eCig Basics

When I began using electronic cigarettes in 2007, most people hadn’t heard of them. Now, however, anyone who hasn’t heard of e-cigs is thought to be living under a rock. Today, a lot of people are interested in trying e-cigs, and they want to know how the devices work and if they present an acceptable alternative to traditional cigarettes. There are literally hundreds of e-cigs available, and they come in a variety of styles. Spending a little time in E-Cigarette 101 can help you make an informed decision.

All e-cigs share five common features:

  • They’re better for the environment
  • They’re more affordable than tobacco cigarettes
  • You get to enjoy the same motions involved in smoking
  • There is no flame
  • They don’t produce smoke, ash or unpleasant smell

Electronic cigarettes come in various styles. Some manufacturers even produce several models, whereas others may only make one variety of e-cig.

Popular Styles of E-Cig

Conventional Two-Part E-Cig With Replaceable Cartridges


If you’re using a standard two-part e-cig that features a replaceable cartridge (V2 Cigs, Apollo or Green Smoke), the filter (cartomizer) has a heating element (atomizer) and some liquid. When you’re finished with the liquid, which usually lasts between 250 and 300 puffs, it is disposed of or recycled. The metal battery is designed to look like a cigarette, but these are available in a wide array of designer patterns and colors. This part powers the atomizer inside the cartomizer and features an LED tip that glows when you draw on it. Once the tip begins blinking, that’s your signal to recharge the battery.

Non-Conventional Two-Part E-Cig With Replaceable Cartridge and EGO-Type Battery

Some e-cigs are designed in such a way that they look nothing like cigarettes. These are available in numerous sizes, colors and shapes. They’re often referred to as “EGO” e-cigs, like those made by HaloCigs. They may also be called Vaporizers or Stealth e-cigs.

The EGO-type battery is bulkier than those on other e-cigs and does not feature an LED tip. Because of this, these batteries usually last twice as long as the more traditional battery types. Several manufacturers make e-cigs in this style, and they also offer a variety of cartomizers. Batteries can be charged via the USB charger itself, or one attached to a wall charger. For your safety and that of your e-cig, only use the charger that came in your kit.

Three-Part E-Cig With Refillable Tank Filter


If you buy a three-part refillable e-cig, like those made by Vaporfi, V2 Cigs or Halo, you can use your own liquid. While it’s an economical option, there are some disadvantages to this system:

  • The atomizer coils and mouthpiece must be cleaned for sanitation purposes, or you have to purchase new ones.
  • Cleaning the coils is tedious and can result in accidental damage.
  • You have to guess when it’s time to dispose of it.
  • Depending on the tank you’re using, refilling it with liquid can be difficult. It’s not uncommon to spill the liquid in the process.
  • The containers your liquid comes in must be kept away from animals and kids.

What Ingredients Does E-Cig Liquid Contain?


All e-cigs produce harmless water vapor as a by-product when you draw on them. These liquids are made from propylene glycol, food-grade flavors, vegetable glycerine and optionally, diluted nicotine. The ingredients in the highest quality e-cig products, which are those reviewed on this site, are FDA-approved and have been tested to ensure purity. Some e-cig brands, such as Eversmoke, only use vegetable glycerine, which caters to individuals who have experienced sensitivity to liquids containing propylene glycol.

All About E-Cig Batteries


E-cig batteries come in a number of sizes and shapes that vary with each brand. These batteries are either lithium polymer or lithium ion. You can also order e-cig batteries that feature a manual switch, a small button that activates the battery when you use the e-cig. With automatic versions, the battery only activates when you draw on the e-cig.

E-cig batteries can be charged with a wall or USB charger, which are often one in the same. A wall charger displays a red light when charging it not yet complete, and a green light is displayed when it’s finished. Be sure to use only the charger that comes with your e-cig since it’s made for your e-cig’s specific voltage needs. Using a different charger can ruin your battery.