If you are new to electronic cigarettes the lack of information out there can be daunting. What is it? How does it work? What do I need to start? All vital questions you need to ask and know the answers to and yet everywhere you go there are hundreds of stores selling ecigs but no one talking to the newbie. How is this possible?
We'll try to give you the information you need to get started with electronic cigarettes and get off the analogs (what we call a regular cigarette).
So let's get started...
How an electronic cigarette works
An Electronic Cigarette uses a rechargeable lithium battery and a replaceable cartridge/clearomizer/tank (atomizing device) filled with "eLiquid". The process is simple, drawing (inhaling) on the ecig while pressing the power button (most ecigs have them) produces the phycological effect that a smoker seeks and starts an atomizing process that releases a vapor that is inhaled and gives the sensation of smoke (but it is not smoke). The vapor exhaled evaporates into the air within a few seconds. That's it really.. that's all there is to it.
While it is NOT like regular cigarette it does seem like one, and without all the deadly chemicals. The beauty of electrionic cigarettes is that you can even choose to use nicotine or not.
The options are limitless but the basics are easy and now you know them.
A battery attached to a vaporizer filled with vaporizable fluids. - That's it!
The vapor produced by the e-cigarette is generally odorless (some flavors do have an oder) and disappears in a few seconds. It is without tar, ash residue, flame or fire. It does not emit chemicals found in a cigarette smoke.
The e-cigarette was invented by Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist working for the Golden Dragon of Hong Kong (the company name was later changed to Ruyan, meaning “to resemble smoking”). It was introduced into the market in 2003. Since then many changes have been made but the basics have stayed the same.
So now you know a typical e-cigarette is composed of three parts: the battery, the atomizing device and the eliquid. Let's break them down.
1. The Battery
The battery, ideally (and usually) a lithium-ion, is of the rechargeable type. The battery provides the electric power the atomizer needs to generate heat which in turn produces vapor from the eLiquid. Like any battery it needs to be charged and also like any battery the life depends on it's size. Batteries come in cigarette size (510) to slightly larger (eGo) to huge (18650 type). There are others and variations on each, but those are the basic three. For the most true "feel" a 510 is your best bet, but with a 510 comes the shorter life and repeated recharging. Larger batteries do not need to be charged as often but they trade that off with size. Almost EVERY vaper switches to larger batteries almost immediately. Keep this in mind so you do not waste your money if you are serious about this. You WILL seek a bigger battery, the odds bear it out.
The life of each battery is soley dependant on how much you are vaping. No one can tell you how long a battery will last before needing a charge, at least not in a non technical manner. Each battery will also need a battery charger. Most chargers are the screw in type, you screw on end of the battery into the charger and the other end plugs into a USB connection.
E-Cigarette battery chargers may be wall type, car type or USB from a computer. If you have a computer, you have a way to charge the batteries.
Batteries also come in a variety of colors and "voltages" but that is for a later subject, for now you just need a battery.
2. The Vaporizer (also called cartomizer/carto/clearomizer/tank)
Back in the day (way back in 2003/2004) most ecigs used an atomizer/cartridge solution. With todays technology, most of the industry has switched to clearomizers. We will focus on that as it is the easiest to understand and the most widley used. The clearomizers, usually made of a plastic or glas material, composes the mouth end of the e-cigarette, a liquid storage area and the vaporizer (also called an "atomizer"). When screwed onto the battery and the battery button depressed it send an electrical charge to the catomizer in turn heating up a "coil" which burns the liquid inside the cartomizers storage area producing vapor. It is this vapor that you are inhaling.
There are literally hundreds of choices for clearomizers out there but do not let that overwhelm you, at it's core all clearomizers are the same. There are differences in ohms and wattage ratings and threading (the size of the screw on connector) but they all work on the same principle but for now just know you need one. We will cover the details later.
eLiquid comes in a variety of flavors and strengths. Nicotine concentrations depend on the your choice and are generally listed as a number. For example 18mg means 18 milligrams of nicotine by volume. 18mg happens to be the number that is most closely associated with the amount of nicotine in a standard analog (regular cigarette). Most vendors who sell eLiquid will give you the choice of higher or lower mgs. You will have to experiment to find out what is best for you. eLiquid needs only one of two components to work properly, Propylene Glycol (PG) and/or Vegetable Glycerin, both of which are used in the food industry in food you have probably eaten today!
Included with the two basics are nicotine and flavoring (both optional). The nicotine is self explanitory but the flavorings can be from the mundane "tobacco" to the exotic "Rum delight". No one can tell you what you will or will not like, one persons favorite flavor can be another's least favorite. You will have to experiment. eLiquid also comes in many different tobacco flavors, all trying to replace the analog feeling.
While we cant sit here and tell you that inhaling VG/PG and flavorings is 100% safe what we can tell you is that these ingredients are used in food products and do NOT contain any of the thousands of toxic chemicals found in the average analog. Could there be a study in 10 years claiming ill effects from inhaling VG and or PG? Yes, but consider what you are inhaling now and come to your own conclusions.
Be warned though, always know what is in the eliquid you purchase, ask the vendor for specifics, if they cannot tell you, do not buy it.
Breaking it down
Here is some useful information to have handy.
Not complete not applicable to everyone but a basic start.
Drops are what comes out of an eLiquid bottle with a dropper tip.
There are approximately 20-25 drops in 1ml.
Puffs (vape inhales)
There are approximately 5 puffs in one drop, so about 10 puffs per 2 drops.
Two drops is the amount most commonly added when dripping. Dripping is the art of dropping liquid directly onto an atmozer bypassing a cartomizer.
A typical user vapes around 3ml / day. You may vary, I know some vapers who go through 10ml a day!
So at 3ml per day for a typical vaper:
24mg eLiquid means 24mg / ml.
1 analog cigarette = approx. 1mg nicotine absorbed.
1ml of 24mg nicotine eLiquid = 24mg nicotine... but read further....
The mg stated on juice is what is in the liquid. Only about 1/3 of that is absorbed, possibly a good bit lower (some tests have said as low as 10%; but the maximum is probably 40%). Maybe closer to 30%.
A box of 20 cigs gives aboout 20mg nicotine (20 x 1mg).
2ml of 36mg liquid will give about 2 x 36 x 0.33 = about the same: 20mg absorbed.
So 1 box of analog cigs is roughly equivalent to 2ml of 36mg juice or 3ml of 24mg juice.