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Electronic Cigarette

What is an Electronic Cigarette?

There has been a huge proliferation of electronic cigarettes in the marketplace over the past several years. Yet as the devices have risen in visibility and brand loyalty to manufacturers such as Ciglites become stronger, questions regarding its design, its use, and its safety have also increased. As the demand for these particular gadgets continues to grow with each passing year, the air of confusion that has long surrounded the device has also increased. Indeed, there is a bit of mystery that surrounds the device. A lot of this mystery stems from the fact that most people are simply not familiar with the basic ins and outs of the device, from the way it is assembled to the manner in which it functions. However, if you take the time to seek out answers to the some of the more common inquiries surrounding the electronic cigarette, you will end up yielding some important and somewhat fascinating information.

The History of the Electronic Cigarette

It can be rather easy to assume that electronic cigarettes have only been around for the last few years. After all, the devices seemed to crop up overnight like newer inventions tend to do. Yet this is not the case. The roots of electronic cigarettes can be traced all the way back to the year 1963. An American inventor by the name of Herbert A. Gilbert patented a gadget that he referred to as “a smokeless non-tobacco cigarette.” The purpose of Gilbert’s invention was to be a replacement for the process of burning tobacco and paper. These two elements were to be swapped for an airy nicotine solution. This solution was to be heated, moist, and flavored; these particular characteristics that are similar to what the modern electronic cigarette smoker would refer to as vapor. The device that Gilbert patented would heat the air which would then cause steam.
Gilbert’s invention was granted a patent by the United States Patent Office in 1965. It seemed that there was a burgeoning interest for the gadget; the magazine Popular Mechanics ran a small story about it in its December 1965 issue, and Gilbert himself was approached by several companies that were interested in manufacturing it over the next year. However, no manufacturer actually went ahead and pulled the trigger on creating Gilbert’s device. By 1968, Gilbert’s invention had fallen off the public record, a circumstance that sometimes happens to devices that, in retrospect, appear to be ahead of their time.
Because of this, the first official electronic cigarette that was made available to the masses did not come onto the scene until 2003. The device was developed by Hon Lik, a pharmacist that hailed from Beijing, China. Lik, who was also a smoker, was said to be spurred onto creating the invention after his father, who had smoked heavily, passed away from lung cancer. Lik’s invention was built around the concept of using an ultrasound emission that was piezoelectric in nature; what that means is it was an electric charge that built up in certain solid materials such as bone or ceramics as a response to mechanical stress. This charge would cause the vaporization of a pressurized stream of liquid that included nicotine in a propylene glycol solution. This vapor would in turn be inhaled by a user, which would allow the nicotine to come into the bloodstream via the lungs. Lik also developed the practicality of the device along with the process. He was also the person that came up with the concept of placing the solution into a disposable plastic cartridge that inserted and extracted from the device.
Lik’s invention hit the Chinese domestic market a year later as an aid for smoking cessation. The company that employed Lik, Golden Dragon Holdings, began to export the device shortly thereafter, and eventually was granted an international patent on the device in 2007. Its popularity has been on the rise ever since.

Basic Electronic Cigarette Terminology

Several nicknames have been developed for the electronic cigarette since it hit the international marketplace and began to be sold by manufacturers such as Ciglites. Some of the more common pseudonyms that an electronic cigarette goes by include:
  • E-Cig
  • E-Cigarette
  • Personal Vaporizer (PV)
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS)
  • Arguably, the most important term to know regarding electronic cigarettes is vaping. The term was coined in order to highlight the fact that the user of device is inhaling vapor that is the product of an electronic discharge, and not inhaling smoke caused by the inhaling of tobacco. As a result, the people who use electronic cigarettes to “vape” are called “vapers.”

