Electronic Cigarettes

I was hearing about electronic cigarettes from the news, friends, the web, etc. As a smoker, I was interesting in finding out what the e-cig was all about. Having been a smoker off an on since I was 18 (mostly on), I realize how a non-smoker can be irritated by tobacco smoke. I have to admit that the two times that I did quit smoking for extended periods of time that tobacco smoke bothered the shit out of me. I thought it would be interesting to check out an electronic cigarette for several reasons. 1) So I could “smoke” indoors, 2) so it would not bother people around me if I needed to smoke, and 3) to reduce the intake of unhealthy cigarette smoke. I figured if the e-cig worked, then I could just smoke a real cigarette when I actually had the time to enjoy a smoke. You know, to genuinely savor the flavor and not just smoke a cigarette because I had to.

What is an e-cigarette, electronic cigarette, or e-cig? Well it is basically a just what it sounds like: an electronic cigarette. There is a battery section, heating element, and a filter section. Inside the filter section is a sponge or fiber that is saturated with a nicotine immersed fluid. Sometimes this fluid is also flavored with artificial flavors such as blueberry, almond, mint, cherry, etc. The heating element senses when you inhale through the cigarette, heats up the air, and ever so slightly evaporates the nicotine immersed fluid so what you inhale is a nicotine saturated water mist. You get your nicotine fix without the tar, carbon monoxide, and other 3800 carcinogens in cigarette smoke. For you weed smokers, I think you guys call it a vaporizer.

It started when my co-worker Steve busted out an e-cig. There's a corner in the parking lot where we are allowed to smoke. I noticed that Steve wasn't really hanging out anymore. One day I walked outside to have a smoke and Steve was warming up his STi to drive home (Steve is one of two guys who probably built your Cosworth CNC heads). He asked me for a real cigarette and showed me an e-cig. He was using reduce his real cigarette smoking which I thought was a good idea. I tried a drag of his e-cig and it had a odd bite/flavor at first, but after a short while you did get the nicotine fix. Steve had a blueberry flavored filter. The brand of e-cig that he had uses liquid drops to replenish the nicotine. I later discovered that odd bite, was probably an over saturated filter (had too much fluid, but more on this below). You know, kind of like an engine running too rich. I think the vaporizor couldn't adequately heat up the fluid so the drag tasted kind of funny and dried out my throat.

Anyhow so another friend of mine's suggested I check out SiGCig Encore. This friend's friend was a monthly member (monthly deliveries of filter cartridges) and kind of liked the e-cig not only for the clean smokeless nicotine fix, but also as a conversation piece. She liked the attention it gave her in the smoking patio of a club because the SiGCig actually looks like a cigarette and when you take a drag, an LED lights up orange like a cherry on a cigarette. Some chicks will stop at nothing for attention I suppose. So I got myself a starter kit from SiGCig and decided to give it a shot.

Shipping was quick and I received the package in 3 days. The packaging is actually pretty damn nice and the starter kit includes a 2 battery sections, a usb charger, atomizer section, and 5 cartridges. It might seem a little pricey at $64.95, but I figured I couldn't really put a price on my health. Besides I probably don't have too much health to give up considering how much I used to drink and party. I also ordered an extra package of “high” nicotine content cartridges with it and that cost $10. All in all it didn't seem like a bad deal if the e-cig did what it was supposed to do.

Does it do what it's supposed to do? Yeah pretty much. You have to be patient though because you have to get used to it. When you're jonesing for a smoke and take a drag from a cigarette, there's intstant gratification. This is probably because we smokers have associated the nicotine fix with the burn of cigarette smoke. You know how when you take an Advil, you have to wait a short while before the headache goes away? It's the same deal here. Take a drag from an e-cig and you'll need to wait a short while before you get your fix. You'll take a couple drags, get back to what you were doing, and just realize in a couple minutes that the nicotine jonesing disappeared.

The thing I like about the SiGCiG Encore is that the filter cartridges come pre-saturated with the nicotine solution. There are no drops (although you probably can drop some in there) so the mixture is always consistent until the cartridge is toward the end of it's life. Instead of dropping fluid in the cartridge you simply replace the cartridge with another brand new one. Cartridges come individually sealed for your protection…I hope. Then once again you have a consistent flavor. I'm not exactly sure what the flavor actually is, but it's just right. It's enough to know you're getting a hit, but not super articifically flavored. I would have to recommend the Encore over the other liquid drop types of e-cigs based on the flavor and consistency alone.

Instead of being blue or brown, the SiGCiG Encore looks just like a cigarette (see picture above). So if you are an attention whore (like my friend's friend), then you'll dig it too. If you don't like attention, then you might find it might be kind of a bitch in the beginning because wheverever you smoke it, people will ask you, “WTF are you smoking inside, dick?” Then you gotta break it down. So far I'd say that's the only drawback.

So far the strategy is working. I'm only smoking like one or two cigarettes a day. When I need a fix I just take a couple drags from the e-cig and put it away in my pocket. I spend less cash on smokes and I can enjoy a smoke when I have the time to enjoy a smoke. When I'm super busy at work or the track it's the same deal: take a couple drags and put it away in my pocket. So far so good. I'll write an update in the near future.

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