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How I do the vape, an advisory guide

Friday, 28 February, 2014

I have been called upon to describe my method for acquiring vapor supplies. In person this has not proved successful. Cartridge-based systems will not be discussed. The starter kits available at the big-box stores are cartridge-based systems and are, largely a mere gateway to “hobbyist” vaping, the subject of the guide. If you are starting out, skip the purchase of a big-box store vaping kit and go directly to the hobbyist-level gear.

The essential bits of an electronic cigarette are

A battery:

  • Sometimes a “mod” which is a flashlight battery or two within a case. Many batteries are available which allow the user to adjust voltage or wattage with the objective of effecting the flavor and vapor temperature.
  •  The most common batteries are stand-alone eGo batteries; eGo being a trade name for a specific battery connection. After the eGo, a 510 is quite popular and is the default connection on a “mod”, although eGo-compliant mods are common. The eGo is an evolution of the 510 connection, and 510 devices connect readily to eGo batteries and mods.
  • You may use a “passthrough” in place of a stand-alone battery which allows you to plug into the wall or a USB outlet. A few batteries are available which allow you to use them, while plugged in, as a passthrough.

An atomizer to utilize the battery’s electricity to make the juice into vapor. Among these you find:

  • Simple atomizers whose use is sufficiently advanced it reaches beyond the scope of this guide. Different types of atomizers are available which function with electronic-cigarette components for the use of dry material, especially botanical matter, which is also beyond the scope of this guide.
  • Cartomizers which have a modest reservoir of juice ( .25 ml to 1 ml) stored within wicking material, and are often used with “tanks” which wrap the cartomizer to extend usage. This style of juice vaporization is popular and common.
  • Clearomizers which are the atomizer and a reservoir in a solitary, readily removable unit. This unit includes a wick, sometimes “coil head” which is immersed in juice and eventually wears out. The word tank is occasionally used to refer to large (<2.0 ml) clearomizers. In smaller less expert-driven brick-and-mortar shops any device which sits on a battery and makes vapor is a tank. Glassomisers are clearomisers, typically larger capacity ones, with reservoirs made of Pyrex glass and are substantially more expensive but resistant to higher acidity juices.

Starting out you will almost certainly be handed an eGo-style battery and a clearomizer. Rebuildable atomizers, conventional cartomizers, and cartomizer tanks are beyond the scope of this guide.

As the Kanger T2 and its clones appear to be phasing out, your options for starting out are Vivi Nova, CE4 which includes the Innokin iClear 16 and iClear 30 although the wicks are different among these, and Evod among “clearos”. If you are purchasing a starter kit, take what they give you. These three are so functionally similar one need not worry too much about it. The Vivi Nova is a 510 connection and typically your setup will be supplied with a “beauty ring” or collar to complete the eGo connection. Each of these is distinct and uses distinct service parts. If you are starting from scratch, be sure to buy a packet of replacement wicks and know which wicks your device uses.

Invariably you will start with a humble eGo battery, ideally two. These may be charged ca. 400 times and need not be empty before charging. They use a similar, although less dense, kind of battery system as found in mobile phones. eGo batteries are available as variable voltage models and, although more expensive, these should not be explicitly avoided.

An electronic cigarette requires servicing. Batteries must be charged through a wall wart or USB connection. Wicks or coil heads, the terms are interchangeable, must be occasionally replaced. You will find dozens of videos on Youtube with explicit instructions on maintaining your electronic cigarette. Some folks occasionally rinse their clearos and such in vodka or similar alcohol solution. This is optional.

When driving an extended distance, the preferred method is to insert a USB converter into the outlet on your vehicle we once called a cigarette lighter. Connect this, through the USB cable, to a fully-charged battery designed to be used as a passthrough. Atop your battery mount a particularly large clearomizer which is full. Do not even think of attempting to fill a clearomizer or similar device while the vehicle is in motion. The USB connection and disconnection should be made while the vehicle is parked and switched off. Between major metropolitan areas vape juice may not be available. You should carry your own supply. Never, ever, not ever so much as consider charging an unprotected battery, such as an eGo with an automobile electrical connection. The unstable electrical supply can and has caused explosions within operating cars.

