How does an electronic cigarette work?

As the popularity of electronic cigarettes continues to grow many people are not exactly sure how an electronic cigarette works. This is perhaps one of those mysteries which surround the electronic cigarette industry and we will now look at the workings of the traditional electronic cigarette to give you some background information.

how an e cigarette works

There are four main elements to an electronic cigarette which are the battery, heating element, liquid nicotine chamber and the LED light at the end of the cigarette. We will now cover the mechanics behind an electronic cigarette and how the liquid nicotine is vaporised ready for inhaling.

Electronic cigarette battery

The key to the workings of the traditional electronic cigarette is the battery which is located in the long stem of the device. The battery is used to heat the heating element, which vaporises the liquid nicotine, as well as powering the LED light at the end of the cigarette itself. Much research and development has gone into creating a battery which is strong enough to power the heating element and the LED light and which also has sufficient longevity to make the purchase of an electronic cigarette worthwhile.

Heating element

The simple job of the heating element is to heat the liquid nicotine which is then inhaled as a vapour, effectively flavoured water, as oppose to smoke inhaled with a traditional cigarette. The heating element is activated when the user inhales from the cigarette and immediately vaporises a sufficient quantity of nicotine. In many ways the instant vaporising of the nicotine is the key to the success of the modern-day electronic cigarette.

Liquid nicotine chamber

The liquid nicotine chamber is connected directly to the heating element, which is connected to the battery, and nicotine is vaporised upon inhaling from the cigarette. There is an array of different flavoured nicotine refills available which take in traditional cigarette types as well as many novelty flavours. The vast majority of mainstream electronic cigarette retailers tend to stick with the more traditional cigarette flavourings.

LED lights

The LED light at the end of the cigarette tends to come in a variety of different colours and is activated when the user inhales from the cigarette itself. In many ways this is the quickest way to realise whether a person is smoking a traditional tobacco cigarette or an electronic cigarette. The LED is just one of a number of ways in which the modern day electronic cigarette is created to mimic as closely as possible the experience of smoking a traditional tobacco cigarette, without the 4000+ toxins.


The basic structure of an electronic cigarette is very simple and is based around vaporising liquid nicotine which is inhaled as flavoured water. One of the major benefits is the fact that because the substance exhaled by an electronic cigarette user is vapour, as oppose to smoke, there are no secondary smoking issues. The industry itself is expected to top $1 billion in salesĀ in the US alone during 2013 with the UK market also showing significant growth.

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About The Author


I've worked as an Occupational Therapist for many years dealing with physical and mental health patients, both in hospitals and the community. Living a healthy, well balanced life with a good diet, regular exercise and a taking a positive outlook are crucial to becoming a very well being indeed - sometimes easier said than done!

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