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What Makes the Electronic Cigarette Work?

Updated on April 18, 2010

A Safer Way to Blow Smoke

An electronic cigarette, also known as an e-cigarette or personal vaporizer, is a battery-powered device that gives inhaled doses of nicotine. The nicotine is provided by way of a vaporized solution. Electronic cigarettes are an alternative way to getting your 'fix' of nicotine without lighting up a cigarette, cigar or pipe. Additionally, the nicotine delivery (vapor) provides the flavor and physical sensation similar to regular tobacco smoke without any involvement of tobacco, smoke or combustion. This popular device is the best way to stop smoking of any products available on the market!

These little marvels look like a real cigarette, cigar or pipe. Although there are some disposable electronic cigarettes, most are reusable by replacing or refilling the internal workings. In short, you get the feel of a cigarette, get to puff and blow smoke, and all the while your goal to stop smoking is right in your hand!


When a user places an electronic cigarette between their lips and inhales, air flow is detected by a sensor, and this activates a heating element that vaporizes a nicotine solution that is stored in the mouthpiece. Most models have an LED on the outer end of the device that is also activated during the suction or inhalation action and looks much like the lighted end of a real cigarette that glows when a user takes a puff. The LED can be purchased in different colors, but many prefer the orange-red glow.

Although an electronic cigarette can be produced in a variety of forms and shapes, each have the same basic components: a mouthpiece, heating element, rechargeable battery, and various electronic circuits.


The mouthpiece (cartridge) is a small disposable plastic cap-like piece that is attached to the end of the tube. Inside the mouthpiece is a smaller plastic cup that contains an absorbent material saturated with a flavored liquid nicotine solution. Suction causes air to flow around the inner cup and through the hole in the end of the mouthpiece to import the vapor into the user's mouth. The mouthpiece is called a “cartridge.” When the liquid within the cartridge is used up, it can be refilled or replaced with a new cartridge.


The heating element vaporizes the liquid in the cartridge to enable it to be inhaled. There are some models that combine the atomizer and cartridge in one disposable component, and is referred to as a “cartomizer.”


Most electronic cigarettes use a lithium-ion rechargeable batter to activate the heating element. The battery life varies on the battery type and size, frequency of use, and the operating environment. Several battery chargers are available, such as wall outlet, car and USB chargers.

Basically, automatic electronic cigarettes depend on an electronic airflow sensor to trigger the heating element when inhalation starts, but some models require the user to press a button while inhaling. Other electronic circuits, like a timed cutoff switch to prevent overheating and the colored LED to signal device activation.


Nicotine is the bottom line when it comes to stop smoking endeavors. People who smoke are hooked and addicted on nicotine, which has been the downfall of many stop smoking endeavors. Nicotine solutions are sold separately if the user desired to refill the cartridges, and sometimes called “e-liquid” or “e-juice.” The liquid normally contains some flavoring, and consist of nicotine dissolved in propylene glycol and/or glycerin. Both propylene glycol and glycerin are common everyday food additives.

Nicotine solutions are also available in different nicotine concentration levels to allow the user to choose the amount of nicotine to take into the body. The nicotine concentrations range from low and mid-range (6-8 mg/ml and 10-14mg/ml) to high and extra-high nicotine doses (16-18mg/ml and 20-54mg/ml respectively). There are also solutions available that do not contain any nicotine at all.

Electronic cigarettes can also be purchased in flavors. Some flavors resemble regular tobacco and menthol cigarettes, and are available in several flavors, such as vanilla, caramel, coffee, chocolate, strawberry, apple and several more.

There you go, everything you wanted to know about electronic cigarettes in a nutshell. Electronic cigarettes are the best darn way to stop smoking! They look, feel and taste like a real cigarette. You get to blow smoke without stinking up the joint, and your nicotine craving is satisfied. You are on the road to stop smoking without any withdrawal or anxiety attacks. What more could you want? Sit back, relax and enjoy your e-cigarette while you successfully stop smoking!


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    • entertianmentplus profile image

      entertianmentplus 7 years ago from United States

      Great info.