I acquire my service parts, accessories and batteries from the internet. Largely from They have far and away the best prices on this kind of thing. All of my four surviving clearos, and my two surviving batteries come from Fasttech. As I type more are on the way. The local brick-and-mortar store is very convenient. An iClear 16 at that shop is nine dollars, but three dollars on Fasttech. Wicks and such are similar. When buying higher-end items, such as mods, variable devices and so forth it is worth the trouble to look elsewhere. Although Fasttech may have the best price this should not be assumed. Fasttech takes between three and six weeks to deliver items to North American addresses from their warehouses in China.

I spend roughly $38 per month and am a very heavy user, although nothing compared to how much nicotine I consumed while smoking.

All of my juice comes from two vendors. I do not bother with exotic, high-end vape juice. The two vendors I adore are Minnesota’s Vista Vapors and Washington state’s Mt. Baker Vapor. I have placed a few orders with both and they are never more than five days away. Their prices on juice are the best around, as this is their specialty which they do in very high volumes. The selection of flavors is nothing less than intimidating. However, for the most part these juices need to steep, or just sit around with the cap off ideally in a darkened place, for about a month. This is also true of some of the allegedly nicer vape juice I have conveniently purchased just up the street. Their juices are roughly one-third the price per ml than established brands like Johnson Creek, and a quarter of what you pay for custom mixing at the B&M. These shops have very consistent sales, and I tend to stock up at those times. Six 50 ml bottles can run $50-$60 even on sale, but this is roughly equivalent to 18 cartons of cigarettes.

My only nicer items are an Innokin iClear30S dual-coil, high-volume clearomizer and an Innokin iTazte VV 3.0 variable-wattage, passthrough battery. If I run out of anything, I can always run up the street but I tend to keep an eye on it. I remain a big fan of the Innokin iClear16. My present flavor inventory includes black currant, butterscotch, cinnamon roll, clove, coffee, cream tea, dk-tab a classic tobacco vape, dulce de leche, green tea, “professor pepper”, “red cream soda”, root beer, RY4 an evolution of the original e-cig flavor essentially caramel and vanilla with a hint of capsicum, my favorite teaberry, vanilla and 555 an old, dark British tobacco. I am considering my first proper “mod” but am intimidated by choice.

In-N-Out Austin

Monday, 2 December, 2013

Just a quickie made while walking down the street.

Holiday shopping list for those buying for an aspiring ex-smoker

Saturday, 16 November, 2013

These are recommendations based on two months of fooling around with this stuff and discovering how well it works to get folks away from cigarettes. I have explored the scene, watched many videos, visited forums by the score. All of the following recommendations are safe bets as investments in getting someone in your life to finally give it up. We are approaching that critical period when orders for gift giving must be placed, especially those intended for overseas shipment.

Do not bother with the well advertised kits. These are specifically designed to provide an inferior experience and prolong addiction. The “refills” are extremely expensive. This really is a case of: If your product is so great, why do you need to advertise?

If you don’t know anything, and you don’t want to bother to know anything about vaping and so forth, just get this kit and you’re done. The listed price includes shipping anywhere in the world, including places you cannot ship from the US.

CE4+ Atomizer with USB Rechargeable 1100mAh  Battery Electronic Cigarette Set

This includes a long-lasting battery, a wall-wart charger for that battery and similar standard or ego-connection batteries, a clearomizer-type atomizer, which turns the “juice” into vapor, and a case to carry it all around in. This is everything you need to try the process of vaping, except the juice, for about $12. If you want to be nice, throw some replacement wicks and juice in the box. A wick will last around one week of heavy use.

On buying juice:

Your new vaper will want their juice to taste like tobacco. That sensation will help habituate them to the new reality. If buying locally from a shop or online you will want

  • 555 for a heavy tobacco flavor like an old-man cigarette
  • RY3 or RY4, sometimes Ruyan instead of RY, for a mainstream Marlboro, Camel and similar flavor
  • TAB or Turkish Blend for a dark, yet somehow classy blend.

Buy additional juice in a non-tobacco flavor you know they like. The variety of flavors available can be overwhelming. Something your recipient likes is out there. For additional options for juice at reasonable prices, please explore Vista Vapors and Mount Baker Vapor.

