How Do Electronic Smokeless Cigarettes Work?

Electronic smoking products come in several forms and resemble cigarettes, cigars and pipes.  One of the most popular smokeless cigarettes is the “pen” or “Hollywood” style, but each manufacturer has its own distinct style.  Some look like traditional cigarettes or cigars while other e-smoking products feature a new-age look.

Electronic cigars and electronic cigarettes work the same way.  Both are battery powered.  The battery powers the heating system that vaporizes the propylene glycol/nicotine solution, which the user inhales.  The solution is flavored and concentrated according to the selection of the smokeless cigarette.  Meanwhile, the end result is a sensation similar to the sensation accompanying conventional cigarettes but without tobacco, without actual combustion and without hundreds of harmful chemicals.

Most e-cigs are reusable products with replaceable and refillable parts. Recently, disposable smokeless cigarettes have been developed.  However, the e-cig user does not need an ashtray or need to dispose of a filter or cigarette butt.

The act of using an electronic cigarette is known as “vaping.”  Smokeless cigarette users term traditional tobacco cigarettes as “analogs.”

How Do They Work?

How E-Cigs Work

The average electronic cigarette is composed of five functional components:

* The shaped container, typically electronic cigarette or electronic cigar
* The Light-Emitting Diode (LED) light cover
* The battery which also houses the circuitry
* The atomizer or heating element
* The cartridge or mouthpiece

When the user inhales, airflow is created and detected by the sensor, which activates the heating element that vaporizes a nicotine solution, which is stored in the mouthpiece.  The vapor is what the e-smoker inhales.

Not all smokeless cigarette brands contain the LED but typically when the user inhales, the LED, which simulates the glow of the actual burning, is activated to display use.

The Mouthpiece – a small plastic cup, which is affixed to the end of the smokeless cigarette or electronic cigar tube.  The mouthpiece contains an absorbent material that is moistened with the flavored liquid solution.  The mouthpiece is also called the cartridge and needs to be refilled or replaced with the flavored substance.

The Heating Element – The component that vaporizes the liquid in the mouthpiece so that it can be inhaled.  This component is often called the atomizer.

Battery and Electronics – Most electronic smoking products use a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which powers the heating element.  The battery life is determined by the battery type, size, frequency of use and operating environment.  Batteries are accompanied by a battery charger.  These battery chargers can be a wall outlet, a car attachment or a USB.

Electronic smoking products require an airflow sensor and some electronic circuits, such as a limed cutoff mechanism that prevents overheating.  An LED activation device is also needed.

The Nicotine Solution – Liquid nicotine solutions for e-cigarettes are available in a variety of different flavors and nicotine concentrations.  The strength or concentration of various nicotine solutions fall into the mid and low dose ranges and are a matter of choice by the user.  Each solution has its distinctly unique formula.

These solution ranges are comparable to a light or ultra-light concentration.  There are also solutions available that contain little or no nicotine as well as more intense solutions.  Some flavor options strive to duplicate conventional cigarette brand tastes and appearances.  However, popular flavors include strawberry, orange, mint, vanilla, caramel, coffee and tobacco.

The Trend of E-Cigs

As reported on The Doctors television show earlier this year, the use of electronic, smokeless cigarettes is gaining popularity.  The popular television show listed the e-cigarette as number 9 on its list of top 10 health trends back in 2009.  Ever since, sales have increased dramatically for most brands.

Electronic cigarettes have been used in the United States since 2007 and hit full stride in 2008.  The favorable response is attributed to several factors:

  • Health – smokeless cigarette users are not subjected to the multitudes of cancer causing carcinogens present in the tobacco smoking experience.  It has been estimated that tobacco-smoking products contain no fewer than 4000 harmful chemicals.  E-Cigs do contain nicotine but nicotine does not cause cancer.
  • Price – Smoking of e-cigarettes costs approximately one-third the annualized cost of using tobacco-based products.  With the rising price of a pack of tobacco cigarettes, the cost of smoking has become a huge concern among users.
  • Odor-free – Electronic cigarettes may be enjoyed anywhere at anytime.  The vapor is odor—free and smokeless.
  • Taste – Many flavored options exist for e-cigarette users including chocolate, mint, traditional taste and others.
  • Safety and Cleanliness – No matches, no ashes and no ashtrays make for a safer, more carefree experience.
  • Oral sensation – While the e-cigarette contains no tobacco, it does contain nicotine and many users actually use smokeless cigarettes to reduce their tobacco dependency.  Tobacco smokers looking to contain their tobacco addiction can still enjoy the oral sensation of the smoking habit.
  • The Next Step – Tobacco smokers see e-cigarettes as the next step in remedying the use of tobacco.  Smoking experts agree that the use of smokeless cigarettes is much more desirable than the use of tobacco-based products.

Whether you are considering a smokeless experience or are seeking to quit your tobacco smoking habit, e-cigarettes are worth considering.  Most smokeless cigarette users would agree and there have been no reports of negative health effects.  They have been one of the top ten health trends of the past few years, by providing a happy solution to the traditional smoking habit without imposing health risks on either the smoker or nearby persons.

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