    The Components of an E Cigarette

    Like the name suggests, an electronic cigarette does not gain its functionality by way of striking a match or flicking a lighter and setting the end of the device on fire. It is basically controlled by electronic power.
    That being said there are essentially four basic components to an electronic cigarette in order for that power to be properly achieved:
  • The battery
  • The liquid cartridge
  • The atomizer
  • The mouthpiece
  • The battery is an essential piece to an electronic cigarette. It may be hard to remember at times, but an electronic cigarette is in fact and electronic device. As such, it has to have electric power in order for it to run properly. The device’s charge can come through a single battery that resembles the one that you may put in a remote control or a flashlight. It can also come from a full plug-in unit that is designed to charge the device in a manner not unlike how a phone charger functions when charging a smart phone.
    The liquid cartridge is a hugely important component behind an electronic cigarette. In essence, the cartridge is an interchangeable packet that is placed inside an e-cigarette’s chamber and provides the user with a distinct flavor while the device is being used. The liquid that is found within these cartridges typically consists of any combination of the following elements:
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Vegetable Glycerin
  • Polyethylene Glycol 400
  • Occasionally, the liquid that is found in the chamber is solely one of these three substances.
    A key feature of the liquid cartridge is that it provides the vaper with a wide range of flavors for them to choose from. For example, a product like Ciglites will offer cartridges that range from somewhat exotic flavors like cherry or cappuccino to classic tobacco flavors. Another key feature that must be emphasized is that the liquid cartridges like the ones produced by Ciglites do not contain any actual tobacco in them despite the fact that they can replicate its flavor profile.
    A third component behind an electronic cigarette’s design is its atomizer. This is the part of the device that more or less acts as a heating agent, warming up the liquid that is found within the cartridge until it transforms into vapor. The vapor is then inhaled (or “vaped”) by the user, and the nicotine that is carried within the vapor is entered into the lungs and then the bloodstream. The reason that the atomizer can work in this manner is because it contains a part that is known as a wicking agent. In essence, this is a mechanism that draws the liquid straight from the cartridge so it can convert into vapor. More often than not, the atomizer is created from silica fibers. However, it can be forged from several other materials. Some of these other materials include:
  • Bamboo yarn
  • Cotton
  • Porous ceramic
  • Oxidized stainless steel mesh
  • Wire rope
  • The final main component to an electronic cigarette is the mouthpiece. This component is utilized by the user as a means to draw the vapors into their mouth. In terms of straight functionality, the mouthpiece works more or less like the stem found on a pipe. Once the vapor is drawn and inhaled, the person doing the vaping will exhale. This act of exhalation causes the release of a vapor puff. This puff that is produced by the electronic cigarette is visually similar to the smoke that is produced by a smoker from a traditional cigarette. However, there is one crucial difference that sets the two items apart: unlike a puff of smoke, a puff of vapor is completely odorless.
    While it could be rather tempting to just zero in on one of these components and designate them as the most important part of an electronic cigarette, the truth is that each of these components are equally crucial to the proper overall functionality of the device. These components work together as a team; if one of them does not work to its optimal level, then the abilities of the other three components are completely compromised to the point of being irrelevant.

    The Aesthetic and Functionality of E Cigarettes

    The first generation of electronic cigarettes was primarily designed to mimic the look of a traditional smoking implement such as a cigarette or a cigar. However, as newer generations of the device get released, this particular design has been less prominent on the market.
    The newer generations have also been designed to be far more efficient in their functionality. These devices, which can occasionally be known as mods, tend to have an increased nicotine dispersal performance, meaning that they can allow for the process of vaping to occur at a more efficient pace. They are also capable of housing batteries that perform at a higher capacity, which means that the device can run for longer intervals without having to be recharged. But perhaps the biggest difference between the newer generations and the older generations is the actual look of the electronic cigarette. They now come in a wide variety of shapes and forms, including several models that do not look anything like a traditional cigarette or cigar.
    It should also be noted that most electronic cigarettes are built to include standardized replaceable parts. What this means is, if you have a part that wears out over time, you do not have to worry about replacing the entire device.