Vaping fluid, juice or elixir (all terms for the same product) is available in various strengths. The appellations “low” “high” and so forth are not applied consistently. You want a number. The common strengths are

  • 0 mg/ml or 0% Which contains no nicotine.
  • 6 mg/ml or 0.6% This is very, very light. For a habituated or addicted smoker, this won’t even register.
  • 12 mg/ml or 1.2% Appropriate for a person consuming a less than a pack of blue or formerly “light” cigarettes daily.
  • 18 mg/ml or 1.8% Appropriate for a person consuming about a pack of light cigarettes or less than a pack of red of formerly “full flavor” cigarettes daily. This is the most common strength available in mass-produced juice, and the “cig-alike” vaporizers available in larger retail chains.
  • 24 mg/ml or 2.4% Appropriate for a person consuming a pack or just more of regular red or formerly “full flavor” cigarettes daily. This is the most common starting point for pack-a-day smokers.
  • 36 mg/ml or 3.6% Appropriate for a person consuming considerably more than a pack of cigarettes or even filterless or old-man cigarettes daily.
  • 36 mg/ml will cause a light-cigarette smoker to become ill.

If you really want to do this right, your aspiring non-smoker will need more stuff. Pretty much the same stuff that’s in the kit above, but more of it.

Atomizers where the action happens:

  • A vaper usually runs two or three “clearos” each with a different flavor of juice.
  • For just over $2 ea. CE4S Clearomizer, which uses “vivi nova” style wicks. Your vaper should be able to buy replacements locally.
  • For $3 ea. the name-brand iClear 16, which uses iClear16 wicks. These are also very common and replacement wicks are available at a shop nearby.
  • Performance of the two items above are very similar.
  • For just under $10 ea. the larger, more rugged and higher performing iClear 30s. Always include an order of wicks with your gift. This would make a nice gift for the experienced vaper in your life. Even if he already has one, he would like another. The iClear30s is made for a slightly different kind of battery and requires a beauty ring to mount properly.

Batteries, the atomizer is powered by electricity:

  • What you think of as the amount of electricity batteries contain is measured in Amp-hours. These batteries are small enough, they measure in milliAmp-hours or mAh. 650 mAh is the smallest battery you should entertain. It will last a light vaper through a work day. A pack-a-day smoker will require at least 900 mAh to get through a work day. More is always better.
  • Batteries are available in extraordinary variety. Various mAh size, “variable voltage” which effects the temperature and volume of the vapor, and manual or push-button operation, or automatic or breath operation. What you are shopping for is a battery with an “ego” connection. The iClear30s has a “510” connection of which the ego connection is a compatible variant, hence the requirement for a beauty ring.
  • The world is moving toward automatic batteries. Inhale and vape. This is a big auto battery with a cool light on the end.
  • This is a similar, silver battery.
  • If you want to push the button or have more control, this is a big battery which will last a heavy vaper 24 hours.
  • This is a variable voltage version of this battery.
  • This is a physically larger, more durable variable-voltage battery. If presentation is important, you may want to consider this one. Technically, this is a “mod”. You don’t really have to worry about that.
  • All of these pages have a list to the right which you may use to peruse your options.

Accessories, although an atomizer and a battery will allow you to use juice, you need more to make the action happen.

  • A device to charge batteries. Due to the chemistry of these batteries, which is not unlike those of a mobile phone or laptop, they do not tolerate fluctuations in electrical flow very well. These batteries should never, not ever, be charged through a computer or automobile. Use the wall wart.
  • When you want to vape and don’t want to use a battery, whenever you are close to a USB outlet, you may use a passthrough instead of a battery. This is essential for a vaper with two or fewer batteries. Instead of charging off a computer or automobile, use the passthrough.
  • For any aspiring non-smoker who may tend to keep their vaping kit in a sachel, pack, bindle, purse or the like, a case is a must. Select from these. The case should be just larger than the gear you have supplied.

Well meaning person, remember the object is to ween them off cigarettes. For some people this happens immediately. For others it takes weeks. For yet others, it never happens. Once cigarettes have been forsaken, the nicotine habit can be more easily broken. Tapered really. Some folks will need a push to make the move away from tobacco and the holiday season is a great time to encourage them and prove that you care.


Personal progress in nicotine addiction

Friday, 15 November, 2013

Doing the math. I have spent exorbitantly, by my standards, on vaping. Some time over the past few days I became cash positive with the endeavor. At present consumption rates, I have about another month of juice and other goods on hand. I am down to the equivalent of 8 full-flavor cigarettes a day despite not actually trying.

