The Electronic Cigarette Alternative

The information on this web site is for smokers of legal smoking age looking for an alternative to tobacco. Please be sure to read my disclaimer

Electronic cigarettes are rapidly gaining popularity as an alternative to smoking tobacco. So what are ecigs, how do they work and what are the benefits?

About this guide

This guide to e-cigarettes is designed for absolute beginners and much of it is based on my own experience

The ecig community is rapidly growing and in that community are many dedicated "vapers" who experiment with all sorts of equipment and consumables. 

Fascinating as the reviews and information they provide can be, it can be confusing to those new to this alternative to smoking; so this web site just serves to provide some basic information to help you decide whether ecigs may be right for you. 

How do e-cigarettes work?

Electronic cigarettes are battery operated devices that can be used as an alternative to smoking. Pressing a button or taking a draw (depending on the model) activates the device.

NOTE: In the above video, the ecig model demonstrated uses a separate atomiser and cartridge. A cartomizer/clearomizer system combines the two and is more common these days. I explain the difference in more detail on my e-cigarette kit explainer page.

Ecigs do not use tobacco, instead they vaporise a liquid mix of propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine at a relatively low temperature. 

Propylene glycol is used in many food and medicinal applications; as is vegetable glycerine.

The liquid also usually contains some food-grade flavouring and may contain nicotine; the addictive element of tobacco.

Unlike cigarettes, no combustion occurs - and burning materials at high temperatures is the major source of health problems associated with smoking tobacco.

The "smoke" an e-cigarette creates isn't smoke at all - just vapour clouds. By using ecigs, you are no longer smoking, but what's known as "vaping".

These vapour clouds usually do not have a strong smell - in fact, it is quite subtle and pleasant and any scent associated with vaping dissipates quite quickly.

The few and nature of substances released when vaping with e-cigarettes means the user's body is not being assaulted with the tar and thousands of other chemicals associated with tobacco smoke, some 40 of which are carcinogenic - and one is radioactive! Nor are the people in the vaper's midst assaulted with those toxins.

What does an ecig look like?

Ecigs come in all shapes and sizes these days. The following image shows two of the most popular types.

The 510 style is a very compact device. The liquid and atomizer element is held in the cartomizer. A 510 is considered a "first generation" vaping device.

eGo type ecigarettes (more accurately referred to as a vaping device) are significantly larger - the one pictured above is around 150mm in length and has a diameter of 14mm. A "second generation" device, these deliver a far more satisfying vaping experience in my opinion.

You can view a breakdown and description of the components of the above models and their associated accessories, plus how they work on my ecig kits page.

How to vape

When vaping with an electronic cigarette, the drawback method is a little different to a tobacco cigarette. While with tobacco it's common to take a small draws before inhaling, with an ecig, you should take longer, slower draws - usually lasting a few seconds. When you then inhale the draw, instead of holding it in as you would when smoking, you exhale immediately.

It doesn't take long to get used to this small difference.

The absorption of nicotine is a little slower with e-cigarettes and much of it occurs through the mucous membranes of the mouth, so it's important not to keep puffing away. Vape a couple of times, wait for a little bit to see if you are then comfortable. Over time you'll determine how frequently you'll need to vape.

Given the longer delay, it's probably a good idea not to leave it too long after your last puff of a tobacco cigarette before trying an ecig; in order to keep your nicotine levels stable (assuming you are using a nicotine based liquid).

Is vaping healthy?

Vaping is not healthy as such in my opinion, but I believe it's a much less detrimental to my health than smoking and it's a harm reduction strategy - but I need to stress I am not a health professional. 

However, the following are a few studies by suitably qualified medical professionals and researchers that indicate how much less harmful vaping is compared to smoking tobacco.

The video above is an hour long lecture by by Dr. Lynne Dawkins of University East London covering an introduction to e-cigarettes, research up until mid-2013 on users, nicotine content and delivery, safety issues, harm reduction and regulation.

E-cigarettes save money

If you're an average to heavy smoker, switching to ecigs can save you a lot of money.

Judging by my vaping consumption and bearing in mind I was a very heavy smoker (420 - 630 cigarettes a week), it will cost me in the region of $20 - $30 a week over 6 months, which includes the initial costs of the equipment and consumables during that period. 

During my first year of vaping, I saved around $8,000 at today's prices (tobacco is very expensive in Australia due to massive associated taxes).

How much you'll save will depend upon how much you smoke and the price of tobacco in your country - but whether you are in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia or New Zealand - in fact wherever there is substantial excise or taxation on tobacco, the savings will be substantial.

Good luck on your ecig journey

Before you rush out to buy your electronic cigarette kit, be sure to read the other pages on this site for additional important information.

As you're reading over the information, please bear in mind I am not stating ecigs will work for everyone or that vaping is suitable for everyone, just that it is working for me and many others.

Not long ago the idea of giving up smoking (and nicotine) seemed beyond impossible.

Quitting smoking is now a reality and giving up nicotine a real possibility as I hope to slowly cut down my nicotine intake, ultimately perhaps ending up on the nicotine-free liquids and then ceasing altogether when I am ready.

Without exaggeration, my ecig journey so far has changed my life for the better in many ways, some very unexpected. 

If you decide to try these devices, I wish you the very best of luck in your ecig journey and I hope it is as positive as mine has been.


Contact & Disclaimer - PLEASE NOTE: This web site is directed to smokers of legal smoking age and 
medical supervision is recommended if switching to ecigs. Copyright (c) 2014