Electronic Cigarette Basics - What you need to know about Electronic Cigarettes

With the never ending media attention on the health benefits of quitting smoking, a new phenomena to combat this has come to the market in the last decade - electronic cigarettes or e-cigs for short.

Even though there is still much research to be done on the health benefits of e-cigarettes, at this point it generally agreed upon that they pose a much lower health risk than conventional tobacco-based cigarettes, with the benefit of still offering the same nicotine rush. A prospect that offers an exciting alternative to those that want the experience of smoking, without the associated health risks.

What are e-cigarettes?

The electric cigarette was developed in 2003 as an electronic device that simulates the same experience of conventional tobacco-based cigarettes with lower health risks. They are powered by a small battery and produces a vaporous emission. E-cigarettes can come in a variety of flavors and offerings to suit the particular palette of the customer. They also come in varieties that offer the choice of nicotine or not, which potentially makes the e-cig a less addictive option.

What are the main parts of the electronic cigarette?

Within the majority of e-cigarettes, there are 3 main components:
  1. The power source or battery - this is usually in the form of a long, thin lithium battery.
  2. The heating element - also known as an atomizer, this part of the unit is the part that heats up the cartridge so that it may be turned into the vapor for inhalation.
  3. The cartridge containing the solution - A small vessel that fits inside the main e-cigarette unit that contains the solution that will be heated by the atomizer to be turned into vapor.

How do vapor cigarettes work?

At first glance, the e-cigarette may look like a simple piece of plastic. However, upon closer inspection there is a large amount of technology at work in order to produce the similar results as conventional tobacco cigarettes.

With conventional cigarettes, once the cigarette is lit with either a lighter or match, the inhaled smoke arising from the burning tobacco releases the nicotine in the bloodstream, along with other chemicals that may be contained other parts of the cigarette itself. With smokeless cigarettes, the nicotine itself is inhaled once it has been vaporized by the e-cig mechanism. Hence you may come across people who use the term "Vaped" to describe the sensation of inhaling the vapor produced.
Once the cartridge containing the liquid is inserted into the electronic cigarette, there are many processes that begin. Using a combination of gravity and electronics, the liquid moves from the cartridge to another chamber near the atomizer (heating element) in order to begin the process of vaporization. This vapor is held in another chamber that waits for the user to begin inhalation. And then only a certain amount of vapor will be released based on the relative strength of the inhaled breath.
Sensors are also at work, usually in the form of LED lights, to let the user know when the vaporizer is in use. A microprocessor is also hard at work in order to correctly estimate the extent the atomizer is to be utilized during the inhalation process.

Using the e-cig

You may be asking whether or not the experience of using an e-cigarette is similar to using conventional tobacco based products. What you will find in that if you make the progression, the process of inhalation will need to be adjusted in order to produce the best results from the electric cig.

With conventional cigarettes, you will usually engage in a series of inhales of about 1-2 seconds in order to "drag" the smoke into your system. With the vapor cigarette, you will find that a longer inhalation, 4-5 seconds, will result in a comparable result in terms of nicotine release and experience.

Lifespan of the e-cigarette:

As we discussed above, the vapor cig has 3 main components. Depending on the brand and use of the unit, you can expect the following lifespan for each component:

Atomizer - the lifespan varies from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. You could assume that the wear and tear on the unit of a heavy user would entail a shorter lifespan than a person who uses it for casual, recreational use.
Battery - As with the atomizer, the life depends upon usage, however you could expect 1-2 months of life from a battery, in the same way you would need to replace the battery of a heavily used appliance.
Cartridge - One cartridge will last the equivalent of 4-6 standard cigarettes. What is also of interest is that you have the option of buying pre-filled or empty cartridges that you can fill yourself.

Financial Benefits:

What is rarely mentioned in debate of electronic cigs is the substantial savings that will come to the user who switches from conventional tobacco based products to the e-cig. When you factor in the life span of the various components and the cost of the liquid(that can be bought in bulk), some users have founds savings of up to 80% compared to purchasing conventional tobacco cigarettes.


It would be advisable to check your countries legal restrictions on the sale of e-cigarettes, however most countries do not legislate the use of vapor cigs. However, many countries are prohibiting the sale to minors.

We hope that you have found this introduction to electronic cigarettes useful.