Part of the progress stems from my obstinacy about changing the wicks. When a wick starts to wear, you get less vapor, less flavor, less nicotine. For a limited time, that is hours or days, I can handle the stress.

The transition from cigarettes to just nicotine was easy. Occasionally I just forget to use. I experience the kinds of symptoms medicine claims I should when quitting cigarettes, and not the fifty-to-one-hundred times more severe symptoms which are common in objective reality. I’m not pushing it, but may actually be able to kick. I am so habituated to the process, I may actually continue using for a while when I’m down to zero-nicotine juice.

“Nicotine replacement therapy” is an especially cruel hoax. These products should be categorically banned, perhaps on an international level, and persons promoting gum, lozenges, patches and the like jailed and their degrees and licensees removed. NRT may be an expression of the continuing failure of our society and the system euphemised as “education” and what little good is actually accomplished with this particularly perverse jobs program.

NRT does not work. Those who purchase NRTs are simply experiencing decriminalized theft. “Logic” says it works. Peer-reviewed studies say they should function, but they do not in anyway address the practical issue. Nicotine addiction is not the reason people keep smoking. I can find no information, not even a thesis, on what additional mechanisms are in place compelling the jitters, the sickness, the jones which is all but fully absent from actual nicotine withdrawal.

If you have a smoker in your life, who you love or is someone you depend upon, get them a “starter kit”. Send them to the cheap-juice vendors online. Send them to Fasttech. Let them vape in the car or wherever.

Set them free.

Hamburger Diaries: Jack’s Stacked Grilled Cheese Burger Munchie Meal

Friday, 18 October, 2013

Once I had a stomach of cast iron. I am now 45 years old. I know better than this, or so one might think. As I type I am 30 hours out from the experience and I still feel a little bit strange.

You may have been paying attention when I said the Hamburger Diaries were on hiatus because eating this stuff makes me a little sick. Where were you last night when I elected not to go to 7-eleven for one of those salads? Look, it’s been a rough week. I’m not going into it. I elected to reach for the original gateway drug. It was more of a compulsion, really.

I was raised, as a correspondent reminds me, where only the food is good. I will say this much, I was well prepared for a life as the accidental gourmand by both rejecting and embracing the various foodstuffs of my raising.

Nearly one thousand, seven hundred calories. More salt than the Dead Sea. Marketing specifically intended to deter people like me. Yet I persist. With tax, the meal comes to exactly seven dollars. Everything about this deal is intended to give the intoxicated a positive experience. If only they could remember.

Jack’s Munchie Meal includes two tacos, just about a large-fries worth of fries and curly fries, a 20 oz drink, and a premium sandwich only available with this offer or dressed “chicken” nuggets. It is, in essence, the classic JBX order in a fancy box. The sandwich I selected, the Stacked Grilled Cheese Burger, is a Jumbo Jack on a sourdough bun with a liquid, Velveeta-esque  cheese sandwich on top. Three bread, one burger.

It’s so so wrong.

The sandwich is crunchy, gooey and the briskness of the veggies is completely missing. So much is going on, the net effect is the taste of beige. As a texture experience, however, this is the most interesting burger I’ve ever had. I hope the woman behind Fat Ho Burger is getting royalties. This is the commodification of her ideal burger.

I suppose you know by now I have an inappropriately high opinion of Jack’s sides. We’ll skip that.

If you are interested in a compulsive eating experience, or are particularly drunk or high, the Munchie Meal is certainly worth at least a one-time adventure. I still feel weird.

I may not eat again.


Guide for new vapers, or aspiring former smokers

Monday, 14 October, 2013
tags: ,

This article is six months old as I type and out of date. It remains as an information source, and as a personal log. The personal vaporizer industry is evolving so quickly any information over three months old should be considered well out of date.

Although I haven’t said anything here, I have in fact stopped smoking cigarettes. I am now using a personal vaporizer to get a regular nicotine fix. Don’t tell me I’m doing it wrong. I know. At another time I may elaborate on the phenomenon of “vaping”, and my experiences within the scene.

