Like many who grew up in an age when smoking was cool (even advertised), we’ve struggled – via many attempts and methods – over the decades to quit smoking. The record was two years before succumbing to the wretched fags again.
Finally, we conceded that it’d be great if we could at least cut down as much as possible. Paul knew people who’d happily taken up e-cigarettes, so we fancied giving them a try. Choosing a brand from the various types online was a nightmare. I started looking at products.
Serendipitously, I was given the opportunity to review Smoke Relief e-cigarettes (“America’s No. 1 Electronic Cigarette”) which made my first selection easy, or I’d still be looking at products online at this moment. I’d not been well and was forced into some R&R and stress-reduction, so when ours arrived, I didn’t have to break the R&R to try them.
“Electronic cigarettes are the smart alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes. And you can use them legally indoors…You get the same cigarette taste and nicotine boost, but the “smoke” generated is completely harmless…”
“Each electronic cigarette consists of a battery, an atomiser and a cartridge containing vegetable glycerine, nicotine and flavouring…When you draw on an e-cigarette the experience is just like a traditional cigarette. You taste the tobacco ‘smoke-like’ vapour that is created and your body receives the nicotine. It is as close as you can get to the whole smoking experience. In fact a lot of people prefer it…”
The Smoke Relief people sent enough supplies for us both to have at least a week’s trial – thanks SR. Enclosed in the Deluxe kit are:
- Deluxe Charger Box (looks like a cigarette packet)
- 2 x Lithium-ion cigarette batteries
- 5 x 18mg tobacco cartridges* (aka cartomisers – look like a filter)
- 5 x flavoured cartridges (we had cherry, apple, vanilla, peach and cappuccino)
- USB cable and charger with AC adaptor – works from pc or AC plug socket
- USB dongle for direct charging of cigarette battery – works directly pc-to-e-cigarette
*We had 10 tobacco flavoured cartomisers as we were sent enough for a double trial.
The various charging options (and car charging is possible if you buy a simple USB adaptor) mean that we’ve not lacked a charged e-cigarette at any time. Good news for those who dread running out or have the screaming ab-dabs when they do. To clarify, the box has to be charged but should last a while (at least days – 10 days for us) before a recharge is needed and the cigarette batteries should also be charged as required.
- Ease of use: When the box arrived, we saw screw fittings, USBs, a box with a button and a light, lead and plug, so we were expecting a hoohah to accompany it. Wrong! It was a doddle; it’s easy to charge the box, which is itself a charger – so we could take it out and charge on the go, although we didn’t need to; and it’s no bother to charge the cigarette battery itself. Simply screw into the charger box. Takes a couple of hours to charge.
- Meanwhile, with the small pc usb dongle, we could charge a cigarette directly on the laptop, even if the charging pack itself was charging, or another cigarette battery was charging within the pack as it charged. There’s really no bother. Then it was simply a matter of choosing a flavour of cartomiser to screw to the cigarette battery and we were on our way.
- Once we’d chosen a flavour – we both tried tobacco first, shameful addicts that we are – we realised we could keep that flavour until the cigarette itself indicated that we needed a new cartomiser (the filter with the flavour and nicotine) or swap to another flavour if and when we wanted. Once opened, the cartomisers keep going for at least the equivalent of 20 ‘usual’ cigarettes, whether we swapped them about or not.
Next, our first drags: a revelation. We loved seeing the grey ‘ends’ light up red (endless fun). We coughed with the first inhalations, then realised we were trying to smoke them like our previous tobacco cigarettes.
- We developed a kind of “hold vapour in mouth for a split second before breathing into lungs” technique. This stopped the coughing. There was also the “couple of tiny puffs rather than one giant puff” technique.
- The flavour was fine, indeed just like tobacco. The strength of nicotine we tried was 18mg – there are other strengths, including 22mg, 12mg – and 0mg for those trying to quit entirely. We may only need 12mg.
- After a couple of Smoke Relief’s e-cigs, we got the idea. We could already tell that there wasn’t that bitterness we find with ordinary tobacco, nor any irritation at the back of the throat. Together with the smoking rituals of holding fag/e-cig and inhaling, there’s also the effect, the hit, of smoking. Presumably because of the nicotine level, we didn’t inhale on the e-cigs as much as on fags – they reckon about 7 drags for one fag or e-cig.
- Neither had we had to light anything, or use a smelly, filthy ashtray (my bugbear). Further, the Smoke Relief e-cigs didn’t leave a hovering layer of smoke in the room, make our furniture or clothes smell or affect anyone else. The vapour quickly evaporates – we could put these e-cigs down on any surface, free from any burning-the-coffee-table misery.
- With one ‘pack’ between us (but also a USB dongle), Paul could charge his cigarette in the pack and I used the dongle, so that was useful even if it looked as though my laptop was smoking. Actually no vapour appears whilst charging.
