Even if you’ve never used an e-cigarette, it’s highly probable that you’ve come into contact with the technology behind one. E-cigarettes are miniature versions of smoke or dry ice machines used at music gigs and in nightclubs. They comprise three main parts: the battery, the e-liquid cartridge and the e-liquid itself. There are several other parts that help make an e-cigarette such an attractive alternative to tobacco cigarettes. Here’s a round-up of how e-cigarettes work, so you can tailor your e-cigarette experience to perfectly suit your taste.
The battery: The largest part of an e-cigarette is its battery – and if you’re vaping with a reusable e-cigarette rather than a disposable one, it’ll be even bigger. E-cigarette batteries are generally of the rechargeable, lithium-ion type, the power of which determines how much vapour the devices atomiser produces. You can alter voltages to increase the time between charges and the vapour density when you vape. Choosing a new battery for your e-cigarette is simple – check out these Phoenix e-cig mods, for instance.
Be careful before you start customising your e-cigarette’s battery. This guide to vape mods is a handy starting point.
The cartridge: Also known as the cartomiser, this is the ‘butt’ end of the e-cigarette.
It attaches to the battery component and forms the mouthpiece you vape through. It also contains the atomiser, which rapidly heats up the e-liquid to form the vapour cloud you inhale. Older e-cigarette models were formed of a separate atomiser and e-liquid cartridge. Now the two are combined into one housing to make dismantling, cleaning and customising easier.
The cartridge contains a sensor that detects when a user is about to inhale. This then activates the battery which heats the atomiser, boiling the e-liquid solution and generating a smoke-like vapour cloud. As soon as the drag has stopped, the battery switches off and the atomiser cools. Some e-cigarettes are manually operated; that means a simple button press is needed before inhalation.
The e-liquid: This is the substance that you inhale in vapour form. Primarily consisting of a propylene glycol solution, it is available in various flavours from apple and cinnamon to coffee. It is also where the primary reason many vape is held – the nicotine that provides a short, temporary high is delivered via the resulting vapour cloud.
E-liquids with varying potencies of nicotine can be used to fill any cartridge, though do bear in mind that not all cartridges will fit every battery type, so check first. If you want to give up nicotine entirely, you can gradually reduce the dose until you’re vaping with an e-liquid entirely free of nicotine.
Find out why the NHS is about to regulate some e-liquids as medicines in 2016 from the NHS’s own website.
The portable charging case: If your e-cigarette runs out of charge when you’re out and about, this charging case lets you power up again without needing to plug into a mains supply. It is basically a larger lithium-ion battery in a protective case – a great back-up should you get caught out.