As ever, I am cost conscious. My first rig was purchased just a few weeks ago, specifically at about 3 PM Friday, October 6, 2013, and cost a little under $60 in a retail vape shop. This included a T2 clearomizer, a 650 mAh battery with wall charger, two spare wicks and two 7 ml bottles of “juice” in coffee and RY4, a tobacco-blend taste-alike, flavors. I spent the remainder of the weekend exploring just what I had gotten myself into. Vaping is a superior experience to smoking, especially as poor as common tobacco is today.

  1. As I walked into the shop, I had no idea I had already smoked my last cigarette.*
  2. As I left the shop well pleased, I had no idea what I was getting into. I had no awareness of liquid vaping as recently as July, and am presently enraptured with the scene and its characters.
  3. It’s a good thing I’m generally broke because I could lash torrents of cash at the many products and methods about which I am curious.

As long as I’m spending less than $148 per month on vaping, I’m ahead. In the last 38 days I have spent:

  • $74 on juice, at this point I have a significant pantry
  • $50 upon my initial purchase, save the juice.
  • $21 on an impulse buy of a superior clearomizer and some wicks.
  • $53 on an order from a China-direct website with an especially well developed “e-cigarette” section. This includes five additional clearos, ten wicks for those clearos, three especially large batteries, an additional wall charger, two different “passthrough” units which allow plugging the clearo into a USB power port in lieu of using a battery with the intent of keeping one of them in the car.
  • $15 locally on wicks for my first clearo.

That is $213, or almost six weeks of cigarettes. I’m actually right on budget. Many of the things I have purchased were purchased at a poor price, and I have re-learned that lesson I must learn repeatedly. Many of the items are durable if not permanent, batteries last about 400 charges, clearos 300-500 fills, etc. This includes enough juice, or the elixir of vaping, to last easily through the end of the month, possibly until Thanksgiving. Sadly, I’m champing at the bit. At the moment I have $63 of stuff sitting in a wish list on the alpha site for ordering vape supplies.

Part of the objective is to save money tending to my addiction, which no one, least of all modern medicine or me, knows how to amend, but also to have a nice time doing it. Please note that vaping is such a pleasant exercise there is a market, albeit a niche one, for nicotine-free juice. I suspect it’s only a matter of time before some smart cookie works out how to put other stuff in the juice, especially in California, Washington state, Colorado, etc.

Based on my modest experience, but also knowing the mentality of a chronic nicotine addict, I am prepared to make recommendations to help get that nicotine addict in your life away from smoking, if not their drug of “choice” with a focus upon people like me, the “hardcore smoker”. This is someone who consumes thirty, or a pack and a half of cigarettes daily. The heavy smoker in your life has dedicated much energy toward insuring they are never without the means to consume a cigarette. This person has backup lighters hidden throughout the home, car and satchel littered with both ash and ashtrays. You find sturdy matches in the house despite their electric appliances. Your smoker has a great deal of their soul vested in keeping a steady supply of their drug flowing in a manner they comprehend. This person is leery of anything other than the tried-and-true cigarette due to the inadequacy of other methods of nicotine delivery. I know of this from first-hand experience. Your smoker wants to quit cigarettes, but simply cannot without a degree of physical pain and mental anguish those who practice medicine are not capable of comprehending.

Please note many people adopt the PV or e-cig and stop smoking immediately. Others require several weeks to taper their cigarette intake as they vape more and more. If you share a home with your smoker, do not impose any new rules during the transition period. In fact, you may consider letting your addict vape in the house or perhaps certain areas within the house, such as near their office or hobby areas.

Practical instruction on the assembly, maintenance and use of these items are available on the internet via your favorite search engine. Try YouTube as well.

The first step is to find a vape shop in your area which features a tasting bar. This will allow your smoker to try the device and decide whether it will work. Submit the word “vape” and the name of your metropolitan area to your favorite search engine to find one. Yelp is good, too. If at all possible, avoid kiosks at shopping centers or malls as they tend to offer especially poor merchandise at the highest prices. Provided your smoker is willing to attempt the change, consider the following.

No one will blame you for purchasing the rig right on the spot. However, following is a list of essential items, beyond what a brick-and-mortar shop is prepared to provide, as listed on, a leading vape-supplies and general-gadget vendor.