- We wanted to cut down so, first of all, we replaced every alternate fag with the e-cig. Sometimes, it was actually handier to use the e-cig, for example when in the kitchen or bedroom.
- Eventually, we were preferring the e-cig to a fag in many situations, for example while driving or on the phone. It is technically legal to “vape” anywhere where cigarettes are usually banned but the instructions do suggest it’s “polite to ask permission from the owners or people responsible for the space.” Fair enough…
- The pack is handy – a tiny bit bigger than a normal cigarette box – and is as portable as a classic cigarette packet: handbag, jeans pocket, car door pockets, etc. Both box and e-cigarette have indicators (the e-cig flashes red) when a recharge is necessary.
- We tried the other flavours. Peach was a bit Avon-calling/scenty for me but we both liked Tobacco, Vanilla, Cherry and Cappucino. They’re certainly different. I wouldn’t usually smoke menthol but Smoke Relief can also provide refills for mint-fans.
- General benefits: We and guests don’t have to smell – so much – of tobacco, no foul ashtrays, cleaner/fresher house, no going out in the rain to smoke, no lighters to bother about, no fire risk, etc. etc. etc.
- Health benefits: We certainly cut our usual tobacco consumption by at least half and most days down to a third. We do give more consideration as to whether we actually want a fag or an e-cig at all. We are taking in much less harmful smoke, tar and toxins than we do when smoking nothing but tobacco fags. We found no side effects, only positive ones.
- Cash benefits: We also found that the e-cigarettes lasted longer than expected – we were only taking 2 or 3 drags when we wanted a cigarette, rather than the 7-8 we would have with an old style cigarette – so they worked out even better value than at first thought.
- The starter kit was expected to last at least a week (15 refill filter/cartomisers between us) and lasted over two weeks between us. Previously, we were smoking between 10 and 20 per day each. Now, we have more than halved our tobacco intake and are both down to between 3 and10 tobacco cigarettes a day.
- The old problems with patches(irritating/restless sleep/peculiar dreams)/inhalers (no vapour)/gum (no joy/vile flavour) have been removed. We smoke far less, which must be healthier.
- We find we’ve saved between £40 to £60 per week between us. And Smoke Relief have created a very clever brand here because…
- We haven’t suffered at all for it!
You can probably tell that Smoke Relief’s e-cigarettes have been a great, genuine success for both of us and, with nothing to lose and everything to gain, we’ll be ordering our refills very soon. These e-cigs have exceeded all our expectations. We truly expected to suffer or feel deprived – in the way we have with other NRT products. If these had been an Amazon product, we would have given 5*.
The Smoke Relief e-cig glows red, it’s easy to use/charge, odourless, mess-free, it produces harmless vapour and satisfies the craving … what’s not to like? With many general, health and cash benefits, if you’re thinking of trying an e-cigarette, this one’s a no-brainer and I’m happy to recommend it. It’s about as close as you can get to smoking, without the guilt.
I can see the possibility of quitting for good using this method – by reducing the level of nicotine in the refills we buy, down to zero – but I’m delighted with the reduction for now, as is Paul. It’s a very happy compromise.
Indeed, Smoke Relief do make clear in their Instruction Leaflet that Smoke Relief “is not a smoking cessation product, it is a harm reduction product designed to help you enjoy smoking while dramatically reducing your risk of smoking-related illness.” (my italics)
We think it’s worth the initial investment. The Smoke Relief Deluxe Kit is currently on offer at £29.97 (which comes with refills) and the refills are £5.95 for a pack of 5. One refill is said to equal one pack of fags but we’ve found them to last longer, depending on how much we “vape.” But that’s around £12 for 200 fags, minus tar, ash and pong. I’d love to try mine in a theatre, restaurant, on public transport or in a cinema.
A Mini-Starter Kit is on offer for £9.95 and comes with the computer USB dongle, so you can charge while you work or play, and trial the e-cigarettes quite cheaply. We’ve worked out that any of these products will almost certainly pay for themselves in the first month, or, as we found for the two of us, in the first week.
For interested readers, you can order from here and if you quote the following code, you can get the current great offers plus the further bonus of free postage and packing. The code is: SHIPMYKIT Or visit the site if you’d like more details: http://www.smokerelief.co.uk
What methods have you tried to cut down or give up smoking? I must’ve tried them all but would love to hear of your experiences, or how you got on with e-cigarettes.
Disclaimer: We received the Smoke Relief Starter Kit free of charge for the purposes of honest review. All photos, opinions (and rough costings) are our own, unbiased and based on our own experience of the product. Video by Smoke Relief (UK).
Apology to Americans: I’ve just realised you may read this quite differently. ‘Fag’ is a common UK slang word for ‘cigarette’!