Movie queen Katherine Heigl smoked one. Now other alternative-seeking tobacco addicts want one. We have the lowdown on the e-cigarette: where you can get it, what you should expect to pay, what you should consider -- and why it'll save you money over regular cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes are apparently the latest trendy gadgets for smokers trying to quit. The official brand name for one is SmokeStik, and according to the Web site for the product, it works by recreating the entire smoking experience, including an exhaled “smoke-like vapor,” so would-be quitters do not feel as though they are missing out on their cigarette breaks. Apparently the SmokeStik (or eCig) contains no tobacco or tar and is free of over 400 other chemicals in traditional cigarettes that are known to cause cancer. It is also produces no ashes or stubs.
Katherine Heigl’s personal and professional lives collided while making her new romantic comedy “Life as We Know It.”
“I literally became a mother four days before filming began so the whole process of filming and my personal life it’s all on camera,” the actress, who adopted her daughter Naleigh with husband Josh Kelley in September 2009, told Access Hollywood Thursday night at the film’s New York premiere.
The e-cigarette industry has been expecting you. Since Heigl "lit up" her electronic cigarette on The Late Show with David Letterman, visits to e-cigarettedirect.com, which sells the Veppo brand, have increased by 10%, said Keith King, vice president of sales and marketing.Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated, tobacco-free cigarettes that allow users to inhale vapor either with or without nicotine. The vapor is free from tar, carbon monoxide "and hundreds of carcinogens that are found in regular cigarettes," said the e-cigarettedirect.com site copy.
E-cigs are being marketed by many as healthier, odorless alternatives to cigarettes, though few will make an official claim that it helps kick the habit. "I cannot say it's a quitting device," King told WalletPop, though "customers have used it as such."
We don't want to be the buzz kill, but the FDA has tested e-cigarette samples and found that they contained carcinogens and diethylene glycol, an antifreeze element. It is legal to smoke them in public spaces, although some states are reportedly pondering a ban.
Starter kits online generally range from $50 to $140. They usually include an e-cigarette, cartridges that contain the flavor and desired nicotine level, rechargeable batteries and a charger. Among the brands with search-engine popularity are V2, which offers an economy kit for $59.95 "to start upgrading your health" and standard kit for $74.95. ECigarette was one of the few we found that sells only nicotine-free e-cigs, beginning at $129 for the whole package. Dieter Fiebig, founder of ECigarettesUSA.com, wrote on the company website that his wife died of lung cancer at age 41 and perhaps she would have had a different future had she switched to a nicotine-free e-cigarette.
Whatever brand you choose, you can bet the Marlboro Man that you will save money. King used Veppo as an example. The $100 kit delivers the equivalent of 30 packs of cigarettes, he said. That's a little more than $3 a pack. From then on, consumers only need the e-liquid refills, which cost $28.99 and provide another 30 packs' worth. That's less than a dollar a pack. Either scenario amounts to far less than the $6 to $7 a pack cigarettes cost. Veppo also sells a disposable e-cigarette ($13.99) that contains the equivalent of 30 cigarettes. E-cigarettes are sold in stores, too; most manufacturers produce e-cigars as well.
E-cigarette makers are hoping they can exhale at some point after health officials give the product their full attention. Perhaps then could the industry convey a more certain message about the benefits. With the FDA watching like a grandmother ready to scold, the industry is performing a delicate marketing dance. Are e-cigs a lesser evil, healthier alternative or a life-saver? Nobody is saying for sure. Nobody is allowed to say for sure.
At least the e-cigarette already has an unofficial spokeswoman. Heigl, the former Grey's Anatomy regular who now specializes in big-screen romantic comedies from Knocked Up to the upcoming Life as We Know It (Oct. 8), told Letterman as she dragged on her SmokeStik that she tried cold-turkey, the patch, the gum and a drug called Chantix. None of them took.
I was watching an interview clip of Katherine Heigl appearing on the David Letterman show when she got to talking about the trials of giving up smoking. After listing the usual things such as patches and prescription drugs, she pulled out a curious contraption describing it as "an electronic cigarette".
I was convinced it was a joke, but after further investigation I discovered that this is indeed a legitimate invention that uses a battery to heat up liquid nicotine and allows the user to breathe in and out something that looks like smoke. Actually, though, it's harmless water vapour and has been proven to be safer for the user and those around them than tobacco.