The key to the personal vaporizer or electronic cigarette is the atomizer itself. The most common ones, especially for beginning vapers, are called clearomizers. The former heavy smoker requires large clearomizers, which carry a great deal of juice and will require two or more to carry around for the day. Your new former smoker will also require at least one clearo to keep in reserve.

For a start, buy three or four T2-clone clearos. These are large, 2.4 ml units and are especially easy to maintain. (Rinse in warm water and replace the wick when the vapor tastes a bit like metal, a “dry hit”.) Replacement wicks tend to be available locally, but are especially cheap online. Be certain to buy several weeks worth, no fewer than three packs of five. The T2 provides a great deal of warm vapor for its size and price. The most common clones tend to be regarded as superior to the authentic article. Having multiple clearos also allows your new vaper to keep several flavors of juice going at once.

You may also wish to consider the iClear 16, which is much smaller and somewhat more expensive, but is the “name brand” unit recommended for beginners. The same rules apply, including the purchase of additional coils and wick right away.

An additional possibility is the CE4, but not the CE4+, which is quite similar to the iClear 16 in its fundamental design. CE4 kits are common and are actually quite good, despite their low cost. Many vapers, including your correspondent, find the CE-series clearos do not wick as well as other varieties and add a plastic taste to vapor.

The wicks for each of these may be rinsed once or twice instead of replaced. This washing or replacement rate depends on how heavily the clearo is used. A single clearo used alone will require a new or rinsed wick after five days to a week. Rinsing a wick involves simply soaking the disassembled clearo in warm water, some use room-temperature vodka, for several minutes and letting the parts dry completely before reassembly. The drying process for a wick can take several hours, and it must be saturated in fluid for at least an hour before use.

For every pack of cigarettes smoked, anticipate the consumption of at least 3 ml of juice daily. Because of the different nature of the delivery system, consumption rates of 4 to 5 ml daily is not uncommon.

A common “full flavor” or red cigarette offers 1.0-1.3 mg of nicotine. A heavier smoke, often found in generic brands, offers 1.2 – 1.5 mg of nicotine per cigarette. What was once called light, offers 0.5-0.7 mg per cigarette.  A new vaper transitioning to from cigarettes may require 20% more nicotine available in a daily, or even hour-by-hour basis.

The “hardcore smoker” consuming 30 heavy-smoke cigarettes daily consumes 40 mg of nicotine daily. (1.35 mg average x 30) This should illustrate the inadequacy of 21 mg nicotine patches for the people who require them most. When transitioning to vaping this should be assumed to increase to 48 mg daily, and this must be available over the course of a day. To consume 48 mg daily one will consume 2 ml of 2.4% solution, or 3 ml of 1.8% solution daily, A 15 ml bottle of juice will last about a week. In actual practice, a vaper keeps several bottles of juice and changes flavors frequently. Special cases are available for both the carrying of batteries and a variety of clearomizers each with a different flavor of fluid.

The fiddling with the batteries, clearos, fluids and so forth fulfill a hardcore smokers habituation toward making a fuss over his habit. This is a direct replacement for maintaining lighters, emptying ashtrays or even cigarette holders and the like.

The atomizer or clearo is activated through what is called an Ego connection which is the bottom of the clearomizer. You will require a minimum of two batteries of considerable size. For a heavy user, three large batteries are preferred. Specifically, one battery to be in use at any particular time, another which is on the charger while the other is in use, and a third “backup” unit. These are the same chemistry as batteries used in your computer and phone which may be charged at any time without ill effect. Batteries are measured in milliamp-hours as are all batteries. Do not consider “variable voltage” batteries or more complicated devices called mods at this time. Keep it simple for a start.

For every pack of cigarettes smoked, anticipate the use of 700 mAh of electricity. More is always better. Two batteries for every vaper in the house, and a spare should be considered a minimum. With consideration of the price differential, on the overseas-direct sites, you may as well get several 1300 mAh batteries. The batteries charge through USB interfaces, just like on your computer, despite actually using a computer to charge batteries is not recommended.

Batteries must be charged with a steady current flow which computers and automobiles cannot provide. Never charge a PV battery in an automobile. The irregular current flow can and has caused Ego batteries to explode. Instead use a dedicated charger. Have at least one for every four batteries in the house. Always charge new batteries before they are used to get a solid first “fill” of electricity, aligning the molecules and so forth. The linked item may seem flimsy, but it is the industry standard device.

