So, how does an electronic cigarette work?
While electronic cigarettes have been around in some shape or form since the 1960s, it is only really over the last five years that their popularity has grown. Indeed, such is the demand for electronic cigarettes today that the US market alone is expected to be worth over $1 billion in 2013 with a worldwide market now approaching $4 billion. These new devices have been in the news recently due to various regulatory issues although one question remains on the lips of many people, how does an electronic cigarette work?
We will now take a look at the device in more detail and the various components to see exactly how the electronic cigarette of today works and expectations for the industry in the long term.
The components of an electronic cigarette
There are four simple components of an electronic cigarette which are the battery, heating element, nicotine chamber and an LED light at the end of the cigarette. When you bear in mind these components, it is impressive that the modern-day electronic cigarette is still the same size and weight of a traditional cigarette. So, how does an electronic cigarette work when you first inhale?
The inner workings of electronic cigarettes
The device itself is activated when the user inhales as this switches on the battery, powers the heating element and basically vaporises the liquid nicotine in the nicotine chamber. This then allows what is in effect flavoured water to be inhaled by the user, and the same substance is also exhaled, thereby reducing any potential secondary smoking issues which were at the forefront of the smoking ban in many countries. As soon as the individual stops inhaling the battery switches off, the heating element cools down and the vaporised nicotine returns to its liquid form.
The LED light at the end of an electronic cigarette may seem fairly irrelevant but it differentiates electronic cigarettes from their traditional tobacco counterparts. This is proving to be very important because it can be easy for tobacco cigarette smokers, who are often banned from smoking in public places, to become agitated and annoyed unless they are aware it is actually an electronic cigarette in use.
Growth in the sale of electronic cigarettes has been phenomenal over the last five years and indeed the major tobacco cigarette companies now have one eye on this market. The regulatory issue is still working through the system with a recent move by the European Parliament seen by many as the start of tighter regulations in the short, medium and longer term.
The regulation of electronic cigarettes is also proving to be very difficult with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the US which has been looking at these products for over two years now. Whether or not the FDA will move with the European Parliament and introduce more regulations and guidelines remains to be seen. However, even the most ardent critics of electronic cigarettes concede that they are significantly less harmful than their tobacco cigarette counterparts with some health experts suggesting they are 99% less harmful.
There is a growing opinion that electronic cigarettes will prove to be a major competitor for their tobacco cigarette counterparts with some people suggesting that within 20 years they will grab the lion’s share of the smoking market. Whether or not this is the case, there is no doubt that electronic cigarettes continue to gain in popularity, will attract further regulations but over the last few weeks we have seen a major uprising by electronic cigarette users concerned that there products of choice could see new sales restrictions. Regulators and governments around the world will need to tread a fine line because some authorities are looking to regulate them under tobacco legislation even though they do not actually contain any tobacco. Yes, this is going to be very tricky for many authorities around the world.
As electronic cigarette UK popularity continues to grow why not check out the OKCigs website for more information.
[Image courtesy of Lindsay Fox]