Electronic Cigarettes: How They Work

If you’re getting into the world of electronic cigarettes and you want to know the basics of what they are and how they work, this guide will help you figure it out.

What are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are substitution for traditional cigarettes and they are powered by e-cigarette batteries. Essentially, they work by heating a liquid into aerosol and then you inhale and exhale it. The liquid that is being heated into an aerosol usually contains several different things: propylene glycol, glycerine, nicotine, different flavourings, and chemicals.

The E-cigarette Battery

E-cigarettes are battery powered, as we’ve already mentioned. The batteries are typically rechargeable and made of lithium ion. These types of batteries are also commonly used in other devices such as laptops and some wireless home appliances and devices. However, not all of them are completely the same. In some cases these batteries are not chargeable and once the liquid is used up you need to discard the e-cigarette.

The strength of these batteries is measured in milliamp ere hours. The higher this mAh value is the longer your battery will last before you need to charge it again.

For instance, a regular e-cigarette battery usually has between 200 and 300 mAh. These are some of the most basic e-cigarettes you can find. They are very similar with cigarettes or in other words they basically mimic them and they work when you inhale.

Then, there is eGo-style battery which has about 500 to 1200 mAh. These are larger devices and the battery is rechargeable. Another difference is that they work via a button.

You can also choose a mod battery which ranges from 700 and 3500 mAh. These batteries are larger and much more powerful.

There is a high risk of fire with all of these batteries, so you need to be careful of that. Make sure you place them carefully in your bag and separately from other stuff. If they come in contact with metal objects such as keys, they can catch fire. In addition to that, always make sure you are using the right charger. They can also catch fire if you try to use an incompetent and incorrect charger for them.

E-cigarette Coils – How Atomisers Work

The atomiser is basically the most important part. This is the part that turns e-liquid into vapour. This is where coil is placed. This metal wire is meant to heat up the battery and the wicking material running through the coil is saturated with e-liquid. This is how the wick provides the liquid to the coil.

Coils can be replaced and pre-built versions are also available, but some vapers like to build them on their own too.

Also, there are different ways to use it. Some vapers simply dip the liquid in the coil and some have it drawn through the wick. The e-liquid goes directly on the coil and the wick and then once the battery starts working the liquid turns into vapour. The best advantage of dripping is an intense flavour that you get from it. These atomisers are called RDA (re-buildable dripping atomisers). Speaking of flavour, there are different flavours of nicotine vape juice you can purchase online if you don’t want to go for the most basic one.

E-cigarette Tank Element – Cartridges, Cartomizers and Clearomisers

The liquid you use needs to be placed somewhere. The tank elements used for this are cartridge, cartomizer or clearomiser. They all have the same function – to store the liquid and get it to the coil.


Cartridge is used for simple cig-like devices. It does what it’s supposed to do. It feeds the liquid to the heating elements. Then once you empty it you replace it with a new one. In most cases you can get from 5 to 20 cartridge changes before you spend your atomiser.


This one is similar to cartridge but it has a poyfill material around the heating element. The liquid is soaked in this material and it’s very easy to refill it. Cartomizer is a bit better option since it can significantly extend the life of the e-liquid and they can often be stored in large tanks which are capable of holding a lot of liquid.


Lastly, a clearomiser is located inside a container that holds e-liquid. Most vapers simply think of it as a tank and that are made with transparent glass or plastic. This is a great choice of material because you get to see how much liquid you have used so far.

The coils found in clearomisers can be easily replaced and you can position them in the tank in different ways. You can place them as top coil, bottom coil or multiple coils.


Essentially, e-cigarettes are battery powered devices that work by heating the e-liquid inside the coil and thus turning it into vapour. This liquid can contain various different flavours and there are several different types of batteries as well as ways to dip the liquid in coil and heat it. Based on what type suits your needs most, you can choose one of them from the above list.