For vaping without using a battery, you will want at least one passthrough which plugs into a USB power port, which is more powerful than a USB charging port which is often found. These may be safely used with your computer. You can use a passthrough with a powered USB hub. The use of passthroughs in automobiles depends on the power of the ports provided, typically and with a certain irony, often in a cigarette-lighter-type outlet with USB adapter. You cannot power the passthrough with the wall charger above.

Once you have your passthrough, batteries, chargers and clearos, you need the actual elixir to vape. This is called juice, e-juice, vape juice, vaping liquid and lots of other things. All it is is propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, or both with the addition of flavorings and optional nicotine. Nicotine is available in 6, 12, 18, 24 and rarely 32 mg/ml. 18 mg/ml or sometimes “1.8% solution”, is analogous to a mainstream, middle-of-the-road cigarette. 6 an ultra-light, 32 for a filterless Pall Mall or Camel. A former heavy smoker should start with a 24mg/ml or 2.4% solution. You are encouraged to purchase juice from the above mentioned website. These same juices are readily available throughout the western world. You may also buy juice locally from your local vape boutique. Some “adult gift shops”, what we used to call head shops, have mass-produced juice available. Many vendors are emerging who specialize in selling juice via internet. I have a particular fondness for Mt. Baker Vapor due to their price, quality and variety. Wherever you buy start with the popular RY4 and 555 tobacco blends, but you will quickly discover flavors unlike tobacco which suit you. The flavor varieties may be endless.

Happy vaping. Your putting up with smoking days may soon be over.

* On Saturday, October 12, I was performing the bimonthly quasi-deep clean of my humble home. Behind a freestanding cabinet I discovered what I presumed was a poorly discarded, empty packet of Pall Mall cigarettes. There were two inside of which I did not dispose. In lieu of my now usual vape break, within an hour, I decided to have a more conventional smoke break. The cigarette, my brand, smelled of chemicals and rotting hay. Within minutes I had developed a headache and was somewhat nauseated. The second cigarette was thrown out the moment I got out of bed.

White Paper: What is big tobacco doing in the electronic-cigarette market?

Tuesday, 1 October, 2013

This is the result of an afternoon’s clicking around and should not be relied upon to make future decisions particularly regarding investments or lifestyle choices.

What follows is a summation of activities by the largest tobacco companies in the world, with a focus on the American market, and their presence or absence in the growing electronic-cigarette or personal-vaporizer marketplace.

Lorillard purchased the plurality of Blu in April and is promoting the system aggressively. Each Blu cart is said to be analogous to two packs of cigarettes and features 18mg/ml of nicotine in the juice or fluid. The carts are sold five at a time. The juice for Blu is manufactured by Johnson Creek, the retail-distribution leader in the juice industry. Johnson Creek has their own upscaled system, Vea, competing in the hobbyist/cartomizer market.

Reynolds-American offers Vuse which appears to be internally developed. It is a standard “cig-alike” system not compellingly different from Blu which is presently available in Colorado and North Carolina. The national roll out should be within weeks. Vuse “systems” and “solos” are the only product of its kind manufactured in the United States. A novel feature of the Vuse is an additional indicator for when the device is low on fluid. Vuse has a physically larger battery. The carts are sold in pairs. Each cart is analogous to one pack of cigarettes. The Vuse juice may be stronger, but the packaging is not so labeled. Vuse marketing and packaging compulsively and strangely use the words “tobacco” and “digital”. The indicator light changes from white to red as the battery depletes. This is not a functional improvement over other systems, but will add a feature for promotional purposes. The flavor is universally panned, but may be fixed before national distribution.

Swisher Int’l has a line of disposables and kits, e-Swisher. They are not distinctive in any way. Since Swisher is primarily a cigar company, they may have the flavor issue worked out. The fluid is 18mg/ml.

Each of the above is based on the 808 electrical connection, rather than the 510 (aka eGo of the hobbyist vapers), and come with 1 or 2 180-200 mAh batteries. That is about 12% of what gets a hardened user through the day. The carts for each of these have an MSRP of about $3/ea. Therefore Vuse is twice as expensive over time than Blu. Comparisons between e-Swisher and cigarettes is not available. Cartomizer or loose juice runs about $1.20 for the equivilent of a cart, or under forty cents for value-priced juice.

