E cigarettes, despite the many variations available, all function in essentially the same way. Featuring a cartridge where there is wadding or a wick that soaks in the e-liquid, absorbing and holding it there. The atomiser is a heating element in the shape of a coil inside the e cigarette. This coil is wrapped around the wicking material. When the e cigarette is activated, the atomiser heats up the liquid in the wick, converting it into an aerosol that we call vapour.
While not the most modern of devices, the diagram below will help to demonstrate how these common elements are typically arranged into a functional vaping device:
The Longer Answer
The most common e cigarettes today are divided into two camps - "open systems" like the LiQuid Pro that utilise the more traditional arrangement of a battery, integrated or interchangeable tank and replaceable coils, and "Pods and Capsules" like the Elfa Pro Pod Kit which, as their name suggests, utilise a typically disposable (but not always) pod housing the e-liquid and coil in one, that can be simply popped on and off a battery unit.
Regardless of the device type you choose, their functionality remains the same. They can be used with or without nicotine products and do not leave a lasting smell like conventional cigarettes do. Unlike cigarettes, they do not contain carbon monoxide or tar.
They are made of three parts, the battery that powers the atomizer (the heating element), the tank/capsule that holds the e liquid and the atomizer which heats up the e liquid to creates the vapour. In the cartridge there is a wick or wadding which is where the e liquid is absorbed. The heating element is called the atomiser but is most commonly referred to as a coil due to it's shape – this heats up the e liquid, "atomising" it into a breathable vapour.
Conventional cigarettes create smoke by burning tobacco which produces tar and carcinogenic compounds. E-cigarette vapour only contains the sum of its parts: a little PG, VG, flavouring and nicotine that hasn't been absorbed by your body along with a small amount of water produced by your own body once exhaled.
E liquid is used in the e cigarette and this liquid normally is made up of nicotine (if you want it), propylene glycol, (PG) vegetable glycerol (VG) and flavours. Propylene glycol and vegetable glycerol produce the vapour you inhale. VG is primarily responsible for the vapour whilst the PG carries the nicotine and flavouring to deliver is the throat hit.
E liquids can come in varied nicotine strengths to help users reduce their nicotine intake over time. There are many flavours available to suit everyone's taste, varying from tobacco right through to strawberry milk!
If you want to learn more about exactly what goes into one of our LiQuid bottles, check out our blog: What's in an E-Liquid?