How Do E Cigarettes Work?

Posted on: 2013/06/20 | Filed under: Vaping

Ok time to have a quick back to the basics posting to share with those new to vaping (and as a quick refresher for others) the basics of E-Cigs – the primary WHAT and HOW type questions everyone tends to have and to help clarify misunderstandings that are fairly common with those interested in vapor cigarettes.

First A Quick Recap On What An Electronic Vapor Cigarette Is…

An electronic vapor cigarette is a device that replicates the look and feel of smoking a conventional tobacco cigarette.

People tend to be attracted to ecigs for many reasons (lowers costs, to circumvent some smoking bans) but especially for the perceived common sense harm reduction they seem to offer.  Frankly it is the elephant in the room when it comes to e-cigarettes after a 2009 FDA hearing determined ecig suppliers could not claim any health benefits, smoking cessation claims or the like. Right now they have had to tip toe around the topic, while slowly studies have been emerging which – despite spin in the media suggesting otherwise – confirm the rather easy to understand assumption that the very different vapor inhaled in ecigs isn't as damaging, perhaps massively less so, than smoking.

E-Cigarette are without practically any of the dangerous chemical additives (you may hear scare stories about ecigs containing cancer causing carcinogens and that nicotine is highly toxic – though it is true nicotine in high doses can be dangerous, vapers tend to be exposed to less and in a form that is exactly the same as that found in NRT devices such as nicotine gum, patches and lozenges… because the nicotine has been extracted and purified to pharmaceutical 'grade' it lacks all but a miniscule amount of Tobacco Specific Nitrosamines – which are also present in such fractions of a percent amount in those same approved NRTs).

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The Health Question is An Important One – But in 2013 It is Becoming Clear as More and More E-Cig Studies come out that Indeed it is Safe To Say – at least according to Dr. Michael Seigel who just recently comment on his excellent Tobacco Analysis Blog :

It doesn't take a rocket toxicologist to figure out that the current data on the levels of carcinogens in cigarettes versus electronic cigarettes does provide strong evidence that vaping is less hazardous than smoking, and specifically, that vaping is associated with a lower cancer and chronic lung disease risk than active smoking of cigarettes that combust tobacco.

In fact, I have estimated that the level of tobacco-specific nitrosamines in electronic cigarettes is about 1400 times lower than that in Marlboros. In light of these data, how can Legacy possibly argue that there is no evidence that smoking Marlboros is any more dangerous than using an electronic cigarette?


What you have is an alternative form of smoking that lacks the health risks posed by tobacco cigarettes such as emphysema and lung cancer. Using an electronic cigarette means you’re getting a cleaner, healthier smoking experience but what does that truly mean? Read on to find out more.

Electronic cigarettes are designed to look and feel like a traditional cigarette but the comparison simply stops there. Traditional tobacco smoke contains thousands of dangerous chemical additives found in such products as household cleaners and pesticides. Some 4,000-5,000 chemicals are found which means you’re exposing yourself to chemicals like carbon monoxide and ammonia each time you inhale. An electronic cigarette, on the other hand contains only three ingredients necessary for operation: flavoring, food grade propylene glycol (used in a variety of foods and medications), and nicotine.

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How Do E-Cigarettes Work?

Electronic cigarettes come in either a two-piece or three-piece design. The three-piece design features a rechargeable lithium ion battery, atomizer, and refillable cartridge. A two-piece design combines both the atomizer and cartridge into one simple cartomizer that screws in effortlessly into the battery. Each design has their drawbacks; the three-piece design gives users the ability to refill cartridges at a rather cheap price but will have to replace their atomizers fairly regularly. Two-piece users have the advantage of simply switching out the cartomizer when it’s done but lack the control of three-piece users, so tradeoffs will have to be made when choosing the right design for you.

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Electronic cigarettes are designed to be as user friendly as their conventional counterparts. Because they’re noncombustible devices, electronic cigarettes are powered by a lithium ion battery. This battery powers the atomizer that heats up the propylene glycol nicotine solution (e-Liquid) into a fine, inhalable vapor mist.

When you smoke (or to vape), you inhale this vapor to get the nicotine kick you want. These rechargeable batteries come in either automatic or manual offerings giving users complete control in how they “vape”. For those wanting the ultimate tobacco-like experience, the automatic battery powers on and off when you either take a puff of your electronic cigarette or set it aside.

After a period of inactivity, the device instantly shuts off. A manual preset option gives users the ability to keep the electronic cigarette on for as long as possible. The end result is greater control in how much vapor production the device can achieve for a fuller, more robust taste. The downside is that it comes at the cost of battery life.


What are the Ecigs' Benefits?

Benefits for people who choose electronic cigarettes over tobacco cigarettes are plentiful. One of the more pronounced benefits is the cost. A typical pack of traditional cigarettes can run anywhere from $5-$7 minimum. A cartomizer or cartridge for an electronic cigarette costs on average $2-$3. Just one of these units is the equivalent of at least one pack which more than makes up the cost in the long run.

Furthermore, you’re getting a cleaner, healthier alternative to traditional tobacco. You’re not inhaling thousands of chemicals each time you smoke. Adding to that, you’re not endangering the lives of others with second hand smoke. There’s a certain stigma attached to the public smoking that many tobacco users have had to put up with. Many public places have passed ordinances against smoking due to its potential to be environmentally damaging and posing a risk to public health. Electronic cigarettes are free from these bans as they’re odorless. This vapor based devices leave no ash residue or unsightly teeth stains and are nonflammable.

When choosing a brand, make sure to choose one that guarantees longevity and ease of use. Research starter kits before you buy to ensure you get the best product for the right price. Electronic cigarettes are growing in popularity day by day as these cost effective devices provide a cleaner approach to smoking. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned veteran, electronic cigarettes are poised to give smokers choice in how they want to smoke.

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