Disclaimer: Craft Vapery sent the CV starter kit to me to try. I paid nada for it.
I'm not a smoker. I've had a few puffs. My first was taken at the top of a radio tower in southern Sweden. That particular fag belonged one of my talented mates, Colin Janz aka Frederick, or his cousin, Jeremy. The last puff I had was sometime in early 2014, with one of the Dita Audio gentlemen. So I guess I do smoke, but only on occasion. And, despite being dragged up a shifty radio tower for my first puff, smoking to me has never been a peer pressure thing. It's always been a moment thing.
But after puffing my way through about a quarter of a teat, I've got the feeling that vaping could become a guilty pass time. It is total geek fodder. I mean, check out the specs for the Kanger AeroTank2 atomiser from KrangerTech (pictured above):
voltage: 3,7V - 5,5V
It reads like the top line of a spec sheet from your favourite headphone. And just like a battery-powered DAC, sooner or later, you will have to plug its battery into your iMac. Unlike most portable DACs and headphone amps, both modules are machined from steel. Screwed together, they outweigh my straight razor. As the only plastic bit on the couple is the battery indicator/power switch (hereon called the burninator), the hand feel is solid. Its screw mounts are no where near as smoothly machined as even the cheapest of Leica Mount thread lenses, but they twist and twirl about as smoothly as, say, the volume pot of an ALO Rx MKIII+.
And, in order to charge the battery, clean or polish the parts, fill the glass tube, etc., you need to unscrew all the parts. Vorzüge PURE II owners, you know what that's all about. The process is fun going, and again, as full of geek street cred as rolling tubes or op-amps.
The eGo-CTwist battery module that twists into the AeroTank2's ass came packed in flimsy cardboard. The AeroTank2 came a bit better protected. Both are China-made products. Fine lines and small dings line both bodies. The eGo-Twist's voltage marks don't properly line up with red selector below them, and all typography and marques are printed, rather than laser-engraved on both modules. Sometimes, burninator doesn't light up when depressed. I've gotten into the habit of eyeballing it before every inhale. Again, this is entry-level vape gear, and I'm a virtual newb, so my impressions go out from from the perspective of a commercial photographer. I'm used to scrutinising a product under a 40x loupe. To me, metal doesn't mean quality. It means metal. But, for the sub-100$ price that this kit goes for, it's not bad. The average joe may even be impressed.
Being a lightweight, I opted for testers with either 0mg or 6mg of nicotine (per ml), each of which give me a buzz. What I'm currently sucking down is called The Warden, by Monarch E-Juice. Its fruity and sweet and packs 6mg of nicotine. It smells nothing like the molten dust and charred duck bones that spew out of a cigarette. It goes down smooth, and thick. And like puffing at a fag, the action itself is seductive. But it's nothing like pinching a wood pipe between your teeth.
Again, it's geeky. You twist things, you screw things, you pinch teats between your fingernails. By upping the voltage, you control the heat at which the e-liquid is blazed. The more you burn, the more potent the air you inhale. My virginal airways get on best with no more than 3,6V. But my fingers love twirling the voltage selector. Even depressing the LED is hella fun. I've got to be careful.
Vaping is a simple pleasure. Compared to traditional smoking, it's practically odourless. And in the long run, it should produce less waste. I've gone back and forth from my office to my kitchen in order to top up the bourbon. Not once have I been bothered more by vape effluvium than by the aftermath of a light misting of body spray. And The Warden makes flavoured coffee taste better.
As an electronics geek, I'm down with the idea of inhaling nicotine through something whose manual labels spec in Ω and voltage. But I know little about the vaping industry, and I would hate to recommend nicotine, or nicotine-free vapes to a person that isn't already hooked. Finally, I have no idea of luxury vaping hardware exists. If it doesn't, there's little in it for me in the long-run.
I'll watch. I'll see. And in moderation, I'll smoke.