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What is an Electronic Cigarette?

written by: Raunekk • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 2/17/2010

The launch of electronic cigarette has been a boon to many smokers around the world who want to quit or reduce smoking. Moreover, electric cigarettes also facilitate those who wants to switch to safe smoking alternatives. The article describes electronic smoking and its various benefits.

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    Health Risks of Smoking Cigarettes

    The past few years has seen a rise in awareness about the ill-effects of smoking, which has provoked cigarette makers to come up with ideas that promise safer smoking. However, the fact is that there is nothing that can be considered “safe smoking,” and the ideas which these tobacco makers conceive haven’t really borne favorable reviews from health conscious authorities. Ideas such as low tar and light cigarettes might have gained a bit of recognition, but the ugly truth is that the process of smoking as a whole is extremely harmful to the human body. This conception has led to a formation of mindset among smokers and nonsmokers that smoking eventually kills! But technology has drastically advanced and has brought in an extremely useful device for smokers known as electronic or e-cigarettes. In this article we will learn what e-cigarettes are and how they work.

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    What are E-Cigarettes?

    E-Cigarette, as the name suggests, stands for electronic cigarette. The e-Cigarette is a revolutionary concept which provides all the features of a conventional tobacco cigarette minus the tar, smoke, odor, and other harmful chemicals.

    Cigarettes contain nicotine, the most essential aspect of a cigarette which provides the much needed kick to the smoker. Though initially it was thought that nicotine is the main culprit behind cancer and other lung diseases related to smoking, many researchers have lately found that the smoke and other chemicals which are released on burning of tobacco are the real contributing factors for smoking related diseases. An e-cigarette helps in eliminating this harmful tobacco and smoke from its system, but still provides a similar taste, feel, and look as a conventional cigarette.


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    Shape, Size, and Components of Electronic Cigarettes

    E-Cigarettes are in the shape of a conventional tobacco cigarette but a bit longer. Moreover, the exterior features of an e-cigarette are so made that they resemble and work like a traditional cigarette. An e-cigarette consists of the following parts:

    • Rechargeable Battery
    • Atomizer or heating element
    • Nicotine Cartridge or mouth piece
    • LED
    • Sensor

    The mouth piece or cartridge is a small cup-shaped component that is fixed at the end of the cigarette. There is another small cup inside this mouth piece which contains the liquid nicotine. The outer cup has a small hole at the center which allows the vapors to pass into the user’s mouth. The cartridge is a replaceable component which can be changed with the nicotine solution becomes low.

    The atomizer or the heating element is located just next to the cartridge and helps in vaporizing the liquid nicotine.

    The rechargeable battery helps in supplying power to the heating element, which in turn vaporizes the nicotine liquid. The battery also supplies power to the electronic sensor, which automatically activates the heating element whenever the user inhales through the device. An LED is also provided at the tip of the cigarette which gets activated whenever the heating element is on.

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    How E-Cigs Work

    Whenever a user inhales or sucks in through the cigarette, the air sensor sends a signal to the heating element and activates it. The heating element vaporizes the nicotine solution in the mouth piece. If it’s not an automatic e-cigarette, i.e. if it’s devoid of a sensor, then the user has to activate the heating element manually by pressing a button. The vapor thus produced passes through the hole of the mouthpiece into the user’s mouth, providing the nicotine dose which is equivalent to that of a conventional cigarette.

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    Benefits of Electronic Cigarettes

    An E-cigarette produces vapor which is devoid of any tar or harmful chemicals. Moreover, it is more economical than using traditional cigarettes. It doesn’t produce ash, odor, and smoke, and can be easily used in both public and private places, without bothering other people. E-cigarette also doesn’t produce any stains or discoloration of teeth. Thus, electronic cigarette is a powerful alternative to traditional cigarettes, which not only reduces the health risks of smoking but also provide more benefits than a conventional cigarette.