Electronic cigarettes first appeared on the market in the 21st Century, but their origins can be traced back nearly half a century.
Electronic cigarettes constructed from Lik’s original design contained three distinct components: a cartridge, an atomiser and a power supply. Many electronic cigarettes were designed to mimic tobacco based cigarettes. Others were built to resemble ballpoint pens. Some e-cigarette models come with replaceable parts or liquid refills and are reusable. Other types of e-cigarettes are disposable.
All electronic cigarettes use an e-liquid to produce a mist that possesses many qualities similar to tobacco smoke without the unpleasant odor. E-liquids come in hundreds of distinct flavors and are produced with many of the same ingredients Lik used in his initial mixture.
Long term health effects of electronic cigarettes are inconclusive and it has been subject to heated debate ever since e-cigarettes were introduced to the international market.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a press release on their official website in July, 2009 warning against using electronic cigarettes because they contained carcinogens – official FDA tests did find one type of carcinogen but at levels thousands of times lower than those found in regular cigarettes. FDA attempts to have the device banned were defeated in court three times, with judges saying that the FDA had failed to prove the device was harmful.
The World Health Organization rejected the idea of accepting electronic cigarettes as an aid to halt smoking in an official statement posted on its website on September, 2008. The WHO urged e-cigarette marketers to not sell their product as a method to quit smoking, saying no scientific evidence supported such claims.
The consensus among tobacco harm reduction experts is that electronic cigarettes is around 98-99% safer than cigarettes, with a risk level roughly the same as that of a cup of coffee.
An e-cigarette is a pretty simple device. While there are a few different types of e-cigarettes, the basic workings are similar. Every e-cig has three main parts: the atomizer (sometimes contained within the cartridge or ‘cartomizer’), the cartridge and the battery. (See e-liquid terminology for more information.)
Some electronic cigarettes have an on/off switch, and some do not have a switch. It depends on the type. That’s because e-liquid doesn’t usually work well with an automatic battery. After turning the e-cigarette on, the atomizer ignites when the user puffs on the e-cig.
The atomizer consists of two parts: a wick and a filament. The metal wick touches the e-liquid inside the cartridge. That makes a small bead of nicotine solution flow down to the heating element or filament. The filament is a tightly coiled, high-resistance wire that heats instantly and vaporizes the nicotine solution on the wick. That vapor is sucked back through the electronic cigarette into the smoker’s lungs. As the e-liquid is vaporized, more nicotine solution flows down the wick to be vaporized. The process continues until the reservoir filling is dry.
Adapter: a specialized piece of equipment allowing the use of atomizers and batteries that are not designed to be used together.
Battery: (Bat) the electronic, rechargeable, device used as an energy source to provide the heat vaporize the E-juice in the atomizer.
Cartomizer: An e-cig part which combines the cartridge and atomizer into one piece of equipment
Cartridge: a part of an e-cig which holds the e-juice which has not yet been vaporized. It is generally filled with absorbent material.
Draw: (Pull) the act of drawing the vaporized e-juice from the e-cig.
Dripping: Dripping e-juice directly into the atomizer, said to improve flavor and throat hit when compared with the use of a cartridge. See How to refill an electronic cigarette.
Drip Tip: A mouth piece specially designed for dripping
E-Cig: (Electronic cigarette, personal vaporizer, smokeless cigarette) terms referring to the device(s) used for vaping
E-liquid: (e-juice, juice, liquid) the fluid that is vaporized and provides the vapor from the e-cig. E-liquid generally contains various amounts of nicotine, distilled water, natural and/or artificial flavoring, food grade glycerol and either Vegetable Glycerin (VG) or Propylene Glycol (PG)
Flooding: occurs when too much e-liquid has gotten into the atomizer, impeding the necessary airflow, which decreases or prohibits vapor production and may influence flavor.
mHa: refers to the capacity of the battery.
Mod: Modification made to improve function of e-cigs. Often used to increase vapor production, flavor and throat hit.
Nicotine Level: the amount of nicotine contained in the E-juice. This is measured in Mg/ml.
Passthrough/Passthru: a device that allows an E-Cig to be connected to any USB port, letting the user vape continuously without using up charged batteries.
PCC: (Personal Charging Device) a carrying case which charges E-Cig batteries on the go. Often include space to carry one or two extra batteries, extra cartridges and some extra E-juice.
PG: (Propylene Glycol) E-juice base liquid comprised mostly of propylene glycol. Some have reported a sore throat with the use of PG fluids. In such cases a switch to VG based e-juice often solves the problem.
Throat Hit: The sensation of the vapor hitting the back of the throat while vaping.
Vaping: The act of using an electronic cigarette, similar to the use of the word smoking when referring to smoking cigarettes.
VG: refers to Vegetable Glycerin based e-fluids.