Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review: CJ's E-Cigs in OKC

Today I visited a south side vape shop, CJ's E-Cigs (they have a Facebook page also). The store is located on the south side of I-240 Service Rd just west of Pennsylvania Ave. Not the easiest to find, but not too difficult either. The shopping center has many other stores and restaurants and plenty of parking making for a choice location, in my opinion.

The shop itself is small but well decorated, if just a touch more feminine than suits me...but it is not so girly that it hurt my macho pride to actually stay and visit with Jerrie Lynn who was the staff person on duty. When I walked in, she was in the process of blending juice for a customer, but she greeted me as soon as she could. This gave me a minute or so to look around the lounge area and to check out what items they had in the retail display case.

Their hardware inventory suggests that they cater primarily to beginning vapers with a taste for bling and style. Nestled among the leopard print and digital camo "eGo" batteries, I was pleased to see some solid colored genuine Joye eGos also. I mention this because I am not very keen on the quality of non-eGo batteries due to lack of longevity. I believe I also saw a battery mod or two in the case, but that is not what this trip was about.

I mean, face it, I mentioned she was blending juice when I walked in to the store, and e-liquid IS a huge part of the vaping experience. The flavor list with which I was presented shows about 110 different juices, and when asked, Jerrie Lynn stated their base is a 60/40 VG/PG blend. Acting the novice, I asked how I go about sampling a few of the flavors and she immediately grabbed a battery, a prefilled tank with the first flavor I was wanting to try, and a...hmmm, I guess I will use the common term..."condom" (for sanitary purposes). As I was sampling a few flavors, Jerrie Lynn explained that all of their samples were 0 nicotine juice. I guess if you are going to have samples for everybody that is one way of doing it, but as an experienced vapor, I found myself trying to imagine how the vapor would feel with a little "throat hit", after all, you know some flavors just need the sensation as well as the taste.

I decided on a flavor, Almond Joy if you must know, and told her my nicotine level. She told me that since juices were made to order I could have her tweak the flavor to suit my tastes and I did just that, asking for her to increase the chocolate. She made my 5ml bottle and I pulled out my eGo ready to direct drip one of my favorite candy bars! The first hit reminded me that chocolate flavoring is bitter, and I told her that next time I will get it with the original ratio. She suggested that I let her have the bottle back and she would increase the almond and cocoanut to balance it all out. When she was done I had a bottle of "Extra Flavor Almond Joy" and was quite pleased.

So here is my rating of CJ's E-Cigs in SW OKC (individual items scored on scale from 1 to 5):

Atmosphere: 4
Customer Service: 5
Hardware: 3
Juice: 4

Overall (rated on a scale from 1 to 10): 8

This shop seems to be geared to beginning vapers, I am a little uncertain about the wisdom of sacrificing substance for style in the hardware (of course sometimes you have to in order to please your customers tastes), but the juice was good and the customer service was great. As I didn't really make a note of prices other than e-juice (which was a little higher than I am used to paying $5/5ml $10/10ml) that is not figured into my rating. This store opened in December of 2012, I think I will give them another three months or so and then write a follow up review...in the mean time, I will probably visit them again to try some more of their e-juices.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Oklahoma Vape Destinations

Vaping is really taking off in Oklahoma City. It seems that new vape shops are opening up every month. I have visited most of the OKC Shops. Over the next few months, I plan on visiting the shops with the purpose of providing an unbiased "review" of the store, its juices and its other merchandise.

I will be using a custom Google Map by someone with the moniker KnotSmoke.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The new OKC Vapor Shop

Today I spent 4 hours with Mike, Ruthie, and “Doc” over at Doc’s Vapor shop. I had a great time just hangin’ out and getting to know them. They’re good people, highly motivated, enthusiastic, and ready to maximize exposure to the public. I told them I’m in it to help them in any way I can. I really want to see this place become successful, especially as Oklahoma City’s first real vape-friendly establishment.

We talked about many things: What products to possibly carry in the future, what flavors of e-liquid would be great additions to their line, some marketing ideas, and of course, the upcoming vape meet!

I have some answers to questions you’ve all been asking:

They have enough floor space to accommodate about 4 folding tables: There’s 16 seats right there. I will be bringing my own folding table and chair set to the meet. We are going to need a few more. Please let me know if you can bring some on your way here.

Mike wants to know what kind of things you would be interested in buying while you are there. Please let me know if you need atomizers, drip tips, eGo tanks, more batteries, and whatever so he can make sure he has enough for everyone if you plan to buy while you are there. Some of you are coming from afar, and it nice if you could pick up what you needed while you were here.

