How Electronic Cigarettes Work
Electronic cigarettes allow you to enjoy the use of nicotine without the need for tobacco. This non-flammable solution produces vapor and provides the user with the physical sensation and flavor of a traditional cigarette without the nasty odor, tar or harmful chemicals.
Plenty of people quit smoking by using a vape pen, and you can be one of them too. If you’re interested in taking up e-cigs as a healthier alternative to cigarettes, but want to know more before you take the plunge, you’re in luck.
In this article, we cover everything you need to know about how electronic cigarettes work, their components, and their effects on your health.
Most electronic cigarettes include three main pieces: the battery, the cartridge and the atomizer. At the core is a Li-Ion battery (disposable or rechargeable), which makes up the longest section at the end of an e-cig.
The battery is then connected to a cartridge containing the mouth piece and most of the other components. Inside, the electronic controls, heating element and vaporization chamber make up the ‘atomizer’ – the component that creates the vapor.
This atomizer is surrounded by the liquid nicotine, which is vaporized every time you take a drag.
How the Parts Work Together
When a user inhales through the mouthpiece of most (automatic) e-cigs, a sensor picks up the air flow and sends a signal to the atomizer. The atomizer will then activate the heating element and heat up the liquid in the cartridge to convert it to vapor.
As the user inhales, the nicotine is delivered to the lungs and is exhaled in a thick cloud of vapor that looks and feels just like regular cigarette smoke. To add to illusion, most electronic cigarettes have a light-emitting diode (LED) at the end of the battery that lights up when the user inhales, simulating a hot ash.
Of course, not all e-cigs are made equal. If you still haven’t made a purchase, consider looking into the differenty types of e-cigs available so you can find one that suits your needs.
More About E-Cig Cartridges
Cartridges come in a variety of different flavors and contain different levels of nicotine, depending on the user’s preferences. Flavors range from tobacco or menthol – to apple, cherry, caramel, chocolate, coffee and more. They can be purchased in a disposable, pre-filled format or as liquids that are used to fill blank cartridges or tanks.
Besides nicotine and added flavoring, the liquid or “smoke juice” that fills the cartridge of a typical e-cigarette is made of propylene glycol (PG), the same chemical that’s used in fog machines at concerts.
In fact, it’s used in so many consumer goods that it would be impossible to list them all. It’s used as a additive in the foods we eat, cosmetics that we wear on our skin and in pharmaceutical products that we use to stay healthy. An organic compound created in laboratories, propylene glycol has been thoroughly tested and approved by the FDA.
Vegetable Glycerin (VG) is another base compound used in many electronic cigarettes. Although it’s vegetable based and considered natural and safe, it’s not ideal (by itself) due to it’s thick properties, so most companies use a mixture of both PG and VG in their cartridges.
* More about the ingredients of an e-cigarette →
Effects of E-Cigarettes
Since e-cigs are relatively new and data wasn’t widely available, most health professionals usually warned people agaisnt e-cigs as a precautionary measure. However, those looking for a healthier smoking alternative will be happy to know that vaping has been vindicated by recent studies.
A recent study compared non-smokers to individuals who had been vaping daily for over 3 years. Researchers found no difference in terms of lung capacity, respiratory symptoms and lung inflammation. However, 3 years is still a relatively small time frame, so additional research is still required.
How to Vape Safely
The best way to make sure vaping doesn’t cause any harm to you, is to choose the right e-juice. What that does mean? It means going only for reputable, USP approved companies that won’t use nasty chemicals to lower their costs.
For those new to vaping, we suggest reading our guide on how to choose e-liquid. Not just to stay safe, but also to find the best e-juice for your needs.
Ready to Vape?
Now that you know what goes on inside an e-cig and how to vape safely, all that’s left is to get started. Give vaping a go and before you know it you’ll forget all about cigarettes!