Smoking is a hard habit to kick. But when you realize the dangers inherent to the habit, it becomes critical to find an alternative very quickly. That’s where electronic cigarettes come in. They have emerged as one of the more popular alternatives to smoking in recent years. Just how do they work? We take a look at the basics of what electronic cigarettes are and how they work. We also tackle some very reale-cigarette dangers to ensure that you know the whole story.
What is it?
At its most basic, it’s a battery-powered device that transforms nicotine into an inhalable vapor. Because there isn’t any combustion, it’s supposedly much healthier than cigarettes as it is that combustible process that produces the carcinogenic particles that you then puff in. On top of that, there’s no smoky smell to worry about, no ashes to deal with, nor is there a butt to get rid of. It was first invented in 2003 by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik and has seen many iterations and variations over the years.
How does it work?
There are three primary components that are central to every electronic cigarette: a battery, a vaporization chamber, and a cartridge that contains the “juice” or liquid to be vaporized. The battery is similar to those found in smartphones and powers the atomizer. This is the component that then catalyzes the liquid in a cartridge to release vapor, flavor, and varying degrees of nicotine. This vapor is then ingested through a mouthpiece at the top of the device. Now, the human actions taken are not dissimilar to how one smokes—one takes in a long drag of air to draw the vapor in then exhales it. The only differences from cigarettes is the lack of a need to light it up with a match or lighter as well as a lack of tar production.
What are the risks?
Primarily, the fact that it still contains some nicotine has been cited as being a risk—that of addiction. Many have pointed out that it can potentially cause lung problems all the same depending on the quality of the liquids used in the cartridge. Studies are still vague at this point regarding that, and the debate still rages on. Finally, there have been incidents with some devices themselves. Reports have come in of poorly made devices that have exploded while in a user’s hand—causing serious damage.
So, is it an altogether better alternative to the traditional cigarette. Well, in truth, it is an alternative, but some caution needs to be advised as the risks can be potentially damaging down the line. That’s especially true at the moment in case of faulty devices that can cause injury when they break down and explode. In any case, the old axiom— “buyer beware”—strongly applies to e-cigarettes. It’s always best to do your research to ensure that you’re protected and safe even as you try to kick a harmful habit.