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I Quit Smoking!


November, 2009

This webpage is about smoking.  It's partly about smoking cigarettes, but it's actually about a fairly new product known as the "electronic cigarette".

I have never seen or tried an electronic cigarette, so I spent a full week researching details.  The e-cigarette, as it's known, is available from many sources.  With one exception, each person I spoke with lacked accurate information.  The exception was a gentleman named Arno.

 

Arno was kind enough to answer about 1,000 questions, and fully explained each detail.  It was a pleasure to learn the real facts from him.  I ordered a DSE 801 starter kit, and expect delivery within a day or two.  I intend to continue to order exclusively with Arno.

 

Very special thanks go to Arno for enlightening me about the various mistakes I might have made in this new world of electronic cigarettes.  Additional thanks to Arno for instantaneous shipping, extra printed instructions, and several samples which he thought might be helpful to me.

There are many brands, models, and variations - too many to bother listing here.  There are thousands of websites, message forums, and probably nearly as many videos, about these products.  If you're interested, just search the internet. 

 

OR - if you prefer to cut directly to the chase, save your time, reduce "marketing confusion", and hours of hype - contact Arno.  I wasted a LOT of time on the phone with some nice people who have ONE thing in common - "What's your credit card number?"

 

This webpage is being written as a kind of diary, or a chronology, of my own, personal experiences in a few areas. 

Before I begin my "diary", several facts should be explained.  And, as you'll see, I'm pretty long winded - no shortage of words.

First, I'd like to describe "smoking".  Arno has done a far better job than I could, but two points are important enough to repeat. 

(a) Smoking - specifically nicotine - is an addictive habit.  A smoker becomes addicted to nicotine in a fairly short time.  Caffeine, in coffee and tea, is also habit forming, but probably to a lesser degree. 

(b) Smoking is also a physical, tactile, touching type of habit.  The act of drawing on a cigarette, feeling the effect inside your mouth and throat, is enjoyable for a long time smoker.  This could be considered a "secondary" habit, and I personally believe it's just as powerful - if not more so - as the chemical habit for many people.  As stupid as it sounds, just the action of picking up a pen, and "pretend smoking" offers some degree of physical satisfaction.

Even before I describe my own facts, I'd like to explain the components of electronic cigarettes.  There are basically 3 parts: a rechargeable battery, an atomizer, and a cartridge with an attached "mouthpiece".  Of course, a battery charger and additional liquid are part of this, but the essential ingredients are the three components stated above.    

 

I'm very interested in quitting smoking.  I've been a constant cigarette smoker since at least 1963. 

 

I've never really tried to quit smoking, but for about one year, I made a serious effort to cut down on my cigarette consumption.  I did pretty well, and remember that I was able to smoke just a few cigarettes daily, and sometimes, not smoke at all for an entire day, but that was pretty rare. 

 

I also remember how my "serious effort" went out the window.  It happened when I drove from Florida to Kentucky - a 15 hour drive at that time.  I made it to the first exit on the interstate, stopped at a convenience store, bought a carton of cigarettes and a few disposable lighters - and that was the end of my "reduced cigarette consumption".  I believe that was in 1989.  For whatever reason, I didn't feel capable of a boring, lonely 15 hour drive without cigarettes.

 

Currently, I don't have the willpower to just STOP smoking.  For over 10 years, I've been smoking 3 packs of cigarettes every day, and sometimes a bit more.  Before 1999, my cigarette habit was a little less, but was still over 2 packs a day.

 

I'd like to quit - for a variety of reasons.

 

For over 28 years, my "smoking areas" have been pretty much confined to either my office (located behind my home), or my computer desk in the house.  I don't smoke in other rooms of the house.  Since August, 2002, I've been disabled and housebound, my office has been mostly unused, so 90% of my smoking has been in the house. 

 

The residue from cigarettes is a disgusting, sloppy mess.  I've been washing off the brown residue from my computer monitor, pictures, windows, my phones, and many other items for years.  I'm not sure if the residue is nicotine, tar, or what it is - I only know I don't enjoy scrubbing everything nearby my smoking area with glass cleaner.

 

Additionally, cigarettes tend to "stain" your fingers.  That, again, may be tar, nicotine, or something else, but I do not like having two "yellow fingers".  You can spot a heavy cigarette smoker 10 feet away.  Just look carefully at his fingers.    

 

Smoke smells offensive.  Even as a long time smoker, I can go outside, and when I walk back into the house - it just plain smells.  I do NOT like the lingering smell, which also clings to clothing, carpeting, and almost anything else. 

 

Recently, my doctor prescribed an inhaler, to help control my coughing.  I'm not 100% certain the coughing is caused by cigarettes, but I'm fairly certain cigarettes aren't helping the matter. 

 

Within the past 12 months, cigarette prices have doubled (or more) in Florida.  I don't understand how the government can arbitrarily add $1.00 "tax" to every pack of cigarettes (and I typically bought 5 cartons at a time!) - but they have done it .... more than once.  To me, this is positively insane.  I remember when cigarettes cost 17 CENTS per pack - $1.70 per carton.  As recently as last year, a carton cost about $23.50, so the new "tax laws" are really having a tremendous impact on smokers - especially those on a fixed income.

 

Consider these numbers ....

At the local convenience store, Winston 100s currently cost $6.67 per pack.  If I purchase 10 packs at a time, (a carton), the price is $55.99.  That equals $5.59 per pack, or $0.2795 per cigarette.  (see below)

 

Somewhere on the internet, I read that taxes - both Federal and state, combined - are responsible for about 85% of the price of cigarettes.  If that's true, it means that about $47.59 is nothing but TAX on a $55.99 carton of cigarettes!  That also means if we weren't being taxed to death, a carton should cost about $8.40

 

Elsewhere on the internet, I read that the price for a pack of cigarettes in New York City is approximately $10.00 - plus 8.375% sales tax!  A carton of cigarettes for $108.37?  How far can this insanity go?

 

THAT'S something to think about, no matter what income tax bracket you're in! 

 

Below, I'll try to describe the transition from tobacco cigarettes to the electronic version.  I don't know if I'll have the motivation to do updates every day, but I will try to clearly describe the major steps in this undertaking. 

 

I'm hoping to change the title of this page.  I'd like to rename it "I QUIT Smoking!" very soon.

 

AND - on June 26, 2012 - I DID rename it!

 

Below is a script program, showing progress so far.  It's accurate far beyond 1/1000 of a second.  The calculations are determined on the "carton" price.

Progress Report

 without a tobacco cigarette.

Current local price for cigarettes is now more than $ per carton.

Since November 6, 2009, I have not smoked  cigarettes.

That equals  packs or  cartons.

 $ not spent on tobacco products and taxes.

Also consider this calculation

365 days per year x 3 packs per day = 1095 packs per year

1095 packs x $5.59 (2009 price) per pack = $6121.05 per year for tobacco cigarettes

(The above is based on prices remaining the same for the entire year.  Factually, prices have increased since this page was written.)

 

I will make an estimate here.  It may (or may not) be very accurate.  As time goes on, I'll learn from experience.

