My new e-cig arrived today. I took the advice of Nisakiman and Alan Cairns (who I believe lives in north Devon, and hasn’t been too well in recent years), and bought an EGO-CE4. Two recommendations were quite enough.
It’s over twice the size of the Titan 510 I bought 5 years ago. It’s about as long as a regular biro or pen. And about half as thick again. It’s quite a robust piece of engineering. It doesn’t have a LED on the front that lights up when you draw on it. And it has a fairly large, transparent tank called a ‘clearomizer’ which can hold up to about 1.6 ml of e-juice, and what look like a set of woven wicks inside. The battery screws on the front end.
But I had a bit of a hard time getting it working.
The first problem was with one of the little plastic bottles holding e-juice. It had one of those child-proof tops on it. And that entirely defeated me for about 10 minutes. I finally had to get out a pair of pliers, tighten them round the top, and unscrew it that way.
The next problem was getting the e-juice out of the bottle. Because although it was plastic, it was strongly resistant to pressure. And also the e-juice turned out also to be e-goo which didn’t flow easily. So the pliers got applied again around the waist of the bottle.
And then there was the problem of where to put the e-goo in. The little folding manual said:
Once you cannot see much e-liquid in the clearomizer then it is time to refill with e-liquid. Drop e-liquid from bottle into the clearomizer (DO NOT drop e-liquid into the centre tube area), you can refill up to 1.6 ml e-liquid.
Since I hadn’t actually put any e-liquid in the thing, I deduced it was time to refill it. I examined the opening at the end which screws into the battery, and spotted the central tube area, and with the e-goo bottle clenched between the jaws of the pliers, applied e-goo around the central tube.
Nothing happened. The e-goo just pooled around the central tube, and none trickled down into the clearomizer tank. But since it said a bit further on that it might take a few minutes for the e-goo to get in, I decided to go out and do some shopping, leaving the clearomizer stood on its mouthpiece, clenched by the pliers. (This was the third use of the pliers. They were proving to be an indispensable aid. I was beginning to think they should include a pair with every e-cig kit.)
But when I got back an hour later, the e-goo was still just pooled around the central tube. None had got into the tank.
I then remembered that on the webpage where I’d read about it, there was an embedded video that demonstrated how it worked. So I watched that again. And when it came to filling the thing, the demonstrator simply unscrewed the mouthpiece, and slipped the nozzle of the e-goo bottle in there.
The manual hadn’t mentioned unscrewing the mouthpiece. And I’d been trying to fill it at the wrong end. And in the process I’d probably terminally damaged the delicate heating mechanism, which was now thoroughly soaked in e-goo.
But now, with pliers gripping the bottle, I finally managed to squeeze some e-goo into the tank, and waited while it slowly slithered to the bottom.
I then wiped away as much as I could (i.e. hardly any) of the e-goo that I’d put in the wrong end, and screwed the battery in. I wasn’t sure if the battery was charged or not. It said that charging was indicated by a red light on the charger coming on, which turned green when it was fully charged. But my charging unit came equipped with both a red light and a green light that both cunningly came on at the same time.
Anyway, with it all assembled, it was time to turn it on. And to turn it on I needed to press a little button 5 times in succession. When I did this, a LED flashed a few times, indicating that it was on. And when I did it again, the LED flashed again, indicating it was off. And after a few more presses, I soon didn’t know whether it was on or off.
But then, after about two hours of intensive effort, interspersed with several cigarette breaks, it finally started working. The battery was indeed charged. And it was indeed ‘on’. And I had not destroyed its delicate heating mechanism after all.
And soon I was wreathed in vapour. And far more of it than I ever got out of my Titan 510.
So I started reading the manual again, to discover that…
The electronic cigarette and all its components should be kept out of reach and sight of children at all times, and stored in a non-damp environment. Clearomizer e-liquid is toxic if swallowed. Very toxic if in contact with skin.
Which sent me rushing to the bathroom to wash my hands, because I’d got quite a lot of e-goo more or less everywhere while trying to get into the wrong end. At least cigarettes aren’t toxic if they come in contact with skin.
And out of sight of chiiiildren?
I wondered if there might be any children in my flat, that had somehow managed to creep in. But after a while I decided that if there were any, they were probably all long since dead, and I’d find them under the kitchen sink one day, smoked deep brown like haddock, and shrivelled to a tenth of their normal size.
The dire warnings were repeated on the e-goo bottles, but with one devastating addition:
May contain traces of nuts.
May contain traces of nuts! I thought this liquid was supposed to just be nicotine and a couple of other harmless compounds. The idea that it might contain nuts had simply never crossed my mind. And if it might contain traces of nuts, then it was surely just as likely to contain traces of cabbage, or engine oil, or Polonium 210?
Which set me thinking that, since these things are going to become illegal (the reason I bought it), then probably the liquid would become illegal as well, and could only be bought on the black market – where fake e-cig e-liquid might consist of nothing but nuts, cabbage, engine oil, and Polonium 210.
Anyway, now that I’ve got it, and it seems to work very well, it’s going back in its box until the occasion arises where it’s the only available smoking option.
Until then, I’m sticking to tobacco.
It’s much safer.
And I don’t need pliers.