How do electronic cigarettes work?



What are electronic cigarettes?

An e-cig is a battery operated device which is designed to provide the user with a similar experience to smoking a cigarette. This technology has been on the market for around 5 years but it’s only been recently that the technology has allowed e-cigarette manufacturers to produce devices which are small, compact, simple to use and really look great.

Electronic cigarettes are an alternative to smoking cigarettes. Some people use them as a way to get rid of their nicotine addiction developed through smoking and others simply use e-cigs as an alternative to smoking and are happy to continue using e-cigarettes indefinitely.

How do they work?

The 3 main components of an electronic cigarette are the tank, heating coil and the battery. 


Click to enlarge:


The rechargeable battery is used by the heating coil, or atomiser, to heat up the liquid in the tank to produce a vapour which is inhaled by the user through the mouthpiece. This produces a very similar feel and experience to inhaling smoke.

Because you’re drawing in vapour rather than smoke, using an e-cig is called vaping instead of smoking. You will commonly see terms like vaping, vaper and vape. These all refer to using the device and are used in place of smoking, smoker and smoke. It’s also the reason why we named our site The Vape Store (in case you were wondering).

There are many different varieties of electronic cigarettes on the market which come in a range of shapes, styles, colours and features but they all essentially do the same thing and will all contain these 3 basic components.

If you haven’t seen a real e-cigarette being used, here’s a video of Katherine Heigl vaping on the David Letterman Show:



The 3 components are as follows -


The rechargeable battery is similar to the battery in your mobile phone and will need to be charged every day or so. In fact the chargers for electronic cigarette batteries look a lot like the chargers you use for your mobile phone.

Heating Coil

The heating coil is inside the unit between the battery and the tank. The heating coil component is often called the atomiser and its purpose is to heat up the liquid in the tank to produce a vapour. As the device is used the coil will degrade over time and will need to be replaced.
Luckily these are very cheap to replace and will only need to be replaced every few weeks.


The purpose of the tank is to store the juice or e-liquid. You’ll also see these called clearmoisers, cartomisers and glassomisers.
Tanks are refillable so you can buy the e-liquid separately and fill up the tank when you’re running low.

So what does it feel like to use an e-cig?

Most people who use an electronic cigarette for the first time are surprised at how close it feels to smoking. It’s why so many people are making the switch and you’re likely to see a lot more people using these devices over the next 12 months.

The next surprise for many people is how great the flavours taste compared to the taste of cigarette smoke. Whether it’s a coffee flavour with your morning coffee or roasted strawberry for the afternoon, there’s a whole world of flavours you’ll be able to try out.

Are electronic cigarettes safe?

There have been many studies done into the health consequences of electronic cigarettes. All studies have concluded that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking and many have compared them with using a nicotine patch or gum.

Nicotine isn’t harmful on its own and is often compared to caffeine in terms of the health effects.

Smoking is harmful due to the burning and inhaling of smoke, along with the many other chemicals added to cigarettes. The liquid used in e-cigs do not contain any known carcinogenic ingredients.

What’s e-liquid?

E-liquid is the flavoured liquid which gets heated up to produce the vapour. There are hundreds of flavours available including strawberry, chocolate, roasted strawberry and banana nut bread. Of course if you prefer to simulate the taste of smoking, there are a range of tobacco flavoured juices as well.

There are basically four ingredients in the e-liquid and all are known to be safe;

Propylene Glycol (PG) – a colourless, odourless liquid which has been used in food products for over 50 years.

Vegetable Glycerin (VG) – a natural ingredient derived from plants and like PG has been commonly used as a food additive for many years.

Food grade flavouring – this gives each e-liquid its distinctive flavouring.

Nicotine (optional) – extracted from the tobacco plant. Not all people use e-liquid containing nicotine, so it’s completely up to each person to decide whether or not they want the nicotine hit when they vape.

How much money does it cost to use an e-cig?

Using an e-cig will cost only a fraction of the cost of smoking. A pack a day smoker can spend around $140 per week in Australia, and for someone who vapes instead will only spend about $10 per week on e-liquid.

So what do you need to get started?

For anyone who wants to get started using an electronic cigarette, the simplest way is to buy a starter kit. They contain everything you need to begin, except for e-liquid which you need to buy separately.

It can be confusing at first to try and decide which starter kit is right for you because there are just so many options to choose from.

Starting with a name brand is a great way to make sure you're getting a good quality device to ensure your first experience using an e-cig is a good one. We only recommend Innokin products to people when they first start. 


Our Starter Kits made by Innokin are high quality devices which we have tried and tested ourselves.

It also includes 3 x 10ml of E-Liquid in 3 Different Flavours - Apple, Banana and Peach.


Click to enlarge:


These kit are located here:


If you still have questions or concerns, send us an email at and we’ll be happy to help you out. Everything you need to start vaping for around the price of 2 packs of cigarettes.  


It is estimated that e-cigarettes will replace smoking within 10 years as more people realise how great these new devices are.
Do your research, choose the kit that’s right for you and you’ll be less likely to continue smoking.



April 16, 2014 by Robert Baliva
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