Electronic Cigarettes and vaping products have virtually exploded in popularity over the past five years, and they are considered to be one of the most viable alternatives to traditional cigarettes available on the market today. E-cigarettes are basically the same size as a regular cigarette, and they contain a small battery-powered vaporizer that converts a specialized liquid solution (often called “e-liquid”) into a mist-like vapor that simulates tobacco smoke. The e-liquid in electronic cigarettes typically contains some level of nicotine, which is why e-cigarettes are often referred to as “electronic nicotine delivery systems” (ENDS). Smokers who are trying to “kick the habit” often turn to e-cigarettes as a way to satisfy their craving for nicotine without having to deal with all of the harmful chemicals and toxins that are associated with tobacco cigarettes, such as tar, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide.
How Does an Electronic Cigarette Work?
An e-cigarette is comprised of three main components: A lithium battery, a vaporization chamber, and a cartridge that contains the e-liquid. The lithium battery powers a small heating element known as an atomizer (located in the vaporization chamber), which heats the e-liquid and converts it into a vapor. Users inhale on an e-cigarette in virtually the same way that they would a traditional cigarette, and this inhalation (i.e., “puffing”) activates the atomizer by a combination of capillary action and gravity. The atomizer vaporizes the liquid, producing a smoke-like mist that simulates regular tobacco smoke, giving the user the “feel” of smoking a traditional cigarette.
It should be noted that not all e-cigarettes are designed the same way. Some are activated by way of a user simply inhaling on the mouthpiece, while others feature a small switch that you can turn on to begin heating the e-liquid. With some e-cigarettes, the cartridge and atomizer are separate units, while others utilize a device known as a “cartomizer”, which is basically a e-liquid cartridge and an atomizer all in one unit. Generally speaking, the older e-cigarette models are comprised of three pieces, (i.e., the battery, the atomizer and the cartridge), while the more recent e-cigarettes are comprised of only two pieces, (i.e., the battery and the cartomizer). One common feature that most e-cigarettes share is an LED (Light-Emitting Diode) that lights up when the user takes a puff on the device; this is to simulate the glow that traditional cigarettes emit from the tobacco that burns when a user inhales.
The e-liquid found in electronic cigarettes is a solution that typically contains four primary ingredients: Water, vegetable glycerin (VG) or propylene glycol (PG), flavoring, and nicotine. There are a wide variety of e-liquid flavors available to suit practically any preference, including blueberry, chocolate, apple, cherry, coffee, caramel, mint, and menthol. E-liquid (often called “e-juice”) has endured its fair share of controversy due to the reported dangers of liquid nicotine, but no federal regulations have been issued that ban or even limit its use in e-cigarettes. Whether or not this may change in the future is subject to speculation at this point, but one thing that cannot be debated is that e-cigarettes have gained a solid foothold among millions of ex-smokers all around the world.
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