What is a Personal Vaporizer (Electronic Cigarette)?
A personal vaporizer / electronic cigarette is a battery-powered device that provides inhaled doses of nicotine by way of a vaporized solution. It is an alternative to smoked tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. These devices may be referred to by different terms by different companies and end-users. Among those terms are Electronic Cigarette (E-Cig), Personal Vaporizer (PV), Vape, Vape Pen (often referred to this way when used for non-nicotine substances), Nicotine Vaporizer, Mod, eHookah, and Hookah Stick.
What are the parts of an Electronic Cigarette?
Generally, an e-cigarette will come with three parts.
- A power source (usually a battery or wire that draws power from a USB port)
- An atomizer (the part containing the heating element)
- A cartridge or tank (the part containing the liquid)
*Note: Many e-cigs combine the atomizer and cartridge into one piece. These are generally referred to as cartomizers or tank atomizers.
Exactly how does the electronic cigarette function?
The cartridge holds the liquid. When the cartridge is inserted into the e-cig, the cartridge filler (polyester soaked in e-liquid/juice) makes contact with the atomizer’s bridge. Using gravity and capillary action, juice is absorbed via the atomizer bridge into the atomizer’s steel mesh reservoir where it sits. This is when user input is required.
When the user inhales on the e-cig, this action “pulls” the liquid from the atomizer’s reservoir into the ceramic atomizer pot. This liquid is then absorbed by the aromatic polyimide wick (which is situated inside the ceramic pot). At the same time, the device is heating the coil around the wick and therefore heating the liquid until it becomes a vapor. This vapor is drawn up through the e-cig and out of the mouthpiece.
If your e-cig has a manual switch and you pressed the switch to activate it, the atomizer will only vaporize the liquid that is already in the ceramic pot. Without the user’s “sucking” action, no more liquid is drawn into the pot or absorbed by the wick.
How do I use an electronic cigarette?
One of the most common questions people have is “Can I use an electronic cigarette the same way I smoke real cigarettes?” The answer is “No, not really.”
Smoking a cigarette is usually done in short hard puffs. Using an e-cig, you will get the best results with slower more controlled puffs. Where you might drag on a cigarette for 2 to 3 seconds, most e-cigs will need a drag of 4 to 5 seconds to produce favorable results.