SMOKO Vape Starter Kit
It is nearly Stoptober again already, where does the time go! This hopefully means more people will be looking to ditch the smokes in search for a healthy change to their lifestyle. You may be one of those people, or you may know someone who is thinking of trying vaping for the first time but are wondering what would be a good starting point. Well, hopefully this review will help you with those oh so important first steps as we look at the Vape starter Kit from SMOKO.
When I first started vaping, way back in 2011, choice was limited to say the least, and flavours were limited and were quite frankly a bit rough. But things have moved on a long way since then, and thanks to companies like SMOKO, it is now easier than ever to quit smoking. I really wish they had been around then as my early steps would have been a whole lot easier. You new vapers don’t know how lucky you are!
SMOKO are an independent vaping company who are absolutely passionate about helping people live healthier lives. I had a lovely chat with Mike, the co-owner, and his passion was obvious. The company was started after his wife sadly lost her father to lung cancer, something that many of us have been through with our own loved ones so we know how painful that is. Cancer is so cruel and the treatment isn’t much better, so they made it their mission to find a better way so they wouldn’t have to go through that again and in turn could help other people improve their chances too. Thus SMOKO was formed. They have gone from strength to strength and now have thousands of customers all over the world.
SMOKO’s real strength, in my opinion, is that they are not trying to reinvent the wheel. They only have two main product lines and you won’t find any cloud chucking, high performance box mods or rebuildable in sight. That may seem strange these days they know their market and have really honed their products for it. They specialise 100% in products that will get you off the stickies and that is it. It is a model that works well. Mike told me the average customer is at least 35 years old but they have regulars who are in their 80s who just want a simple and effective system that is easy to use and, most important, works. I’d say they have pulled this off perfectly.
The first thing that struck me when I opened my review package was the presentation, the battery, Mint Breeze pod and charging cable some in a very smart silver embossed presentation box, all of which makes you feel like you have bought a quality product. Most of these starter kits come in cheap blister packs at best, so already you can feel that SMOKO care about their products. As well as the device, you also get a battery safety sheet, basic instructions and health advice, and a glossy, more detailed instruction sheet which also gives some nice hints and tips, additional flavour information and contact details if you should need further help. I also got a printed A4 sheet in with the bundle which also has instructions, help and advice. You really feel that SMOKO are there for you and really want you to succeed. It tells you everything from the best angle to hold the e-cigarette to how many puffs is a rough equivalent to a ciggie, all really helpful information for any new vaper.
The kit comes with a prefilled Mint Breeze pod and setting up is just a case of removing it from the cellophane, taking off the bungs at both ends and screwing it on. It works on an autodraw system so you just inhale and the device does the rest. There are no buttons, no settings, no faff. When the battery gets low, a red light comes on at the bottom telling you to plug it in. When charged, this light turns blue and you are ready to go again. With any kit like this, I absolutely recommend picking up a spare battery or two so you always have one to use whilst charging. Nothing makes you reach for the lambert and butlers like a dead battery! Smoko reckon you should also replace the battery every three months to get the best performance from your kit.
Looks wise, the battery is quite stylish for what it is. It has a brushed silver finish with a gunmetal “SMOKO” branding on the side. The light ring around the bottom is subtle and, as it only lights up when you need to charge, you can almost forget it is there. The usb charging port is at the very bottom so you have to lie it down when plugged in. SMOKO say you should remove the eliquid cartridge when charging anyway so it really isn’t a problem.
The pod itself is strangely hypnotic. It is very unusual to have a crystal clear pod and you can see exactly how much juice you have left. I found it strangely satisfying watching the air bubble rise after each puff, its like having your own personal lava lamp. It doesn’t say how much eliquid is in each refill but there is a cigarette comparison chart on the website. They also don’t state the pg/vg ratio but judging by how fast the air bubble rises, I think it is safe to say that it is a higher pg juice. Now you may wonder why these details aren’t easy to find, but I think it is probably because these are just details that complicate things and this is 100% geared to ex smokers and not to seasoned vapers. The refills are completely sealed so there is no mess at all and I had no leaks. The downside is that it means you cannot reuse them and this is a little wasteful. Personally, I would like to see an empty disposal/recycling scheme to deal with this. But they are solid and do the job they are meant to do very well.
