. Even the addictive nicotine that is in e-liquids can be slowly lowered over time if you would like too. You won’t even have to switch off your favorite flavors to do so since most brands offer several different nicotine strengths in every type.

Tobacco Harm Reduction

Cost Savings

A close second-best reason to make the switch to vaping is the fantastic cost savings.

Almost any type of refill cartridge is going to be cheaper than traditional cigarettes. Chiefly depending on where you live. With some of the more affordable brands, you can get the equivalent of around two packs of cigarettes for under $2.

The cost of cigarettes continues to rise faster than most any other product. Even if you’re not in New York, where the tax is highest in the country, smoking will continue to be an increasingly costly habit. Society has made a collective decision on tobacco, making it incredibly easy for legislators to pass increases on cigarette taxes, especially if faced with a deficit to bridge.

Vaping Cost Savings

Social Aspect

For some people, the best reason to switch to vaping is how much more attractive you’ll be.

As everyone knows smoking has a pungent smell that seeps into clothing and doesn’t quickly go away. Not to mention it also turns your mouth into a wasteland of ash flavor and yellow teeth. But possibly most important is it shows you have a general lack of respect for yourself and others since you’re actively doing something harmful to everyone’s health.

Vaping on the other hand usually has a delightful odor, and research has never found any evidence of a second-hand risk. Not only that, but vaping is still allowed in many public places across the country, both indoor and outdoors. Smokers who have gotten used to missing out on significant chunks of conversation will never have to worry about missing anything on a cigarette break again.

social aspects of smoking

choosing
the right e-cigarette

Flavors and Cartridges

When trying to decide which cig-a-like e-cig is right for you, it’s always best to consider a couple of critical factors.

First, you should make sure that the brand carries flavors you’d enjoy, as well as coming in your preferred nicotine strength. Once you’ve narrowed them down by taste, it’s a good idea to consider how much power you’ll need. If you’re interested in huge clouds and intense throat hit, or even just looking to vape extra frequently, it’s a good idea to go for more powerful brands. But you can likely save lots of money, or get increased battery life if you decide you don’t need a high powered vapor cigarette.

Aside from the flavors available, you need also to consider the types of cartridges that come with the kit. There are two basic types – open system and closed system. Open system cartridges involve you filling the blank cartridge with e-liquid and often reusing the same cartridge. Closed system devices are pre-filled with liquid and get tossed after use. The closed system is best for those who want a care-free easy-to-use device. You choose the flavor and strength you want and just screw it on to the battery.

V2 EX Cartridges

If you want to experience flavors from outside vendors and save a little more money on your experience, then the open system would be the way to go. You will need to open the cap of the cartridge and inject the liquid into the device each time it is empty. You can usually get a few uses out of each cartridge as long as you stick with the same flavor in the cartridge. If you don’t follow that guideline, the flavors will mix, and you will not get the desired taste.

Another option from the open system would be to use a tank. These are larger capacity and work the same where you fill the e-liquid yourself. You also shouldn’t mix flavors in these, but they have a better atomizer and longer life over traditional cartridges.

Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, but we do recommend closed systems that have the option to buy open system cartridges for beginners like V2 does. You can begin with pre-filled cartridges and buy blanks or small tanks later on without changing your equipment you already own.

JUUL Liquid Pods

Batteries

The next step should be considering the importance of battery life to you.

Battery life is a bit complicated in general but for these e-cigs, the higher the mAh, the longer the battery will last. Higher mAh doesn’t always equate to that though if the device operates at higher output voltage wise. So you should look at both the mAh and voltage output to determine which is best for you.

Most batteries will be able to last a year, if not longer. Generally speaking, after the first 1000 charges it will begin to diminish but still be usable, you just might need to charge it more. Some companies will give you new batteries as long as you subscribe to their auto-ship programs too so you’d never have to worry about it. We recommend having at least two batteries at all times though, but you should try to get a minimum of 3 always to have a battery ready to go.

Batteries will take different times to charge, but it will usually be a few hours to charge a battery fully. That is why we recommend having multiple batteries. You will want to be aware of how the batteries charge with the kit too. Many of the cheaper kits do not include a wall charger so you’ll need to plug it into a USB port. Some of those brands sell you the wall charger for an extra price, which could be a good fit for you depending on cost. You should never use equipment that isn’t from the manufacturer to charge the batteries. That can cause serious damage or injury by overcharging or overheating. On a full charge, you can expect most batteries to last a day of use with some being closer to half a day.

Halo G6 Batteries

Accessories

When you’ve narrowed it down to just a few choices, it’s best to start factoring in the ongoing purchases.

You should always see what accessories cost. That can often prove to be the difference between a perfect match and failure. Knowing how much refills and replacement batteries cost can sometimes make the right choice much more evident than it initially seemed when pairing it with the accessory cost. Some starter kits even include all the accessories you would want, so you may wish to pay slightly more up front to save money in the long run.

Auto-Ship Programs

Auto-ship programs are monthly subscription packages of cartridges and sometimes even fresh batteries.

It’s excellent for people who don’t want to have to worry about continually ordering new refills. Some brands will offer significant discounts for signing up. However, you should only join a program that allows you to cancel at any time, like the brands listed on this page. There are rebill scams that don’t allow you to change your package, cancel or manage either without a long phone call. So be wary of the terms before signing up for any program of this nature.

Auto-Ship Cartridges

differences between
advanced devices &
cig-a-like e-cigs

Cig-a-like devices were the first ecig design archetype. It stands to reason as they were a direct replacement for regular tobacco cigarettes. However, after a few years of people becoming comfortable with the idea of vaping and interacting with the devices, some of the limitations of smaller size became apparent. The smaller design limited battery capacity and also the size of atomizer and cartridge you could place on an e-cig.

These limitations lead to the creation of a market for bigger devices. The initial evolution was to make the larger cigarette tube-like designs, made popular by the ‘ego’ type models. When the movement realized that by adding multiple batteries, into custom modified devices, would result in more substantial hits, box style models start hitting the market.

These bigger Box Mods allowed for a large computer chip to be added to control and manage the operational power and temperature. This size increase allowed for larger containers to hold bigger atomizers and, in turn, more e-liquid capacity to fuel these thirsty new models. More advanced understand of vaporizing also meant that new ‘vaporizer’ models appeared, allowing you vape dry ingredients too.

Cig-A-Like E-Cigs

However, there are some reasons why these seemly more advanced and powerful devices haven’t completely replaced the original design archetype found on this page. The cost, size, complexity and learning curve of these sophisticated models aren’t ideal for someone looking to put their tobacco cigarettes down for the first time.

Firstly, is the familiarity with a standard cigarette. When you’re trying to give up tobacco, most people will benefit from gradually changing that habit. The benefits of having something that looks and also held like a normal cigarette can’t be underestimated in your transition. Having something that is easy to transport when you’re on the go in your pocket or purse is also a big plus for most vapers. Although attitudes are changing to vaping, having something discreet compare to a massive box mod, is often ideal for professional or social situations.

These cig-a-like ecigs are also very easy to use. Most people just pick up a tobacco cigarette, light it and start smoking without even thinking about it. So they remain ideal for people that just want to use it without taking any extra brain cells. Advanced decides also require you to manually refill your e-liquid tank and manage and replace your atomizers. Prefilled cartomizers allow you to handle this in a matter of seconds. Are you getting the best experience possible by using them? Probably not. However, a lot of people don’t feel the extra 10-15% in performance is worth the hassle of being more hands-on with your vape.

EGO E-Cigarette

Likewise, box mods will allow you to customize how your model operates through an array of setting. These will enable you to personalize the performance to your taste. If you’re new to vaping and the terminology around it, all these parameters are undoubtedly intimidating for people late to the party. These devices also require a much higher investment money wise to get started.

Are all these extra costs and fiddling with the setting worth that additional 10-15% of performance? Or would you prefer something that is consistent and easy to use? Do you need or want to blow massive clouds, or would you prefer just to have your smoking habit replicated in a less harmful way? There aren’t any right answers to these questions, only what will work best for your situation.

Battery technology and consistency have also significantly improved in e cigs. This extra capacity means that if you’re not bothered about adjusting settings all day, nor powering a massive atomizer to chase some clouds, then these smaller modern batteries are more than capable of lasting all day.

We’re not saying that you have to be an either-or type vaper. You might eventually transition to more advanced devices once you find your feet. You might even use a mix of both in the future. The main thing is to get as far away from tobacco as possible. Cig-a-like electronic cigarettes remain the best and easiest way to make this initial transition to vaping.

Halo Cigs Box Mod

Final
Thoughts

There are always many things to consider when deciding if you should make the switch to vaping. We made this guide for anyone who feels intimidated by all the options currently in the market. It’s designed to facilitate a smooth transition by giving you all the necessary information to make an educated decision. There’s no such thing as a perfect device because everyone has different wants and needs. That’s why it’s such a good idea to ask yourself what you’re looking for before even starting your research. Being honest with yourself is always the best place to start.

We hope our guide helped you get some grounding when it comes to electronic cigarettes. They may not be as complicated as pens or mods, but modern e-cigs can still prove daunting for new users. Fortunately, our years of experience give us the insight needed to decide who’s the best of the best. We agreed that V2 was the best performing e cig brand of 2019 due to their commitment to high powered devices. JUUL took home the crown for best juice, and it’s easy to understand why once you give them a try. Finally, our choice for the best value e-cig of 2019 is the Halo G6 because no one competes with their mix of high quality and affordability.

In a world filled with advanced vape pens and box mods, e-cigs continue to be super popular because of their ease and design. If you have any questions or comments about something we didn’t cover, feel free to leave a comment below or reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook. We’ve got people always ready to answer questions or help with any issues.

Vape on!