Ahhh, that’s the stuff…

Posted by aloysius on July 25th, 2011 filed in E-cigarettes

A couple of months ago, I got an e-cigarette. A friend of mine has had one for a year or two, and a smoker co-worker of mine, who would “loan” cigs to me occasionally (citing important outdoor meetings where my attendance was required), really got me into them. My first kit was a SmokeTip — not a bad kit, for sixty dollars. It came with two batteries, a USB charger, a wall adaptor, and six filled cartomizers (combined cartridge and atomizer). Soon, I was “vaping” all the time and the desire to smoke “analog” cigarettes left me completely. Even when I was around other smokers. Now, when we have our meetings *cough*smoke breaks*cough*, or I’m at home with my smoker housemate, I just take my e-cig, a.k.a. Personal Vaporizor (PV) out with me instead, and scratch the nicotine itch in a much healthier (in my opinion) way.

But little did I know that there is a dark side to e-cigs. More than a mere smoking replacement device, this is an entire hobby. There is so much paraphernalia available, and it is starting to become an obsession of mine. First I wanted bigger batteries. The little 180 mAh short ones only last about two hours before charging. So I purchased several longer, 380 mAh ones. Then I realized I could refill the “disposable” cartomizers and save money. I discovered Sweet-Vapes, my supplier of choice, a company that makes truly marvelous flavored e-juice. They have everything from traditional tobacco flavors to Mojitos and Margaritas to Boston Cream Pie and French Toast to Jalapeno. (Haven’t tried the last; I don’t think inhaling capsicum is such a great idea…) So far, I have liked 9 out of 10 flavors that I have tried from them. They’re are way better than the crap juice that comes in the prefilled cartomizers, and those are quite easy to clean and refill. But wait! I discovered I had “burned” (sucked dry and literally burned the filling) most of my used cartomizers, leaving a distinct plastic burning ashtray flavor. That ruined any juice that I wanted to put in them, and the burned taste couldn’t be cleaned out. So I bought some “fluxomizers” — cartomizers with a clear tube to see the juice level and a wick instead of flammable polyfill. Those work great. Now, with Pennsic in a few days, I won’t have access to computers or 110 outlets, so, I purchased a 12V to USB car charger to go with the portable jump starter that I got last winter. Plus I’ve accumulated lots of other bits and pieces — drip tips, tweezers, a blunt-tip syringe to make refilling easier, an extra USB charger, sewing needles to bring messed up batteries back to life (you have to fiddle with the center post), and a sharpie so I could write what flavor I had on the cartos.

(click for larger) E-cigarette paraphernalia.   Yeah, this is really a hobby. That’s my Marine puffing on a “long” battery with Fluxomizer and drip tip attached. To his right is the box from my original kit, which I modded to be a travel case, holding more/longer spare batteries. It also contains my charger, and a few refilled cartos, and a sewing needle. This kit goes in my backpack every morning to work or other outings. Proceeding roughly counterclockwise: box of prefilled cartomizers, clear Fluxomizers (some filled), car charger, sharpie, carto opening tool, tweezers, syringe, dropper, a selection of e-juice, and several empty cartos awaiting refill.

And I’ve barely scratched the surface.

My next purchase (like any addictive hobby, these things tend to grow without bound) will be a “mod” that will allow me to go longer between charges and possibly have either more voluminous clouds of vapor or bigger capacity between refills. I am torn between these two:

The iGo: The iGo

Pros

  • Two giant 1100mAh batteries
  • Compatible with my current items
  • USB charger
  • Comes with two huge 4ml cartomizers. That’s like twice the capacity of a fluxomizer.
  • 70 bucks for the whole kit

Cons

  • No Variable Voltage (VV)

The Buzz Pro: Buzz Pro
Pros

  • Variable voltage, promising huge clouds if I jack it up to five (plus) volts
  • Compatible with my current stuff
  • Uses a standard rechargeable battery (if I don’t like it, the batteries will work with other mods)

Cons

  • $164 with batteries and charger
  • No USB charger or free cartos included.
  • “5 day lead time” for orders (I guess they have to build them)

Right now I’m leaning towards the iGo. Dunno if I’m ready for VV and spending $164 is a bit hefty. Leave your thoughts in the comments section!

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