At the start of Stoptober, we reviewed the SMOKO Vape kit which we thought was a really good starter kit for people looking to stop smoking who wanted great flavour and a reliable, easy to use set up. This time we are checking out the E-cigarette kit, another starter kit which adds a familiar feel and look for those ex-smokers who might not be interested in the larger format of most vaping devices.
SMOKO have one simple aim – to help people make a healthier lifestyle choice. To do this, they have a very focused product line up which is aimed purely at smoking cessation and not at the hardcore vape hobbyist market so if you are after cloud chucking, you won’t find that here. But if you are just thinking of quitting but are put off by complicated tanks, Ohms law, coil building, temp control and the boggling range of vaping terms, you will be very well looked after by the guys at SMOKO. If you have read my previous review, you will see just how passionate they are about harm reduction. They offer a very warm helping hand, backed up with stellar support with various options to help you stay off the stinkies.
When I first started vaping, way back in the mists of time…. well 2011…. I started with a very similar set up. OK, my kit was purple, but the shape was similar. The market was quite limited back then, but I just wanted something that looked and felt like a cigarette and would be easy to use. But back then, we were also limited by the available flavours. Trust me, new vapers these days really don’t know how lucky they are! Jump forward nine years and there is still very much a place for “cigalike” kits. They are the perfect way to delve into the exciting world of vaping, opening up the gateway to healthier lungs and a better way of satisfying our addictions.
Once again, the SMOKO E-cigarette kit has a premium presentation which straight away makes you feel like you have a quality set up. The kit comes beautifully packaged in a silver, embossed presentation box which houses the white battery, two “mint Breeze” cartridges and a charger. You will also find a comprehensive yet approachable instruction leaflet and a folded sheet with all the safety information and warnings that you would expect. It is simple but elegant.
The battery came with charge, but I would always recommend giving any new battery a full charge before you start using it. Thankfully it doesn’t take long and then it is ready to get started. The cartridges come sealed in a plastic wrap and have a rubber end cap and bung at each end to prevent leakage and ensure perfect freshness. All you need to do is remove the packaging and screw it on to the battery and you are ready to vape. This is an auto draw device, meaning that there are no buttons or controls, you just use it like you would a regular cigarette. When you inhale, a light at the tip lights up blue to let you know it is working and to emulate the familiar feel of glowing tip. The draw is tight enough that you have to take a proper drag without feeling like you are trying to force things. It is a very comfortable and natural feel if you are used to a filtered tip. The thing I really like is how well balanced it feels when you hold it. My old starter kit always felt off kilter, the battery end just dragged everything down, but you can actually hold this between your fingers in exactly the same way that you’d hold a ciggie so straight away you feel comfortable. I haven’t smoked a cigarette since I started vaping, but straight away I felt very at home using this and the old smoking muscles instinctively settled into my old smoking ways. Things like this can make or break things in the early days so this was really good to see.
Obviously, this isn’t the biggest battery in the world, and you won’t get a day out of it so I would strongly suggest you pick up a spare battery or two so you always have at least one charged and ready to go. Charging doesn’t take long but when though cravings hit, it can feel like a lifetime. The golden rule of vaping is to always have a backup and always have a backup to the back up!
I would also highly recommend you take a look around the SMOKO website as it is incredibly informative and offers all the help, hits and tips you could possibly need. They cover all the basics and should be able to answer any questions you might have about the kit or about vaping in general. Not only is it packed with useful information, everything is done in a very friendly and approachable manner so newbies will never fell out of their depth. It is one of the many things that helps SMOKO to secure their niche in the vaping market.
Refill packs(https://smoko.com/pages/electronic-cigarette-refills1) contain 5 cartridges and you can choose from three strengths, 20mg, 18mg and 15mg. There are no lower options, but these work well as most of us need a bit more of a nicotine hit when we are first making the change. All their e-liquids are proudly made in the uk and have been specifically designed with western tastes in mind. The line-up is impressive too with flavours like absinthe, coffee, Havana and more so there is definitely enough to appear to as many tastes as possible. Each refill pack will set you back £9.99 which is actually very reasonable when you break things down. SMOKO claim that each refill cartridge is the equivalent of 35 cigarettes, and you get 5 refills so that is a whopping 175 smokes! I have no idea how much a packet of Marlborough are these days, but I do know it is considerably more expensive than a pack of refills!
I was sent seven different flavours to try and When asked what I’d like, I just said to surprise me, so I was looking forward to seeing what arrived. I wasn’t disappointed.
Mint Breeze is the default option that comes with the kit. It is a very fresh mint with a good menthol kick. It is very clean tasting with a good throat hit which will make any menthol smoker feel happy. It is not quite as sweet as the Vape Kit version, but it doesn’t detract from the overall feel.
This is a very authentic cigarette taste, a slightly spiced tobacco with just the right amount of “ashiness”. It works really well in this kind of kit and helps to provide a very realistic smoking type experience. This is a good way to ease yourself in.
Much stronger that the Mint Breeze. It almost takes your breath away but still manages to taste and feel smooth. It coats your mouth nicely.
It is not as rich as the vape kit version, but it is silky smooth and very pleasant. It could have been a tad stronger as the taste of the cartridge filler does come through a little bit.
Juicy and fragrant, this one was surprisingly fruit. It has a lovely, slightly tart flavour on the exhale. It manages the perfect balance of sweet and tangy.
I love cherry flavours so am always happy when I get sent a new one to try. This one is sweet and smooth with great depth and a deliciously smooth exhale. It reminds me of a black cherry pie filling. Even better, there is no bitterness and nothing that reminds me of nail varnish remover which sadly a lot of cherry juices manage to taste like.
I was rather impressed by how much flavour SMOKO managed to pack into these little refills. Sure, they weren’t quite as strong as the vape kit ones, but it is a totally different style of cartridge, and one that has a tendency to mute the flavours so the fact they got this much flavour really is quite impressive. Vapour production was also fine, no huge clouds but definitely comparable to the same amount you’d manage smoking. The whole aim is to make a smoker feel at home and these definitely manage this very well.
Whilst I personally have moved away from this type of kit, if I was taking my first steps, I would absolutely love a kit like this. After all, I used something very similar but not as good all those years ago. The ease of use is a major plus, mix this with a great selection of flavours and the extra support you get from SMOKO themselves, I would have no problem recommending this to anyone who wants to make the change. I would particularly suggest giving it a go if you have maybe an older family member who wants to quit but is put off by all the technical stuff us old hands love. I tried to set my Dad up with a fairly basic kit a few years ago but it was still more commitment and faff than he wanted, he just wanted something that looked and felt like what he was used to. I am fairly confident that if I’d given him a SMOKO E-cigarette kit, he would have been able to make the change instead of reverting back to his roll ups and maybe he might still be with us now.
If you fancy giving this a go or want to buy it to help someone you love make a positive change to their life, you can pick up the kit from SMOKO. The usual price for the kit is £24.99 but they have a great deal at the moment which drops the price to £9.99 and they are also giving a £10 voucher to use on your next purchase which will make it even better value to stock up on more refills.