There’s no way we could pass the topic of smoking for our Mind, Body, and Spirit issue. But don’t fret, this won’t be a finger pointing, holier-than-thou lecture about the harmful effects of cigarettes – you’re well aware of those.
We want to bring you some exciting news. It’s called the electronic cigarette, a battery-operated device, filled with liquid nicotine that mimics the physical and tactile sensations of smoking, without the tar or carbon monoxide. The buzz on e-cigs is spreading rapidly across the globe, and for good reason. An endless amount of testimonials have been posted on forum sites, highlighting people’s surefire experiences with it.
Makers of the products claim that there are no carcinogens in the e-cig, compared to the traditional cigarette, which carries roughly 4,000 chemicals. Instead, it uses ingredients like Propylene glycol (also known as vegetable glycerin), which is FDA approved and commonly used as a food additive, as well as water, nicotine, a scent that emulates real cigarette flavor and a membrane to suspend the ingredients.
Meanwhile, reports released by the FDA state that some of the electronic cigarettes contain carcinogenic ingredients like diethylene glycol, the poisonous ingredient in antifreeze. We recommend doing your own research and contacting makers directly to see which ingredients are being used in their products.
Most e-cigs have a 2 to 3 piece design: a filter cartridge with a tiny plastic piece inside it that holds a cotton-like sponge with the liquid nicotine solution in it, an atomizer unit which the filter cartridge slides onto, a rechargeable battery and charger. The atomizing chamber is really cool because when puffed, it creates a vapor-like smoke, just like a real cigarette. There’s even a LED at the tip that glows when inhaling.
The starter kits typically include 5-10 refillable cartridges with varying levels of nicotine, from 24 mg (more than double what’s in the average cigarette) to zero mg (for when you’re really over the addiction, but want to keep the habit).
Now let’s cut to the chase – you want to know if this new gadget really mimics the taste and feel of a cool Menthol, rodeo Red, or a hippie Spirit? Unlike nicotine patches and gum, electronic cigarettes are designed to be fun, evidenced by the range of flavors: coffee, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, menthol, and absolute tobacco. Everyone’s experience will be different, but many smokers say it’s a remarkable approximation.
One local resident, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke about her experience with the e-cig and how it led her to quit a 10 year nicotine addiction – in a matter of months. “I loved the warm sensation, oral stimulation, and ritualistic comfort the electronic cigarette offered me. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the real thing, but it satisfied me enough to keep me away from the real thing – until I lost my drive to smoke altogether,” she said.
For all the non-smokers, this could make for the perfect gift to loved ones. Instead of nagging them to quit, give them a healthier alternative to lip their fix.
There are hundreds of online retailers carrying the product, with prices ranging from $60 to $240. There’s even a store in the Queen Kaahumanu Center in Kahului called Dream Electronic Cigarettes that offer basic starter sets for $85. Instead of refillable cartridges, they offer 10 ML bottles of VJuice.
The VJuice come in a variety of flavors including cotton candy, bubble gum, and for the real tough guys, Camel and Marlboro. They charge $15 per bottle, which should last 2 weeks for the heavier smoker – equivalent to 2 ½ cartons of cigarettes.
Of course, we’ll end the note with, “Smoking is bad for you and the e-cigarette is not a smoking cessation device and one should understand the health risks associated with smoking.”
Now go on and get you some.