I estimate that electronic cigarettes - meaning batteries, replacement parts, and liquid should cost approximately $35.00 per month

 

$35.00 x 12 months = $420.00 per year

$6121.50 - $420.00 = $5701.50

That's quite a difference!

thanks to Roger - "Dr. Debug" - for all the help with this script

The script is based on a 24 hour day.  If you do the math, you'll see that's an average of 1 cigarette every 24 minutes.  In real life, though, I'm awake about 16 hours per day, not 24.  So my actual cigarette consumption, based on a 16 hour day, would be approximately 3.75 cigarettes per hour, or approximately 1 cigarette every 16 minutes.  The script calculations are far more precise than my "approximations".

11/05/09 - Waiting for delivery - impatiently.  Meanwhile, I'm still smoking regular cigarettes.

11/06/09 - Delivered.  8 hours to charge the battery before I can try it.  (Incorrect.  One of the batteries seems to be properly charged.  I'm charging the 2nd battery.)  It's approximately noon in Tampa, FL, and I'm about to try this device. 

11/06/09 - WOW!  This is really surprising.  The sensation of smoking is simply amazing, and this "cigarette" has lasted over 4 hours so far.  I better explain:

Because the device is electronic, it's designed to do nothing until you take a puff.  In other words, it's not sitting there "burning" - it turns on and off instantly. 

 

A distinct negative: the first cartridge I inserted (one of five included with the starter kit) is absolutely awful.  The flavor and the smell are terrible.  I don't know what "flavor" it is, but it has some kind of "chocolate/cocoa" kind of smell - a TOTAL turn off.  I'll use up this cartridge, then refill it with (hopefully) a flavor that more closely resembles my previous brand of tobacco cigarettes.

 

The GOOD news is this: my tobacco cigarettes are sitting right in front of me - just inches from the electronic cigarette - and I haven't even wanted to smoke one for over 4 hours.  The electronic cigarette - although the taste and odor aren't what I expected - is (so far) all I need.  I'll work out the issue with the proper flavor in very short order.

11/07/09 - I was going to add a "night entry" to the above, but didn't bother.  OK - what's new?  Well, last night I "smoked" my electronic cigarette until after midnight.  I'm monitoring myself very carefully, and I notice that I actually DON'T want to smoke very much.  What do I mean?  Well, since this isn't a "light it and use it" device, I find I'm content picking it up approximately every 5 minutes, and taking just ONE or TWO puffs - then laying it back down.   

 

Last night I spent quite some time on the phone - and watching the clock.  I noted how (in)frequently I picked up the electronic cigarette ....

 

Early this morning, I added 4 drops of another flavor to the cartridge.  WOW!  It's still not the same odor or taste as my tobacco cigarettes, but it's 100x better than the stuff that WAS in there. 

 

Also, early this morning, my attorney stopped by.  He hates cigarette smoke.  Not only was he enthusiastic about the electronic cigarette, he noted that the house smelled much better.  How could that happen in only 1 day?  I guess his nose is far more sensitive than mine.

 

And now it's approximately 30 hours.  My pack of Winstons and lighter are only inches away from my hands - and I haven't touched - or WANTED to touch them. 

11/08/09 - I think (and I certainly could be wrong) that this is a done deal.  I don't think it would be productive to add "daily journal" entries - but if something really unusual changes, then I think it would be a good idea.  It's about 2 days, and 16 hours - my Winstons are (as mentioned above) inches away from my hands - and the electronic cigarette is, too. 

 

I CAN'T EVEN REMEMBER WHEN I COULD SAY, "NO - I HAVEN'T SMOKED FOR OVER 2 DAYS AND HAVE NO INTENTION OF SMOKING AGAIN".  If I said I was utterly amazed, I'd only be scratching the surface.  Those that know me, know almost nothing on Earth really impresses me - and just about NOTHING blows my mind.  Well .... I guess you can tell that changed somewhat.

 

Also, I'd like to bring forward a little info here: smoking an electronic cigarette will do EXACTLY what the long term tobacco addict craves.  But this point must be considered:

 

Taste and strength of the liquid have everything to do with the satisfaction a new e-cigarette user will experience.  Some experimenting - very much like trying a few different flavors of ice cream to discover which one you like best - has become obvious to me.  With that said, I foresee no problem with trying a few different flavors and strengths to find what suits me.  I believe most new e-cigarette users will face this, and will probably feel as I do: "This doesn't taste quite right to me.", or, "Gee!  This isn't too bad at all!" 

 

FOR ME, (I don't know about you), it's worth experimenting and time - and I honestly believe this is the ONLY way I could ever quit smoking tobacco cigarettes. 

As a minor point of interest, I JUST changed the battery to a full-charge battery.  (2 came with the starter kit, and the first one was almost fully charged when it arrived.)          

Morning 11/09/09 - Another vital point: besides finding the flavor that I like, I have every intention of REDUCING THE NICOTINE TO ZERO.  Currently, I'm using a liquid which only contains about 50% of what my tobacco cigarettes contain.  And, I'm not using the electronic cigarette as much as I used tobacco cigarettes.  Clarification: once I lit a regular cigarette, I would inhale many - maybe a dozen or more - puffs.  I do not do this with the electronic cigarette, because it isn't sitting there burning, waiting for me to smoke more of it or put it out.

 

I feel confident that within a few weeks, maybe a bit longer, I'll be using a liquid which contains NO NICOTINE.

 

Afternoon 11/09/09 - A second package arrived today, containing the following:

2 extra batteries

2 extra atomizers

1 USB battery charger - charges the battery from a USB port on the computer

1 USB bypass - this takes the place of the battery and plugs into a USB port

10 more cartridges with various flavors

10 empty cartridges

Several "sample size" bottles of liquid in different flavors

1 large bottle of the "Hilton" flavor liquid - with ZERO NICOTINE

 

Besides trying the USB bypass, I filled one cartridge with the ZERO NICOTINE liquid.  I'm "smoking" this now - and I can tell the difference between nicotine and no nicotine.   

 

If all goes well, I think I can live without the nicotine!  I'm NOT sure yet, so I'll add to this "diary" when I've had more experience. 

Evening 11/10/09 - I'm beginning to understand the word "withdrawal".  Something tells me this isn't going to be as easy as I first thought.  It's been over 24 hours with NO NICOTINE, and I'm feeling lousy.  I don't feel like lighting a tobacco cigarette (they're still inches away), but I do feel like filling a fresh cartridge with the low nicotine liquid which I started to enjoy. 

 

Arno warned me about trying to quit too fast, and Arno was right. 

I'll try to continue with the ZERO NICOTINE, but I may fall on my ass, and go back to using the low nicotine liquid.  I sure do feel lousy.   

Evening 11/13/09 - I'd say I "fell on my ass".  I went almost five days using the ZERO NICOTINE liquid, felt terrible, and just refilled the cartridge with liquid which contains some nicotine.  (This is the same liquid which contains about 50% of the nicotine in a tobacco cigarette.)  Anybody who says, "withdrawal is easy" after smoking since 1962 is lying.  I thought I could do it - and I was wrong.  But I learned a lot tonight, thanks to Arno. 

 

The people who actually quit smoking "cold turkey" really deserve a standing ovation. 

