So as New Year is now upon us and we now glide seamlessly past the failed apocalypse and in to 2013, I thought I would write an article inspired by my New Year’s resolution: To finally kick the tiresome habit of smoking. After a few weeks of research and a brief dabble in the world of budget unbranded e-cigarettes, my attention turned to Vapestick with a view to finding an affordable, quality alternative to smoking tobacco that wouldn’t require hourly charging sessions. There are many e-cigarette manufacturers offering quality products with style that are engineered to last. These include Green Smoke, Blu, Vapestick, and others.
Vapestick are currently at the forefront of the UK e-cigarette market, with an open company ethos dedicated to the perfection and regulation of the e-cig experience in the UK, (Vapestick is a founding member of ECIT, the regulatory body for e-cigarette sales in the UK. As such, they felt like a strong starting choice.) A brief look around their site saw me quickly investing in a Vapestick XL Starter kit, alongside a portable V-Charger Case.
I opted for the Xl model primarily as its a new product, with very few online reviews. In terms of specifications, it boasts a lengthier chamber than the Vapestick Classic and Design versions, allowing for increased vapour production and an extended battery life of around two to three extra hours (The classic is good for 7 hours of use, making the XL capable of 9 hours of use.
In terms of online service, I can’t fault the process in any way, other than receiving the charger in a different colour, but really, that’s something I can live with given the incredible arrival speed. I ordered the kit on Boxing day, and it was on my doorstep in the early hours of the 28th. I selected second class shipping too, and yet, it made it here in record time. Well done to both Vapestick and Royal Mail there, an excellent display of teamwork. Vapestick’s website is slick, responsive, easy to navigate and is generally faultless. Customer Support is responsive, professional and efficient, items are dispatched the same day so long as the order is processed before 12pm of that day, and items usually arrive the very next day, even with the second class shipping option.
Cracking it open, you instantly gain an appreciation for the thought, care, and attention to detail that goes in to the design and presentation of these kits. They are wonderfully presented in a considered and tasteful packaging, the kind that you won’t throw away.
The starter kit box in itself is a brilliant size and holds all of your spares and essentials comfortably. They feel decidedly upmarket (despite their relatively low price tag of £34.99 for the base XL kit) another £14.99 is a worthy investment for the invaluable portable charging case that mimics a box of cigarettes comfortably (and is again, of unspeakable quality for the price range.) Overall, I felt happy with my investment based on the aesthetic end of things alone. I did receive a faulty atomiser, but if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have had a chance to sample Vapestick’s style and level of customer service, which I must say, was truly impressive. I filed in a contact form on the Vapestick site, loosely describing my circumstances with the faulty atomizer as well as my confusion over the use of the V Charging Case, and within an hour I received a phone call in which I received what can only be described as nothing but the best of treatment, with an offer to send my package back for testing and exchange, which would include a complimentary set of cartridges as compensation for any inconvenience.
Luckily, I identified the faulty atomizer as the culprit, removing the need to send my items back. The kit includes two batteries, two atomisers, a bottle of ten assorted flavour and strength cartridges, a handy felt carrying pouch, and a USB and mains charger. After swapping my atomisers I got straight to tasting.
The vapor production is excellent, taking only a few drags to get the atomizer hot enough to produce the advertised amount of body and fullness. Compared to my unbranded e-cig, which was only £15 cheaper than the Vapestick starter kit and failed to even come with a mains plug and produced pithy amounts of vapour, I’m started by the quality jump for what is literally, an extra £15 investment.
It seems Vapestick have carefully navigated the balance between style, longevity, ease of use and the ready availability of refill cartridges to create a truly desirable product that doesn’t break the bank and you won’t feel out of place using in public. To discuss the cartridges briefly, it’s worth noting that Vapestick offer a wide variety of flavours, including but not limited to, various fruit flavours, an original ‘blank’ flavour, a tobacco and menthol variation, and even more staggeringly, a choice of three nicotine strengths is available for each flavour. (1.1%, 1.8% and 2.4%) Considering the classic, design, XL and Max units all require different cartridges, this is an impressive product line, especially considering the ‘newness’ of electronic cigarettes (in their modern form) it is worth choosing Vapestick for their sheer range of choice alone.
I personally favour the Cherry cartridges, in the 1.1% strength as it sufficiently dampens the craving to smoke without overdoing it. Vapestick also offer a handy calculator whereby choosing your preferred cigarette brand will churn out a suggested nicotine strength in keeping with the level of nicotine to which you are most accustomed. It will also calculate how much money you’ll save by switching to a Vapestick, which is both a satisfying and chilling experience in equal measure.
The vapour produced by the XL is more than satisfying, full bodied, and opaque. It behaves texturally no differently to that of cigarette smoke, which enforces the sense of plausibility that the product offers its users. It feels like smoking, but with a noticeably cleaner, purer and lighter taste and throat hit, while still offering a perfectly satisfying nicotine rush, with the added benefit of requesting your nicotine in one of the many available flavours. If anyone reading has ever smoked a Shisha, (or Hookah, or Hubble Bubble Pipe), I would say that the Vapestick is more akin to that kind of smoking experience than that of cigarette smoke, and as those of you have tried it will know, although slightly different, it’s still a pleasure to taste and inhale. The best thing about e-cigarettes is the peace of mind afforded by the knowledge that all that is being inhaled is medical grade nicotine and water vapour. Vapestick provide a clear breakdown and explanation of the ingredients found in their cartridges in their product manual, explaining how the cartridges work to produce the vapour in conjunction with the atomiser and generally, creating a sense of confidence in the product and Vapestick themselves.
So what does the Vapestick and indeed, e-cigarettes in general mean for society and the tobacco industry? Well the tobacco industry is in trouble, and that will likely mean a health based smear campaign on the safety of e-cigs, but this is something that ECIT appear to be pre-empting. But what’s most revolutionary about Vapesticks products is their potential to radically transform the growing social divide between smokers and non-smokers, as well as pulling a significant load off of the NHS as more and more UK smokers get in to the e-cigarette market from simply, word of mouth alone in most cases. The appeal of smoking a cleaner, healthier product without sacrificing your nicotine intake, worrying about the some 400,000 + toxins added to tobacco by the tobacco industry to increase its addictive and harmful properties, without the hassle of needing a lighter, somewhere to displace your ash, smelling of an ash tray and brandishing an eternally yellow tongue are all things of the past now I’ve become a Vapour smoker.
If you’re skeptical, good. I was too, but I’m actually entirely impressed with the e-cigarettes I’ve used that have come from Vapestick. I sincerely recommend visiting their site if you’re based in the UK and looking for a UK made product, give them a look, their shipping times, exceptional customer service and product quality speak volumes in comparison to the budget unbranded e-cigs I’ve used in the past. Vapestick do ship globally, however, so don’t feel alienated if you’re reading from somewhere other than the UK.
Overall, the Vapestick XL is a stylish, slick, transportable, relatively inconspicuous alternative to smoking tobacco. I recommend investing in the V-Charger case, as this really is a lifesaver when out and about.