We’re all really excited about this meet up. I know that Mike and Doc said they would be up till about midnight tonight planning and tweaking on e-juice flavors. Hit me up on the OKC Vapers page on Facebook for what flavors you’d like to see them carry so they can create something especially for you!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Katherine Heigl uses an Electronic Cigarette with David Letterman



If you are still smoking "analog" cigarettes, see what Katherine Heigl and David Letterman have to say about Electronic Cigarettes.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

On Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigs) and Personal Vaporizers


Tobacco has been used from ancient times in the Americas, primarily by smoking or chewing. The use of tobacco has been linked to numerous health problems linked to the way that it is used...here we will only be considering its primary method of use: smoking.

Smoking involves burning the dried (cured) leaves of the tobacco plant and inhaling the resulting smoke. Tobacco can be smoked in a pipe, or it can be rolled in a wrapper made from whole tobacco leaves (a cigar) or made from paper (a cigarette).

Tobacco smoke has many detrimental effects on the body mainly due to the numerous chemical compounds produced during burning.

The reason for smoking is simple, the intake of  nicotine. Nicotine, is a mild stimulant and, according to current medical thinking, more than mildly addictive. The effects of nicotine in the body are still being studied, but include increased heart rate and blood pressure.

The fact that nicotine alone apparently has less health risks than smoking tobacco leaves, led a Beijing pharmacist, Hon Lik, to invent an electronic device that would simulate smoking and deliver nicotine into the body without burning tobacco. His invention in commonly known as an electronic cigarette or simply an "E-cig".

As there is no combustion (burning) in an E-cig, using one cannot be considered "smoking", a new word, "vaping" is the common term for using an E-cig due to the vapor that is produced. Those in the vaping community commonly refer to traditional cigarettes as "analog cigarettes" or simply "analogs".

E-cigs come in many forms, but, for the most part, they function the same. There is a power source, an atomizer and a liquid containing nicotine and flavorings. The liquid, known as E-liquid, E-juice or simply Juice, is applied to the atomizer which is heated using the power source causing the liquid to vaporize. This vapor is inhaled and the nicotine enters the body through the lungs.

Automatic E-cig designed to resemble an "analog" cigarette.
The differences among the various styles of E-cigs come from design of the power source and how it is activated (generally referred to as "automatic" or "manual"), the design of the atomizer and the method of applying the E-liquid to the atomizer.

As with any electronic device, the power source is of great importance. In most cases, E-cigs rely on a "battery" to supply electric current to the atomizer, though there are units that must be powered from an external power source, they must be "plugged in" to a wall outlet or even the USB port on your computer. The electric current is sent to the atomizer when a switch is activated. This switch can be internal to the device and activated when the user draws or puffs on the device. This style is called "automatic". Most quality devices have a button style switch that the user must press to activate; this style is called "manual".

A manual E-cig can be identified by a button or switch for activation.
Upon activation of the switch an electronic current is allowed to flow through an atomizer to create heat. Atomizers, also, come in different designs. One of the major differences in designs is in the resistance of the atomizers. Lower resistance atomizers allow more current to pass through and provide a thicker, richer vapor. Of course, using more current depletes the battery faster, but most in the "vaping" community would rather have the more satisfying vapor and have to recharge their batteries more frequently.

This is the Silver Bullet "mod" from AltSmoke.
Some, however, find this trade-off unacceptable, and numerous modified E-cigs, or simply "mods" (sometimes referred to as "personal vaporizers or PVs) are available on the market that have much more powerful power supplies that provide satisfying vapor and excellent battery life. More on mods later.

To get the E-liquid to the heating element of the atomizer many methods have been devised. There are cartridges filled with a fibrous material that is saturated with Juice which are attached to the atomizer and rely on wicking to draw the E-juice into the atomizer. There is also a combination cartridge-atomizer, known as a "cartomizer" in which the cartridge and atomizer are in the same component. Another popular method of introducing E-liquid into the atomizer involves dripping drops of liquid directly into it, this method goes by the creative name "direct dripping" or simply "dripping". Recently, tank systems have been devised that can hold more E-juice and either keep a cartridge or cartomizer saturated or allow the juice to enter the atomizer in some other controlled fashion.
E-liquid/E-juice

The last part of the E-cig that will be discussed in this post is the E-liquid. This is the most important part as it delivers the nicotine. E-juice comes in countless varieties, but can most easily be classified by nicotine level and the base used to create the juice. Nicotine levels can range from nil to very strong. Nicotine strength is usually given as a percent or in milligrams (mg). There are E-liquids that range from 0 mg up to 36 mg and higher. It has been my experience that juices higher than 36 mg are generally unflavored and are used in making custom E-liquids. I have found that an 18 mg solution seems to equate to somewhere between the strength of a light and an ultra-light analog cigarette. While the strength of the nicotine will play a role in the level of enjoyment a user gets from their E-cig, what the liquid is made from is also a factor. E-liquids are made from propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG) or a blend of both (PG/VG). Experienced vapers seem to gravitate toward VG blends due to the thicker vapor generated.

