Electronic Cigarettes FAQ
I compiled this “super” FAQ from various sources including the websites of 5 different manufacturers / suppliers, the Internet and my own personal experiences. My goal was to create the best FAQ on the Internet so if you see some way to improve it or don’t see a question here that you think is common please e-mail me.
Where can I buy electronic cigarettes, cigars and pipes?
How do electronic smoking devices work?
How are electronic cigarettes switched on?
How do I know when to recharge the battery?
How long do the batteries typically last before needing a recharge?
How long do batteries take to recharge?
How many times can a battery be recharged?
What are the main benefits / advantages of electronic cigarettes?
How do the ingredients in electronic cigarettes compare to those in regular smoking products?
What is the smoke that is released?
What is propylene glycol?
How much nicotine is in the replacement cartridges?
What is nicotine?
Can I get nicotine poisoning if I continue to smoke regular cigarettes?
Does nicotine cause cancer?
How long do electronic cigarette cartridges last?
What is the shelf life of electronic cigarette cartridges?
Can I refill my cartridges with nicotine solution purchased on in a smoke shop or the web?
How do I know when to replace the cartridge?
Do electronic cigarettes carry warranties?
Is there a money back guarantee?
Does electronic cigarette smoke smell?
Can I smoke electronic cigarettes anywhere?
Can I use electronic cigarettes if I am pregnant?
Are electronic cigarettes smoking cessation products?
Have electronic cigarettes been approved as a nicotine replacement therapy?
Are electronic cigarettes healthier than regular cigarettes?
Are electronic cigarettes approved by the FDA and the TTB?
Do electronic cigarettes taste the same as regular cigarettes?
Does smoking electronic cigarettes cost less than traditional smoking products?
Do electronic cigarettes require any maintenance?
Where can I buy refill cartridges?
Are there any safety or other concerns I should be aware of regarding electronic cigarettes?
Where can I find FAQs for a specific manufacturers and suppliers of electronic cigarettes?
There are many manufacturers and suppliers of electronic cigarettes, cigars and pipes. A quick search on the Internet will reveal many places.
You can also click here or on the tab above labeled “where to buy”for a list of the bigger name and more reputable manufacturers and suppliers.
For a longer more detailed explanation please refer to a post on the blog titled: How do Electronic Cigarettes Work?
Electronic cigarettes, cigars and pipes (from here on just referred to as electronic cigarettes) consist of 3 components: a battery, an atomizer and a nicotine cartridge. When a person takes a drag the atomizer and the light on the tip is powered on by the battery. The atomizer heats the air drawn into the electronic device to a high enough temperature that it vaporizes the liquid nicotine solution in the replaceable nicotine cartridge. The vapor is then inhaled into the mouth and lungs fully simulating the smoking experience and satisfying the craving smokers seek.
The simulated “smoke” is actually just water vapor that evaporates in a few seconds and leaves no lingering odor.
Most switch on automatically when the atomizer detects air being drawn into the electronic device. There are a few devices that feature manual switches which have their advantages and disadvantages.
Most of them blink the lighted tip a certain number of times to indicate that you should recharge the battery. Starter kits usually come with at least one spare battery so that you can continue to use the device while the battery is recharged.
Should you experience little or no vapor ensure that your battery is fully charged and properly attached to the device and that the cartridge is firmly inserted in the end of the device. Also, check the cartridge to make sure that it doesn’t need to be replaced.
Electronic cigarette batteries will last 1 – 3 days before re-charging, depending upon the style of battery (pen-style, mini, cigar etc.) and intensity of usage. Longevity will vary by individual as well.
On many devices the indicator light on the tip will blink 20-30 times when the battery is getting low on power. Manufacturers and suppliers suggest carrying spare batteries and a charger when traveling or during other times when high usage is anticipated.
This varies by style (pen-style, mini, cigar etc.) but on average a new battery may need to be charged initially for about 3 hours. Subsequent recharges should take about 2 hours.
Most chargers have an indicator light on the charger that turns green so there is no guess-work in determining when the charging cycle is complete.
This varies by style (pen-style, mini, cigar etc.). On average a battery can be recharged over 300 times.
