What is in e-cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes or vaporizing cigarettes are devices that allow you to ‘smoke’ without inhaling thousands of chemicals. It also gives you the option to add nicotine or leave it out. It sound tempting, but we want to know what is in e-cigarettes.
We know tobacco cigarettes contain over 4000 chemicals which can be harmful for your health. Most e-cigarette users state e-cigarettes give almost the same sensation as tobacco cigarettes do while e-cigarettes aren’t harmful like tobaccos. How is that possible without inhaling any smoke?
Most electronic cigarettes are long-shaped tubes that look like regular tobacco cigarettes. Some are the same size as tobacco cigarettes; some are bigger and heavier and look like a cigar. Others are smaller, like a ballpoint. Most e-cigarettes are reusable, but some brands sell disposable e-cigarettes. The reusable e-cigarettes have cartridges that need to be refilled once in a while. Almost every model nowadays is automatic. This means that once you suck on the mouthpiece of the e-cigarette, a sensor automatically activates the heating element. This heating element vaporizes a liquid, which is hidden in the mouthpiece. The light at the other end of the e-cigarette automatically flashes on which looks like the burning part of a tobacco cigarette. Older e-cigarette models are still manual. To turn on the heating element, you must press a button. A little LED light will switch on the moment the e-cigarette is ready to use.
The e-cigarette consists of four parts: a mouthpiece, a heating element, a battery and several circuits. The mouthpiece is called cartridge and needs to be refilled. The mouthpiece holds a plastic cup which contains absorbing material which is soaked with a liquid solution. This solution contains the flavor and nicotine. You can adjust the level of nicotine yourself with most models. This mouthpiece or cartridge can be refilled, but also be replaced by a prefilled one if necessary. A user can also use drip tips: this way the absorbing material is removed and drops of liquid will be directly placed in the atomizer bridge. This brings us to the next element: the atomizer.
The atomizer is the heating element. Thanks to this element the liquid heats up and vaporizes. This way you can breathe in the vape which feels as real smoke. The atomizer needs to be replaced every 4 or 5 months, depending on your model and your smoking behavior.
No electric devise can survive without a battery, nor can the electronic cigarette. The battery of the e-cigarette powers the heating element. Most e-cigarette models contain a lithium-ion battery. This battery is rechargeable. The battery life depends on how frequently the e-cigarette is used, what type of e-cigarette you’re using and what type of battery it is. Large batteries can be annoying, because the battery is the largest element of an e-cigarette. A benefit of a large battery is that it lasts longer.
The circuits on electronic cigarettes vary with every model. More expensive models offer more options than cheaper models. Most beginners don’t have any benefit from a lot of circuits yet. The more experienced vapers often look for models that offer more features.
The solution used in the mouthpiece heats up and transforms into vapor that you inhale. Because this is the element, which is inhaled, this might be the most important part. After all, this is what goes into your body. The solution is called e-liquid or e-juice and is available in hundreds of flavors. People who want to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes, but want to keep using nicotine, can use e-liquid with nicotine. The nicotine in e-cigarettes is dissolved in propylene glycol. This is the element which scares a lot of people and which could be harmful if you use an overload. The amount of propylene glycol in e-liquid is not harmful. This is about the same level as used as a food additive. According to experts propylene glycol hasn’t had a serious know side effect since 1950. Since that time it’s used in asthma inhalers. The FDA even includes propylene glycol in their generally recognized as safe substance (GRAS) list.
The nicotine is another part that could be harmful. Nicotine is known to be addictive. It’s up to the e-cigarette smoker if he will add nicotine to the electronic cigarette. However, nicotine is not as harmful as a lot of people think. It’s comparable with caffeine: we know drinking coffee isn’t really good for us, but a little bit won’t do that much harm.