We'll I've been doing further research into e-cigs.
With additional assistance from member : Metro
Thanks for answering my questions Metro.
I'm very near purchasing one now.
I figure I'd share with you the information I've found so far... or at least a summary.
From tip (ember) to mouthpiece.
: All manufacturers appear to use Lithium-Ion batteries. A good choice, as other batteries have horrible issues with battery
memory and short life span under repetitive stop-start use.
The lithium Ion batteries are charged in a 5V DC charger connected to a 120VDC wall plug, or 220V outside of North America.
You can also purchase USB chargers, as the USB power supply from your PC is conveniently 5V.
There are a few companies that sell you a USB patch cord which replaces the battery with a wire, in case you'll be using it at your computer for
extended periods of time and don't want to constantly charge and drain your batteries.
The power supplies in E-Cigs are switched on and off via a pressure trigger.
When you suck on the mouthpiece, the low pressure inside the unit triggers the battery to feed energy to the atomizer, beginning the process of
One type is a mechanical pressure switch, and the other is an electronic pressure switch.
The mechanical pressure switch is prone to wear and tear, and the electronic pressure switch, like all electronic meters, is prone to initial
All power supplies come with an LED indicator on the end. The LED comes in various colors, the standard being ember orange. Most manufacturers make
the LED glow (rather than blink) during inhalation to simulate the ember of a cigarette glowing. The LED is also utilized as a battery indicator
during recharging, and often to indicate when the battery is near-dead.
The Switch, LED, and Battery are all part of the same assembly.
: For most of them, the atomizer is a small heating element. The atomizer receives the nicotine solution from the cartridge in the
same manor a wick draws fuel into a torch. The atomizer then vaporizes the nicotine solution, and the suction you supply (from mouth) draws the
nicotine vapor into your lungs.
Notice I said most of them use heating elements.
The original patented design (by a mister Ruyan) used what he called "ultra-sonics" to vaporize the nicotine solution. Basically, instead of heating
through a heating coil, it's done through high frequency friction.
I haven't surmised yet which atomizer lasts longer. The original sonic atomizer, or the heating element system, but the sonic variety costs a little
more to manufacture.
The atomizer and wick are part of the same assembly.
: The cartridge is typically a two section vial. An outer wall allows air flow past the inner vial toward the mouthpiece to allow the
user to draw the vapors past the cartridge from the atomizer.
The inner vial is open at one end, the opening facing the atomizer. Inside the vial is an absorbent wadding that soaks up the nicotine solution and
acts as the first part of the wick, (The other part of the wick being in the atomizer itself) passing the nicotine solution to the atomizer for
The mouthpiece is typically one of two designs, the classic flat ended plastic mouth piece simulating the wood mouthpieces from the 30's/40's
(you'll find these on cigarillos) , or the standard cigarette butt shaped end, which instead of a cotton filter, has a small diameter hole.
The wick, vial, and mouthpiece are part of the same assembly.
: Commonly a mix of Nicotine, Propylene Glycol (commonly used in consumables and harmless to ingest), and water.
Other substances can be added to add flavor, such as artificial flavoring.
The nicotine is acquired by extracting it from tobacco. No other materials from the tobacco make it into the solution... IE, no harmful tar, cyanide,
arsenic... nothing. The extracts from the tobacco are refined via distilling them into their individual components.
The solution is not combusted inside the device, no carbon monoxide or dioxide is generated.
Essentially, no carcinogens, no toxins, no second hand smoke, and with many solutions no smell (some artificial flavors have scents).
It should be remembered however, in large enough doses, Nicotine is a poison. It becomes harmful to the average human body at doses of over 50mg.
However, the solutions and e-cigs are designed to regulate nicotine intake to 1.1 mg per 15 puffs on average.
Specialty mixtures can be acquired with higher levels.
Standard issues with electronics apply : battery chargers can have defects, batteries can die after a while.
The atomizers have a life span, usually ranging from 2 weeks, to 2 months, depending on how often you clean it, how often you use it, and if you abuse
it through a process called "dripping", which involves dropping the nicotine solution directly onto the atomizer instead of the wick doing it's
The atomizers life span is due to two failures.
1: Thermal wear and tear.
2: Grime buildup.
Thermal wear and tear is not as common any more, as the battery assembly will cut off power if you attempt to drag for too long. This is done to spare
the atomizer from overheating.
Grime buildup is more common. Eventually, even with cleaning, grime contaminates the heating element through the process of the glycol overheating as
it passes the element, the buildup occurs over a span of time and use. Eventually, enough buildup is present that all thermal energy is passed
directly to the grime, rather than being used to vaporize the nicotine solution.
Boiling the atomizer in water, or (as some have tried) bathing overnight in Pepsi then rinsing, can clear this buildup off of the atomizer, allowing
it's life cycle to be extended.
But atomizers are not expected to last forever, they are expected to fail eventually.
Refilling nicotine cartridges requires care. Nicotine can be absorbed quicker through the skin than it can through smoking. High concentrations of
nicotine absorbed through the skin can cause drowsiness, fatigue, cold sweating, unconsciousness and in high enough doses, death.
The concentrations present in refill vials would require you to spill most of the contents of the vial onto your skin, and show considerable
negligence in washing it off in order to poison you at lethal levels.
Nevertheless, wear gloves, or simply be cautious.
Never drink, inject, or bathe in nicotine regardless of concentration strength.