Guide: Electronic Cigarettes Explained

If you have made the decision to switch to or explore the world of electronic cigarettes, then congratulations! This decision may prove to be a better choice for your lifestyle and will certainly save money when compared to traditional cigarettes (sometimes referred to as “analogues”) over the long run. In the beginning, all of the various electronic cigarette components can be a bit confusing and overwhelming. Below, we’ll break down the components that comprise the electronic cigarette so that you’ll better understand what is needed to enjoy a new and exciting vaping experience!

E-Cig Batteries

The primary component and largest individual piece of the e-cigarette is the battery, which provides power to the other components and makes the experience possible. E-Cigarettes have come a long way over the past few years, with advancements in battery life being a key reason behind that. Batteries will come in a variety of shapes, sizes, capacities and colours, so it is important to do some prior research into what you want out of your e-cigarette with respect to life span, functionality and aesthetics.

The most important variable to a battery for most will be capacity. Generally, the capacity of the battery correlates directly to the size of the battery: the larger the battery, the longer it will last in between charges. Some batteries that resemble traditional cigarettes may only provide a couple of hours of vaping pleasure in between charges, while other batteries may be the size of a large cell phone and can last for days. The capacity of an e-cigarette battery is referred to in mAh, with higher capacity batteries having more mAh. For every 100 mAh in a battery, a user will generally get about one hour of use.

Batteries come in two different types with respect to activation options: manual and automatic. A manual battery will feature a switch or button on the side of that is pressed each time the user wishes to take a drag off of the e-cigarette. This allows for more functional control and many say that manual batteries are less susceptible to malfunction due to the lack of an air switch built inside of it. An automatic battery uses said air switch to determine when the user is ready to take a drag: by simply inhaling on the e-cigarette, the battery is activated and turns back off as soon as the user is done inhaling. Click here to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of automatic and manual e-cigarette batteries.

Some batteries can be purchased that are disposable or one-time-use only batteries. These are often not cost effective but can be found in most convenience stores as a quick and easy fix in emergency situations, as well as a way to test whether or not an e-cigarette is right for you. In addition to this, batteries also can be purchased that are experimental or allow for modifications of the voltage, amps and wattage within the battery. This is usually desired only by e-cigarette aficionados and seasoned experts, however.

Liquid Tanks

Connected to every e-cigarette battery when in use is a liquid carrier, which comes in many different varieties. Each electronic cigarette user will have a preference as to which liquid carrier they prefer, so it is best to test out each type within the first few weeks of obtaining your e-cigarette to see what works best for you.

Atomisers are the smallest capacity of liquid carrier and usually hold just a few drops of e-cigarette liquid. These are used predominantly for testing and mixing different flavours, and will need to be refilled or topped off quite often. They come with what is known as a “drip tip” to allow for easy introduction of the liquid while in use.

Cartomisers are a little larger and feature a wadding material on the inside that absorbs the e-liquid when introduced. These look more like the traditional filter on the end of analogue cigarettes. When liquid is injected into the cartomiser, it can hold anywhere from 20 to 35 drops of e-liquid and will usually provide a couple of hours of vaping pleasure.

Tanks are another option and are very popular among regular e-cigarette users (learn more about how tanks are considered superior by many to other options). These often have a cartomiser inside the tank and function in the same way, but the cartomiser is surrounded by e-liquid in a reservoir. This not only prevents the cartomiser’s wadding material from drying out and becoming unusable, but it also allows for less frequent fill-ups. Tanks can hold anywhere from 100 to 200 drops of e-liquid, and will only need to be refilled on a daily basis at most.


With e-liquids, the sky is the limit in terms of flavour and preference! E-liquid is the substance that is vaporised within the e-cigarette by the battery and held within the tank, and contains flavour, nicotine and other ingestible ingredients.

Preference of particular e-liquid brands and flavours is highly subjective, so you will have to try several before you find the ones you like most. E-liquids come in a variety of flavours and strengths, depending on your desired level of nicotine and the type of vaping experience you would prefer.

Included in e-liquid is the flavouring, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, and nicotine. A full breakdown of these ingredients and their use in other foods and health products can be found here. Most e-liquids are not harmful if accidentally exposed to the skin but a large amount directly ingested or applied to the skin can be harmful, so keep these liquids stored in a safe place away from children and animals (and never drink it!). E-liquid can be purchased in bottles for a more economical approach, or pre-loaded into cartomisers that can be used with no “assembly” required.

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