    The Cost-Effectiveness of the Electronic Cigarette

    One of the bigger concerns that people may have when they initially contemplate purchasing an electronic cigarette is the cost that is associated with the device. And at first glance, the price point that is typically associated with the gadget can induce a decent measure of sticker shock within the would-be consumer. There is a legitimate reason for this feeling to occur. After all, buying an electronic cigarette is not exactly like running down to the local grocery or convenient store and picking up a pack of smokes from behind the counter. You are technically buying a rather intricate piece of electronic equipment. As such, you will be encountering a device that will be carrying a pretty hefty price tag, as is typically the case with any major electronic device. Not only that, you may also need to purchase additional equipment to go along with the electronic cigarette as well, like a battery charger and a few replacement cartridges. Because of this, there really is no short-term cost effectiveness in comparison to traditional cigarettes.
    But before you turn your back on the notion of using an electronic cigarette, it is important that you consider the long-term ramifications of saving up some money and purchasing the device. The moment you buy an electronic cigarette, you don’t have to worry about buying one again. This alone sets the device apart from cigarettes, which need constant replenishment. Of course, you will have to pick up replacement cartridges, and you will also need to buy replacement atomizers in order to keep the device running at an optimal level. Yet if you look at the big picture, you will see that these particular purchases are not made as frequently as a pack of smokes. When you consider how increasingly expensive cigarettes have gotten over the years – a trend that is likely to not reverse itself – the long-term cost-effectiveness of buying an electronic cigarette far outweighs any short-term pain that you may feel when you initially buy the device and its associated equipment.
    There is a caveat to this purchase. You must remember the old adage “you get what you pay for.” It is important that you make sure you do not settle for a low-quality brand just for the sake of saving a little bit of money. You will save plenty of that over time. Instead, make sure that you purchase a quality electronic cigarette brand with a sterling reputation, such as Ciglites. These quality options tend to last a lot longer than a less expensive one, so spending a little extra now for a better device will more than likely lead to more savings for you down the road.

    Electronic Cigarettes, Society, and Safety

    There continues to be a rather spirited debate on the use of electronic cigarettes in society. In some circles, electronic cigarettes and the practice of vaping represent a form of smoking cessation aid. This particular use for the electronic cigarette does mirror the original purpose of the device as developed by Hon Lik in China. A study conducted by the French Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction of 2052 has determined that roughly two out of every three of the tobacco smokers surveyed stated that they had used electronic cigarettes to either reduce or quit tobacco smoking. What’s more, 84% of those surveyed that had quit tobacco smoking gave credit to the use of electronic cigarettes to stop their tobacco use.
    It should also be noted that electronic cigarettes have given rise to a rather passionate subculture that refers to themselves as the vaping community. This growing market of electronic cigarette enthusiasts tends to view the practice of vaping as a safer alternative to smoking or even as a hobby. The marketplace has responded in kind to the growing customer ranks, as the increased popularity of the devices has led to the creation of vape storefronts where enthusiasts can purchase equipment, parts, liquid cartridges, and more.

    Electronic Cigarette UK - Here to Stay

    The debate on the use of electronic cigarettes is likely going to be one that rages onward for several years to come, if not decades. However, one thing is for certain: Electronic cigarettes are not just some fad that will go away any time soon. Its development as being an alternate for traditional tobacco smoke is too strong for its presence to dissipate. There is potential for this mindset to take hold as more people dive into the inner workings of the device, particularly if they hone in on the following bits of information:
  • Electronic cigarettes contain no tobacco or tobacco product, unlike traditional cigarettes.
  • Electronic cigarettes emit no odor because it is a tobacco-free product.
  • Electronic cigarettes tend to be a more cost-effective long-term option in comparison to traditional cigarettes.
  • Where will the discussions regarding the use of the electronic cigarette end up going when all things are said and done? Only time will tell. Until then, the fact that the electronic cigarette market is one that is growing and thriving is a statistic that we can all agree on.