 

I have already cut off about 98% of all harmful ingredients in cigarettes.  The very low nicotine intake isn't even a drop in the bucket compared to what I was putting into my body.  Arno was very supportive, gave me a lot of encouragement, and suggested I relax and use the low nicotine liquid awhile longer.  As I grow further and further away from tobacco cigarettes, I can always "step down" one more level (ie; from 50% to 25% of a tobacco cigarette.)  The liquid is available in many different strengths.  

11/16/09 - 10 days - no tobacco.  I surprised myself by sitting with my neighbor while he smoked a cigarette, and had no desire to ask for one, or even ask for a puff!  I guess I'm making some real progress here, and hope I can maintain it.  So far, it feels like I can, but many, many others before me have "quit" and gone back .... I'll just keep doing the best I can.

11/20/09 - I think I found the right flavor.  Today is 2 weeks without a tobacco cigarette, and I don't feel like I miss them at all.  One of my neighbors came over this morning, tested the electronic cigarette, hated the sample flavor, and then tried my flavor.  In less than 10 minutes, she asked for Arno's number, and said she wanted to order a DSE 801.  Maybe I'll try to get everyone on my block to quit using tobacco?  I doubt it - but I hope my neighbor really has the motivation.  She only smokes (cigarettes) outside, and that's got to be a real pain. 

 

Also, Arno warned me to expect some coughing at about 2 weeks, as my body "cleans" itself of some of the accumulated poisons.  Again, Arno was 100% correct - I've been coughing quite a bit today.

 

Not much else to report, except I'm really amazed.     

11/22/09 - I'm still super enthusiastic - and NO CIGARETTES.  I discovered that I wasn't getting as much vapor today, so I changed the atomizer to one of the extras.  I'll have to call Arno and learn how/why, and ask for tips about this.  We briefly discussed cleaning the atomizer, now I need some technical details.  I'd be very disappointed if this component requires constant attention, or if it needs replacement after only about 16 days.  But the good news continues!  My nearly full pack of Winstons sits a few inches from me, and I've started talking to it.  I won't print the words, but you can believe they're not very polite.   

11/25/09 - Happy Thanksgiving (almost)!  Yesterday, my friend Roger helped get the script in order, (it's the grey box above with the calculations), and it's ultra accurate!  "Accurate" in this context means precision calculations to about 8 decimal points!  (example: 20.12345678)  We had to write a function to shorten the numbers to 2 after the decimal point!  (Talk about high tech?) 

 

He was very impressed with the DSE 801, and I showed him each component, how it works, etc. 

 

I'm at 19 days, no desire for a tobacco cigarette.  Also, the problem with the atomizer was very simple to solve: I just washed it out with very hot water, let it air dry overnight, and it appears to work perfectly.  (see below for a better way)

11/27/09 - Three weeks - no cigarettes, and no desire for one. 

11/28/09 - A minor disaster occurred tonight.  I broke an atomizer (like a fool).  This taught me a very powerful lesson.  In this new world of electronic cigarettes, it's imperative, not optional, to always have spare parts (and liquid, too).  The only parts which are critical are the atomizers and the batteries.  It's doubtful that the charger will go bad, and the cartridges can be probably be refilled forever, but the electronic parts could fail at the wrong time.  I certainly learned an important lesson tonight, and I'll be much more careful in the future. 

 

I intend to order at least 6 spares of the atomizers and batteries very soon.  The very last thing I want, is to get caught without a working electronic cigarette, and touch another tobacco cigarette - UGH

11/30/09 - I just realized I've omitted something important from this "diary".  Smoke (from cigarettes) irritates my eyes.  If I sat with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth, the smoke comes up, and my eyes were uncomfortable.  Or, if the tobacco cigarette was in the ashtray, smoke drifts over and did the same thing, sometimes causing me to sneeze, cough, and my eyes to water.  This is now gone.  The vapor is totally non-offensive, and dissipates much faster than smoke.

 

Day 24, and I just can't believe I'M actually doing this.  I think, by many people's definition, I'm still "chain smoking", but I already feel some positive physical differences.  I don't know (yet) about converting a cartridge refill into a math equation of number of cigarettes.  What I do know, is that I've used up more than 20ml of liquid in 24 days.  It seems I'm puffing less often, but I'm a little confused about the number of times I've refilled the cartridges, and exactly what that means.  Soon, I'll ask Arno how to convert cartridge refills into number of equivalent tobacco cigarettes.  Meanwhile - here I am!  24 days, absolutely NO tobacco, and I'm perfectly content with the electronic cigarette.  I'm still not 100% positive I won't fall on my ass again, but it appears that if I WAS going to fire up a Winston, I probably would have already done it.  No, I have not done it.  Yes, they're still sitting just a few inches away, and being called every dirty name in the book.  (It's a good thing they don't talk back!)

 

Also, I read quite a bit on the internet about cleaning the atomizers.  I have a small ultrasonic cleaner, and plan to use it to keep my (future order) atomizers clean and working properly. 

 

There is a bit of a more of a "technical" side to electronic cigarettes than tobacco cigarettes, but I believe if I can learn, anyone can learn.                   

12/02/09 - Tonight, I almost had a battery fail to charge.  For whatever reason, the switch inside the battery did not close (or open - who knows?).  Again, I learned an important lesson.  Using a paper clip, I gently pushed whatever is inside the hole on the battery, and bingo! - it began charging.  What did I learn?  I think it would be common sense to have no less than 10 of each component: atomizers, batteries, and even a few spare battery chargers.  If, for any reason, I get caught without a working component, I know I'm really up the creek, and I'll likely pick up a tobacco cigarette again.  Therefore, it would be logical to have many extra parts. 

 

I learned in the past few days to have 2 or 3 electronic cigarettes ready for use at all times.  In this way, nothing will overheat, 2 of them can "rest" as I puff on the 3rd one, and I can "rotate" among them.  Next step: order a lot of spare parts. 

 

I did my first "mix" tonight, not that it's anything impressive.  I found a nice 8 ounce plastic bottle with a "drip" cap, and mixed 50ml of 36mg liquid and 50ml of 0mg liquid.  Now I have a large bottle of 18mg liquid, plus, I can also use some extra 0mg liquid if and when I feel ready to reduce the nicotine.  All it takes is a calculator, and a 20cc syringe!      

12/03/09 - Tomorrow will be 28 days .... that's exactly 4 weeks with NO tobacco!

 

As I continue to learn, there are more thoughts which I should add to this "diary". 

 

Tobacco cigarettes are SIMPLE - nothing at all is needed except to unwrap the package, take out a cigarette, stick it in your mouth, and apply fire to it as you draw air through it.  That's IT.  After years (decades) of doing it, it's almost an unconscious act. 

 

Electronic cigarettes are quite a bit more complex and involved.  Batteries need recharging.  (If you can recharge your cell phone, then this is no more difficult.)  Liquid (in the cartridge) needs to be replenished.  (If you can refill your coffee cup or glass of iced tea, this isn't that much different.)  Occasionally, the atomizer needs to be cleaned.  (And your ashtrays do, too.)  Factually, the e-cigarette is undeniably complex in comparison with conventional tobacco cigarettes.          

