E-Cigs- The FAQs

Q & As about electronic cigarettes, generally speaking opinions and simply put.

Q 1, What is an electronic cigarette?

A 1, An electronic Cigarette (abbreviated “e-cig”) is an electronic device made up of the following :

(1)  Battery (2) Clearomizer… This is commonly referred to as a 2 piece e-cig and is the most common electronic cigarette model used today.

Other e-cigs can  have 3 pieces which consist of (1) Battery (2) Atomizer (3) Cartridge. This is a less common type but still used by some vapers.  (Both type electronic cigarette models also require e-liquid to function as this is what produces the vapour.)

The battery can be manual or automatic and most common are manual.

Manual battery : Push a button to activate the e-cig. (Most Common)

Automatic battery : Sensor will detect when you inhale and automatically activate the e-cig, (no button to press).

Q 2,  What does an electronic cigarette (e-cig) do… What is it for ?

A 2, An electronic cigarette is an electronic nicotine delivery device (where nicotine is present in the e-liquid …nicotine is not a requirement for the electronic cigarette to function) without the need for tobacco. Its purpose is to give tobacco smokers an ‘alternative’ to getting their nicotine ‘fix’ instantly, unlike patches or gum which are released slowly through out the whole day (& night).

The electronic cigarette gives the user, the tobacco cigarette’s equivalent of an instant nicotine ‘hit’ but without the 4000 + chemicals and tar in tobacco. However, should the cartridge be filled with zero nicotine e-liquid (0 mg nicotine), it  is simply a VG/PG (see below Q3) mist/vapour electronic device that simulates the use of a traditional tobacco cigarette.

Although the simulation of the “hand to mouth” actions/habit and the inhalation and exhale of what appears to be smoke are copied, the habit similarities stop there. What is actually inhaled is not smoke as there is no smoke… as there is no tobacco.

What is actually inhaled is usually a compound with a Vegetable Glycerine or Propylene Glycol base substance, usually combined with a flavouring and nicotine, (can also be found with a tasteless flavour and zero nicotine content) is vaporized/atomised by an electronic component called an atomising coil .

Once the atomizer vaporises the e-liquid (electronic liquid), the liquid instantly turns into a vapour and is inhaled into the throat and lungs of the user. The obvious advantages of the electronic cigarette over the tobacco cigarette are many. The main benefits are as follows :

No tar, no smoke, substantially cheaper (currently cheaper, however, ‘too strict or over regulation’ may push smaller vendors to the side, reduce competition, which usually means prices increase) virtually odourless and with a nicotine range from 0 mg to 36 mg. ( The 36 mg will be reduced to a max of 18mg from 20/05/2017 via EU TPD regulations).

Q 3, What is e-liquid ?

A 3, The e-liquid’s main component is usually a food grade Vegetable Glycerin (VG) or Propylene Glycol (PG) which is a compound commonly found in many food products and approved by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration). Artificial and natural flavouring are mixed to produce a variety of flavours.

E-liquids are offered with several levels of nicotine ; (% can also be shown eg: 18 mg = 1.8% etc)

super high 36 mg, extra high 24 mg, (see note below), high 18 mg, medium 12 mg, Low  6 mg, or Zero 0 mg.

Note: EU Regulations, also known as TPD (Tobacco Product Directive) coming into force  (20/05/2017) will limit highest nicotine strength to 18mg/ml ( 1.8%)


Electronic Cigarette Research

Q 4, Is e-liquid safe ?

A 4, It is generally stated that electronic cigarettes are relatively new to market…so it is unknown if they are safe over the long term, however, they have been around about 10 years now (2017) and the  UK have said they are 95% safer than tobacco in 2015) . They are currently being offered on the UK NHS as a nicotine replacement. Since the writing of this answer, there are new Tobacco Product Directive (TPD) regulations which demands testing of all e-liquids which come to market in the EU which in turn insures all e-liquids coming to the EU market ( after May 20th 2017) have undergone rigorous testing for any harmful substances. So I feel it is safe to say “Yes”, at this time, from what we know over the last 10 + years and the TPD directive that e-liquid is relatively safe.  Other links you may be interested in are found below : (The 1st link is a pretty simple and quick experiment, however, I have added it for that very reason…simple to understand when comparing the effects of vaping as an alternative to ‘tobacco’).




BBC Horizon E Cigarettes Miracle or Menace

Does Vaping Cause Popcorn Lung

Q 5, What is the difference between VG and PG E- Liquid ?

A 5,  Vegetable Glycerin (VG) is a thick, sweet liquid.  VG produces luscious clouds of vapour.  

VG can impart a sweet taste to your liquid due to its sweeter ‘base’ ingredient. (ie: VG)

Propylene Glycol (PG) is a thinner liquid.  PG produces more of a “throat hit” than VG.

PG can also impart a stronger ‘taste/flavour’ but more so because of its PG properties carrying the flavours.

