What is an Electronic Cigarette?
Electronic cigarettes (also known as E-cigarette, Smokeless Cigarette, E-cigs, Vapor Cigarette and Personal Vaporizers) are battery operated devices which aim to deliver the experience of actual smoking. They are completely tobacco free, non-flammable products that use micro-electronic technology to provide users a real smoking experience without the tobacco and tar presented in normal cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes greatly resemble the tobacco cigarettes with its appearance. Generally they use propylene glycerin or glycerin based liquid solutions which produces vapor due to heat generated by a low DC electric current. This vapor is then inhaled by the users to have a sensation of tobacco smoking. A low power battery is used to produce the electric current which heat up the liquid solution. Since there is no tobacco burned, using e-cigarettes helps to control the cigarette cravings for those ready to quit smoking. People can experience the act of smoking by these cigarettes with no or less adverse health effects of tobacco smoking.
An electronic cigarette does not generate real smoke and there is no need of any fire to make vapor. An electric current is used to vaporize the absorbent liquid. To bring it closer to tobacco cigarettes, a LED is fixed on the top of the electronic cigarette which glows while the cigarette is inhaled. Some flavors are also added with nicotine in some of these cigarettes to enrich the user experience.
Electronic cigarettes come in different size and shapes and with different properties. They are rapidly gaining popularity among the smokers. Although they look similar to the tobacco cigarettes, but in fact they are different electronic devices which are assembled together to act similar to the tobacco cigarettes.
How an Electronic Cigarette is built?
Electronic cigarettes come in the shape similar to normal cigarette, cigar or pipe. They generally consist of three main components: A cartridge or mouthpiece, Atomizer and battery.
Cartridge or mouthpiece – Mouthpiece is generally made of plastic which is disposable and used to inhale the cigarette. It contains a reservoir filled with an absorbent material flavored and includes a varying amount of nicotine. The absorbent material is generally a propylene glycerin or glycerin based liquid. When the liquid in the cartridge is depleted, it can be re-filled or replace with a new cartridge. To re-fill the cartridge, nicotine solution can be purchased separately from the market.
Atomizer – It incorporates the heating element that vaporizes the absorbent material. Heating element or atomizer is mainly responsible to heat the nicotine solution in the e-cigarette. It helps to produce water vapor like smoke. As a result, the smokers can easily inhale it. The amount of nicotine found in the cartridges may vary. This is why; it is very helpful for the smoker to maintain the dosages effective for him or her. Anyway, an atomizer can last from three up to six months on average.
Power supply – A DC battery is used to provide the electric current to the atomizer in order to vaporize the liquid. Most of the e-cigarettes use a lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Battery can last long according to the size, type, use and above all, the environment.
It holds the largest part of the cigarette. There are two kinds of batteries available such as automatic and manual. Most of people prefer manual batteries as they can control the vapor process by switching the heating element while inhaling. Many electronic circuits like timed cut off switch, colored LED etc make it more reliable.
How Electronic Cigarette works
Smoking an electronic cigarette makes feel much identical to the smoking a tobacco cigarette. As you inhale, a tiny battery vaporizes liquid inside the cigarette producing a smoke like vapor. While it is inhaled, a red or blue LED situated on the front end of the cigarette glows, appearing like traditional smoking. The cartridge, which is the heart of the cigarette, contains a liquid that decides the flavor and amount of nicotine in the cigarette. Cartridges come with different strengths of nicotine such as regular (16mg), light (8mg) and even nicotine free, for who wants to enjoy the smoking without adverse effect of nicotine.
Electronic cigarettes work on the modern microelectronic technology. When the mouthpiece is inhaled atomization chamber converts a little amount of the liquid into vapor like smoke. This vapor contains a certain amount of nicotine which is inhaled by the smoker. Microcontrollers used in the cigarette senses the inhalation and light up the LED on the front end, as well as vaporize the liquid solution.
Conclusion: Are electronic cigarettes safe to use?
There have been no concrete studies on electronic cigarettes, as a result, not much awareness is there among people and most even think that it is totally nicotine free. However, studies by several health and drug organizations all over the world have revealed presence of compounds like Diethlylene glycol and other flavored nicotine fluid produced compounds in the smoke of this type of cigarette. These compounds are poisonous and can result in all those damages that a normal cigarette can do, thus one should avoid using nicotine based fluids in these cigarettes.
These cigarettes share multiple statuses all over the world as they are banned at some places while some places treat them as medicinal aids.