So the new electronic cigarette product called the Mark Ten E-Cigarette has just been rolled out nationwide. It is hitting gas station displays everywhere, they are handing out free coupons and there is a lot of buzz surrounding it.
This is mainly because this is the first e-cigarette released by Altria Group. They used to be called Phillip Morris and are the 2nd biggest tobacco company in the world, and they have an entire 50% of the tobacco market in the United States.
They obviously joined the e-cig game VERY late, but will their product be worth the wait? I headed down to my local gas station right when I realized the Mark Ten was on sale there, and I asked the owner if he sold many of them. He said, "Yes."
So let's take a look at the Mark 10 and see if it's really worth it.
The Quick Review
We're going to ignore the fact that Mark 10 is a Big Tobacco product and give an honest review. These are the grades we came up with after 4 days of testing the Mark Ten.
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Well, okay, there was one thing that went right. The packaging. The Mark Ten has a nice package design that really draws you to it. Oh but this is produced by a Big Tobacco company, so that makes sense. Marketing, branding, and profits over all other things.
The Contents of the Kit
The starter kit, which is running at retail stores for around $10, comes with 1 battery, 1 flavor cartridge, 1 USB charger, and a $3 off cartridges coupon. It also comes with a clear plastic cylindrical "protective tube" that they say is included to protect the e-cig while not in use, though I imagine it usually just gets thrown in the trash.
This is an absolute bare bones kit, you can barely call it a starter kit. This would last an average smoker not even a full day before they'd have to start buying replacement cartridges.
Four Draw Technology? What?
The manufacturers of the Mark Ten are pushing their design of this e-cig because it boasts what they call "Four-Draw" technology. This was the star feature of their new brand, and I was interested to see what it was.
Turns out, their "Four-Draw" technology is nothing more than four holes in the end of the cartridge. As someone who has tried over 20 brands of e-cigarettes, I can say that this had absolutely no impact on anything.
It was most likely a marketing stunt.
First of all the single cartridge that comes with the starter kit lasts only about 2 hours, and that is a stretch. So the consumer is almost forced to purchase a cartridge pack right away, which is sold for around $5 depending on where you buy it from.
In addition to the lack of longevity exhibited by the Mark Ten cartridges the vapor cloud that you get from it is almost non-existent. There is also almost no noticeable throat hit either, which most vapers are looking for. Even the new ones.
Without going too much into technical detail, the measure of how long a battery can hold a charge is called 'milliamp hour', referred to by e-cigarette users as mAH (and pronounced "ma" sometimes).
The Mark Ten battery's has a an mAH of 90. That is absolutely the lowest number I've ever seen in an e-cig battery. The lowest one I've seen until this was about 130 mAH, back about 2 years ago when all the companies were selling the same thing.
When I unwrapped the kit, I did everything right. I gave it a full charge which took about 4 hours. Once charged, I was able to use it for about 30 minutes to an hour before it started to wane.
And even if the battery would have lasted longer, the cartridge would not have, as we discussed in the previous section. So when you're trying to use the Mark Ten, you're going to be constantly either having to recharge the battery or go out and buy more cartridges.
It's tobacco cigarettes all over again.
The Overall Consensus
Mark Ten E-Cigs
QSC Rating: 23/100 by Quit Smoking Community
The Mark Ten is nothing more than Phillip Morris's poor attempt to enter the electronic cigarette market, and years too late. Or is it? Big Tobacco is the one industry that seems to always have a large-scale plan to subtly affect results of legislation toward their side. Altria was the 2nd largest spender on lobbying in 2012!
So chances are, this low-grade product is part of some scheme to discredit electronic cigarettes as something that can help smokers. Either that or the R&D department at Phillip Morris doesn't know what to do after making packs of 20 cigarettes over and over again for the last 60 years.
But this isn't about them, this is about you. If I were you, I would absolutely go with a kit from a better brand. The upfront cost will be higher, but in the long run you will save a small fortune compared to real cigarettes or this Mark Ten.