 

Fortunately, Arno is meticulous about returning emails and phone calls - so EVERY question has been answered very quickly.  After 4 weeks of pestering Arno with hundreds of questions, I'm overdue to say a HUGE .... THANK YOU, ARNO!  If it weren't for Arno, I couldn't have gotten this far on my own.

 

The word "complex" raises a question - is it worth it?  Is it worth the time and effort to re-train yourself after years, or possibly decades, of tobacco smoking?

 

My opinion is ABSOLUTELY YES.  Each day I lean a little more about the e-cigarette, what I need to do to keep it operating properly, the little details and tricks to keep me far, far away from tobacco cigarettes.  I think I've written that I'm still uncertain - I could still fall on my ass, and go back to smoking Winstons - but I'm gaining more confidence every day. 

 

It's a major, major undertaking, considering how long and how much I've been smoking.  At this early point, I really believe I CAN win.  Maybe my confidence is too high, too soon.  Or maybe - and this is how I feel NOW - the e-cigarette is really the answer to get away from tobacco cigarettes.  So far - so good!

12/05/09 - Cleaning the atomizer: I mentioned above that sometimes cleaning the atomizer might be needed.  I found the perfect tool - an ultrasonic cleaner.  What is it?  Mine is a small stainless tank which holds about 4 cups of water, and it has a 5 minute electronic timer.  It also has a small plastic basket to put items in.

 

They're commonly used for cleaning jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures, and many other small objects.  They're actually quite ordinary - doctors and dentists use them in a larger size.  Tattoo shops use them to clean the tattoo machines.  Prices range from about $19.95 up into the thousands.  I think mine cost about $25.00.   

 

It works using very high frequency sound waves to "agitate" the (scalding) hot water which you put in the tank.  The "agitation" creates microscopic bubbles - mostly too small for the eye to see - and "blasts" the object clean with millions of little bubbles.  I tried it on one atomizer last night, and it came out just fine.  (You must air dry the atomizer overnight before using it again.)  Until I learn more facts, I don't suggest using any type of detergent or liquid cleanser - just scalding hot water.

12/07/09 - I think I probably mentioned "spare parts"?  Today, another carton arrived.  This is what my current inventory consists of for the DSE 801:

 

4 battery chargers and 1 USB charger

8 batteries and 1 USB manual battery

9 atomizers, including 2 "low bridge" types

24 cartridges

 

Now I also have a Joye 510 with some spare parts, too!  I haven't tried it yet, the batteries are on an 8 hour charge, but I'll give it a test by midnight.  And - I found a small storage box with plenty of drawers and compartments for the different components.  All these parts need to be organized.

12/09/09 - Today, I'll write a little about the downside of e-cigarettes.  A few days ago, I mentioned that they're somewhat complex, but this doesn't bother me at all.

 

Something I've noticed is that refilling DSE 801 cartridges is a little bit messy.  I'll explain: when I remove the cartridge to refill it, there are a few drops of liquid on the outside of the cartridge, which must be wiped off.  This requires a small hand towel nearby at all times.  I use a plastic clothespin to hold the cartridge vertical as I refill it.  The high bridge atomizers in the DSE 801 tend to push the fiberfill material deep inside the cartridge, so it must be "lifted" each time I refill.  Personally, I find this to be a pain in the ass, and, because the fiberfill has been compressed, I'm not sure I'm getting a full refill.  Actually, I think I'm not getting a full refill - which explains why I have to go through this process so frequently.  Time to consult Arno again!   

 

The liquid, although it's water soluble, is slightly oily, and this winds up on my fingers - meaning it winds up all over the e-cigarette.  It also means everything must be wiped off thoroughly.  This, too, is a pain in the ass.  I can't stand having my fingers feeling slightly oily - maybe I'm just over-sensitive, but this has always bothered me. 

 

In contrast, because the design is a bit different, the Joye 510 cartridges are easier and neater to refill.  Almost no wiping is needed with these cartridges.  

Even with these few negative points considered, I believe the e-cigarette is definitely the answer for me.   

12/14/09 - Not much to report, other than I haven't touched a tobacco product for 38 days.  If someone would have told me 6 months ago, "Steve, you won't smoke a cigarette for 38 days", I would have collapsed with laughter.  I'm also beginning to really like the Joye 510.  It's much smaller than the DSE 801, requires more refills, and more frequent battery charges, but it's a very pleasant e-cigarette.

12/16/09 - I guess it's time for a 40 day laugh.  Speaking with Arno tonight, I discovered why the liquid is slightly oily.  The reason is that it's a substance called "propylene glycol", which is used extensively in the medical industry, and - don't laugh too hard - it's also used as a sexual lubricant!  No wonder it feels a little oily!  Although funny, it doesn't change the fact that refilling cartridges is not on the very top of my list for non-oily fingers.  I think I'll just put a small spray bottle of plain rubbing alcohol near my "smoking area", and use a squirt on the hand towel when wiping things off.  Maybe I'm making more of this than most people would - I'm just very uncomfortable with oily fingers, or "oily" anything else.  In time, I'll solve the situation, and laugh at myself for not thinking of it sooner. 

 

I also learned that some liquids (not the type I'm using) contain a different type of glycol, which (I think) is used in automotive anti-freeze.  For some reason, I really don't think I want to put that inside my body.  I'll do more research, and learn about these types of liquid.

 

(About 10pm) - I found a nice little spray bottle, cleaned it well, and filled it with rubbing alcohol.  Of course, it doesn't actually stop "oily" but it sure wipes it up quickly enough!  I'm also laughing because my "collection" is now approaching a "tool room".  Parts, pieces, spares, bottles of liquid, hemostats, clothespins, a storage box, syringes and needles .... no complaints, but make no mistake about this: the number of parts could be staggering to someone (like me) who only used a pack of cigarettes and a butane lighter for so many years.           

12/22/09 - 46 days!  I haven't touched a tobacco cigarette, and don't want to.  Nothing much new .... I'm getting more coordinated at refilling cartridges, I've developed sort of my own little "system", and I threw away some of the fiberfill from one or two original cartridges.  I have some fiberfill here (borrowed from a torn comforter) and it's easy to make the new fiberfill insert part.

12/31/09 - Happy New Year's Eve!  Not a cigarette for 55 days.  A few days ago, I mentioned to Arno that the RY4 liquid was getting a little boring - if that's the right word.  A "sample kit" arrived with so many different flavors, I won't even open the plastic bag to count them!  It's going to take me 2 days just to find the right storage container for all these 3ml sample bottles!

 

We also had a lengthy discussion about cleaning atomizers, specifically using an ultrasonic cleaner.  I learned some interesting facts.  Arno explained that, after considerable use, the atomizer seems to "collect" a slightly brown residue.  I have not seen anything like this yet, and so I was unable to tell Arno if the cleaning process which I have experienced (so far) will remove this.  We discussed the pros and cons of using anything in the ultrasonic except very hot water, and also discussed that some people are cleaning their atomizers using Pepsi Cola, denture cleaning tablets, and some other methods. 

It's possible that Arno will order a small ultrasonic this week, and do a few experiments to determine the best way to maintain atomizers.  I wish I had much more experience (and several dirty atomizers) so I could help with the experimenting.          

