How Does An Electronic Cigarette Actually Work?

Over the last few years the popularity of electronic cigarettes has risen and this former niche market is now a multibillion dollar industry. Sales in the USA are particularly strong with forecasts of $1.7 billion in 2013 alone and the worldwide market is worth in excess of $3.5 billion. Despite the fact that the industry is headline news and the number of electronic cigarette users around the world are numbered in their millions there is still some mystery as to how an electronic cigarette actually works.

We will now take a look at the basic structure of an electronic cigarette, the various components and how these devices actually work.

The components of an electronic cigarette

While the modern-day electronic cigarette is based upon its original 1960s counterpart, updated at the turn of the century, the structure still remains fairly basic. On the surface the bestselling electronic cigarettes look like, feel like and operate in a similar way to their tobacco cigarette counterparts, offering electronic cigarette users a similar experience to smoking tobacco cigarettes without the 4000+ toxins. The devices themselves contain a heating element, battery, nicotine vapour chamber and an LED at the end of the device to show that it is in use.

The main component around which all other elements revolve is the compact battery pack. The device is switched on automatically once the user inhales through the end of the cigarette, as this immediately activates the battery which then powers the heating element. The heating element vaporises the liquid nicotine which is then inhaled as flavoured water and exhaled as you would with a tobacco cigarette. The LED light may seem like something of a novelty but it is proving to be exceptionally valuable to differentiate electronic cigarettes from their tobacco cigarette counterparts.

The user may inhale and exhale as much as they like and when they stop inhaling this deactivates the battery, the heating element cools down, the LED light is switched off and the vaporised nicotine returns to its liquid form. The device can then be reactivated immediately by simply inhaling again.

Rechargeable electronic cigarettes

There are two main types of electronic cigarette, disposable electronic cigarettes and rechargeable electronic cigarettes which pretty much speak for themselves. The rechargeable devices are becoming more popular because they can be recharged using a computer USB cable, wall charger or even a car charger. This ensures that electronic cigarette users will have a charged device with them at all times and with refills available online and in many stores, accessibility is no longer a problem.


If you take a look at a basic electronic cigarette it will look, feel and act the same way as a tobacco cigarette counterpart. However, all you are inhaling is nicotine flavoured water which is exactly what you exhale, thereby reducing any potential secondary smoking issues. The device is automatically activated when you inhale, switching on the battery which powers the heating element, which vaporises the liquid nicotine. This process is almost simultaneous as and when you inhale and just as quickly the battery is deactivated when you stop inhaling.

Perhaps one element of the modern-day electronic cigarettes which is often overlooked is the fact that unlike a tobacco cigarette, which you light and smoke to the end, you can start and stop using your electronic cigarette any time you wish. This therefore ensures that you receive your nicotine hit as and when required with significant cost savings.

This was a guest post, if you require further assistance with regards to electronic cigarettes and all aspects of their use then please visit the OKCigs.co.uk website.


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