Electronic cigarettes change everything for smokers. One day you’re a societal menace, a pariah forced out onto the street to get your fix the next you’re dosing yourself with nicotine in the New York Public Library.

It’s actually absolutely possible to banish your smoking habit with ecigs it was possible for me, anyway but only if you choose the “smoke” with the most vaporific satisfaction.

Disclaimer! The jury is still out on the safety of electronic cigarettes. They’re not regulated by the FDA, and anything you’re going to pour into your lungs really should be. Manufacturers go out of their ways to avoid rules by not making direct health claims. We’re operating under the assumption that smoking cigarettes is amongst the worst things you can do for your health, and that at worst ecigs are that bad for you.

That said, if you smoke, you really should quit. And, like I said, ecigs can help. But if you’re not a smoker, and you’re considering ecigs as a healthy, social alternative to cancer sticks, let me be the first to call you bonkers.

Testing Methodology

We wanted to know which ecig did the best job of busting our cravings. Is there a product so satisfying that we could just leave tobacco behind once and for all if we wanted to? Factors we considered include potency, design, durability, flavor, and battery life.

We picked four different brands of ecigs based on their popularity and reputation and smoked them like crazy at home, in the subway, in taxis, at the office, and everywhere else we could. Frequency of smoking varied from constant to incessant. During the course of this research, I actually ditched my 10 year old, pack a day habit.

Meet the Electronic Cigarette

Ecigs don’t differ all that much. The basic design is simple a cigarette shaped cylinder from which you suck a nicotine enrichened vapor. In slightly more technical terms a battery powers a heating element that energizes a mixture of vaporizing fluid (usually propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin), flavoring, and nicotine until it’s a gaseous mixture you can inhale. The nicotine is heavier than the vapor and so you exhale a big cloud of (theoretically) harmless gas.

Three of the four brands (Vapor4Life, Safe Cig, Blu) we tested share a similar overall design Rechargeable batteries that screw into refills that look like cigarette filters. You buy into a system with a starter pack ($50 $100) that gives you a few batteries, assorted chargers, and some refill cartridges to get started. Batteries vary from tiny and cute to Cruella de Vil sized mixture strengths are similarly diverse. We also tested one non rechargeable ecig option (Njoy). These are ready to smoke ecigs that you later recycle.

Honorable mention

V2 Cigs
V2 is a huge online purveyor of basic, nondescript ecigs available in a million different battery size and flavor combinations. Sure, they work, but they’re not going to inspire anyone to kick the habit.

For the hand rollers and DIY enthusiasts of the world there are MadVapes personal vaporizers. If you want a huge battery that’ll never die or custom refills you whip up yourself, this is the way to go. Cool! Cheap! But it’s too much trouble for most.

4th Place Blu


Blu’s ecig system oozes awful effort. It really, really wants to be cool. Pull an ecig out of its “pack,” and its tip lights up a conspicuous and unnatural blue that’s probably attractive in weird euro clubs. It’s jarring in any normal human context. And the all black “cig” is shiny like a cosmetics case, which isn’t very appetizing. The starter kit comes with a black box that looks just like a pack of cigarettes. Except when you open it up, it blasts another horrible blue light into your eyes. The box also has built in social feature that detects other nearby Blu smokers using a built in radio. We never found anyone. But at least the box charges your battery!

Unlike other manufacturers, Blu uses 100 percent vegetable glycerin as a vaporizing fluid. When you exhale this vapor is thicker than propylene glycol another showy gimmick that, for some, might be more satisfying. Flavors include Vivid Vanilla, and Peach Schnapps. They’re all repulsive.
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Basic starter pack price $70
Refill price $12 ( 5 pack)/ $2.40 (each)
Six month price $514
Six months of cigarettes $800 (West Virginia) / $2000 (New York)
Gizrank 2.5

3rd Place The Safe Cig


Unlike Blu, Safe Cig has done everything in its power to make ecigs as stealthy as possible. But everyone knows fitting in is boring that’s why you started smoking in the first flavors don’t have fun names, the batteries look like porcelain casts, the refills ends look like real filters, and when you take a drag the tip glows a convincing orange. People might not even notice you’re smoking an ecig right away if at all.

