Sunday, May 23, 2010

Puff The Magic Dragon

I doubt anyone reading this would disagree that smoking is bad, MmKay? Well, quitting smoking really sucks! In the last ten years or so, I've attempted to quit smoking with mostly failed attempts. The last time I tried to quit “cold turkey” I became such a grumpy ass that I actually had co-workers begging me to start again. I wish I could go back in time and try to convince that fourteen year old kid not to even start, but I can't. I have, however, finally found a device that may just finally be the ticket to quitting smoking for good. A few weeks ago a couple of people I work with found an electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, while attending a gun show. It is called Red Dragon (hence the catchy title of this blog). After taking a couple of puffs off of one of their Red Dragon e-cigarette, I decided to order one for myself once I received my income tax refund. Now, I have to admit that the initial investment in a Red Dragon e-cigarette isn't cheap; I ordered the eight piece starter kit, four extra cartridges and a carrying case the total cost of which came to around $120 with express shipping. But, after only a couple of weeks I have managed to reduce the amount that I actually smoke real cigarettes my half or more. The e-cigarette emits vaporized liquid nicotine rather than smoke, so there is no tar, carbon monoxide or other harmful chemicals. So, it may not be a “safe cigarette” but it is safer. There is also no foul odor or second hand smoke, so I can use this indoors and in the car without having to roll down the windows. Because the Red Dragon looks and feels like a real cigarette, I feel like I'm getting smoking satisfaction, and because it does contain nicotine (unlike some other electronic cigarettes I've seen) it actually helps with the cravings. I really like that the cartridges are available in four strengths of nicotine, ranging from high to none so that I can step-down how much nicotine I'm getting over time to eventually break the addiction.

Not only is the Red Dragon e-cigarette less harmful, but it is also more cost effective, at least in the long term. Now I know what you're thinking; you're thinking that I said it cost me $120. That's true. The initial cost is kind of high, but the cost of the cartridges themselves actually ends up potentially being less than buying regular cigarettes. One cartridge is roughly the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes. So, if I buy a pack of four cartridges at $12, that is like buying four packs of cigarettes. I don't know about you, but I can't buy regular cigarettes for that price, unless I buy the super cheap, super disgusting off brands, which frankly I refuse to do. I mean, if I'm going to smoke, it's going to be Marlboro or Camel. Those cheap brands burn my throat, and they burn up so much faster than the name brands that I don't really feel like I've saved anything in terms of money. Not only are the e-cigarette cartridges mathematically more cost effective, but I have also found a site called Johnson Creek Original Smoke Juice, which sells liquid nicotine. So, even though Red Dragon doesn't really recommend it, I can refill my used cartridges myself for an even bigger cost savings.

Cons
- Initial Cost is rather expensive depending on the kit ordered
- Currently no retail outlets where I live, which means I have to pay for shipping plus have to order well in advance to insure I don't run out
- Battery could go dead while away from home or cartridge could run out without a way to obtain a fresh one if I didn't remember to bring an extra

Pros
- No tar or carbon monoxide poisoning
- No odor or second hand smoke means I can smoke in the house and inside my favorite coffee shop again instead of outside in the heat, cold or rain
- Cartridges and smoke juice for DIY refills actually much less expensive than real cigarettes (comparatively speaking)
- Red Dragon boasts 25 different flavors (such as Regular, Menthol, Vanilla, Cherry, etc)
- Ability to vary the amount of nicotine even all the way down to none to help step-down the addiction
- It looks and feels like a real cigarette, which helps with the psychosomatic aspect of smoking addiction

~ JC
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