It is getting harder and harder for a person to smoke these days. In these tough economic times, cigarettes are actually getting more and more expensive and what used to be small expense is actually a little bit of a luxury. Unfortunately for smokers, cutting that bi-weekly carton of cigarettes from your budget is not as easy as cancelling your online movie subscription or your gym membership. Quitting smoking is hard, so you have the additional drain on your wallet that you will have a hard time doing something about.
It is also getting harder to be a cigarette smoker because of all the restriction and legislation in place to keep you from smoking in certain places. You cant smoke in a restaurant, you cant smoke on domestic flights and to smoke at work, in most cases, you have to meander your way through a complicated maze to get to the smokers area, which is conveniently located next to the dumpsters.
Then you have to consider the health risks. Television shows like Mad Men show us that back in the day everybody smoked with reckless abandon. Now thanks to further research and education we know that cigarette smoking is a very bad idea. What Mad Men doesn’t show you is how many of the characters ended up with emphysema or lung cancer.
With all this new information, electronic cigarettes are growing in popularity as a way for people to quit smoking or get a nicotine fix without the patches or the gum with reduced health risks.
Electronic cigarettes, which are often called e-cigarettes or vapor cigarettes, get their name from a electronic mechanism that vaporizes a nicotine based solution of different strengths to create a sensation similar to smoking regular tobacco cigarettes.
When e-cigarettes first came out onto the scene, they were comprised of 3 separate components, the cartridge, the atomizer and the power supply. The first part is the cartridge, a mouth piece that is similar in look and location to a regular tobacco cigarette’s filter. The key difference is that the cartridge is where the nicotine liquid solution is kept until it is vaporized. The vaporizing is done by a heating mechanism called the atomizer. This whole contraption is powered by circuitry that can be found inside the power supply.
Over time manufacturers and retailers discovered that it was easier and more cost effective to streamline the process into a two part apparatus. The cartridge and atomizer were made into one component called a “cartomizer” that could be easy swapped and was now disposable. Previously you had to refill the cartridge which often led to imprecise measurements and could get messy if you weren’t careful, especially if you were a little shaky because you needed that nicotine bump.
Cartomizers come in two variations, with or without nicotine. A person might say that smoking a cigarette with no nicotine is a pointless endeavor, but it really isn’t any different than drinking decaffeinated coffee or eating a sugar free alternative. Like the person who wants to eat a cookie without the guilt and health problems associated with it, a person can inhale a tobacco flavored solution without a lot of the negative effects of nicotine. Some are even simulate the flavors of popular brands of tobacco cigarettes. Beyond those flavors, they can also be purchased in flavors like chocolate, vanilla and fruits like strawberry and peach. If you want a something a little more exotic, you can always try a Boston cream pie or espresso flavor. People who go this route are usually people who still need the sensation of the vapor filling their lungs as well as the sensation of having a cigarette between their fingers or against their lips.
The other route, nicotine based solutions are meant for two different types of consumers. The first and most popular use of nicotine based e-cigarettes is as a smoking cessation device. Because the cartomizer can be purchased with various degrees of potency, smokers who want to gradually wean themselves off of their nicotine addiction can do so in a controlled way. With regular tobacco cigarettes, you can go from reds to lights, but there isn’t many other steps besides that. The other consumer is the one who wants to still smoke but not smell like an ashtray and worry about yellow teeth.
Under some circumstances, you can smoke e-cigarettes where you wouldn’t be allowed to smoke tobacco. This is all dependant on your local laws. For example, you are not allowed to smoke an electronic cigarette indoors because the state’s Smoke Free Air Act legislated that they are to be considered the same as regular tobacco cigarettes because to a child, the perception is the same.
An important thing to consider is that electronic cigarettes are generally regarded as a safe alternative to their tobacco counterparts, but the Federal Trade Commission does not allow them to be billed as a healthier choice. The FTC’s reasoning is that this is a relatively knew invention and the long term effects of prolonged exposure have not been studied.
E-cigarettes also have the problem that despite being a seemingly healthier option, they are not a completely safe alternative to tobacco. The vapor you inhale may not have the same cancer causing carcinogens, but the nicotine levels in e-cigarettes have raised some red flags.
All in all, electronic cigarettes sound like a good option for consumers who are looking to either quit smoking or who are looking for an alternative form of getting the cigarette sensation. As the technology progresses it will undoubtedly improve and also go down in price. It is up to the responsible consumer to figure out what their best options are and which of the many manufacturers is the best choice.
We were inspired by electronic cigarette expert Andy Gray when making this site.