01/01/10 - One of the samples Arno sent said "Marlboro", which I never enjoyed smoking in the tobacco version.  (Maybe I just never was a "Marlboro Man" with the horse and the cowboy hat?)  I tried it today in the e-cigarette, and it's very good.  I think I'll possibly order a large quantity of that flavor, and also switch between the RY4 and Marlboro.  I really would like to try and keep this adventure as simple as possible. 

01/14/10 - Haven't added anything new lately, mainly because there's nothing new to add!  I'm near 70 days, (tomorrow), and things are working just fine.  It looks like my Winston and tobacco days are over, but - as I stated above - it IS POSSIBLE that I'll fall down.  I surely don't want to to fail - I guess nobody would - but I'm very aware of how many people have tried and gone back to tobacco. 

 

I'd like to note also - I think, because I cut down the nicotine by 50%, I find myself vaping more.  I hope to cut back more, but do so at a rate that's comfortable to me.  I've also noticed that my lips seem dry a lot more than usual.  This may, or may not, have anything to do with electronic cigarettes.  Where I live (FL), we've gone through the worst cold spell I can remember since I moved here in 1981.  The cold temperatures (in my un-heated house) may be the cause of dry lips, or may be caused by the non-stop use of electric space heaters.  I plan to ask Arno, and find out some facts.

01/29/10 - What should I add?  It's been 84 days with no tobacco.  I don't miss it at all, and I'm feeling (but I sure could be wrong) that I'm done with tobacco.  I haven't ordered the Marlboro flavor liquid yet, but I'll do that soon. 

02/10/10 - 96 days - no tobacco.  I decided not to order the Marlboro flavor, but just stay with the RY4.  And, unless something drastic happens, I guess there's no real need for updates to this webpage.  Obviously, electronic cigarettes work even better than I imagined, and I've adjusted to the little "odd jobs" required to use them.  As far as I can tell, I won't be smoking tobacco anymore. 

02/17/10 - 103 days - NO TOBACCO!  Two interesting things happened today.  One of the batteries for the DSE 801 died.  It seemed to take a charge just fine, but when I attempted to use it (with a few different atomizers) it refused to light up and supply power.  I'll return it to Arno. 

 

I also received the "Screwdriver" electronic cigarette today.  This thing uses one AA size battery, and it's ENORMOUS, compared to the Joye 510 or DSE 801.  The battery should last me for at least a week!  We'll see .... It came with adapters for both Joye 510 and DSE 801 atomizers, as well as a charger, 2 extra batteries, a box of cartridges, and a spare atomizer.  This model comes with the DSE 901 atomizers, so my parts box is rapidly becoming far too small for my collection.  I'm really going to have to do something about that issue.   

03/11/10 - My "collection" now has a new home: a Plano tackle box (designed for fishing lures), and I can keep things fairly well organized.  Again, there's little to add, because the e-cigarette is (or seems to be) the end of "tobacco road".  I have Winston cigarettes within reaching distance, and absolutely will not touch them.  (They're probably pretty stale by now!) 

 

Thanks to Arno, I've been learning the small, but numerous, details to successfully transfer my habit from tobacco to electronic.  I feel I've accomplished the hardest part of this task, and, though I may be wrong, I'm really starting to feel as if I'll never smoke a cigarette again.  It's a nice feeling.

07/24/10 - For many months, I've thought how nice it would be to have an electronic cigarette with a special feature: a self-contained liquid supply.  Though I haven't added anything to this page for a long time, I'd like to say two things - electronic cigarettes are just fine, and, I am TIRED of refilling cartridges all day - dripping and wiping, wiping and dripping.  Washing everything with alcohol.  I'm simply tired of it. 

 

Searching the internet, I came across a modification - it's known as the WetBox.  (trademarked and patent pending)  It is a small box which contains a battery, switches, and also holds a 3ml bottle of liquid.  Unlike typical electronic cigarettes, it does not use a separate atomizer and cartridge - instead, it uses a 510 "cartomizer", which is a combined atomizer and cartridge in one unit.  The cartomizer holds at least 2 to 3 times as much liquid as conventional cartridges.  But there's a trade off ....

 

FILLING and FLOODING: It's very easy to flood a cartomizer.  Since you can't actually see the amount of liquid being absorbed (or not) by the fiberfill, it's a roll of the dice.  So there's a whole new area of learning exactly how to fill a cartomizer, yet avoid flooding it with too much liquid.  I'm learning - slowly but surely.

 

I also have a similar box, known as the Power Box.  It's basically the same as the WetBox, but without the bottle of liquid.  It uses the 501 cartomizer.  This means I must manually refill the cartomizer as required.  This is where the learning (and mistakes) happen.  As mentioned above, these devices are comparatively complex - and you MUST learn the little tricks to keep them working properly.            

 

Back to the WetBox.  When the liquid tastes as if it's low, a simple press on the bottle adds a few drops of liquid to the cartomizer.  This allows you to "vape" all day without constantly refilling.  It uses a very high capacity battery, so you basically fill it once in the morning, put in a freshly charged battery, and it will work all day long with periodic squeezes on the liquid bottle as needed. 

 

Of course there's an upside and downside to everything: the cartomizer produces a very "rough" tasting vapor - nothing at all like my 801s.  And the cartomizer gets hot enough to be quite uncomfortable if you puff it 6 or 7 times.  (This problem will be solved soon - I ordered some mouthpieces to fit the cartomizer from Arno.)     

 

All said, I really like the freedom of just squeezing the bottle instead of refilling cartridges the "old" way.  Eventually, I'll learn the tricks to adjust the taste of the vapor, and hopefully, get some of that "harshness" under control.  Here's what it looks like.  The picture shows a mouthpiece which barely fits correctly, because it's not made for a 501.  I've since removed it, and put back the original, until Arno's package arrives with the proper mouthpieces.   

I also learned why the vapor taste is so harsh.  Two factors: first, the heating element in a cartomizer is much closer to the user's mouth.  Second, unlike a typical atomizer/cartridge, the path which the vapor takes to arrive at the user's mouth is a direct line.  Therefore, it's quite hot.  (The path of the vapor with an atomizer/cartridge version is considerably longer, giving the vapor a chance to cool down.)  This new knowledge is really giving me some things to think about.  During the next few days or weeks, I'll have to decide if the harsh taste of the vapor is really worth the convenience of a simple squeeze bottle.       

08/20/10 - Unfortunately, the WetBox is now a "history box".  It worked just fine for about 3 weeks, then something internal started leaking.  I think (I'm not sure) the leak was at the fitting where the cartomizer screwed into the box.  In any case, I'd lay it on a few paper napkins at night, and in the morning, the napkins were soaked with liquid.  I returned it for a refund.  I miss the (temporary) simplicity of just squeezing the bottle, but there's no way I can use this device in its current design stage. 

 

Arno has kind of promised me a similar product which I can try and see if it's the solution.  I'm not sure when to expect it, but he's arranging the details.  Thanks - ONCE MORE - to Arno!

02/11/11 - The "collection" just keeps growing.  Arno arranged a wooden mod called the "REO" which is bottle-fed, and also a "ReoMini", a smaller version of the REO, machined from a solid block of aluminum!  I like both of them, and the convenience of feeding liquid by a simple push.  Also, I now have the eGo with 2 monster batteries and "tank" style cartridges.  Filling the eGo "tanks" is entirely too difficult for me, so I'm just using a regular 510 atomizer and cartridge.      

