E-cigarette operating principle

E-cigarettes are used for inhalation. The term “smoke” in their context is nothing but a metaphor, because nothing is smoked and there is no fire. The only chemical process taking place is the heating up of the nicotine liquid. Vapors of this liquid can be seen as the characteristic white “smoke”.  This aerosol substance does not contain any harmful tar or carbon monoxide.

E-cigarettes operate on the principle of evaporation of the liquid nicotine, which is then inhaled to the user’s lungs along with the flavors included in the liquid. Different flavor mixes allow to mimic the sensations characteristic of smoking traditional cigarettes. There are liquids which go beyond the traditional mix of flavors and offer fruit, mint and many other tastes. 

The classic e-cigarette design uses three key components. The first is the battery which acts as a power source. It provides energy for the smoke generation system (evaporator) which consists of a heater and a liquid container. This process is assisted by the third key component - the microchip which controls the energy transfer.


E-cigarette may be operated automatically, when the sensor detects the air flow, or by pressing a button. The microprocessor in the device ensures that the battery does not overheat, which may happen if the e-smoker uses the device very often. Additional functions are the battery status indicator (most often by means of a multicolor diode hidden in the button) and device lock. The latter function is accessed by the “click” system which activates after pressing the battery button several times in a quick succession. Thanks to these functions, brand-name e-cigarettes are generally safe to the user despite the relatively complex design.