What are electronic cigarettes?
While electronic cigarettes take many forms, they usually consist of three common components: a mouthpiece ("cartridge"), a heating element
("atomizer"), and a "battery" unit that houses the actual battery and electronic logic board. Some designs implement an integrated cartridge/atomizer
component referred to by some companies as a "cartomizer".
The mouthpiece is usually a small disposable plastic container with openings on each end. It often houses an absorbent, sponge-like material saturated
with the liquid solution to be vaporized. The mouthpiece is constructed so that the vapor produced can flow past the solution container and reach the
When the liquid in the cartridge has been depleted, the user can generally choose between refilling it, or replacing it with another pre-filled
As an alternative to the traditional plastic mouthpiece, some manufacturers have created dedicated mouthpieces just for dripping, such as Super-T
manufacturing's stainless steel T-Tip drip tip.
Some users forgo the use of cartridges and "drip" liquid directly onto the atomizer, in a method that has aptly come to be known as "dripping". Some
manufacturers have responded to this previously unintended off-label use by creating special mouthpieces that are intended primarily to ease use by the
Heating element ("atomizer")
The heating element serves to vaporize the solution so it can be inhaled. This component is referred to in the industry as an "atomizer". Atomizers
contain filaments that tend to "burn out" after varying periods of time, requiring periodic replacement, creating one of the primary recurring expenses
associated with electronic cigarettes.
Battery and electronics
The housing for the battery and logic board is usually the largest component of an electronic cigarette. It is generally referred to simply as the
"battery". This unit may contain an electronic airflow sensor for automated operation, or a button for manual operation. A timed cutoff switch (to
prevent overheating) and/or a colored LED may also be included here.
Most electronic cigarettes use a lithium-ion rechargeable battery to power the heating element. Battery life varies depending on the battery type and
size, frequency of use, and operating environment.
To recharge the batteries, many different types of battery chargers, such as AC outlet, car, and USB chargers, are available. Some manufacturers also
offer a "Personal Charging Case," or "PCC”, which contains a large rechargeable battery that is then used to charge a smaller battery within the
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