What is an E Cig or Electronic Cigarette?

If you’re looking for an electronic cigarette or just wondering what is an E-Cig, then this detailed article may help answer some of your questions.

E-Cig Meaning

The definition of E-Cig is a non-combustible alternative for a tobacco cigarette. Short for an electronic cigarette.

Every day, more and more people are looking for a solution to help them quit smoking.  Many people have tried nicotine patches and nicotine gum, but it just hasn’t been working out for them.  If you find yourself in the same situation then you may have discovered that there is a bigger connection that lies between you and the struggle to quit smoking.  E-Cigs may provide the solution that you have been looking for.

For many people, it’s not just an addiction to nicotine but is also in fact an oral fixation.  The need to put something up to the mouth and inhale.  The feeling of satisfaction that you receive from this may or may not need to contain nicotine at all.

The conventional cigarette needs to be litten up in order to burn tobacco leaves that contain tar and chemicals.  E-Cigs do not light up or burn.  The E-Cig works by heating up E-Cig liquid or E-Juice and turning it into vapor.  Of course, that’s the simple explanation.  We will dive in deeper.


Where To Start?

We are sure you have lots of questions.  Like:

  • What is an E-Cig?
  • How does it work?
  • Are E-Cigs healthy?

We will do our best to cover all of your questions.  To start, we will cover the E-Liquid.  Since the major concern is if what we are putting in our bodies is any healthier than combustible cigarettes.

Afterward, we will get into the details of how these electronic cigarettes work.  Covering what kind of parts are used to how they’re all put together and function in order to deliver clouds of vapor.  Satisfying your internal cravings.

E-Cig E-Liquid

The liquid vaporized in E-Cigs is comprised of 4 main components.

  • Flavor Extract
  • Nicotine
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Vegetable Glycerin

All of these ingredients are FDA-approved.  We will discuss each one in more detail below.

E-Liquid Flavor Extract

The first is a flavor extract which is commonly found in many foods, especially baked goods and candy.  These can be found at your local grocery store in the baking section.  One of these famous brands is Lor Ann’s Flavor extracts.


The second component is nicotine solution, which is not required.  The portion of nicotine solution can be large, small, or even none.  Depending on which step you’re in on your quit smoking journey you can choose a level of nicotine that suits your needs.  If you’re buying pre-mixed E-Cig liquids or cartridges you will most likely have the option of choosing between 0%, 3%,6%, 12%, 18%, and 24% nicotine levels.  For pack-a-day smokers we recommend starting out with 18%-24% and gradually stepping down as the cravings subside.


The last two components are Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin.  These are FDA-approved additives that are used as the main body component of the liquid.  Most electronic cigarette stores will have different compositions to choose from like 20%PG/80%VG – 80%PG/20%VG. These do not have any taste.  The ratio of PG to VG will depend on the user.  Higher PG content will heighten the flavor from the electronic cigarette liquid.  Choosing a higher VG content will affect the density appearance of the vapor cloud that is produced from an electronic cigarette.


Electronic Cigarette Parts

The main parts of an E-Cig are a battery and atomizer.  But this is at the most basic level.  As you move up in experience and start dabbling in some DIY this list will start to expand.

E-Cig Battery

The battery is usually rechargeable unless it’s a disposable E-Cig.  This is where the power comes from.  Most E-Cig battery setups today have a button on the side that when pushed applies power or voltage to the atomizer.


The atomizer holds your liquid either in a tank or soaked in cotton.  Also contained in the atomizer is a coil with wicks running to it.  This is to get your E-Cig liquid to the coil.  As the coil heats up it vaporizes the liquid and more liquid soaks back into the wicks.  Atomizers in beginner setups will usually have an Ohms rating.  For the beginner, this is not too terribly important.

The only thing to remember at this point is that the lower the Ohm rating the stronger your vape will be.  If your prebuilt atomizer options are 1.2 Ohms or 1.8 Ohms the difference will not be very noticeable.  Once you get into 0.3 Ohms vs 1 Ohm, things will start to matter more.  The lower Ohms will produce a higher drain on your battery and shorten its life between charges.

what-is-an-ecig-clearomizer 676h

Advanced Vapes

As you become more advance you might start looking into specialized E-Cig Components.  These include but are not limited to, Regulated and Unregulated mods, interchangeable batteries, RDA, RTA, RDTA, Tanks, Clearomizers, and Drip tips.  We will give you a quick breakdown of what each is.

Regulated Mod – Also known as an Advanced Mod, A battery unit that allows you to adjust the voltage.

Unregulated Mod – Also known as a Mechanical Mod, A battery unit that does not allow you to adjust the voltage

RDA – Rebuildable Drip Atomizer for building your own coils

RTA – Rebuildable Tank Atomizer for building your own coils and also has a tank or E-liquid storage.

RDTA – Rebuildable Drip Atomizer Tank for building coils with the option of dripping and tank storage.

Tanks/Clearomizer – A Tank for E-liquid storage that usually contains a replaceable atomizer.

Drip Tips – A mouthpiece that sets into the Atomizer.

For a full list of parts and vape terminology visit our Vape Terms glossary.

Benefits of E-Cigs

So, What are E-Cigs? Let’s first start off with what they are not.

  • They do not contain tobacco  
  • There is no smoke
  • No ashes
  • No butts
  • No carcinogens
  • No tar

E-Cigs are a cleaner, healthier solution to smoking.  Many of the ingredients are things that you are already consuming in other food-related products, aside from the nicotine additive which is completely optional.  There are an endless amount of flavors to choose from.  After having an E-Cig you will start to notice that there is no smoky flavor left in your mouth afterward.

The downside is that even though you may not notice it, others may notice the smell of strawberries or your flavoring and taste it on your lips.

If you’re interested in getting started with E-Cigs you may want to start with some less complicated packages.  These are generally the easiest to set up for people who aren’t entirely familiar with how E-Cigs work.  Whichever beginner product you choose, just make sure it’s for beginners.  Often times companies will offer so-called “starter packages” and there not necessarily for new vapers.  For some help choosing the right beginner product,  check out our article on Beginner E-Cig Products.


Article Resources:  A big thank you to Vaping360 for providing the cover art for this article.


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