I hope this post serves as a good primer for the novice vaper or someone considering taking up vaping.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Low Resistance 901 Cartomizer

I’ve recently placed and received an order from EmpireMods, which included a dripshield for one of my friends and various other adapters for me. Upon receipt, I noticed that the company had included a “free gift” with this order. This gift was a cartomizer of sorts with a 510 fitting. At this I thought, “Oh great, another cartomizer that make a mess and wastes liquid.” Consequently, I put it away in my tackle box of spare parts and accessories, thinking that one day when I was bored and had juice to spare I’d mess with cartomizers once again.
A couple of days later when I was going through what juice I had left, I stumbled upon this “free gift”. I actually took it out of the plastic wrapping, took the two condom caps off both ends and instinctively removed the white top cap with a pen. The insides of this one looked a little different than the older cartomizers. There was an extra stopper with a hole in the center just underneath the white top cap. I removed that and noticed that there was a slight difference to the mesh filler material inside the chamber. The plastic center channel was gone, and with a flashlight I could see the heating element in the center of the atomizer! “Hmmmm,” I thought, “This one’s worth a try.” The last thing I noticed was that this cartomizer did not have a 510 connector; it was a 901 with the tiny air hole on the side near the bottom! I filled it up with about 25 drops of “Safe Sex on the Beach” from the Vaporcast Store. I used a 510 to 901 adapter for my eGo and put a drip tip on the business end.
I must say, this thing works better than any atomizer I’ve tried to date. The pull is light, the vapor is surprisingly thick, and it lasts for a good while. I used it in the car today on the way back to the base (where I work for those of you who don’t know), I didn’t have to mess with it while I was driving. I realized that now all I have to do is fill it up again when I park, do my shopping, and when I come back to it I can vape it all the way back home (30 minute drive). This is the kind of cartomizer I’ve been looking for! I did some research online from the EmpireMods site and learned that this thing was officially called the Low Resistance 901 cartomizer from www.ikenvape.com. I haven’t been to that site in quite some time, but I see not that it is actually 2.0 ohms and most people still consider that a low resistance atomizer. This will definitely be on my next supply order!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vaping on the eGo

In the past three weeks or so, I was able to get 4 of my friends, both military and civilian acquaintances, into vaping and have found myself steering them towards www.vaporcaststore.com. The owners are well-known in the vaping community. I’ve since convinced myself and others that the $70 eGo kit that is offered through them is a great deal because everything in the kit is well thought-out. Oddly enough, I don’t own the device and yet I talk it up like it’s the best model to start out with. I am well aware that it is human nature to question someone else’s judgment when they have no experience in the matter and can only assume that the same thought passed through their minds. This is when the guilt started to set in.

The eGos are a great starter model for the new vaper! I can say this with even more conviction because I now own one. I just couldn’t pass up the deal and opportunity. I didn’t purchase the full kit; I just bought ONE battery and cone. It’s the 1000mah version with a mini USB connector on the end cap. My own personal dilemma with the eGo in general was the fact that you would have to disassemble it every time you wanted to charge the battery. I don’t know how much on an inconvenience it is to everyone who already has one, but for me it meant cleaning up all the liquid that leaked out of an atomizer and built up in the cone section, cleaning the cone itself, and cleaning the liquid off the atomizer connection just to charge the darn thing. When I discovered that you can use this type of eGo with the USB still plugged in to a port on your computer or other powered USB port, I thought this would be the best choice since I’d never have to disassemble the atomizer and cone for the whole life of the atomizer!

They work great with Low-res atomizers. The battery is powerful enough to handle the current draw. I'd say that even the 900 mah version is enough, but I'd be a bit leery with using a LR atty with the standard 650 mah version. For all you new vapers, I'd still recommend you buy the full kit because you'd have two functioning units so you'd always have a backup and a spare. I bought mine for impression testing and demonstrations so all I need is one battery, but now I'm seriously considering getting a second. Its's been 3 days now and I haven't picked up my beloved Icon since.


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