Smoking Safe Cigs is a pain in the butt. The regular battery will get you through about a half a day of heavy use, and even the large battery can’t make it a whole day. The refills, each of which the company claims is equivalent to a pack of cigarettes, falls short of that mark Unless I’m now a world champion nicotine fiend one lasts you maybe a day and a half before it stops hitting hard, but really we’re talking about a half day. Keeping up with your Safe Cig requires constant attention You better carry an extra refill and an extra battery with you everywhere you go, and make sure you’re always charging up for the next time your lifeline peters out. But don’t worry! Safe Cig sells just the accessory to hold all your extra power and refills The Blink case. It’s $50.

In the Safe Cig’s defense, the simple tobacco based flavors are delicious. Whatever the hell “Madrid” is trying to be, It’s slightly sweet and satisfying like the after dessert cigarette that got you hooked in the first place.

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The Safe Cig

Basic starter pack price $70
Refill price 17.50 (pack)/ $2.50 (each)
Six month price $450
Six months of cigarettes $800 (West Virginia) / $2000 (New York)
Gizrank 3

2nd Place Vapor4Life


Vapor4Life is the ecig brand you hear about from retired Hells Angels in seedy pool halls. The Vapor Titan battery we tested is colored brown like a cigar, and its blinged out, diamond shaped tip lights up bright red like, “Hey world! I’m a swaggy ecig smoker!”

The Vapor Titan gave us the most intoxicating blasts
of nicotine of any ecig we tried. Instead of firing automatically when you take a drag, you push a small button to activate the heating element. Keep it running for a bit, and you can take some intense, nervous system rattling rips of vapor. You’ll end up accidentally activating the battery from time to time. Even so, a single charge and cartridge lasted us two entire days.

The Kamel flavor was our favorite, it’s more or less the equivalent of unfiltered Pall Malls Rich and robust, but not for the faint of heart.

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Basic starter pack price $50/$70
Refill price 10.50 (5 pack)/ $2.10 (each)
Six month price w/basic kit $450
Six months of cigarettes $800 (West Virginia) / $2000 (New York)
Gizrank 4

BESTMODOD!!! Njoy Kings


Njoy is the most popular ecig brand out there. The company started out making regular ecigs like everyone else, and recently introduced the “One Joy,” a disposable version. (Blu also makes a disposable ecig.)

But the company is about to release a new non rechargeable ecig called the Njoy King. Bad news first In the long run they’re a little more expensive than replacement tips. Each King costs $8 and lasted us about a day to a day and half.

But smoking a King . Oh holy hell yes this is what all ecigs should be! Kings are different from any other ecig. Where others are hard and heavy like a fountain pen dangling from your mouth Kings are light and slightly squishy. When you roll a King between your fingers it feels so much like a real smoke that you almost believe it’s real even though you know it’s not. At just over three inches long, Kings are small, and each one is packaged in a slim box that snaps closed like a Zippo Smart reinforcement! and keeps the King safe and clean in your pocket.

Even the consistancy of the vapor is right. The “Smooth” is mild and light, while the “Bold” scratches the back of your throat like a Marlboro.

If you’re worried about the waste, dont Njoy plans to offer a recycling program that let’s you trade in a few used Kings for new Kings. According to the company, they’ll be available in stores nationwide by October 2012, and we’ll be standing in line to buy them.

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Basic starter pack price $8
Refill price $8
Six month price $1240
Six months of cigarettes $800 (West Virginia) / $2000 (New York)
Gizrank 4

Cigarettes sold in china: design, emissions and metals

Compare e-cigarettes online, electronic cigarettes comparison

The current paper examined the variation in design features in contemporary Chinese cigarettes and their relation to reported ISO emissions, as well as tobacco metal contents in a subsample of popular cigarette brands purchased in seven cities in China in 2005&#x02013 6 and 2007. The physical and design characteristics of Chinese domestic cigarettes were broadly similar to manufactured cigarettes examined in international samples.19 23 25 However, they did show significant differences in specific parameters such as ventilation, tobacco weight and paper permeability. Mass manufactured cigarettes have relatively tight parameters for features such as overall length and diameter, such that there is little variation among brands or across countries within a product class (eg, king size filter tipped). Most observed brand to brand variation occurs in tobacco and filter weight, filter length, paper permeability and filter ventilation. Consistent with data from other countries, filter ventilation emerged as the most important predictor of labelled tar, nicotine and CO yields, though the relation was not as strong as observed in other studies, where R2 values of 0.90 and greater are seen.18 19 Differences in predicted yields from previous studies probably reflect the restricted range of yields examined in China since very few brands purchased had tar yields lower than 10&#x02005 mg, in contrast to many Western markets where 50% or more of tar yields fall below 10&#x02005 mg. The predictive model for nicotine was weakest, suggesting that engineering features may not be the primary drivers of nicotine yield in China, especially considering the very narrow range of yields observed. The findings overall underscore the influence of ventilation, even at relatively low levels, in manipulating the emission levels of products when tested under the standard ISO regimen, which remains the basis for reporting in much of the world. The fact that few brands on the Chinese market currently have yields below 10&#x02005 mg suggests a potential marketing opportunity for CNTC as Chinese smokers become increasingly educated about the health risks of smoking. Indeed, evidence from the ITC Survey suggests that many Chinese smokers believe &#x02018 light&#x02019 /&#x02018 low tar&#x02019 cigarettes are less harmful.25

