They are a talking point amongst health professionals, much loved by people who have used them to quit regular cigarettes, and subject to various rules by governments who don’t always fully understand what they are about – we are talking about e-cigs, which have grown hugely in popularity since they emerged onto the mainstream market. (They were first seen around 2004 in China, but were not exported at all until a year or two later.)

So what are e-cigs?

E-cigs, (also known as electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and vapes), are devices powered by batteries which convert a liquid which may or may not include nicotine, known as juice or e-liquid into a vapor. Although a few e-liquids have zero nicotine content the majority do, and this can range from low levels to 36mg per ml, which is seriously high.

E-cig users inhale this liquid, and exhale the vapor, but there is no smoke, tar, or chemicals which are present in regular cigarettes involved. The e-liquids are available in a huge variety of flavors, from the traditional taste of tobacco or menthol, to pretty much every fruit flavor you could imagine and a whole lot more random flavors which are mostly based around candy and desserts. See more at e cigarette reviews 2019.

How do e-cigs work?

Unlike a regular cigarette which after being lit burns the tobacco, (and other things like tar and poisons), electronic cigarettes heat the special liquid they need to work when the user inhales, and in turn this becomes vapor or mist which is exhaled. Some e-cigs are designed to do this automatically, others need priming before inhalation occurs.

The production of vapor is often a key part of the e-cigarette experience, with certain e-liquids chosen because they produce much more vapor than regular liquids. Propylene glycol is the substance which creates the vape cloud.

The anatomy of an e-cigarette

Whether your e-cigarette is a pretty straightforward disposable model that is ready to use, or a complex mod box with several components, there are several features common to all models –

  • a battery (which is generally rechargeable except in the throwaway versions)
  • a ‘vaporization chamber’ where the electronic parts like the heating element live
  • an atomizer – basically responsible for creating  the vapor
  • a cartridge or dedicated space which has the e-liquid in it

Some people favor e-cigarettes which look like pens, cigars or regular cigarettes, while others are quite distinctively different from anything you would have seen before.

Where can you buy e-cigarettes?

There are various places to buy e-cigarettes, including specialized vape stores, online directly from a particular manufacturer or through a re-seller’s site, and in some countries over the counter at supermarkets, convenience stores, and pharmacies. Regular e-cigarette users who have a found a brand they really like or live far from a vape store may prefer to buy online, while others like to see products in person first.