PG also has a higher sensitivity rate for some users, meaning that some people just cannot use PG in their vape. Both VG and PG can be mixed together to alter liquid consistency, flavours, strengths, throat hit & vapour production. So don’t be afraid to mix any % of VG with PG in different ratios to get exactly what suits your own personal taste.

Q 6, How does the electronic cigarette work?

A 6, In general, the e-liquid is ‘usually’ held in a tank of some sort. In this tank there is usually an atomizing heating coil which is surrounded via some kind of material, (usually organic cotton). This cotton feeds the e-liquid onto the heating coil. The battery heats the coil up (which vaporises the liquid/atomises it) and the vapour is then inhaled into the throat and lungs just like a traditional tobacco cigarette. The illusion of “smoke” is actually a vapour as there is no tobacco. It has no second hand smoke as there is no first hand smoke and the vapour is just that… vapour, not smoke. Different models of vaping devices can differ but in general, heat will vapourise the liquid into a vapour which is then inhaled.

Q 7, Can an electronic cigarette be smoked anywhere where normally tobacco is banned.

A 7, Technically no, even though there is no second hand smoke and no ignition of tobacco, this debate is yet to be fully had. On the face of it, it would seem they ( Governments/EU etc) could, should or would not place a complete ban… but until then, I will have to state no… not anywhere.

Q 8, Is an electronic cigarette (with nicotine) addictive.

A,8  Yes it is. It has the addictive substance of nicotine (where nicotine is present in the cartridge). (Similar to to way coffee has an addictive substance called caffeine (where caffeine is present in the product/cartridge). Wiki: If a person ate 10-13 grams of caffeine quickly, between 80-100 cups of coffee, it would kill them. So the above question should be taken in context.

The electronic cigarette is not intended for use of non smokers. The innovation is designed to give tobacco smokers an ‘alternative’ to inhaling the 4000+ chemicals (and tar…the big killer) found in tobacco cigarettes but still get that ‘instant’ nicotine ‘hit’ (with no tar) they miss with other alternatives (patches etc).

Q 9, How do I compare my usual tobacco cigarette nicotine strength with e-liquid strength ?

A 9, Below can only be seen as a general guide for new e-cig users.

A strong cigarette contains approximately 0.9 to 1.2 mg of nicotine in each cigarette…

or about 18/24 mg of nicotine per 20 pack.

A Light/Medium cigarette contains approximately 0.7 mg of nicotine in each cigarette…

or about 14 mg of nicotine per 20 pack.

An Ultra Light cigarette contains approximately 0.5 mg of nicotine in each cigarette…

or about 10 mg of nicotine per 20 pack.

Note: The above could lead you to believe that about 20 drops @ 1.2 mg is equal to your pack of 20 cigs if your brand has 1.2 mg on your pack of tobacco cigarettes box, however, no definitive scientific studies have actually been performed (at this time) with regular users of electronic cigarettes to determine how much of the liquid nicotine, if any, is burnt up or evaporates before it hits the lungs.

Therefore, the numbers represented above indicate the maximum amount of nicotine intake assuming that 100% of it makes it into the lungs of the user of an electronic cigarette. Most manufactures claim 1 ml is approximately the same as 1 x 20 pack of cigarettes. Most e-cig users find its closer to about  6 cigs per 1 ml.

It should also be noted that, although nicotine is addictive, no studies as yet have shown nicotine to be a carcinogen. It is simply “the fix” which cigarette smokers crave. Similar to way someone who likes coffee wants their caffeine hit in the morning (afternoon – evening).


It is recommended that those who have demonstrated a sensitivity to nicotine, are pregnant or breastfeeding or who have unstable heart conditions, should discuss the use of any nicotine delivery device with a doctor before using.

Q 10, How long do electronic cigarette accessories (batteries and atomizers etc) last for ?

A 10, How long is a piece of string ? Are you a social smoker or a chain smoker ?

Some people will vape for hours at a time, some will vape only when the need arises to get a nicotine fix. Some will inhale deeply and some lightly. Some like strong and some like weak. The different battery strength and different types and function of atomizers/coils will all need to be taken into consideration to answer this question. This is why it will always be down to the individual user.

As a ‘general guide’ though and based on average use ;

A cartomizer is disposable and could last you days, sometimes weeks.

A clearomizer usually will have replaceable heads and each head should give at least a week of ‘good performance’ (Maintenance will prolong the life).

An atomizer could last you 2 weeks to a month if maintained properly

(usually a little less for low resistance types).

A standard eGo battery under ‘average’ usage ( using about 3 ml per day and a standard resistance coil…2.4 Ohms or above) should last you at about 4 – 6 months (or longer…depending on usage and cell type/properties). Just like you can get cheap AA batteries, you can also get cheap e-cig batteries. They may ‘look and feel’ the same but its what under the bonnet which will dictate performance and longevity. What is under the bonnet is the type grade cell (grade A, B or C) and the electronic chipboard (the bit which regulates the charging and all the other electronic bits)

E-Liquid is very subjective but as a guide…most users seem to say that a 20 a day smoker could use between 3 to 4 ml per day. Again, individual use will determine how long accessories & liquid last for. (The above can only be seen as a ‘guide’…as stated).

Eg: A 10 a day smoker and a 60 a day smoker could differ by a factor of 600% in usage terms, relative to their consumption and use.


Q 11, Is there a certain way to vape ?

A 11,  Hmm… was there a certain way to smoke? but if your asking… you can vape anyway that suits you. It is a personal choice. However, there are a few things that are worth pointing out that may help you find which way suits you. Most people starting off will logically use the e-cig the same way as a tobacco cigarette, eg: when they want a pull, they will put the e-cig in their mouth, then press the button and suck on the e-cig to inhale the vapour, then exhale.

That is very understandable as that is how you smoked your tobacco cigarette, however, its not necessarily how you vape an electronic cigarette. What is worth pointing out is this. The electronic cigarette is an alternative to the tobacco cigarette, it is not the same.

When you light a tobacco cigarette with a match/lighter, you suck on it and the air rushes through the tobacco and increases the temperature which in turn releases/activates the chemicals… like when you fan a fire, the air contributes and the flames become hotter. The harder you suck on a tobacco cigarette, the more smoke, nicotine and throat hit you get. However, you must remember, the e-cig has no tobacco and no burning ignition.

So, understanding your electronic cigarette and how it works and how it differs from tobacco may help you change certain tobacco cigarette ways and replace them with new electronic cigarette ways that can give you a better experience with your alternative. Electronic cigarettes use a battery to generate that heat which will vaporize the e-liquid to produce the same effect as your old buddy, the tobacco cigarette. What this means is this… sucking harder on the e-cig will not increase the temperature as the battery is doing this for you.

If you find you are sucking and getting jaw ache and little vapour, there is something wrong, so stop and try figure out what is wrong. Usually its the atomizer/cartomizer wick/coil is too dry, its too wet, its clogged (old e-liquid build up) or the heating element is just not reaching the temperature to get it hot enough to vaporize the liquid, the battery cannot give the correct voltage etc….or indeed, it is just simply a faulty clearomizer or battery.

The main points about vaping: standard clearomizers etc…(MODs/Sub Ohms have their own specific set of rules)

1) Ensure the wick is moist enough as a dry wick cannot vapourize liquid if there is not enough liquid to vapourize. (Usually will get a burnt taste and with a little fiddling…can be easily fixed)

2) Ensure the wick is not over moist as too much liquid cannot be ‘vaporized’. (You can usually hear a slurping/gurgling sound and with a little fiddling…can be easily fixed)…You can usually check Google for solutions to the particular model you are using for the above two.

3) Ensure you replace the disposable clearomizer or replace the atomizing head when they are spent. Its not how long the coil will last which is relevant but rather how long the “good performance” will last.

4) Gently inhale the vapour in. Less is more. The vapour is very light  and only requires the minimum of inhalation. Avoid sucking too hard as this may draw liquid and over moisten the wick and lead to flooding of the wick. Over all tho, vaping is an individual thing so whatever suits you and is ‘working’ for you, is the right way.

5) Make sure your battery is fully charged (or at least charged enough). Most users see it as prudent to always have a spare battery…just in case the battery in current use stops working for any reason.

Q 12, Who invented the Electronic Cigarette ?

A 12, As the story goes…  

Hon Lik used to light up first thing in the morning. He smoked between lectures at the university where he studied Oriental medicine, between bites at lunch, in the lab where he researched ginseng health products. He’d usually burn through two packs by dusk and smoke a third over dinner and drinks with colleagues. It wasn’t until his father, also a heavy smoker, died of lung cancer that Hon finally kicked the habit.

Hon’s story could be that of any other nicotine-addicted, middle-aged man in China, where 60% of the men smoke. What distinguishes the 52-year-old pharmacist and inventor is that he found inspiration in the addiction.

April 25, 2009|Barbara Demick

Q 13, Sooooo, what is the best electronic cigarette on the market for you ?

A 13, Personal choice can only dictate this, however, the most popular are usually the tried and trusted old reliables… Currently starter kits like the Innokin T18E and eGo models (with eGo model extensions …CE 2/3/4/5/6 etc”  “Mini ProTank” “eVod” “H-2”  “Aspire” etc etc). ‘Rebuildables’ (make your own) are usually used by hobbyists and enthusiasts but are not only limited to same. Ordinary Joe’s can enjoy building his/her own coils/clearomizers too. There is kind of a satisfaction to building your own.

It is basically a horses for courses kinda thing and each to his/her own.

Other models will come and go in an ever innovative market but it will always be a personal choice.

Soooooo, the question should really bewhat is the best electronic cigarettein ‘your’ opinion ?

On a final note, the bottom line will always be to get all the information you need to make an informed decision. The Internet is at your disposal, use it. However, should you have any further questions, we are here to help you in any way we can. Contact Us