Airflow comes from two small holes at the base of the refill and I did find myself accidentally covering them a few times but you soon get used to where your hand needs to be. The mouthpiece is all part of the moulded design of the refill pod and is very comfortable to use. It has a pleasingly minimalistic look. The draw itself is tight, definitely a mouth to lung inhale, and mimics the resistance of a cigarette filter well. You are not going to win any cloud comps here but would you really expect too?
For me, vaping is all about flavour. When I first quit, I wanted to get as far away from tobacco as possible. My first bottles of eliquid were cherry and menthol. I personally feel that choice is so important when you are first starting out, there is a world of flavour out there and us vapers are spoilt but so many starter kits come with a very basic selection. This is where SMOKO really shines. They offer a choice of 18 different flavours, from traditional tobaccos right through to absinthe. Each refill pack contains two refills and are £7.99 a pack so it definitely works out cheaper than buying a packet of cigarettes. All their eliquids are proudly made in the UK to Smoko’s high standards so you won’t find anything there that isn’t to British tastes. Mike asked me which flavours I’d like to try so I said to surprise me and that’s what he did!
This is the one that comes with the kit and it is a good starting point as menthol is a firm favourite for ex smokers. It is a strong, fresh menthol, very clean and with a nice hit. You definitely know you’ve had a vape after this. This definitely gives you a taster of the quality of SMOKO’s eliquids.
This is a general mixed fruit flavour, not unlike a famous brand of chewing gum. If you have a sweeter tooth, you will enjoy this. Again, it is a very clean flavour and very easy to vape.
Spot on energy drink style, this has a lovely thick and syrupy flavour which gives it a good depth. I am rather partial to red bull type vapes and this is a good one. It is sweet but doesn’t get sickly.
This one was a surprise, they are not flavours that I would put together but somehow it works. It is a fairly strong menthol with a lighter hint of strawberry. I would have expected the flavours to fight for dominance but the strawberry is happy to take a bit of a back seat. The sweet berry also takes the edge off the menthol making it very easy to vape.
A crisp and clean Cox’s pippin style apple. I have to say that I found it to be the weakest of the selection, apple is always nice when you start but it tends to drop off quite fast as the old tastebuds get used to things, and this one was no exception. But it is as good as any other apple e-liquid out there.
Rich and creamy, this is a very good vanilla indeed. It can easily hold it’s own with any vanilla custard and works surprisingly well in this format. It is all about the depth of flavour and they haven’t cheated by making it too sweet.
One of my go to flavours, this one has the right balance of sweet and tart, slightly floral but not overpoweringly so. The flavour almost seems to pop and burst on the inhale making it a really fun flavour.
I was very surprised at how much flavour these refills managed to get out of the juice, these really do dig deep and should keep any new vaper happy. Whilst the apple wasn’t my favourite, I don’t think any of them were particularly weak, and the taste and variety should really help keep most new vapers well satisfied. Mine were all 1.8ml strength and I definitely felt the hit so I would be happy to recommend them to any of my friends who want a good start to going smoke free. It goes without saying, these are also fully TPD compliant.
From time to time, we get various starter kits through POTV towers and I have to admit they usually arrive with a bit of a sense of dread as most are a bit meh. But where SMOKO have succeeded is by really specialising in their market and trying to make it the best product they can and I think they have definitely succeeded. But what really sets them apart is the feeling that you are not alone. It really feels like they are a company who care and have passion for what they are doing. I feel confident that if I were stuck or hit a bump in the road, I could just pick up the phone and there would be someone there who would help and would actually care. They feel like a really human company and this is a very rare thing. They are not about pushing the latest, greatest trend, they just want to help as many people as possible to have a healthier life, and for that alone they should be commended. On top of that, this is a decent kit with a great selection of flavours and it couldn’t be any easier to use. If you know someone who desperately wants to stop smoking but isn’t interested in coil building or oHms law, you could really do them a favour and send them over to SMOKO, they will be in very good hands.
Many thanks to SMOKO for sending this in for review. The kit retails for £24.99 but you can pick it up for the great price of £14.99 and it is well worth taking a look at their website as they have many deals and offers. It is also worth keeping an eye on our very own Deals page too as they have kindly given us some extra special discounts for Potv readers.