An Introduction to the Electronic Cigarette

The electronic cigarette has been designed as a healthier alternative to smoking conventional cigarettes.  The E-cig works by vaporizing a safe and harmless solution containing flavoring and in most cases, nicotine.  A rechargeable battery heats an atomizer coil that creates a vapor that looks and feels like smoke.  Because the electronic cigarette looks, feels and “smokes” like a cigarette, many smokers find it to be a great alternative to smoking.

The health impact of smoking has been widely researched and publicized, but it is important to understand that the danger is caused by the burning and additional chemicals found in cigarettes, not the nicotine.  Nicotine on its own is generally known to be no more harmful than caffeine.  In fact, there is a lot of new research into the benefits of nicotine, from dealing with depression and Altzheimer’s disease to even promoting the growth of new blood vessels.  A recent article in Discovery Health covers the issue pretty well.  Electronic cigarettes provide a way to get the nicotine without the dangers of smoking.

There are three main components to the electronic cigarette…

1. The Battery

Smokeless Image Volt Battery

  • Provides the power to vaporize the liquid.  It is typically rechargeable and is activated by either the push of a button or automatically when the user inhales.

2. The Atomizer or Cartomizer

  • When power is applied to the atomizer, a coil heats up and vaporizes liquid as the user inhales.

Electronic Cigarette Atomizer and Cartridge

  • Older models used a small cartridge that held the liquid and allowed it to come in contact with the atomizer

Electronic cigarette cartomizer

  • Newer models either combine the atomizer and filler into a single unit, called a cartomizer, or use a tank to store the liquid that is then fed to the coil via wicks.

 3.The E-Liquid

Highbrow Eliquid

  • Flavoring and nicotine are added to propylene glycol (PG) and/or vegetable glycerin (VG) to create a liquid that tastes good and creates vapor when atomized.
  • Usually referred to as eliquid or ejuice
  • Nicotine content is usually stated as mg/ml (milligrams per milliliter) or mg for short.  0mg eliquid contains no nicotine, while 6mg is low nicotine and 24mg is high.

Electronic Cigarette Styles

Since their introduction, the variety of electronic cigarettes available has increased exponentially, but there are a few main variations that a new user should be aware of:
Mini – an electronic cigarette that is similar in size to a conventional cigarette.
  • Pros – small size, inconspicuous, looks like a regular cigarette, easy transition from cigarettes
  • Cons – short battery life, less warmth and vapor
eGo/Riva – eGo is the brand name for the first of the bigger battery electronic cigarette variant.  These electronic cigarettes are the size of a small cigar and provide much longer use between recharges.
  • Pros – long battery life, more power and vapor, doesn’t look like a cigarette
  • Cons – bigger, doesn’t look or feel like a cigarette
Mods or APVs – the term mod is applied to any device that uses a replaceable battery inside of the electronic cigarette unit itself.
  • Pros – batteries are cheaper and widely available, great power and battery life.
  • Cons – larger, batteries must be removed for charging.

Buying an Electronic Cigarette

The most important thing to know about buying the best electronic cigarette is that doing your research will be rewarded.  Quite a few of the most visible electronic cigarette companies are selling an average product at very high prices.  If you’ve seen the Smoking Everywhere kiosk at the mall or the ads for Blu on the web, you know what I’m talking about.  These are not terrible products, but there are much better options available for a lot less money.

We’ve put together a list of 30 great electronic cigarette kits.  All are good values from trusted vendors that have been around for awhile and have earned a reputation for great products and service.    Even more options can be found on the list of electronic cigarette suppliers available at Vaping Guides.  The Electronic Cigarette Forum is another great place for more information, although the sheer volume of it can be a little overwhelming.

 

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