The Changing Face of E-Cigarettes

Since 2004, when electronic cigarettes made their market debut, they’ve gone through several incarnations. From the basic atomizer designs of early days to the ultra-modern clearomizers and heat-adjustable devices available in our shops today, there’s a wealth of versatility and adaptability that many vapers find bemusing.

If you’re one of the many thousands of people each year who is considering the transition from tobacco to vapour, then the range available can be daunting and a little off-putting. Yet e-cigarettes are so simple and logical in their concept and design that it seems ironic their use is so clouded in mystery.

So, for the sake of the sanity of newbie vapers everywhere, let’s clear up some misconceptions and debunk a few myths.

E-Cig Make-Up

Electronic cigarettes are usually plastic and metal in design, with a liquid chamber, and atomizer and a battery. The chamber contains the e-liquid, a substance made fundamentally from five main ingredients (water, glycerine, propylene glycol, nicotine and flavourings) which can come in any one of thousands of different flavours, ranging from minty and fruity right through to sweet, savoury and alcoholic.

This juice is then heated by the atomizer, which is a metal coil designed to vaporise the e liquid, thus transforming it into the vapour associated with e-cigs. This atomizing section, including the coil, is often made of non-resistant metal like nickel, with a cotton wick – the wick draws out the liquid from the chamber and allows it to be heated. If your e-liquid runs out, you get what is known as ‘dry wick’, where there is no liquid to be vaporised and so your wick, when heated, simply burns. Not a situation any self-respecting vaper should aspire to.

More recent designs have introduced the cartomizer, where the atomizer and solution chamber (or cartridge) are combined into one unit, creating a less fiddly design. Recently, things have been boosted further by the creation of the clearomizer, where the liquid cartridge is transparent, allowing users to see how much e-liquid is remaining in their tank.

But the absolute bees’ knees when it comes to vaping are the new heat-adjustable units. These regulate and monitor the temperature of the coil, which means that a) you’ll never overheat your e-liquid, something that happens regrettably often and b) you avoid the fateful dry wick, as the device can detect if there’s adequate liquid to heat. They’re relatively expensive at the time of writing (September 2015) but over the coming months we expect them to fall down into a similar price bracket to other styles of electronic cigarette.


E-Liquid Lowdown

E-liquids themselves have also seen a transformation in recent years. Early flavours were limited to those easiest and most popular to produce: menthol (already a favourite with tobacco smokers), vanilla and several fruit ranges. However, as production of e-liquids has increased and more brands have come into the market, competition has hotted up, meaning that companies had to become more inventive and original with their flavours. Now, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of different brands and aromas out there, from more traditional flavours like tobacco-based, chocolate and citrus to the wildly unusual – custard, bubble gum, cheesecake and even some which mimic the taste of drinks such as dandelion & burdock or energy drinks.

The upshot of all this innovation is, of course, that people joining the vape crowd now have far more variety on offer, allowing them to experiment and explore with this latest piece of smoking cessation technology. There’s a far greater probability of finding your ideal vape sooner rather than later, meaning more people will get hooked into the new trend quicker – and that’s more people avoiding the harmful effects of tobacco, which can only ever be a good thing.

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