What is an electronic cigarette?
Some examples of electronic cigarettes
When I first heard about the electronic cigarette, my first reaction to this novelty was not to take it seriously. But, upon closer inspection, I realized it was a brilliant invention with the potential to revolutionize the way people smoke.
What exactly is an electronic cigarette?
Here is a first description of what it is, how it works and how you and those you love can potentially benefit from it.
An e-cigarette is a device that looks like a cigarette, feels the same, tastes the same, and works the same…but it’s not a real cigarette!
Parts of a manual electronic cigarette
Powered by a battery, it delivers nicotine (or not) but without burning tobacco. Nicotine is indeed inhaled via an odourless vapour and is much healthier than the smoke of “classic” cigarettes.
An electronic cigarette is generally composed of 3 elements:
- An atomizer
- A battery
- A cartridge
3 parts of an electronic cigarette
Note: some models combine the atomizer and the cartridge into a single disposable element called a cartomizer. We will come back to this later but the basic operation remains the same.
Let’s review what each element does:
It heats and vaporizes a mixture of nicotine and liquid. The sensation of inhaling this vapour is very similar to real cigarette smoke. It’s even warm, which adds to the realism of the experience. This vapour is a kind of mist that looks like smoke but dissipates very quickly in the air.
Nothing very complicated here, just a rechargeable battery that provides electrical energy to the atomizer.
The electronic cigarette, as its name suggests, is an electronic device that works with electrical energy like mobile phones for example.
The difference lies in the shape of this battery which more or less resembles the body of a real cigarette. It also often houses an LED that lights up when the vaper takes a puff.
The autonomy and the power of the batteries vary according to the models and condition the number of puffs, the quantity and the strength of the vapour.
The cartridge contains the liquid that is vaporized by the atomizer. A classic cartridge is generally equivalent to 1 pack of tobacco cigarettes.
Different dosages of nicotine are available and it is also possible to vape WITHOUT nicotine. The liquid also contains an aroma that is not limited to the taste of tobacco. A very wide variety of flavours exists fruits, chocolate, vanilla, mint, etc….
Note: liquids are purchased separately, usually in small 10 or 30 ml bottles.
You now know the essential elements of an electronic cigarette and the general principle of operation. Of course, there are many variations depending on the model. But everything is still based on these fundamentals: we vaporize a liquid, contained in a cartridge, thanks to an electronic system powered by a battery.
Note: there are automatic or manual electronic cigarettes. In the case of manuals, there is a button on the battery that triggers the heating of the atomizer when pressed. In the case of automatics, it is a sensor that detects when the vaper takes a puff and the microprocessor takes care of the rest.
The big advantage of manual operation is that you can control your electronic cigarette (more on that later).