What is an E-Cigarette?
An e-cigarette, electronic cigarette or 'vape' is a device that evaporates liquid (called e-liquid). This water vapor can be inhaled to simulate the smoking sensation of real tobacco products and may also include nicotine in a variety of strengths if so desired. This e-liquid is readily available in all imaginable tastes and consists of various constituents. The base is made up of propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG) and ensures that a vapour can be formed. This base can be complemented with flavorings, water and optionally nicotine.
The major difference with a regular cigarette is that an e-cigarette vaporizes the liquid and a regular cigarette burns the tobacco. This results in far fewer pollutants being released from an e-cigarette: it is free of carbon monoxide, tar, ammonia and other substances that are produced by smoking a regular cigarette.
An e-cigarette is usually made up of two components: a battery "Mod" and a tank (also known as a clearomizer).
The battery generates electricity to heat the vaporization unit and the tank serves as a reservoir for the e-liquid. The battery can be internal to the device or an external rechargeable battery. The power to the battery can be switched on by pressing a button or, if the e-cigarette operates without a button, by means of suction. This creates the necessary temperature to vaporize the liquid in the tank.
The tank or clearomizer generally comprises the tank itself, an atomizer with a coil and a mouthpiece. The atomizer is the section of the tank that is heated by the battery and the coil utilizes this heat to vaporize the liquid in the tank. There are various types of coils for a variety of e-cigarettes, but typically it amounts to a coil that is made of wrapped metal wire encased in a certain material (often this is cotton) that absorbs the liquid in the reservoir.
A coil can be determined by its resistance, the kind of wire and the material that surrounds it. Each type of coil provides a different vapor experience or is compatible with a different type of e-cigarette.
In a nutshell, an e-cigarette is a device that comprises a battery and a tank that is filled with a liquid. The coil in this tank is then heated by the battery so that the liquid can be vaporized and inhaled, which simulates the smoking sensation
Which e-cigarette is best for me?
While it is, of course, a personal preference as to which e-cigarette is best for you, there are a few pointers that can be given.
There are essentially two distinct ways to use an e-cigarette: MTL or DL vapor.
MTL is short for Mouth to Lung and is most similar to conventional smoking. This method involves inhaling the vapor into the mouth first and then into the lungs, similar to smoking a regular cigarette. With this type of vaping, less vapor is produced than is the case with DL vaping. The resistance of the coil with this method of vaping is 1 Ohm or more.
DL represents Direct Lung and in this case the vapor is inhaled straight into the lungs. This is somewhat similar to smoking a water pipe and produces larger volumes of vapor compared to MTL vaping. The resistance of the coil with this type of vaping is less than 1 ohm (sub ohm).
This is where the initial choice must be made depending on the kind of vaping desired. In general, MTL vapor is more suitable for those who want to quit smoking and most want to imitate the smoking of a regular cigarette without releasing too much vapor. If you want to smoke more like a waterpipe with more vapor, which is generally softer on the throat, then DL vapor is more preferable. Alternatively, there are e-cigarettes that can support both MTL and DL vapor. This can be a viable option if you want to experience both forms of vaping. Once this choice is made, there are of course many differences between the MTL and DL e-cigarettes themselves. Some are smaller, easy to use and simple, and others are larger, more advanced and a little more complicated to use.
For the beginning vaper, a basic e-cigarette is advisable to experiment with vaping in an easy way, whether it be the MTL or DL method.
When deciding on a MTL e-cigarette, there are two different options to choose from: a regular MTL e-cigarette with exchangeable coils or a POD system. For the differences between a POD e-cigarette and a regular cigarette, see the paragraph "What is the difference between an e-cigarette and a POD e-cigarette?
In brief, a MTL e-cigarette is more suitable for the novice vaper who wants to quit smoking and provides a simple vaping experience without too much vapor. A DL e-cigarette is for the vaper who wants to create more vapor and wants to smoke like a bong. Most flavors are available for this type of DL e-cigarette and this type of e-cigarette is also more gentle on the throat.
What types of e-cigarettes are there?
E-cigarettes come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit everyone's needs. The most common e-cigarettes are described below.
This type of e-cigarette is often used with the MTL vaping method and is popular among novice vapers and people who want to quit smoking regular cigarettes. MTL stands for Mouth to Lung inhalation and most closely simulates the real smoking experience. Because these MTL e-cigarettes are often in the form of a pen, they are very handy and easy to carry. With this type of e-cigarette, there are usually no adjustable settings and the liquid must have a PG percentage of 50 or higher. Pen e-cigarettes are often included in many of the starter kits out there.
