E-Cigarettes: How They Work, Benefits, And Risks

An Electronic cigarette is a battery operated device that emits high doses of nicotine and non-nicotine solutions for the users to inhale. The electronic cigarettes offer similar sensations to that of inhaling the actual tobacco smoke, but without the smoke. They are also known as the e-cigarettes, the electronic nicotine delivery systems, vaporizer cigarettes, and vape pens. They are marketed as an efficient means of cutting down smoking.

What are e-cigarettes?

An e-cigarette is a ling tube that generally resembles a cigar, a cigarette, a pen or a pipe. Most of them are reusable and are replaceable with a refillable cartridge, some of them are disposable as well. They are considered as effective alternating for normal smoking and has helped people to refrain from mainstream smoking.

How does an E-cigarette work?

The components of Electronic cigarettes are a cartridge or a mouthpiece, a heating element, electronic circuits, and a rechargeable battery. As a user sucks on to the mouthpiece, a sensor starts to activate the heating element that vaporizes a liquid solution that is held in the mouthpiece. The liquid solution is flavored and the person starts to vapes or inhales the aerosol solution. The concentration of nicotine varies from zero to extra high or more specifically 24 to 36 milligrams per milliliter.

The mouth piece of the e-cig is a cartridge that gets fixed to the end of the tube, there is a small plastic cup that lies within the mouthpiece which holds on to the absorbent material. The absorbent material is drenched in the liquid solution, the cartridge can either get refilled or replaced with another pre-filled cartridge when necessary.  The atomizer is a heating element that heats the liquid and causing it to vaporize. The solution can then be breathed in and inhaled without much harm.

The battery powers the heating element, and is a normal rechargeable lithium ion battery. The sensor activates the heater when the user sucks on to the device. An LED will show when the device gets activated. The solution is also known as e-juice and e-liquid and is made by extracting nicotine from tobacco and mixed it with the base, which is generally propylene glycol along with some flavoring. There is a wide range of flavors to choose from such as watermelon, traditional, menthol, and lava flow flavors. Some of the flavors such as a combination of menthol and tobacco try to resemble traditional cigarette flavors.


  • E-cigarettes are less hazardous than tobacco for existing smokers.
  • They bypass a number of health risks of tobacco smoking and are a healthful alternative for cigarettes.
  • They can help people to quit their smoking habit.
  • They have good potential to cut down the smoking habit of people
  • They help adult smokers to replace nicotine and tobacco products.
  • Many smokers see these as a complete substitute for tobacco smoking.

This method of electronic smoking is not suitable for young people who have never smoked before, they are not effective during pregnancy as smoking in any form is not advisable for pregnant women. Some studies also state that vaping is not risk free and the e-cigarettes can also pose a significant public health concern.


Though the E-cigarette has helped some people to quit the habit of smoking altogether, there is still growing evidence that vaping can be harmful in some cases. It could also be more harmful than avoiding to smoke altogether. Some of the top reasons why electronic cigarettes could be risky are,

  • Most of them contain nicotine which is addictive and triggers changes in the human brain.
  • They are hazardous during pregnancy and it has the potential to affect the development of the fetus.
  • The aerosol contains toxicants, flavorings, and solves that are considered harmful.
  • The E-cigarettes has the potential to expose the lungs to different substances such as dicetyl that can result in popcorn lung, a severe and irreversible lung disease.
  • Cases of fetal poisoning have been reported from accidental swallowing and inhalation of the liquid used in these cigarettes.
  • Those who use this form of cigarettes are less likely to stop smoking altogether
  • Teens who use these products are more likely to start using regular tobacco as well
  • Continuous sue of the nicotine products can make other drugs as cocaine more pleasurable
  • The marketing, flavoring and the very concept of e-cigs can induce teens to start vaping. This can increase their chances of starting to smoke cigarettes later.
  • Vaping is also capable of releasing carcinogenic emissions

Final words:

Electronic cigarettes are battery operated devices that are used by people to inhale an aerosol and contain nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals. Their effect in helping people quit the habit of smoking altogether is still under research.

Ellen Hollington

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