How do e-cigarettes work?

E cigarettes are comprised of a number of different components. Firstly, there's a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, similar to the one in your mobile phone.

The battery delivers an electrical charge, which is what makes these devices "electronic".Batteries are generally interchangeable, and larger capacity batteries allow more use between charging.

The battery end of the e cigarette is furthest from the user's mouth, and often contains an LED indicator, which lights up when the e cigarette is in use. In e cigarettes that have been designed to resemble traditional cigarettes, the LED indicator is placed right on the end, just where the burning part of the cigarette would be.

At the opposite end of the e cigarette you will find the cartridge. The end of the cartridge serves as the mouthpiece of the e cigarette, and the cartridge itself is filled with an e-liquid. Initially, e-liquids were designed to simulate the flavour of tobacco, mimicking the experience of conventional cigarettes as closely as possible. However, the range of e-liquids now available has vastly expanded the variety of flavours that can be enjoyed via an e cigarette.

In between the battery and the cartridge is the vaporisation chamber, a tube that contains the control circuitry of the e cigarette and an atomiser. This is the heart of the e cigarette, and it's where the magic happens. When the user inhales through the mouthpiece, this triggers the atomiser to heat the liquid from the cartridge, converting it into a vapour within the vaporisation chamber.

The vapour, carrying the flavour of the e-liquid, is inhaled by the user and enters their lungs. When this vapour is exhaled, it looks very much like the cloud of smoke you would get from a conventional cigarette. However, because it's vapour and not smoke, using an e cigarette is commonly called vaping. Likewise, users are vapers, not smokers.

That's how e cigarettes work - it's that simple! Importantly, e cigarettes contain no tobacco. Whilst many e-liquids do contain nicotine, this is not essential and many vapers now enjoy e cigarettes that are completely nicotine-free.