- Closely simulates smoking and still delivers nicotine
- Can be used in non-smoking areas
- Free of harmful tar, carcinogenic substances and combustion gases present in regular cigarettes
- Lower cost
Electronic cigarettes contain water, propylene glycol, nicotine, a scent that emulates a tobacco flavor, other flavorings, and a membrane to suspend the ingredients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has determined propylene glycol to be “generally recognized as safe” for use in food, cosmetics, and medicines although use in simulated smoking devices is not currently included in the list of usages generally recognized as safe.
The simulated “smoke” is simply the vaporized contents of the nicotine cartridge. This smoke is water vapour that evaporates into the air within seconds and leaves virtually no odor. There are no additional / unwanted chemicals produced in the vaporization process because there is no chemical reaction or combustion taking place as with regular cigarettes.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined propylene glycol to be “generally recognized as safe” for use in food, cosmetics, and medicines. It is used in food coloring, and flavoring, as an additive to keep food, medicines and cosmetics moist, and in machines that simulate smoke, although usage in simulating smoking devices is not currently included in the list of uses generally recognized as safe by the FDA. Propylene glycol is used in electronic smoking devices to make the water vapor appear more like smoke and to keep the cartridges from drying out and losing flavor.
Replacement nicotine cartridges have different levels of nicotine in them. The nicotine levels range from about 0 – 18mg and some have even have more nicotine. Each level is meant to correspond to real cigarettes in the following manner:
- High cartriges have ~18mg of nicotine which is about as much as a regular cigarette
- Medium cartridges have ~12mg of nicotine which is about as much as a light cigarette
- Low cartridges have ~6mg of nicotine which is about as much as an ultra light cigartte
- Zero cartridges have 0mg nicotine
Nicotine is an alkaloid found in certain plants, predominantly tobacco, and in lower quantities tomato, potato, eggplant, cauliflower, green peppers and some teas. When absorbed in small amounts, whether from cigarettes, cigars or or e cigs, nicotine can cause stimulation, a feeling of relaxation, calmness, and alertness. The effects of nicotine can last from minutes to hours, and nicotine is considered habit forming and addictive.
No. Unlike products such as the nicotine patch, electronic cigarettes are also inhaled delivering nicotine almost instantaneously so you can use electronic cigarettes and regular cigarettes interchangeably with no worry of nicotine overdose. Additionally, many devices offer an indication of above average consumption by blinking the lighted tip a specific number of times. Also, the nicotine levels in an electronic cigarette cartridge are somewhat lower than regular cigarettes since nicotine intake can be spread out and is more continuous with an electronic cigarette.
No. It is widely believe that nicotine does not cause cancer by the medical community. Nicotine research is on-going and the medical research has found some advantages and disadvantages of nicotine consumption. Determine through your own research if nicotine alone is a net gain or loss for your health.
Results will vary depending on the intensity of a person’s average inhalation and the style of the device they are using. Here is an approximate break down of how long each style should last but remember that this will vary for everyone:
- One mini style cartridge should last the same as about 1/2 pack of regular cigarettes.
- One pen-style style cartridge should last the same as about 1 1/2 – 2 packs of regular cigarettes.
- One cigar style cartridge should last the same as 2 or more packs of regular cigarettes.
If stored in a cool dry place, shelf averages ~24 months from purchase date.
Some people have started to “drip” their cartridges as a way to either increase nicotine levels, alter flavor and reduce the cost of smoking electronic cigarettes even further. Most manufacturers and suppliers say that this practice as well as using cartridges no sold specifically for the your device voids the warranty of your device.
You can do whatever is best and works for you, but if you are concerned about violating your warranty check with your supplier first.
In general, when the vapor volume is reduced below a satisfactory level this usually means that your cartridge needs to be replaced. There is a chance that your battery may need to be recharged as well although most devices blink the tip when the battery needs a recharge.
To be sure, you can remove the cartridge and look at it. Over time you will develop a knack for what the “membrane” inside the cartridge looks like when it needs to be replaced. Usually it will appear extra white in color and dry looking. Also, the fibers from the membrane will protrude from the cartridge when it is dry.
Yes, most manufacturers and suppliers do offer warranties. The standard is 1 year warranty on manufacturing defects and workmanship. If you drop it out the window down while cruising the interstate you are probably out of luck!
Just like car warranties, some manufactureres / suppliers do not cover all components in their warranty. For example, some may cover batteries and chargers for one year, but not the atomizer.