Altria (aka Philip Morris USA) is developing a technology based on dissolving tobacco somehow with enzymes intended to compete with the personal vaporizers branded Mark Ten. Attempts to study the process in question were unsuccessful due to your compiler’s relative ignorance of biochemistry. Expect this in 2015, with a trial in the state of Indiana next year. Philip Morris International is a seperate, but US-based, company which does not distribute products in North America.

British American Tobacco is financing the development of a variation on the asthma inhaler to deliver nicotine in a potentially different type of solution than common e-juice. This product will not be electric, inhalation activated, and is cigarette sized and shaped. It is unclear whether this will deliver warm product or be flavored. No pricing or strength information is known. Not much in the way of press about its development. Kind Consumer, the actual developer of this device, claims they have been working on it since 2004.

Liggett and Xcaliber [sic] have no plans to enter the market. Both are value-brand tobacco marketers.

Imperial Tobacco is purchasing outright the e-cigarette portfolio of Hong Kong-based Dragonite Int’l, the present name of Ruyan Group creators of the personal vaporizer and manufacturers of Dekang e-juices. The price according to the article is $75 million, presumably denominated in euros, RMB or pounds. That seems low, especially if the deal includes the patents, which is not addressed. No product announcements are readily available. This may be the business deal of the century.

The CEO of Dragonite is the former pharmacist who invented the PV in 2003. However PVs and juices are only one aspect of the company. He may be washing his hands of the e-cig business.

Japan Tobacco signed a deal in June to distribute, outside NA, the products of San Francisco-based Ploom, makers of the most prominent brand of another kind of vaporizer, the dry herb vaporizer. JTI does not have a formal presence in the US and minimal presence in the EU. Speculation: This deal will focus on Ploom’s Model Two and Ploom Pods system for vaporizing actual tobacco.

Ploom is marketing their Model Two in the US now, including their own-brand pods of tobacco. The source for this tobacco is unclear. Ploom is marketing the product to gadget enthusiasts and through its existing system of retail outlets. Retail pod availability is unclear. The Ploom Model Two has an MSRP of $40 with a starter kit including four tobacco pods and a carrying case for $65. The battery may not be user-replaceable. Pods cost $9/12 and come in six varieties. A pod contains less tobacco than 5 cigarettes but is alleged to last as long. Therefore the pods are slightly more expensive than Blu, but cheaper than Vuze on a dose-for-dose basis.

Considering the corporate and licensing tie-up between BAT, RAI and JTI it is possible that their seperate systems may appear in markets beyond those of their introduction. Would Ploom, the smart pothead’s choice, market a device or pods with Natural American Spirit, Winston, Salem, Kool, Dunhill, 555, Lucky Strike or Vuze branding in the US? I suspect so. The markets are distinct.

Will Ploom’s pods be licenseable so that products other than tobacco may be distributed in Colorado, California, Washington state and similar places? Are the aluminum pods simple enough the users may fill their own with empties or refills which are not yet known to be available.

In 2010, in the US, the personal-vaporizer market was too small to measure. As of June ’13 it represented 5-6% of adult nicotine users. The market is still smaller than those who chew or use snus and do not smoke, 11-12%. The vaping market is larger than those who assemble their own cigarettes which is under, possibly well under, 2%.

The following is a list of electronic-cigarette-system brands distributed in the US with no known connection to tobacco companies. These names are provided in the interest of displaying the breadth of this industry. Research on these companies is beyond the scope of this paper. This list is not comprehensive.

South Beach Smoke, Eversmoke, Green Smoke, SmokeTip, Prosmoke, V2, Vapor4Life, Apollo Cig, Cirrus, Ozone Smoke, Njoy, Eversmoke, Premium, White Cloud, Pure, Eluna, Bull Smoke, Volcano, Smokeless Image, Bedford Slims, Vapor King, EonSmoke, Zero Cig, Cloud 9, eSmoke, Firebrand, SafeCig, SmokeStik, Victory, Smoke 51, Nutricigs, ProSmoke, NikStick, Revolver, Crown Seven, M9, Noble, Vapor Couture, Frii, Square, NeverLightAgain, Metro, Krave, EZ Smoker


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