We found relatively high levels of arsenic, lead and cadmium in the tobacco of domestic Chinese cigarettes, substantially higher than cigarettes from Canada.26 This is consistent with existing literature on metals in counterfeit cigarettes, the majority of which appear to originate in China.21 Metal content in tobacco leaf primarily is driven by the metal content of the soil in which it is grown, rather than resulting from processing.27 Various investigations using different methodologies consistently indicate that cadmium (an IARC Type 1 carcinogen) transfers linearly from tobacco into smoke emissions.24 28 29 Galazyn Sidorczuk et al28 have shown that this correlation extends to blood cadmium levels. Recent work also suggests that cadmium and lead levels are higher in lung tissues of current and former smoking lung cancer patients relative to non smokers.30 Furthermore, large increases in transference factors are observed using the Canadian intense smoking protocol compared with the ISO protocol (factors of 2.9 and 2.4 respectively for Cd and Pb 25), meaning transfer increases with increasing smoking intensity. Thus cadmium and lead concentrations in tobacco can be taken as first order indicators of relative exposure to different products. While the relative health burden of metal exposure from tobacco is still unclear, some studies suggest that they might be at least as important in carcinogenesis as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and N nitrosamines.31

The higher yields of cadmium and lead in cigarettes manufactured in China are worrisome given current smoking prevalence in China and CNTC’s export ambitions. Health and regulatory officials around the world should be concerned about the potential for export of cigarettes (or processed tobacco) with manifold higher contents of known toxicants from China into international markets. From a regulatory perspective, precluding import of tobacco and tobacco products with high arsenic, cadmium, and/or lead content, using relatively simple leaf and filler analysis as screening tools, could have substantial impacts on the international tobacco trade and, potentially, public health. Regulatory limits on metal contamination would not be unprecedented. Australia and New Zealand, for example, have maximal limits for arsenic (1&#x02005 mg/kgii in cereals), cadmium (0.1&#x02005 mg/kg in leafy vegetables) and lead (0.1&#x02005 mg/kg in vegetables) in plant products intended as foods.32 Cigarette tobacco (even those in Canada) generally exceeds these levels.

A limitation of the current study is the reliance on labelled values for tar, nicotine and CO for regression analyses rather than direct testing of emissions. In addition, metals were only tested for a subset of brands. Another limitation is that brands for this study were not selected strictly on the basis of market share or to represent a broad range of tar yields, but rather were a convenience sample. Future research should replicate these findings across a market based sample.

China is a party to the FCTC and is moving to implement regulations to meet its treaty obligations. Simultaneously, it owns the world’s largest tobacco company. Chinese tobacco scientists appear to be active in research and development of new products and emission reduction technologies, which speaks to the growing sophistication of the Chinese industry.33 These reports are consistent with STMA’s moves to modernise factories and adopt manufacturing and quality control technologies from the major international companies. It is also possible, then, that product level regulations such as chemical specific emissions limits12 could be implemented in China with emerging production technologies. Particular attention should be paid to eliminating heavy metals from tobacco.

Overall, the findings from this study suggest that Chinese cigarettes differ in substantive ways from cigarettes sold in Western markets, though they follow similar patterns in determining tar and nicotine yields under standard testing conditions. But the presence of high levels of heavy metals in Chinese cigarettes may constitute a potential global public health problem as exports of Chinese cigarettes continue to increase. Regulators should require disclosure of the source and growing conditions of tobacco used in all products and should consider product standards based on heavy metal content.