Sub Ohm Vape Kits are characterized by DL vaping and high VG e-liquids.
DL stands for Direct Lung and in this case the vapor is inhaled directly into the lungs. This is somewhat similar to smoking a water pipe and produces larger volumes of vapor compared to MTL vaping. The coil resistance in this form of vaping is less than 1 ohm (sub ohm) so e-liquids should be 50 VG or higher to get the best vaping experience.
These have recently become a very popular choice among vapers due to their ease of use and convenient size and are also called "Ultra portable systems". This is a kind of hybrid e-cigarette that uses what are commonly known as PODs, or replaceable cartridges. These PODs consist of the mouthpiece, coil and liquid in one. The POD is placed into the battery and the device is then ready for use. There are closed and open POD systems. The closed POD systems are pre-filled by the manufacturer and cannot be refilled using your own e-liquid. The open POD systems are delivered with an empty POD and can thus be refilled by yourself. For further information on POD systems, see the section on "What is the difference between an e-cigarette and a POD e-cigarette.
This type of e-cigarette consists of a charged battery with a filling that cannot be refilled or recharged. Usually, a certain number of puffs are possible, after which the e-cigarette can be disposed of. The number of puffs differs per disposable vape kit. Well known brands offering disposable vape kits are Vozol, Geekbar, Elfbar, Dodo Vape and the Nasty Juice Fix Disposable Pod System.
Mech Mod Kits are very powerful vaping devices with a fully mechanised structure. It normally consists of an atomizer pin, a battery compartment and a mechanical switch. It is often shaped like a pin and is almost always equipped with an RDA.
The BOX MOD e-cigarettes are intended for the serious vaper who needs the choice of advanced settings. These types of e-cigarettes often include options such as temperature control, adjustable wattage/voltage and much more to achieve the desired settings. The BOX MOD e-cigarettes often have a large capacity and usually come with separate 18650 batteries. This type of e-cigarette is mainly used to vaporize sub-ohm higher VG liquid.
As you can see, there is a wide selection of types of e-cigarettes. The same can be said for different brands of e-cigarettes. Some of the best known are listed below.
Probably the most popular brand in the electronic cigarette business worldwide. A Chinese brand that has been providing high quality vape products since 2010.
Aspire is one of the leaders in the vape industry and is a pioneer in the innovation of new vape technologies.
Innokin is one of the most trusted vape brands and is mainly focused on simple and basic e-cigarettes for beginners.
Vaporesso is one of the newer brands, operational since 2015, but their late start has certainly not prevented them from competing with the best and oldest brands out there. Known for their high quality and aesthetic products, it is a brand that most people know and love.
Justfog is a South Korean brand of e-cigarettes best known for their excellent starter kits and the small and simple type of e-cigarettes.
What is the difference between an e-cigarette and a POD e-cigarette?
The POD e-cigarette can be considered an evolution of the regular e-cigarette. They are incredibly easy to use and are usually very compact so that they can easily be carried in your pocket. As the name suggests, this type of e-cigarette operates with what are called PODs, or replaceable cartridges. These PODs combine the mouthpiece, coil and liquid in one. The POD is inserted into the battery and then the device is all set to go. There are closed and open POD systems. The closed POD systems are already pre-filled by the manufacturer and cannot be refilled with your own e-liquid. These PODs should be disposed of when they are empty. The open POD systems come with an empty POD and can be refilled by yourself. After approximately 3-4 refills, however, these PODs will have burned out and the entire POD must be replaced to avoid a burnt or diminished taste.
POD e-cigarettes do not produce as much vapor as regular e-cigarettes, which in combination with their small size makes them very discreet to use.
POD systems are commonly used with nicotine salt (Nic Salt) as a filling in the POD. This is a popular combination because the Nic Salt e-liquids allow for quick absorption of the nicotine and due to the relatively low wattage and high resistance of the coil, this allows for Nic Salts to work well in POD e-cigarettes.
Another distinction from regular e-cigarettes is that in most POD systems, the coils do not need to be replaced, but the entire POD needs to be replaced when it is ready. There are, however, POD systems that also require the coil to be replaced.
In summary, POD systems are often more compact than regular e-cigarettes and are also easier to use. They also produce less vapor, which makes them more discreet to use.