Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Safe Cig

The Safe Cig was my first experience to e-smoking. As a Canadian (prior to the forums) finding a source that shipped to Canada was not easy.

The safe cig received an overall rating of 5 from Here. The site promoted the 2 part system more than anything else, therefore as a neophyte I have to give them a 5 for marketing.

The company is based in Los Angeles and shipping to the East end of Canada is 7-10 days, pretty reasonable all things considered. The downside, you need to make sure you have enough supplies between shipments.

The manufacturer claims each cart to be the equivalent to 2 packs/day or 40 cigarettes. Being that I had reduced my smoking to below a Cdn pack (25) a day, I ordered only 5 extra cartridges with my kit, The rationale for the latter, I wanted to know if I was going to like it or not and, advertising equated that I ordered the equivalent to 20 packs of smokes, give or take. Yup! that should do me until I re-order. Wrong!

The cartridges do not represent 2 packs/day as advertised. Although they do state in the manual, that the life expectancy of a cart is dependant on use - which is between 7-12 drags every half hour. I smoked 1/2 cig, 3-4 times/hr (winter), full cigs every 20 minutes or so (summer).

The manufacturer recommendation of 7-12 drags at 30 minute intervals is to allow the built atomizer to rest and, extending battery life. It is more to do with the atomizer than battery life.

2 part systems are convenient, screw/replace a cart on the battery and you are on your way to enjoying an e-cig. The atomizers in this type of system (cartomizer) are designed to be disposed of, once the cart is no longer producing vapour, or you have noticed large decreases of vapour production etc... you will know when it is time to replace the cart. Therefore, longer rest periods between vaping sessions are required - e.g, "resting your e-cig for 30 minutes between sessions. Huuuum!

Because I am trying to quit smoking I also reduced my hourly intake to assist towards an end date. 30 minutes between sessions is too long. I reduced my smoking/vaping frequency to 20 minutes, which in turn meant I had an hourly analog. Not to bad all things considered but you're not "smoke free". The other alternative is to purchase another battery - which I did. This way I can vape every 20 minutes 10-12 hits per session, allowing the cartomizers to cool for 40 minutes between sessions.

All carts received and used performed as expected (no bad ones).

Unlike systems that use a separate atomizer and cartridge, there is nowhere for the condensation (created with vaping) to go in a cartomizer. Therefore you will get leakage through the mouth piece. In the beginning I attributed this to faulty cartomizers, not so. After receiving and vaping on my 510, now I know why the Safe Cig leaks.

It is recommended never to store the Safe Cig upright, to prevent possible leakage. Yup, that makes sense, especially with automatic batteries. They further recommend that while travelling to and from, the carts and batteries remain separate, to ensure no leakage. Between sessions, it is recommended that the device be laid on it's side. Therefore a little inconvenient, as you can't really just put it in your shirt pocket between sessions.

I ordered my kit with a case (the generic one's we see). That allowed storage when away from home. I used to place my batteries (2) and carts (2) in the case so they would drain if any leakage was to occur - IOW, receiving end of the battery, and the battery end of the cart pointing down when the case is upright in a shirt pocket. I never found any evidence of leakage.

Cost of cartridges is $2.50 USD/per. At the advertised cigarette equivalent, this seems like a reasonable price. However, smoking 2 carts/day + shipping + and original outlay - not allot of savings to be had, but they are a safer alternative.

Carts only come in 3 flavours: tobacco, marlboro and menthol. The menthol is a joke and tobacco is not even close, but the marlboro is definitely close to an analog. They come in 0, 11, 14 and 18mg nicotine. Base on the cost per cartridge, the zero nicotine is not really an option.

Out of the box, ready to go! Although I found that the batteries will charge in 90 minutes to 2 hours, overnight is best. The latter is difficult with only one charger. Typical charge the batteries will last 6-8 hrs per. They defrag themselves after 1500 hits and have an auto shut off after 6 seconds. Should you exceed 16 drags in one minute the battery will warn you to slow down. Two batts will last the day. You do need a third one ready to go when you get home though.

They are rather expensive at $30 USD.

In closing this system receives an overall rating of 3.5-4, not the five it has received. I believed the folks that reviewed the Safe Cig were biased.

However, based on what I have read, it is one of the good ones out there although a little pricey for upkeep (carts & extra batteries).

Since acquiring my 510 this has become my back up system This will also be the system I will rely on when travelling, especially for air travel considering current travel regulations. This system cannot be mistaken for use other than a smoking alternative. If you are travelling for extended periods, pack your normal daily fare in your checked baggage.

Something I have come across quite a few times during reaserach and discussions and, I do not like where this may be heading, some folks are defending their high prices with " It's still cheaper than analogs". Considering some of these prices, the wise informed shopper can find some good deals out there at reasonable cost. When compared to other 2 part systems, the Safe Cig falls in the ball park as a kit, but not as a smoking alternative in my opinion.

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