So after years of smoking “analogs” (regular cigarettes), we decided to get on the vaping (PV – personal vaporizers) bandwagon after several folks we know were successful in quitting cigarettes using them. Per my usual, I started analyzing and researching. We started where most folks do with “cig-a-likes” – basically a battery and a cartridge filled with flavored liquid that looks and feels like a heavy cigarette. They were cheap and let us try the whole e-cig thing out to see if we were going to like it at all. We did. Pretty darned quickly. We’ve already moved past cig-a-likes, but the purpose of the blog articles is to walk through the progression so…
We ordered two different “starter kits”. A starter cig-a-like kit generally includes everything you need to start vaping – batteries that look like cigarettes and cartridges that look like filters plus battery chargers. You just charge the batteries, screw the cartomizer (the cartridge that contains and heats the liquid) on and you are off. No muss, no fuss, very easy. Downsides are battery life, cartridge life and flavor, though you can refill your cartomizer with your own choice of e-liquid or buy blank cartomizers to fill yourself. Gotta admit that I found refilling them to be a bit of a pain and carrying multiple batteries around kind of sucked. That said, we did this for about a week and at the end we felt that we were comfortable upgrading.
The starter kit we liked the most was the Halo G6 Starter Kit which comes with your choice of 2 batteries – either manual (you press a button while inhaling) or automatic. You can choose one of each if you want to try both and Halo makes the batteries in a variety of colors. Truthfully, while automatic is more “cigarette like”, manual is going to make your battery last longer and is the way higher end PVs work, so get at least one. You also get a USB charger and a wall charger and a 5 pack of cartomizers (blank or filled with one of the Halo flavors) all in a case (too large to carry around, but fine for tossing in the car).
One of the nicest things about this kit is that, when you decide you want to try a “tank” to hold your liquid, Halo has “mini-tanks” that fit the G6 batteries as a second step that doesn’t add weight or change the way you smoke as dramatically as a more advanced type of unit. It was an excellent first step and cost less than a carton of cigarettes here in the South (which is way less than the cost to the north). As I said, we moved on to mini-tanks with the G6 and then to eGo style PVs pretty quickly, but we were completely satisfied with this as an entry point to e-cigarettes.
If you are thinking about trying vaping, consider joining the E-Cigarette Forum but be prepared to be overwhelmed with information – in a lot of ways it is a vaping hobbyist forum as much as anything. Still, it’s an excellent resource – especially if you look for links to recommended vendors, articles and YouTube videos. I’d also recommend you start thinking about what your goal is – do you want to quit smoking entirely (switching to PVs, lowering the nicotine and stopping) or are you embarking on a new hobby or something in the middle. Right now we are focused on dropping analogs (which we did in less than 3 days) and not spending more than 25% of what we used to spend on them. Which, given the cost of cigarettes, is actually pretty easy. I set up a spreadsheet and, while there is an upfront investment, the cost can be pretty low. You will break even and start saving money pretty quickly depending on how much you smoke now and how fast (or if) you jump into the vaping deep end. Keep in mind that the initial goal is to replace all the different stuff in analogs (tar and additives) with only nicotine in measurable amounts. Start simple, move slowly.
We are currently vaping on mini-tanks to try out new liquid flavors, ordering sample liquids to see what we like and dislike and using eGo batteries and tanks. The cig-a-likes are in the “smoking bucket” on the front porch with all the lighters and ashtrays for any friends who want to try them out. We hit our first goal (switching) almost immediately. Pretty impressive, actually. The next article will be on nicotine levels and sort of a starter guide to liquids.