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What Is An E-Cigarette?

Published 29 March 2021, Updated 9 April 2024

What Is An E-Cigarette?

An E-Cigarette (e-cig) is an abbreviation for electronic cigarette. 

E-Cigs are designed to help smokers quit smoking by creating vapour that carries nicotine rather than being delivered through smoke as traditionally found in regular cigarettes.

The e-cigarette was created as a safer alternative to a traditional cigarette. E-Cigs are now being used by millions of people worldwide. The boom of the e-cigarette industry has led to more evolved vape devices giving vapers more freedom and flexibility.

How does an E-Cigarette Work?


An e-cigarette works by inhalation on the mouth piece (also known as a 'drip tip') just like you would on a traditional cigarette. 

Once this action occurs, a sensor activates the atomiser, which then heats the e-liquid in your tank and turns it into vapour. This is all part of the inhaling process, which is then followed by exhaling. The amount of vapour you exhale depends on the type of e-cigarette you use. 


Thick, dense clouds are produced by 'sub-ohm kits', whilst pen style e-cigarettes produce less vapour.


There are many devices on the market, some small and discrete enough to fit into your pocket, whilst others resemble the size of a large mobile phone. However all e-cigarettes and vape kits are composed of the same essential components. 

What are the components of an E-Cig?

The individual components of an e-cigarette include:

1. Battery
The battery is what powers your vape device. Without a battery the e-cigarette will not work as it is needed to provide power to the atomiser, which heats the e-liquid until it turns into vapour. Batteries come in many types, they can be inbuilt (disposable or recharged via USB), or they can be external batteries that are rechargeable whilst in the device or by using an external charger.
2. Tank
This can also be known as a 'clearomiser' and is what holds your e-liquid. Tanks can come in different shapes, sizes and materials that can affect compatibility across devices. Please note that basic disposable e-cigarettes have an inbuilt tank, which cannot be refilled with e-liquid.
3. Coil (also known as 'Atomiser')
Coils and cartridges can come in a variety of resistances. Coils contain a cotton wick that is responsible for absorbing the e-liquid prior to the coil heating. The coil is responsible for heating the e-liquid that has been absorbed into the wick and turning it into vapour prior to inhalation. 
Pod devices use "cartridges" - these are both a tank and coil in one and cannot generally be disassembled.
4. E-liquid
The e-liquid is a key part of any e-cigarette. These can be pre-filled or manually filled into the tank. The e-liquid is heated into vapour for inhalation. E-liquids can come in many flavours, from your favourite desserts and fruits to your favourite candy and sweets.
5. Mouthpiece or Drip Tip
The drip tip is used to rest your mouth whilst inhaling vapour from your tank's chimney. Drip tips can come in many colours, shapes and sizes.

Types of E-Cigarettes

Each of the five components mentioned above can come in different variations depending on the type of e-cigarette you vape and what kind of vaping style you prefer. The following are the most common types of e-cigarettes you are likely to encounter:

1. 'Cigalikes' (1st generation)

These were the first e-cigarettes in the market. They resembled a traditional e-cigarette and were disposable after a few hundred puffs. They were very limited in what they could do, and the battery life was also limited. We do not generally recommend these devices as they are very limited in function.
2. Refillable pod kits.

UWELL CALIBURNRefillable pod kits have become very popular and can be 'open' or 'closed' systems. The open systems allowed the user to have more freedom, as it allows a choice of e-liquid to be used in the refillable cartridge or pod. Open pod kits are also popular due to the rechargeable inbuilt battery.


Our recommendation for beginners is the UWELL Caliburn Vape Kit. This is an open pod system that will give you the ease of a small and discrete vape device with the flexibility of trying new flavours to find the perfect flavour for you. Closed pod systems such as 'JUUL' do not give you this freedom of flavour choice, as compatible cartridges come pre-filled and are limited to a handful of flavours. 

3. Box mod kits

Box mod kits are for the intermediate to advanced vaper. They come in all shapes and sizes, and mostly consist of external batteries, which are needed to power both the LED/OLED screens which are now popular and the atomiser.


Still Unsure Which E-Cigarette is right for you?

If you are still browsing for your first e-cig in the journey of switching from smoking, you'll be glad to hear that we have made the process super simple. Instead of offering hundreds of options for e-cigarettes, we have limited the market to only the top 40 devices. 


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