An electronic cigarette is a fairly new and sophisticated device, so if you have decided to buy an electronic cigarette, there are a few things to keep in mind before making that purchase.
1. Are you the sort of person who should buy an electronic cigarette?
An electronic cigarette is a nicotine delivery device. Nicotine is a very addictive drug, which is why giving up smoking is so difficult. So if you don’t currently smoke, don’t for heaven’s sake use an electronic cigarette – it may well get you hooked. If you are a child or young adult under the legal smoking limit, you are not allowed to buy an electronic cigarette, so please don’t do it (you should by virtue of your age belong to the non-smokers group anyway!). If you are pregnant, then the nicotine you inhale while using an electronic cigarette is harmful both to yourself and, more importantly, to your unborn baby. So, again, please don’t buy an electronic cigarette. You should only really consider buying an electronic cigarette if you are currently a smoker, have tried and failed to give up using conventional methods, but are nonetheless keen to improve your health. If that’s you, please read on.
2. How much should I budget when I buy an electronic cigarette?
In order to buy an electronic cigarette starter kit of quality, you will have to budget £35-45. That will buy you the atomiser, two batteries, a charger and a pack of 5 (normally regular strength, tobacco flavoured) replacement cartridges, plus maybe a few other bits and pieces.
3. Where should I buy an electronic cigarette starter kit?
Most importantly, stick to online retailers of the more reputable brands. They will have spent money and effort building that brand and it is therefore in their interest to defend it by being helpful to potential and actual customers. Most of the small importers of cheap Chinese copies could be here today, gone tomorrow and are really only interested in selling you that one starter pack. What you need is a retailer that supplies you the right product and is willing and able to reliably supply replacement cartridges for that kit in the future.
4. Are there quality differences between the different products?
Yes there are. You are better off buying from a proper online retailer than choosing cheap knock-offs. Cheaper products will often malfunction and there are many reports of leaking cartridges. Battery life and performance are often jeopardised by choosing lower quality products.
5. There seem to be two different types of electronic cigarettes. Which one should I choose?
Correct. There is the original version, which looks like a pen of sorts and then there is the much more realistic version that looks much like a normal cigarette. The choice is really yours: the original model will typically be a little cheaper when you first buy and boast longer battery life and marginally longer cartridge life (approx. equivalent of 20 cigarettes per cartridge), but you will arguably get more interested questions and quizzical glances when using them in public. The smaller, more realistic looking one, is much more discreet, but battery and cartridge life will be a little shorter (approx. equivalent of 17 cigarettes per cartridge).
6. Can I refill the replacement cartridges myself?
No, please don’t attempt to do this. Some retailers do sell pipette-type nicotine liquid, which you are then supposed to squirt into the used-up cartridge. This can be a messy affair and can also lead to higher doses of nicotine being administered inadvertently. A supplier of quality electronic cigarettes will not offer this type of product.
7. How can I avoid high postage cost for my deliveries?
Please make sure you research this before making a purchase. Many online retailers will tempt you with an attractive-looking price label only to recover some of, all of or even more than the “discount” given by applying high postage and packaging charges once you have gone through the whole ordering process.
8. How can I ensure that I can get the replacement cartridges I want, when I want them?
Again, it’s best to go with an established retailer selling an established brand. Many people will want to wean themselves off nicotine by starting on regular strength cartridges and then gradually moving down the strength categories, until they are happy to use the zero-nicotine version. Others may want to try different flavours. There are very few online retailers that have a full range of cartridges consistently, so all you have to do is find the ones that do.
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