So you’re a smoker, eh? Wish you didn’t have to go out into the blazing sun or the drenching rain to get your fix when you’re sitting at a perfectly good desk? Have a gander at these:
“What is this, I don’t even..?”
Why, those are electronic cigarettes. No longer do I risk filling my fan grills and keyboards with ash and smoke, no sir. No longer do I have to waste precious desk space for a dish full of fag ends. Nope. Now I can happily puff away indoors with no mess. They don’t smell like cigarettes either, so your other half won’t complain that you’re stinking the place out. Also I’m a gadget whore, and I’m not going to lie, buying electronic cigarette parts beats the crap out of buying actual cigarettes. Much more fun.
Essentially, electronic cigarettes are batteries with little heating coils on the end, onto which a resevoir or wadding material containing nicotine-infused liquid is attached. This liquid is vapourised in place of the burning tobacco in actual cigs, but it still feels and appears similar to smoke, delivering that ever precious nicotine just like the good old smokes used to. They come in all shapes and sizes, from cigarette-like sticks with the familiar yellow filter tip and white body (the end even glows red) which automatically fire when you suck them to manually activated giant flashlight-like devices which house rather larger batteries. I’ve even seen a couple that could double as a “personal massager” too. Not something I’d rather be seen in public with my mouth around the end of, if I’m honest. Still, it all depends on how adventurous you are, that’s the only thing that dictates which style you buy. That, and price. There are basic kits that cost the price of a couple of packs of twenty of the real thing, kits that cost a small fortune, and everything inbetween. You can Frankenstein your own devices out of parts as well, which gives you something a lot more tailored to your preferences, the screw threads and battery connectors are all standardised.
The liquids you put in them are available in a plethora of flavours and nicotine strengths, everything from nicotine-free Red Bull and low-strength tobacco flavours up to the downright insane high-strength curry and chilli flavours. There’s a flavour and strength for everybody, however mundane or crazy your tastes and nicotine cravings are. You can mix your own liquids too, using a nicotine base and any number of available flavouring liquids, to create that perfect flavour. Strawberry popcorn with a gingerbread twist, anyone?
In the picture above you can see my current weapons of choice, at the top is an eGo-T 1000mAh “passthrough” battery (passthrough means I can plug it into a USB port and charge while I’m using it, so the battery never goes flat), it lasts me a good two days away from a USB port to charge it on, even during a drinking session. The bottom one is an eGo-style “variable voltage” battery (which means I can choose what voltage to run the heating coil at, varying the taste and amount of vapour), with a handy 5-stage LED battery level display, that’s the grey bars on the left hand side. They both currently have Bud tank-style cartomisers on them (the see-through bit with the black mouthpiece, it contains both the heating coil and the nicotine juice), they’re among the more convenient methods of vaping, they don’t require constant maintenance and refilling like some other devices do.
Even covering what you see in that picture is tricky without diving into the terminology and jargon too much but that’s far, far beyond the scope of my little introduction here. I’d encourage you to do a little research if you’re interested, there’s a number of large e-cig communities out there who are more than willing to explain everything in minute detail, they’re as geeky about e-cigs as us tech nuts are about our gadgets.
While you probably won’t get your boss to let you use them in the office, they can be used in pubic places where traditional cigarettes are illegal or impractical. That’ll vary according to local laws and how open your local pub landlord is to the use of them, but they’re certainly legal under most cigarette bans. They’re also cleaner, more convenient and potentially cheaper than real cigarettes (depending on how much you smoke and how many e-cig gadgets you buy), so they certainly have advantages. If you’re in a hurry, for example, you can just shove the thing back in your pocket and not worry about wasting anything. I won’t comment directly on the health implications because I’m not a doctor, but I certainly feel less unhealthy, less lethargic and less full of mucus than I did when I smoked cigarettes.
All in all, I’d recommend taking a look, they’re well worth a go, I really enjoy mine and I’m sure there are many fellow puffers would too. Just one little hint, though, make sure you buy some extra mouthpieces, you might end up showing off your new gadget more than you intend, so some spare tips will be useful to avoid swapping saliva.