Our first impression of the eSmoke website was nothing but positive. Clear and user-friendly navigation complemented by a simple, well-organized layout with crisp, easy-to-read graphics immediately put us in a buying mood. Our natural skepticism was allayed by the numerous key features highlighted — including: live chat; a toll-free phone number; a 100% money-back guarantee; and a lifetime guarantee on batteries and chargers. But appearances can be deceiving.
Despite the proximity of the $49.95 price, the starter kit pictured on the eSmoke home page costs $99.95. We had neglected to read the fine print. Click screen shot to enlarge.
Clicking on the $49.95 price brought us to the eSmoke Sensation Starter Kit page where three kits were displayed along with their corresponding prices. Unfortunately, the eSmoke Advanced Starter Kit pictured on the home page was not available for $49.95. The actual price was $99.95. We had neglected to read the fine print adjacent to the photo which indicates, “eSmoke Sensation Advanced Starter Kit Pictured.” As it turns out, for $49.95 you may purchase the eSmoke Express Starter Kit which includes 1 Lithium cigarette-style battery, 1 USB charger, 2 cartridge/atomizer (1 Tobacco, 1 Menthol — no choice of flavor or Nicotine strength), and 1 cigarette-box-style carrying case.
We decided to purchase the Express Starter Kit as it included the bare essentials of what was required to write our review. So we clicked the $49.95 "BUY NOW" button, but our progress was impeded by a pop-up banner exhorting us to purchase the eSmoke Basic Starter Kit "for only $25.00 more..." We clicked the "NO THANKS" button and completed our purchase.
A few days later our eSmoke Express Starter kit was delivered via U.S. Postal Service Carrier. We unpacked the contents and immediately screwed the included "Tobacco Medium" cartridge/atomizer to the compact, 2⅝”, cigarette-style battery and took a few quick puffs that were accompanied by popping and crackling sounds while the LED tip glowed a bright red. The force required to take a drag seemed inordinate. Further, it was almost as if the cartridge was fighting us by sucking in the opposite direction. We exhaled the white vapor — but not very much of it. The taste of the Tobacco cartridge/atomizer was disappointing as well. One judge likened the flavor to sucking on an old wool overcoat. How he had come to think of such a thing was beyond us, but the longer we tested the eSmoke, the more we agreed with him.
Currently priced at five for $14.00 with free shipping, eSmoke cartridge/atomizers are available in Tobacco, Menthol, Chocolate, Vanilla, Coffee, Apple, Strawberry, and the mysterious Tobacco M flavor. Available levels of Nicotine range from 0mg to 24mg.
As is our habit, we set the battery to charge and agreed to resume our testing the following day. However, the eSmoke fared no better on a full charge. Dragging was still difficult; the vapor volume was still disappointing; the popping and crackling sounds were just as annoying; and the taste was no better.
The Menthol cartridge/atomizer included in the eSmoke Express Starter Kit outperformed the Tobacco flavor in two key respects. While it produced the same popping and crackling sounds, it also exhibited very good vapor volume and a passable menthol flavor. eSmoke Menthol may not be for everyone, we have little doubt that some will find it be a pleasurable smoke.
In order to calculate the long-term costs of using eSmoke electronic cigarettes, we headed back to the website to determine the required refill cartridge/atomizer pricing. That trip raised a question we have yet to find an answer for. While one of the nine available flavors was "Tobacco," another was "Tobacco M." What was the difference? We believe it may have to do with backwards compatibility with previous eSmoke models, but we cannot be certain as the website provided no explanation for the "M" distinction. We have since contacted eSmoke and will provide an explanation within this review as soon as we receive one.
Editor's Note: We have been informed by eSmoke that "Tobacco M" cartridge/atomizers are designed to mimic the taste of Marlboro cigarettes.
We estimated that including our eSmoke Express Starter Kit purchase, the cost to maintain a one-pack-per-day cigarette habit using eSmoke was $560.25 annually or $46.69 per month or $10.77 per week or only $1.53 per day. Evaluated strictly in terms of long-term costs, we found the eSmoke to be a superior value. When compared to the cost of tobacco cigarettes and the same one-pack-per-day habit at $6.00 per pack or $2190.00 per year or $182.50 per month or $42.12 per week or $6.00 per day, the annual savings for an eSmoke user is $1629.75!
eSmoke has earned THREE STARS and is NOT RECOMMENDED. Add one star if you prefer menthol flavor. Add an additional star if long-term cost is your primary criteria for selecting an electronic cigarette.