The picture has nothing to do with Electrofag. I just put it there to give any passing Righteous the experience of simultaneous heart and bowel failure. Those were great sweets, but I don't remember getting 'Dixon of Dock Green' ones. They did not start me smoking. Sugar and nicotine don't taste the same, and smoking is nothing like eating sugar sticks. Actually they weren't even my favourite sweet. I preferred aniseed balls - and sucking those didn't make me gay either.
Now to get to the point. It's three months since I bought Electrofag which is long enough to look at the relative costs of smoking against virtual smoking. Pre-Electrofag smoking costs were around £2.50 a day (roughly half an ounce of rolling baccy) and since Electrofag I've averaged half that. So the cost of real smoking, over three months, comes to around £112.50. Compared to my previous smoke rate, I've saved £112.50 over three months.
Before the antismokers get all fired up over how much more I'd save if I stopped altogether, consider that I'd save three times that amount if I used no gas or electricity, and about four to five times that amount if I didn't pay council tax. So no crowing about 'the cost of smoking' in the comments please. Most of the stated amount goes straight into the Brown Gorgon's money-shredding machine and I now pay half as much towards his ludicrous schemes through smoking as I used to. That means it now costs me less for the privilege of being treated as a pariah.
Now to Electrofag. The first thing I needed was the basic kit, which comprised two batteries, a charger, two atomisers and some starter tips. That was in the summer sale at £36. Neither batteries not atomisers have yet worn out even though the atomisers are well past their guaranteed lifespan now.
I've bought gadgetry, of course, but first let's look at the essentials. I have six bottles of reloading liquid in various sizes. The French pipe and the coffee flavours weren't really essential but they were interesting to try. None of those bottles is empty yet so their cost isn't as much as it will appear. Altogether, the bottles were £44.74. The blank tips to load the stuff into (again, I'm not in danger of running out of those yet) cost, in total, £21.58. Total £66.32 for that part.
Those are the only really, absolutely essential parts. The total cost of those was £102.32. At three months, then, Electrofag costs are about the same as real smoking costs but the Electrofag is still going, with no further costs as yet, whereas all the tobacco I bought is ashes now.
Semi-essential things are the parts I bought now but didn't really need to buy yet. I bought them because there was a summer sale and the parts were cheaper then than they are now. Electrofag is likely to sell far better in winter than summer because we don't mind going outside in summer, so naturally the prices will be lower in summer.
I bought a five-pack of spare atomisers (£18.39) and two of the mega-batteries (£20.78) plus an auto-battery (9.99), none of which I really, truly need now but almost certainly will in the future. £49.16 on those semi-essentials.
Then we come to the toys. The absolutely unneccessary gadgets. I don't need these at all. They are bits of fun. It's true that if I hadn't bought Electrofag I wouldn't have these gadgets but I wouldn't be any better off financially, really. I'd just have bought different gadgets.
The magic recharging case that will recharge a battery and hold a spare atomiser and two tips, £19.99.
The USB charger for batteries, simply so I don't risk leaving my mains charger at the lab, £5.59.
The USB passthrough gadget that saves worrying about whether I've remembered to charge the spare batteries, £10.39.
A five-pack of 5 ml dropper bottles for the fun of mixing the flavours together just for a laugh, £1.59
The pure gadget toy total is a modest £37.56. It is as nothing compared to twenty minutes in a Maplin store.
In summary, smoking would have cost £225 over the last three months. Tobacco now lasts twice as long so it's actually cost £112.50.
Electrofag, the essentials, cost £102.32.
Not much of a saving but whereas all the tobacco is gone, all the Electrofag parts are still going. I haven't had to replace anything yet and I'm nowhere near running out of smoking fluid. Even the ones I don't like much (French pipe and the one called 'tobacco' which is more like a readymade than a rollup) will get used. I mix them with menthol, cigar or Virginia. I'll look again at the six month point (if I remember) although the next three month period will be skewed unfairly in favour of Electrofag because it's going to be pretty horrible smoking outside. Last year I had no option. This year I do. Most of the real smoking will happen at home, while most of the Electrofag use will be at the lab or at the pub.
Even so, if tobacco intake doesn't change and the Gorgon doesn't decide to double the price just because he's a spiteful bastard with no ability to think for himself and has to set up quangos to do it, I'll spend another £112.50 on tobacco in the next three months. Actually a little more. I like to get some King Edwards Half Coronas in for Christmas. I have spare batteries and atomisers for Electrofag so any further spend will be on bottles of smoke-juice, tips and gadgets.
Conclusion - Long term, Electrofag is likely to work out cheaper. Over a period of years, a lot cheaper, especially after a few more Righteous budgets. As the design improves and it starts to feel like real smoking, it has the potential to supplant actual tobacco entirely. No ashtrays, no tar, no daily costs, it has a lot going for it. Not least the potential for lots of gadgetry.
As it stands though, it's not a full replacement for the real thing. It has the nicotine hit, it has a vapour that looks like smoke, it has an action that is similar to real smoking but it just doesn't feel exactly the same. It's early days and it can be, and no doubt will be, improved.
It is streets ahead of nicotine gum or patches as a substitute for smoking. The only reason the antismokers can possibly have for opposing it is that it's enjoyable. Patches and vile gum are punishment for being a smoker. Electrofag means you can still be a smoker, just using purified nicotine instead of leaves. It's the enjoyment aspect they can't stand.
The best part, for me, is that I paid half as much tobacco duty over the last three months as I would have if I'd been purely on tobacco. That alone is reason enough for me to persist with Electrofag.
And then there are the gadgets...