March 2013

How To Vape—The Technology Behind the E-Cig

By Mary Plass


The basic definition of an electronic cigarette is that it is a handheld battery-operated device that, with technology similar to an electric stove, heats flavored liquid into a vapor that is then inhaled into the lungs, delivering nicotine, and then exhaled.


Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, come in various forms but are mainly comprised of four basic parts. These include the battery, the atomizer, something to hold the liquid, like a cartridge or tank device, and the mouthpiece, commonly called a drip tip.


Beyond that, there are a multitude of accessories and configurations that allow you to create a very personalized look and feel of your vaping experience.

The battery of the electronic cigarette, sometimes called a PV (personal vaporizer), supplies the power required to heat the atomizer that then vaporizes the flavored liquid. They come in an extremely wide variety of lengths, widths, looks, feel, voltage and wattage ranges. Some come with dials, others have buttons, some have screens to view settings and some do not. Regardless of their feature set, they all provide, at their very basic form, the same function.

The smaller devices, like the widely popular eGo style batteries, are rechargeable. The bigger tube batteries sometimes referred to as “mods” have a cap that twists off allowing you to insert rechargeable batteries. Other mods, like box-style mods, are rectangular shaped and might have replaceable batteries or might be rechargeable. The smaller batteries will have a shorter battery life and lower voltage range, if it can change the voltage at all. The larger tube mods will last longer and can provide features such as the ability to view the resistance of attachments, the amount of battery left and the option to use variable voltage or variable wattage.

All of them have their advantages and disadvantages.
All of the PV styles have connection ports, like the very
common 510 connection, to connect the liquid delivery
system of your choice, whether it is a cartomizer, a clearomizer
or a dripping atomizer.

Three e-cig styles: The basic 510 cigarette style, the interchangable eGo, and a modded Vapage VMOD 2.0.