08/07/11 - I think I've pretty much settled on the REO mods.  (http://www.reosmods.com)  Now I have two ReoMinis, one REOGrand, and one REO mini Woodvil.  They are all bottle-fed - meaning they have onboard liquid bottles, which only need to be filled about every day or two.  (depending on how much use they get)

 

A new problem has to do with the new atomizers (510 low resistance).  It appears they are shipped from China with a "primer liquid" which tastes really AWFUL.  I've ordered about 12 of them, and they MUST be cleaned in boiling water before use.  Unfortunately, the ultrasonic does NOT remove that terrible tasting primer, so extra work is required.  Special thanks to Rob at ReosMods, and to Arno for all the help, suggestions, and instructions.   

11/14/11 - Another "supply box" arrived today - Arno sent four dual coil cartomizers for the eGo.  I haven't been using the eGo, and my only reason for not using it is that filling the cartomizers is very difficult for me.  (Strokes .... my hand co-ordination isn't so good.) 

The CE2 cartomizers were (for me) much too messy to refill, so I just accepted the fact.  But these dual coil "tanks" (and they ARE tanks!) are very simple for my limited ability.  And, they provide so much vapor that it feels like my throat might melt. 

 

Arno has been kind of encouraging me to try new things, and he also sent some more CE2 and CE3 cartomizers.  Now I have a use for the eGo batteries that have been just sitting here making me feel guilty.  I'm determined to try refilling the cartomizers again, and Arno taught me a trick or two to make it easier.  Still (it's close to 1 year now), my favorites are Rob's ReoMini, Woodvil, and ReoGrand.  I guess I'm just so used to them that they seem "normal" to me.

 

This is my current collection of REOs.  I'm sure it won't be too long before I have more.

 

 

 

As I probably mentioned above, LEARNING is a large part of e-cigarettes.  And guess what?  I HAVE NOT TOUCHED TOBACCO IN ANY WAY for OVER TWO YEARS!  That's right!  And that old pack of Winstons is still sitting on the shelf. 

03/27/12 - Still having issues with the low resistance 510 atomizers for the REOs.  It seems they're very inconsistent .... I recently ordered 5, and two of them almost burnt my mouth, while the others barely produce any vapor at all - and they're from the same shipment, used on the same ReoMini with fresh batteries each time.  About all I can say is, "Why?" 

 

Several months ago, I bought an "atomizer cleaner" - it's a simple 20cc syringe with some clear plastic tubing.  Insert the atomizer into the plastic tubing, and, (this is done in the sink), using a small container, with very hot water running into it at all times, just suck the water up through the atomizer, then empty it down the drain.  Repeat this about 5 times.  It seems to work nicely for cleaning, but it definitely doesn't make the "weak" atomizers produce the right amount of vapor.  I'm very confused about the inconsistency of these atomizers.  Looks like I'll have to ask a lot more questions - soon!   

06/18/12 - Well - the hot water, syringe "atomizer cleaner" seemed to do some cleaning - very little cleaning, though.  I had plenty - and I mean plenty of atomizers - almost all were dead or nearly dead.  I decided to order a LOT more. 

 

So, I kind of "bit the bullet".  I decided, "Look - they're not working right, so I'll try to BURN these weak atomizers clean.  What's there to lose?" 

The very worst that could happen would be to completely burn out an atomizer that wasn't really working anyway. 

But I'd been warned NOT to do this by a few people.  I was very uncertain about this approach.   

 

I used a hot eGo battery, and burned.  Man, did I burn!  Those that DO still work get HOT, so I burned my fingers, too.  (Try it on about 40-60 atomizers at one sitting - I did.) 

 

If I saw red, that indicated the coil was heating up.  Most of them didn't light up at all, or, if they did, they were very weak red, and it took forever to see any red.  Into the garbage with them. 

 

I really don't want to fool around with non-functional atomizers.  I don't have the patience to waste time with things that don't work.

 

So .... I've tried almost everything: ultrasonic (a waste of time), hot water "syringe" flushes (a waste of time), and soaking overnight in water (another waste of time).  I've read about, but never tried, soaking them in vodka.

 

I've concluded that the only way to get a little more life out of problem atomizers is to BURN away the residue in them. 

I could be right - I could be wrong.  What I'm sure of is that after "burning" them clean, I get at least a little more use.

 

Expect another call, Arno!       

07/08/12 - If it seems too good to be true, it's probably too good to be true.  Burning atomizers clean now seems to be the wrong answer - or I just got carried away, and burned too much.  That's a very high probability.  I guess burning them more conservatively might be a solution, but I was REALLY putting the voltage on some of them: ie; 5 times lighting up an eGo battery and burning until the battery blinked off.  Maybe 5 times is just too much?  Maybe 2 times would be better?  Apparently, there's SOMETHING in those weak atomizers, because some really nasty smelling grey colored smoke comes out during burning.  I guess I'll just have to experiment more, and try to learn.  It sure would be wonderful if electronic cigarettes were about 99% simpler for ignorant people like me!

08/20/12 - The learning just NEVER stops.  I've been using eGos with the 3.5ml tanks and DCA (dual coil atomizers). 

After several tank refills, the liquid changed from very, very light tan (note: I use PG-RY4 - it's very light and thin) to VERY dark brown - almost black. 

It went into the tank with a normal color, but after sitting overnight, I was pretty amazed to see how dark the liquid was. 

So .... I know how to wash out cartomizers, and I have the syringe and tubing to do it right.  Right?  Wrong.  I washed 3 of these dual coil cartomizers, let them dry for 2 days, and tried them.  Primed them plenty, and went through the crisis (for my un-coordinated hands) of filling the tank. 

They TASTED like burning trash - no way is THAT RY4.  It seems that these cartomizers just won't take a hot water cleaning. 

Talking with Arno earlier, he was saying the same basic thing: the quality of the products is going down.  He mentioned that he went through 3 cartomizers, one right after another, until one worked and tasted properly.  I ordered a few boxes of cartomizers, but if this is what I'm going to have to deal with - meaning a new cartomizer every 2 days - and - half of them don't work right anyway - I can tell there will be some more changes around here.

Why the hell did I ever smoke that first tobacco cigarette?

05/24/13 - Still using the eGo with the DCA and the tank.  And, I'm also using Rob's ReoGrand sometimes.  I still haven't touched a tobacco product since November 6, 2009!  The smell (from other people) has become really offensive to my nose.  I can literally smell the odor.  A few months ago, I had a home care woman who smoked (not in this house!) and - I'm sorry to say it - the stink from cigarettes was all over her.  I could actually smell her in another room. 
Still having issues with the DCA cartomizers.  About 30% (or more) of them are simply unusable.  I know I'm doing a good job of priming them (and wasting plenty of liquid) but after priming, they just taste like burning paper.  I'm using a little trick, though.  I over prime the DCAs, wipe up the leakage, but I don't put the tank on until after I've vaped a little on the new cartomizer.  If it tastes OK, then the tank goes on and gets filled. 

