Switching from cigs for vape? Read our guide on avoiding fakes
January is the month that people make a new commitment to self-improvement.
Quitting smoking is another poplar New Year's resolution. Every year thousands of people hope to kick the habit and become healthier.
Whereas in the past stopping smoking involved a mix of willpower and sweets or nicotine patches and gum, the invention of electronic cigarettes now offers a new, and increasingly popular, alternative.
But, as with any new market, there has been an explosion of knock-off products aimed at catching customers unaware.
Here's our guide on how to avoid fake e-cigs.
Up in smoke
Since electronic cigarettes – or e-cigs, vaporisers or vape pens, as they have variously known – have grown in popularity, there has been increasing reports of them exploding, sometimes harming users.
Firefighters are now reported to attend one e-cig related fire a week. Made of lithium, the batteries that power e-cigs can explode at incredibly high temperatures.
Explosions are rare. However, to stop e-cig related fires and explosions, there are several steps consumers can take.
First, as with all electronics, do not charge them with anything but the compatible charger.
Many of these explosions have been due to vapers using different chargers and batteries to those that came with the original product. Also, do not leave an e-cig charging for long periods of time.
Correctly carrying and storing the battery pack of e-cigs is also vital. In the US, a teenager apparently blew up his e-cig battery pack when coins in his trouser pocket caused it to short.
Cheaply manufactured products are also to blame. Consumers should be sure to try and buy from only the more trusted and established brands such as Kangertech or Aspire. Cheaper, less known brands could prove dangerous.
Watch out for copy cats
Buying products with an established name isn’t always a guarantee of safety.
Increasingly, counterfeit products are being sold on the market. As they are not made or imported legally, they are often not made to safe standards.
These are often as dangerous as unknown and cheap brands, with fake parts of products just as liable to explode.
To ensure your product is real, the most obvious solution is to buy from a reputable outlet. However, with many e-cig retailers being quite new or based online, knowing whether a shop is reputable is not always easy.
To help with this, many of the biggest e-cig manufacturers now have unique codes on the box or packaging of each of their items.
Users can enter this code online through the company’s website to determine if a product is real or a dangerous copy cat. Be sure to look out for the code - often covered by a thin plastic layer that can be scratched off, much like a scratchcard.
E-cig subscription scams
As with many products with an addictive component (while safer than conventional cigarettes, e-cigs still usually contain nicotine), some companies hope to hook customers through subscription payments.
Companies will sometimes offer a cheap introductory product and sign you up for a subscription for refills.
The e-cigs offered by such a service are, rather often, cheap in quality but not in price. They aren't worth it
Those wishing to purchase e-cigs would be better off purchasing a regular kit outright and buying refills themselves. The subscription models rarely work out better.
Have you had a bad experience with any dodgy e-cig companies? Do you think e-cigs are a good alternative to tobacco?
Let us know in the comment box below.
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