The world of electronic cigarette technology may seem complex at first, but once you are familiar with a few basic concepts you'll see that they are actually very simple devices!
The very first thing to understand about "electronic cigarettes" is that, aside from the nicotine, they are nothing like traditional cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes (sometimes called PVs, short for Personal Vaporizers) use a small heating element, or atomizer, to vaporize a nicotine infused liquid. The resulting vapor, which is similar to steam or mist, is drawn into the mouth, and may be inhaled. Much like pipe or cigar smoking, inhalation of the vapor is not nessicary. eLiquids are typically made up of a few simple ingredients:
Propylene Glycol USP / Vegetable Glycerin USP – Inert carrier liquids which are used in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Propylene Glycol is the primary carrier used for inhaled athsma medication. Both are recognized by the FDA as safe for human consumption.
Nicotine – The active ingredient in both eLiquid and tobacco.
Natural or Artificial Flavorings – Optional flavorings allow users to customize the taste of their vapor.
Now that you know the difference between smoking and vaporizing, and are familiar with eLiquid, we can go over the basic parts that make up every personal vaporizer. While they may vary in shape and size, all personal vaporizers consist of 2 main components:
Atomizer – Atomizers come in many shapes and sizes, but they all contain a small wire coil which is heated by the Battery. The coil is typically wrapped around a small piece of wick which carries the eLiquid to the coil. Many atomizers come with a refillable tank or cartridge that holds eLiquid.
Battery – Sometimes called a Mod, these are usually the longer part of the PV. Batteries are attatched to the atomizer, typically through a threaded connection port one one end. Batteries can be either automatic (activated by inhaling) or button-activated. “Variable Voltage” batteries allow the user to vary the power delivered to the atomizer via a knob or computerized interface.