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Electronic cigarettes or e-cigs are becoming more and more popular these days but there’s one burning question on the minds of smokers who are curious about these devices: how do electronic cigarettes work? Read on to find out.
The concept of an electronic cigarette was first formulated in 1963 by Herbert Gilbert. He conceptualized a non-tobacco cigarette that was completely smokeless. He envisioned a totally harmless way of smoking with the use of flavored, heated air instead of tobacco and paper. However, due to the limitations in technology, such a device was never manufactured. It was only in 2003 that the electronic cigarette as we now know it was invented by a Chinese pharmacist. Hon Lik introduced his invention to the market in the succeeding year and the company where he worked started exporting electronic cigarettes in 2005. In 2007, the company received its first international patent.
There are three basic components of an electronic cigarette regardless of the brand. These are: the battery, the atomizer, and the cartridge.
The battery is the power supply of the electronic cigarette. It is usually a rechargeable lithium ion battery. The battery also houses circuitry that is responsible for producing the light at the tip of the electronic cigarette that makes it look like a traditional cigarette.
The atomizer is the part that vaporizes the liquid by heating. There is a metal “wick” that comes in contact with the liquid solution and a filament that is the heating element responsible for turning the liquid into vapor. It is this vapor that is inhaled by the smoker. Each time a smoker takes a drag on the electronic cigarette, the atomizer is activated and vapor is produced.
The third component of an electronic cigarette is the cartridge. The cartridge is usually made of disposable plastic. It is a small cylindrical container that is open on both ends. One end is attached to the atomizer while the other end serves as the mouthpiece through which the smoker inhales vapor. The cartridge serves two functions. It is both a mouthpiece and a reservoir for the cigarette liquid.
The cigarette liquid typically comes in different flavors as well as nicotine strength. Some liquids are 100% nicotine-free and have been used by those who want to quit smoking completely. The cartridge is designed in such a way as to allow the liquid to pass to the atomizer and the vapor to pass from the atomizer to the mouthpiece while preventing the liquid from passing into the mouth. This is achieved with the use of an absorbent material that acts like a sponge and keeps the liquid in place. There is a plastic barrier that separates it from the opening on the mouth end. The casing of the mouthpiece contains side channels through which vapor passes from the atomizer.
Several electronic cigarette companies have come up with an innovation on the existing electronic cigarette. They have designed cartomizers, which incorporate the features of a cartridge and an atomizer in a single component. This was done in order to eliminate the need to replace the atomizer over time. With the cartomizer model, the atomizer is replaced every time you get a new cartridge.
Electronic cigarettes have definitely taken smoking to the next level. Aside from doing away with the hazards of secondhand smoke, they have also given smokers the unique opportunity to tailor their smoking experience according to their taste and preference.