Electronic Cigarette FAQ

Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions about electronic cigarettes.

If you don’t find what you are looking for and have a question related to a specific brand, you may find it in our e cigarette reviews.

What is an electronic cigarette?

An electronic cigarette, also known as an e cigarette or e-cig, is similar to a traidional cigarette in the way it looks, taste and feels. In fact, it’s made to simulate the act of smoking, but when you take a puff you get water vapor rather than smoke. That’s where they get the name, vapor cigarettes or smokeless cigarettes. Different brands have different styles, of course, but for the most part, from a distance they would like about the same. However, when you look a little closer there are some very big differences and you will find that when compared to analog cigarettes, e cigarettes have some significant benefits.

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How does an electronic cigarette work?

Electronic cigarettes are not complicated and are easy to use. Most e cigarette brands will ship batteries pre-charged, so all you need to do is remove the packaging, screw the battery into the cartridge, and you’re ready to take your first puff. There’s no buttons, on/off switch, and definitely no lighters involved.

The interworkings of an e cigarette really aren’t too complex either. The atomizer part of your electronic cigarette will use heat, or sometimes ultrasonics, to turn the e-liquid into vapor. This is similar to how a humidifier works. The atomizer automatically senses when you take a drag and inhale and the e liquid is vaporized into the vapor you see when you exhale. You will also see the LED light at the tip of the cigarette light up when you inhale. This is just another feature to simulate the smoking experience.

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What’s the difference between tobacco cigarettes and electronic cigarettes?

Tobacco cigarettes, as you probably know, are made up of cut up tobacco leaves, wrapped in paper, and are usually filtered. This all sounds fine until you realize there may be over 600 ingredients included in the tobacco. Wikipedia states that “A key ingredient that makes cigarettes more addictive is the inclusion of reconstituted tobacco, which has additives to make nicotine more volatile as the cigarette burns.” One of the additives found in a list of 599 cigarette additives from major American cigarette companies was ammonia. The stuff used in fertilizer and household cleaners. Ammonia also enhances the effect of nicotine making a regular cigarette more addictive.

In the case of electronic cigarettes, you find mostly water and flavorings found in a propylene glycol solution. The e-liquid contains varying amounts nicotine, some are even made without any nicotine at all. I know the propylene glycol sounds scary, but you will find this ingedient in other places such as food, medicine, toothpaste, and food coloring. The US Food and Drug Administation considers in the ingredient to be “generally recognized as safe” for use as a direct food aditive.

What’s the difference between a two piece and three piece design?

Electronic cigarettes come in three piece and two piece designs. The three piece are made up of a batter, atomizer and flavor cartridge. These are useful if you are interested in filling your own cartridges with e-liquid, also known as smoke juice. The more popular version, the two piece design, is made up of a battery and cartridge with a built in atomzier. This is commonly refered to as a cartomizer. Since each cartridge comes with a new atomizer, you don’t need to worry about filling cartridges, replacing atomizers and it results in an overall smoother and fresher puff. Disposables are also becoming more popular. These usually come in one piece and are geared toward people who are either want to try e cigarettes for the first time, or want absolutely no hastle.

Can you really smoke anywhere with electronic cigarettes?

With electronic cigarettes, there is no flame, ash or cigarette butts and there’s no actual smoke or second hand smoke, just a vapor mist, so can legally “smoke” just about anywhere and everywhere. There are a few exceptions, such as on an airplane, but for the most part, despite the FDA’s best efforts, electronic cigarettes are allowed almost anywhere. Recently Governer Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have banned e cigarettes.

Compare this to the list of places where tobacco smoking is banned and it’s not even close. To give you an idea, here’s a list of states with statewide bans on smoking in all enclosed public places, including bars and restaurants: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. In fact, one city in Los Angeles County has a law where smoking anywhere a non-smoker may congregate, including sidewalks and apartment complexes is a misdemeanor and can carry a fine of at least $250. This is one of the biggest benefits of e cigarettes.

Can switching to electronic cigarettes save me money?

Yes. In fact, you can save a lot of money by switching to e cigarettes. They are significantly cheaper than regular cigarettes. Let’s assume you pay $8 for a pack of cigarettes and you smoke a pack a day. You are currently spending $2,920 per year on cigarettes. Add in lighters, ashtrays, air fresheners and dry cleaning bills and you’re probably at about $3,000 per year.

Electronic cigarette cartridges cost about $2.00 per pack, which are typicaly equivalent to about 1-1.5x packs of regular cigarettes. Including a new starter kit, which will run you about $75 depending on the brand, you will save over $2,000 per year switching to e cigarettes. Of course, if you smoke more than one pack per day, or if you’re in a heavily taxed state, you can save much more!

To get a custom calculation on your savings, use our savings calculator in the right column of the website.

How long does a battery last?

An electronic cigarette battery can last anywhere from 4-6 hours for a very heavy smoker to over a week for a social smoker. You can expect the high quality batteries to long as 600 puffs before needing to be charged. Some brands offer different lengths of batteries which have different capacities. For convenience, most starter kits come with multiple batteries and different kinds of chargers, so you can always make sure you have a full charge when you need it. The best practice is to always keep a spare and to charge your batteries at night, while you sleep.

How long does a cartridge last?

As you may expect, your smoking style has a big influence on how long your cartridge will last. You can assume each cartridge is equal to about 20-30 cigarettes, depending on the brand and the depth of your puff. Another benefit to vaping with e cigaettes is their flexibility. If you only have a second or just need one puff, instead of using a whole cigarette, you can simply pull out your e cigarette, take one puff and put it back in your pocket or carrying case and save the rest for later. You can see how casual smokers can really stretch the life of their cartridges and add even more savings for their wallet.

What flavors are available?

Different brands have different flavors and a typical brand will offer anywhere from four to fifteen or more flavors. Most brands have a few different tobacco variations as well as a menthol flavored cartridge, vanilla, cherry and chocolate are also popular. Some brands offer a chart with traditional cigarette brand comparisons so you can choose the flavor that most closely resembles your favorite tobacco cigarette. Other brands create and refine their own flavor recepies based on customer feedback.

Which nicotine strength should I choose?

You will usually have an option for how much nicotine you would like in your e cigarette. Various brands have different names, but typlically they will offer strong or unfiltered, full flavored, medium, light, ultra light, and zero nicotine options. Most people choose to start with the stregth that best matches their favorite tobacco cigarette.

Where can I buy an e cigarette?

Although they are quickly gaining popularity, electronic cigarettes are still a fairly new technology. You may have seen e cigarettes being sold at a kiosk in your local mall, on the radio, or even at a convenience store by a gas station. I would suggest you take causion when purchasing an e cig without doing the proper research. As you can imagine, with the “boom” of the e cigarette industry, there are a lot of low quality brands popping up to make a quick buck. I recommend buying online for several reasons.

  • You can read reviews to find the best brands
  • You can save money
  • You can use coupon codes to save even more money
  • You can get free shipping and a 30 day money back guarantee
  • You can find some of the most well established and respected companies

Which brand has the best electronic cigarette?

I would recommend Green Smoke as the best electronic cigarette. Read our Green Smoke review or visit the Green Smoke website » www.GreenSmoke.com