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What is an electronic cigarette?

Electronic cigarette (e-cig, e-cigarette) is a device imitating a traditional tobacco cigarette. At first, it might seem like an regular cigarette but actually it is a plastic / metal tube that contains a variety of electronic components. In e-cigarette, the tobacco is replaced with a liquid and when this liquid is vaporized, it turns into smoke-like vapor. The liquid used in electronic cigarette is called e-liquid and it's sold with or without nicotine added.

In my opinion, smoking (or vaping) an electronic cigarette feels very much like smoking a regular cigarette. The vapor looks like real smoke and feels about the same in the mouth and throat. There are also some very realistic looking e-cigarette models, which also look and feel the same as a regular cigarette. Weight and length are usually slightly higher than a traditional cigarette. The taste is of course not exactly the same but there are e-liquids imitating the taste of a real cigarette if that's what you want. e-Cigarette produces little to no odor. I have used e-cigarettes indoors for about a year without any smells or staining. In the end, it can be very personal whether the e-cigarette can give you the satisfaction a real cigarette would.

An electronic cigarette is also safer to use than a traditional cigarette because it does not significantly heat up on the outside so there is no risk of fire. Inside the e-cigarette there is a part that is heated only when the device is used. E-cigarette will immediately turn off when you stop drawing and usually is activated by air pressure (suction) or sound.

Operating costs of an electronic cigarette can vary greatly. If you focus on just one model and only purchase the necessary supplies then the costs are certainly lower than when smoking. Most however, eventually want to try other devices and different flavors and at this point e-cigarette may become the more expensive option.

E-Cigarette is perfectly legal to "smoke" in places where smoking is prohibited because they do not contain any tobacco. As a number of e-cigarette models are very realistic looking copies of tobacco cigarettes you will very quickly come into a situation where you have to start explaining your hobby and I would recommend that you do not use your e-cigarette indoors where there are other people, e-smoking, however, leaves a visible vapor which may disturb or at least be confusing. According to the law however, it's allowed anywhere.

An Electronic cigarette is a cigarette without tobacco - a smokeless alternative.


How does an electronic cigarette work?

The most common e-cigarettes consist of three parts. Parts are (listed in order away from the mouth), the cartridge, heating element (atomizer) and a battery containing a microchip controlling the e-cigarette.

Typical e-Cigarette components

The LED-light tells when the atomizer is active and is also used to notify other functions of the e-cigarette (such as overheating and battery charging progress). The battery of course will power the device. Electricity is needed to heat the atomizer and the atomizer vaporizes the e-liquid in the cartridge. All parts can be reused, although in a few models the atomizer is built-in to the cartridge so you always get a new atomizers when changing the cartridge, but this of course raise the operating costs. There are also completely "disposable" models for example but the basic principle is the same.

All serious starter kits come with at least two rechargeable batteries, one atomizer, a few cartridges and a charger. All parts however, are consumable equipment so it is highly recommended that you get plenty of spare parts immediately. If you find that you will use only one e-cigarette model, a good minimum number of parts is 4pcs batteries, 4pcs atomizers, perhaps a replacement charger and several cartridges.

Medium-sized, fully charged battery lasts approximately 4 hours of use or in other words, equivalent to 5-10 cigarettes. Battery life, however, varies a lot depending on the battery capacity, amount of usage and number of re-charges. After many recharges the battery will slowly lose it's capacity and finally become unusable as with all other battery operated devices. No overall lifetime can be said.

Atomizer, the heating element is usually the weakest link, these are usually guaranteed to work for 15-30 days. When used properly, atomizer usually lasts well over this period. E-cigarette is still a relatively new invention and technology is not yet very reliable. Maybe in the future the promises of the manufacturers are true.

A Full middle sized cartridge usually lasts about 100 puffs which is equivalent to atleast five regular cigarettes. Cartridge life will vary a great deal depending on it's capacity, effectiveness of the atomizer, battery charge level and amount of filling so the exact number of puffs per cartridge cannot be said. Again, it might not be a good idea to believe everything the suppliers tell you.

After use, when no vapor is produced anymore you can throw out the cartridge and have it replaced with a new one. Much more preferable and less expensive option is to re-fill the cartridge with e-liquid sold separately. Inside the cartridge you'll find a filling (polyfill), which is moistened with e-liquid, and then it is ready for use again. Below you can watch a product review of a DSE-901 which is one of the most popular electronic cigarette models.

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