 

BUT!  Some of these DCAs (at least 10 so far) can't even screw into a battery!  There are literally NO THREADS ON THEM! 

Also .... I returned one eGo battery charger to PROVE I was telling the TRUTH: it had no threads for the battery. 

09/18/13 - BAD NEWS.  Arno seems to have disappeared.  I've called him for months, and he doesn't call back.

09/23/13 - GREAT NEWS!  After MORE than a year of the DCA / tanks / eGo game - with parts and pieces which can only be described as DEFECTIVE PIECES OF JUNK - I contacted Rob O'Neil at http://www.reosmods.com - and ordered his recent invention: a REBUILDABLE atomizer.  The atomizer and wick can be rebuilt - and DO NOT cause the problems that the garbage DCA cartomizers did.  I know I'll have some difficulty with my hand coordination when I need to rebuild the atomizer, and I guess I'll have to just get past that.  But - if this works out like it should - I'M FINISHED with these Chinese pieces of junk - 30%-40% of which don't work anyway. 

If I sound somewhat pissed off, I AM.  It's because I've been struggling with DEFECTIVE parts for too damn long, and I'm fed up with it.

 

An EXTRA-SPECIAL "THANK YOU!" to ROB, at REOSMODS. 

10/11/13 - Today I replaced the REO atomizer. (it came with an extra)  The original one lasted about 17 days.  Compared to the DCAs, that's amazing.  The task was a little difficult, but I managed to get through it.  Rob's videos (in his Shop section) make it look very easy - my eyesight and hand coordination aren't as good as they used to be.  But I got it done.  I'm noticing that this style atomizer seems to require more e-liquid, thus more refills.  I'll have to talk with Rob about that, and learn a little more.

10/12/13 - While replacing the atomizer yesterday, I guess I did something wrong.  I think (not sure) that I removed too much wick material while I was trying to trim it, and it tasted awful. 

Today I built a new one, and made some discoveries.  My hands are not coordinated enough to make the replacements very easily.  I can't wind the coil as close as Rob's video shows, but I certainly tried.  It might be simpler if the wick was heavier material, instead of having to fold it and work with 2 "layers" as I (tried to) wind the coil wire around it.  Another discovery - the coil wire needs about 30 minutes of use until it "breaks in" and the metallic taste goes away.  Something is on that wire that needs to be burned away - I don't have a clue.  I DEFINITELY need some help from Rob, real soon.

10/20/13 - I just received a VMax and Kanger Tech cartomizer.  It uses an 18350 battery, which says 900mah - but I seriously doubt that.  My 18650s (for the ReoGrand) are HUGE in comparison, and they're about 1000mah.  But on to the problems: first of all, the e-cig/battery part or the cartomizer ARE defective.  If you put the cartomizer on all the way (ie; thread it down to touch the VMax case, as any normal e-cig works), you get NO VAPOR at all.  It must be un-screwed about 1/16" of an inch to get vapor.  And then, you get 20% vapor and 80% air: you can actually HEAR the air.

 

Each time you replace the battery, you have to go through the whole hassle of turning power ON, (5 button hits - but that doesn't work 75% of the time) reset the voltage (the user manual say 3 button hits: that's wrong - it's actually 4), and - to make everything worse - the user manual is completely wrong.  Obviously, it was printed for a different version.  It tells you to push the button ? times for this, and ? times for that - but the thing doesn't work the way the user manual says.  AND, I don't have a clue what these other button pushes mean.  Maybe I'll just give it back. 

10/23/13 - Rebuilt another coil for Rob's ReoGrand.  Although I am wasting some wick and coil material, I actually did pretty good this time!  I wish my coordination - and vision - were a lot better, but it's installed, and working fine.  And (I don't even know how), I got the VMax working, too.  At 3.7 volts, it isn't too bad, but I definitely like the ReoGrand better - if for no other reason, it's 100% SIMPLER to use, and the VMax still does not work with the cartomizer all the way on.  And .... the little batteries don't last anywhere near what a 900mah battery should.   

It's definitely defective - how do I know?  Tested the Kanger cartomizer on an eGo battery - screwed all the way: no vapor.  If I back it out 3/4 of a turn, I get vapor.

11/06/13 - Anniversary Day!  4 YEARS - NO TOBACCO! 
05/23/14 - Well, I'm sad to say this - in ONE way I gave up.  REOSMODS rebuildable atomizers are just too much for my limited hand dexterity and vision.  I'd sure LIKE to use them, but I can't manage.  Now I'm going back to the old-fashion cartomizers on the ReoGrand and the ReoMinis.  I don't have much choice, due to health issues.  I'm sure if I was 15 years younger, I could handle these issues with ease.  One thing I am capable of is mixing my own liquid.  I just order 215ml of 12mg unflavored BASE liquid, and mix it with one bottle of RY4 flavor.  Rob kindly explained all this to me, and pointed me in the right direction.  ANOTHER hand/coordination problem: once I mix up the liquid, I have to refill the smaller squeeze bottles.  This week, I made an almighty mess trying to fill those smaller bottles.  It's hard to believe my hands shake so much that I can't even fill the smaller (15ml) bottles without squirting liquid all over my desk. 

As a future warning to one and all: THIS is what happens to you after a couple strokes, TIAs, and chronic leukemia.  I'm hoping for YOUR sake that all this shit never happens to YOU.  Believe me - you really don't need it.   

05/24/14 - This evening, I started cleaning out my e-cig tackle box.  I've had some parts and pieces in there for over 4 years - and I felt that it was time for some organization.  You'd probably be amazed at my first step: throw out everything related to the (original) DSE801.  Parts were flying into the small garbage box - and I sure felt guilty.  I don't know why, but I just couldn't throw away the 801 USB Pass Through - the "non-battery-battery", so I'll have to give it to somebody that can use it if I can find anyone.  I'm astounded at the number of 801 batteries (dead as a rock) and atomizers (worthless at this point) and mouthpieces that I had tucked into various drawers/sections of that tackle box.  Obviously, I had a "pack rat" syndrome for a long time. 

AND - the top "lid" section of the box contained so many bottles of e-liquid, I was just plain amazed!  Most of the bottles are so old, the liquid has actually turned almost BLACK - God only knows how old they are.  (I'm mixing my own e-liquid now, so I really don't care.) 

I organized all the eGo tanks, and I'm still working on the cartomizers for them - that will take several hours .... I can already see it coming.  I also found 6-8 batteries (the ReoMini size: 14500) which have never been charged - I hope they'll charge properly and hold a charge, regardless of how old they are (and I don't even have a clue HOW old they are).  [Addition: nope.  These batteries charged for at least 8 hours, and they only provide about 10 minutes of use - then they're dead.  Into the trash with them, too.]

Within a few days, I guess I'll get everything completely organized, but I just get too tired trying to do it all at once.  That garbage box is really shocking.  I wouldn't even try to GUESS at how many dollars worth of supplies are going into the garbage pail. 

06/29/14 - AMAZING!  I found this LINK showing how to clear cartomizers - with a paper clip!- and it seems to WORK!  I tried it on three (3) carts, and I'm astounded.  They were on the way to the garbage, but they're working just fine now.  However, a one-day test doesn't qualify as a real test, so I'll have to keep on experimenting to discover facts.  But these three (3) carts sure are producing vapor! 

