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Anatomy of an e-cigarette


The typical e-cigarette is composed of three parts: atomizer, battery and cartridge.


The atomizer or vaporizer shown above converts liquid containing nicotine into a vapor.  This part is delicate and must be cleaned regularly for optimal performance.


The battery powers the atomizer and the light at the tip where you would find ash on an "analog" cigarette.  The atomizer and battery are screwed together easily, and when the battery is in use, it becomes warm.  A battery will hold a charge for six hours or more, depending on how often you use it.

Battery and atomizer screwed together


The cartridge houses the nicotine liquid, commonly referred to as e-juice or e-liquid.  Some cartridges are tan in color like the filter of a cigarette.  Starter kits typically come with prefilled cartridges and are either unflavored or mint flavored, but a myriad of taste treats await you on the Internet and in stores if you are interested in filling your own cartridges and saving money.

Complete cigarette

This cigarette uses a prefilled cartridge.  The tip of the atomizer simply pushes through a thin piece of foil in the cartridge to keep the liquid from evaporating or leaking.  Fiber such a small cottonball or a bit of cloth--is used to soak in the e-juice.  The entire cigarette is roughly the same size as a tobacco cigarette, but sizes and shapes vary widely.

The vapor is pulled through a small hole in the cartridge when you take a drag, and the light at the tip comes on.  The light flashes when the battery requires a recharge.

Advanced features are available such as battery cutoff buttons, but this is the basic format of all electronic cigarettes.

There is much more to come on this topic.  Please feel free to ask questions of me.

Please post questions or comments, and I will reply promptly.  You can also reach me by email at


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