What is an electronic cigarette & how do they work?
Before making the switch to e-cigs you should ideally know how they work, electronic cigarettes are devices that create a breathable vapour to be used to help people quit smoking. They can vary in shape and size but essentially perform the same function. There are different chambers that perform different tasks to convert e-liquid into vapour, which is then inhaled by the user, much like the act of smoking a conventional cigarette. Electronic cigarettes are battery powered. There are two varieties to choose from, disposable and reusable. Disposable electronic cigarettes typically contain one flavour and a disposable battery unit. Reusable electronic cigarettes commonly have replaceable batteries and refillable chambers for vapour liquids, sometimes referred to as e-juice or e-liquids.
Each e-cigarette is composed of mainly two key components. These components work together to convert the liquid to vapour so that it can be inhaled. Appearance wise some electronic cigarettes look exactly like real cigarettes. You can purchase them in the same size and colour of regular cigarettes. You can also purchase ones that are stainless steel or that come in a variety of colours – it is a matter of preference. Many of them even come in packs that look exactly like cigarette packs so no one will even know you are vaping instead of smoking.
So let’s break down it down into the two key components…
- Atomizer – Atomizers are considered a key part of a vaping system. They typically contain a heating element and a “wick”, a device that draws in moisture and liquid. Wires connected to the power source are wrapped around the atomizer to form a coil and heat up quickly, converting the liquid to vapour. There are two typical housings for the atomizer that work in different fashions.
– Cartomizers are atomizer housings in which the atomizer is surrounded by a polyfoam soaked in liquid. These tend to be disposable, as over time they dry out and can give the e-liquid an unsavory taste.
– Clearomizers are a clear tank without foam in which the atomizer is inserted. These typically allow you to control the flow of liquid and have no immediate reason to be replaced regularly like a cartomizer would.
- Battery – Batteries tend to be the bulkiest part of the system and take up considerably more space than the other components. Usually rechargeable, they can contain one of two switches that allow it to turn on and power the coil of the atomizer. Some models have an air flow sensor that turns the battery on when air is being pulled through the device. Others have a manual switch or button that turns the battery on. This option requires that the switch be engaged when the e-cigarette is in use.
- E-Liquid – This is the solution that when heated produces breathable vapour. It is usually available in a variety of flavours and strengths, as well as a variable nicotine content. Some flavours may not contain any nicotine at all. E-liquid is typically composed of glycerin, propylene glycol, and sometimes polyethylene glycol. Flavours are added to give the vapour a distinct taste. Fruit flavours and mint are incredibly common, but there are a variety of different mixes available. Some vendors mix their e-liquids in house and may allow you to sample different liquids to suit your needs.
Every e-cigarette is different. Some may have different features than others, as many modern models are highly customizable. They are available in many sizes and colours. Experienced e-cigarette users may choose a model that is more technical and customizable on intricate levels, whereas a novice user may choose a model based on its colour or size. Every e-cigarette user is different, much like every e-cigarette is different.
E-cigarettes have gained popularity very quickly in recent years. It is becoming increasingly common to find shops that cater to your specific needs. When shopping for an e-cigarette keep in mind that different people have different needs and expectations, so what works for you may not work for someone else and vice versa. Researching different brands and reading reviews of products can be very helpful when selecting an e-cigarette meant for long term use. Keeping an open mind and exploring your options are key to happy vaping.