Yes, some suppliers and manufacturers offer money back guarantees to encourage you to try the product for at least a short time and allow you the opportunity to return it and get your money back if you don’t like it. The standard money back guarantee is 30-days.
The odor from barely noticeable and is completely unlike traditional cigarettes.
Traditional cigars cigars and cigarettes create lingering smells in rooms and cars that is difficult if not impossible to eliminate.
Yes. Since are non-flammable, contain no tobacco and emits no secondhand smoke, it is not a form of smoking that would be prohibited under laws prohibiting smoking in public.
Many people have used the devices without issue or complaint in restaurants, bars, airports, airplanes, the workplaces, and many other locations where traditional tobacco smoking is discouraged or prohibited.
No one under the legal smoking age in your country or state should use any electronic smoking device.
Electronic cigarettes should NOT be used by anyone who is pregnant, nursing or has health other serious health concerns without first consulting the advice of a physician.
No. Electronic cigarettes are not an approved smoking cessation product. The proper testing and research has not been conducted to prove the efficacy of electronic cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid and manufacturers and suppliers of the devices are not permitted to market them as such.
No. Not yet. While many people have partially or totally converted to using electronic cigarettes, the proper testing and research has not been conducted to prove that they can be used as a nicotine replacement therapy.
Manufacturers and suppliers are not allowed to market electronic cigarettes as nicotine replacement therapies like the patch and the gum. Electronic cigarettes may only be marketed as an alternative to smoking until more testing and research has been done.
Manufacturers and suppliers of electronic cigarettes technically are not permitted to market electronic cigarettes as healthy or healthier than regular cigarettes.
You must look at the facts currently available about electronic cigarettes and regular tobacco cigarettes and form your own opinion until testing and research has been conducted to offer any proof that electronic cigarettes are healthier.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Trade Bureau (TTB) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have formally stated that Crown7 (one brand of electronic cigarettes) is not a product that warrants the involvement or oversight of either government entity. The FDA notes that Crown7 do not fit the classification of products it governs. The TTB (Tobacco and Taxation Bureau, formally the ATF, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms) has formally determined that the TTB has no regulatory interest in Crown7 because it does not contain tobacco.
Electronic cigarettes cartridges are offered in tobacco and menthol flavors that taste similar to light cigarettes and cigars but are smoother and less harsh.
Electronic cigarette cartridges are also offered in a wide variety of other flavors that you may like better than tobacco and menthol flavors.
The answer is generally yes. The amount saved depends both on the smoking habits of the individual and the style of electronic cigarette (pen-style, mini, cigar etc.).
The reviews on this web-site provides information such as cost of starter kits and cartridges on each brand and style that can be used to figure out how much smoking electronic cigarettes will cost you.
Some people also “drip” their cartridges with nicotine solution purchased in smoke shops or on the web but you should be advised that this voids your warranty with most manufacturers and suppliers of electronic cigarettes.
In general, the only maintenance required is charging and replacing batteries, as well as inserting fresh cartridges. Occasionally atomizers go bad and need to be replaced as well. You must also keep electronic cigarettes, cartridges and components away from water and extreme temperatures.
Some electronic cigarettes have cleaning cycles that automatically clean the device for 10-15 seconds about every 1500 puffs or so. After the cleaning cycle the device usage can resume to normal.
It is recommended that refill cartridges be purchased from a manufacturer or supplier that sells cartridges for your device.
Some manufacturers and suppliers offer automatic refill programs that ship a predetermined number of refill cartridges to you each month. Participation in these programs is voluntary and sometimes reduces the cost of the cartridges.
Electronic cigarettes should only be used by committed smokers age 21 years and older, not by nonsmokers or by children, pregnant women, women breast feeding, or persons with or at risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or taking medicine for depression or asthma.
Consult a physician if you experience nicotine misuse symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, weakness and rapid heartbeat. If you smoke tobacco products, you are encouraged to stop.
Keep electronic cigarette products out of the reach of children and pets. Ingestion of the certain pieces can present a choking hazard and ingestion of the non-vaporized concentrated ingredients in the cartridges can be poisonous.
The electronic cigarette is not a smoking cessation product nor is it an approved nicotine replacement therapy and is not to be used as such.
Check the Internet. Here is a short list that I was able to find: