You may have seen or heard an interested electronic device that exists in various models and apparently would have the capacity to remove a person from tobacco habit without essentially “quitting”. Sometimes it has the shape of a pen, a metal tube (some even resemble a Star Wars franchise handle), a cigarette itself, or it looks like an electronic gadget with a display full of numbers and lights.
Almost certainly you may have also heard about electronic cigarette – also recognized as vaporizer, vape, e-cig, e-cigarette etc. – help a lot of people who are keen to quit the smoking habit; that they end up encouraging young people and others who have never practiced this activity to enter this world; or even that e-cigs are dangerous and can explode in your pocket, your hand or your face.
This article means to explain how these curious devices work: what is their electronic structure and the technology that makes them work, what are the substances used in these e-cig and what the risks are connected when using vaporizers, both with regard to explosion and to different other damages regarding what breathing of the steam created by these devices can cause to do with the body. After all, are e-cigs really safe and can they replace cigarettes and help to quit smoking?
How does it work?
Hon Lik is a Chinese medicine expert who struggled against smoking habit and used dose nicotine in high quantity in shape of patches trying to quit smoking in 2001. That same addiction had already cost him the life of his father, another inveterate smoker.
Building on his ideas for facilitating the consumption of other substances he worked with, such as ginseng, Lik set up a device that vaporized diluted nicotine using ultrasound technology so that it could be inhaled without the need for absorption of so many other much more dangerous substances found in cigarettes.
By 2003, this Chinese invention got a small size to be a handy device. It was still using piezoelectric and ultrasonic technology – crystals that produce electrical tension with mechanical force – the first electronic cig was registered in that year and started to be manufactured at large level in Beijing.
This tool is more than to fight smoking habit; the habit of vaporization nowadays has become an exclusive hobby full of specialties that its people do not quit. Gems of various kinds are discussed in busy internet forums and even fun competitions are held to see who best master the art of steam ring making.
Deconstructing a vaporizer
To understand a little how today’s vaporizers work, we must deconstruct it and know all the parts that make up this kind of apparatus. A vape is basically divided into two parts: the mod, where the power source of the device is and where you turn on, turn off and activate the device; and the atomizer, where there is the resistor that will generate heat (also called coil), the liquid that will be vaporized and the nozzle through which the vapor flow will exit.
There are several types of vaporizers available at Vapeciga: some, simpler, consist of a single part that contains the battery (most of them lithium-ion as well as cell phone) and the electronic circuit that controls the power sent to the atomizer coil. Others, more modern, use separate, battery-like batteries and have interfaces and buttons through which you can check resistor power, voltage and resistance and change some of these values.
There are also several types of atomizers, but their basic structure is as follows:
- Base: Part that connects to the mod and receives the electrical impulse provided by the batteries and passes it to the coil;
- Coil: It is basically the resistor that will produce heat from electricity along with a wick soaked in the liquid that will be heated and become steam;
- Tank: Is what stores the liquid that will be vaporized;
- Nozzle: Part by which air conducts vapor to the user’s mouth.
Although the mods used make quite a difference in the end result produced by the vaporizers, as various voltage and power settings can be made through them, what really customize an electronic cigarette are the atomizers – the various ways in which the liquid is heated and steam transformed completely change the user experience.
Check out some of the most common types of atomizers:
Replaceable Coil Atomizer: It is one of the most common and usually has simpler maintenance. In it, the industrially produced coil-head must be replaced with a new one after a certain period of use.
RTA: Rebuildable Tank Atomizers can be rebuilt whenever they are very worn out. It is not such a simple task to build a new coil, but it only requires a specific type of wire to make the resistor and material to make the wick, which is soaked with the liquid. It can be a special cotton, silica yarn or eco wool or a kind of organic wool. The advantage of this type of atomizer over replaceable coil is that it produces more steam and better highlights the taste of the liquid used. SXK Reload X Style RDA 24mm is a great example of a latest version of RTA.
RDA: Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers do not have a storage tank for the liquid, as you must manually drip it over the wick on the resistor whenever it vaporizes. They are considered the atomizers that produce the best taste but are not as practical to use.
RDTA: Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizers are a mixture of the previous two types. In it, the liquid is stored in the tank and you gradually release it so that it moistens the coil and you can vaporize.
There are also other atomizer configurations that work in different ways but do not compare to these in popularity. Bottom line: An electronic cigarette today is basically a battery that heats a resistor around a material soaked in a specific liquid that may or may not contain nicotine so that it becomes vapor and is inhaled by the user.