I also did seven (7) more carts, but tried the initial step of boiling water, meaning I put them in a pan of boiling water for two (2) minutes, got them out, blew the water out, and just before putting them on a plate to fully dry, I tried the paperclip method on them.  I should know very soon if this "process" is going to work out as well as I hope.   

06/30/14 - WOW!  And wow again!  I dug through the "garbage box" and pulled out about twenty (20) (dead) DCAs (dual coil atomizers).  Gave them a four (4) minute bath in boiling water, then tested ONE.  (I didn't even wait for a "dry time", I just blew the water out as best I could and got right to it.)

I used the "paperclip" trick - and I'm telling it like it is!  THE DAMN THING VAPES!!!  I have no idea how long this cart will perform correctly - I just have to test and experiment.  I'm AMAZED!  I can definitely say this: I was just about to dump the whole "garbage box" into the trash, but decided to TRY the boiling water and the paperclip routine.  Let's hope for the best .... if this works right, I'll have over 20 eGo DCAs, and that's a great backup for my REOs.

07/13/14 - Another lesson learned: 10 minutes of boiling cartomizers seems to equal dead cartos.  I still have a lot of experimenting to do, but I think that 10 minutes is just too much .... maybe 2-3 minutes won't "kill" the carto.  I just don't know.  Time for more experimenting.
09/09/14 - It never stops!  In May, I ordered a large quantity of 510 cartomizers.  Being on a fixed income, I've tried very hard to wash and/or boil these cartos clean, and used the paperclip trick to try and get more life from them.  Up to a point, it worked.  But tonight, I replaced the cartos in all 3 REOs which I've been using.  MAN!  I can actually TASTE the RY4 liquid .... it has FLAVOR!  (I've become used to not tasting the flavor, so this is amazing!)  I also bought 4 30ml squeeze bottles with Luer Lock tops - now I think I can coordinate my hands well enough to fill bottles, and do refills, without wasting liquid.  But the BIG progress is using brand new cartos .... WOW!  I forgot how good they taste.  I think I'll go through these, and order a really huge quantity - they taste so much better than the "wash", "boil", "clean" ones .... Jeez!  I'm sitting here with an idiotic grin on my face!
09/16/14 - DECISION DAY.  I've tried almost every method (except vodka and/or everclear) which I've read about to CLEAN cartos, and today, I decided it's all a huge waste of time.  I decided to buy 50 cartos at a time, and just throw out the used cartos when they stop giving me flavor.  It's far too much work (due to my limited hand coordination) to bother with cartos that taste OK for 10 vapes and then start causing problems again.  So .... I think no more washing, boiling, paperclips, etc.  I just don't need to go through all that work to get 10 decent vapes.  I might still use the paperclip trick, but if I don't get flavor immediately, I just don't want the carto anymore.
09/24/14 - I've been VERY carefully studying "cleaning cartos".  During my studying, I've read that "cleaned" cartos can be a source of serious bacteria and also mold if they're AIR dried - and this was how I did it.  Let me share the possibilities (I'm not positive) about this: within the last 4-6 months, using "cleaned" cartos, I've developed rashes on my neck, back, and chest.  I have Rx medication that specifies 3x daily use.  The ointment seems to get rid of the rashes, but they come right back again.  Could this be from using "cleaned" cartos?  I honestly don't know.  I do know that the 2 words "bacteria" and "mold" sure make me nervous.  In theory, I shouldn't have rashes - my food diet and liquid intake have remained essentially the same for many years, so I doubt that the rashes are coming from food or liquid.  Now I have another reason to be ultra-careful about "cleaning" cartos.  It just never ends, does it?
11/06/14 - ANNIVERSARY DAY!  Five (5) years - not even one puff of a tobacco product!

04/12/15 - Nothing has changed drastically.  I've been using 510 cartos for a long, long time with the REOGrands, and going through the (typical) problem that some of them last for 3 days, some last for 1 hour, and others last for 2 weeks.   

I've been mixing my own RY4 and DHill liquids - I prefer 12mg PG base - and there's no problem in that area.  Soon, I'm going to try 2 bottles of RY4 flavor per 250 ml of base liquid - previously I only used 1 bottle of flavor, which several people told me was kind of weak.  I guess we'll see how the increased flavor works out.  Of course, I'm hoping for the best - but who really knows?

The REOGrands are really spectacular mods!  I haven't had any problem with either of them.  Last week, I ordered some new 18650 batteries - mine (unbelievably!) have lasted for over 2 years, and they still take a charge, but "run out of power" pretty quickly, so I can conclude that they've just about lived out their working life.  The 3 new batteries (LG 18650) are taking forever on their first charge, but this may be due to their 2500 mAh rating.  Speaking with Rob, the "2500 mAh" might mean several different  things, depending on the protocol used to make that claim.  Again, we'll see.  3 batteries should be a fair trial, and if they aren't what I need and expect, I guess I'll have to buy more AW brand batteries.  (Later: the LG 18650s are flat-top batteries, and do not work well with my REOGrands.  Yes, I bought 3 new AW button top batteries.)     

05/09/15 - Oh, boy - did I make a mistake!  "Someone" (I'd rather not mention any names) told me that I should use TWO 10ml bottles of RY4 flavor per 250ml of PG base (mentioned above).  I ordered these products, mixed them thoroughly, and let them "steep" for about 1 week.  When I tried this new, "more flavor" mixture, I got sick - literally.  The taste was absolutely, incredibly .... SOUR!  My stomach revolted to the new mixture.  I wasted the whole 250ml base and 2x 10ml flavors - (with the exception of my test).  I just dumped all of it down the toilet, and re-ordered 250ml base and ONE bottle of RY4 flavor.  I'm hoping things get back to normal very, very soon.
10/02/15 - A small disaster happened.  While refilling the bottle in Grand2 (the newer one), the nipple broke off the 510 adapter - the tubing (with the broken nipple inside) just fell right out in my hand.  I've been refilling the Grands and the Minis for a long time, and this never happened before.  I'm very careful not to bend the tubing much when removing the bottle for refilling.  Ordered another Grand (Grand3) so I'd have 2 on my desk all the time.  Sent the broken Grand2 to Rob for repair.  Rob DEFINITELY stands behind his products!  Thank You, Rob!
11/06/15 - Anniversary Day!  6 YEARS - NO TOBACCO! 
11/06/16 - Anniversary Day!  7 YEARS - NO TOBACCO!
1/30/17 - Decided to try a change .... 50% PG and 50% VG liquid.  I didn't realize the VG liquid is a LOT thicker than the PG, so I had some serious issues trying to fill the liquid bottles on the ReoGrands through my (standard) 18 gauge blunt needles on the squeeze bottles.  My hand just wouldn't squeeze hard enough.  Then I found some sample "cannulas" (a whole box of 100!) - which replace the 18 gauge needles, and are also blunt .... problem solved!  These cannulas are the answer to my refill bottle problems!  The taste (this is just the first day) seems to have much more flavor than the previous 100% PG.  I guess we'll see how things go in the next few weeks - meaning refills.

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