Electronic cigarette or e-cigarette, an electrical device resembling a standard cigarette is slowly forming a customer base. It looks like a cigarette and is powered by a battery attached to it. Smokers can use it like an ordinary cigarette and it is said to be not as harmful as the conventional cigarette.
Parts of an Electronic Cigarette
The e-cigarette in the present form was devised by a Chinese pharmacist known as Hon Lik in the year 2003 and most of the brands available are coming from China. The main parts of an electronic cigarette are 1) a red LED assembly, 2) battery and electronic circuitry, 3) atomizer and cartridge.
The red LED assembly is at one end of the e-cigarette and it lights up when the cigarette is in use, producing the effect of a burning tip as in an ordinary cigarette. On the other end is the cartridge which forms the mouth piece. It is usually a disposable plastic container. There are openings at both ends. One end is attached to the atomizer which has a heating element. The smoker keeps the other end in his mouth.
Nicotine in the form of a liquid is kept in this cartridge. The atomizer vaporizes this liquid. The user can draw in this vapor containing nicotine and get the effect of nicotine as in an ordinary cigarette.
The atomizer is provided with a heating element and the power source usually is a rechargeable battery of the lithium-ion type. Electronic air flow sensors are found in some models in which drawing breath through the device activates it. Other cheaper models have a button switch which has to be kept pressed to activate the device.
Cartridges are available as pre-filled disposable ones and also as refillable ones. The solutions used to fill the cartridge contain nicotine. Whole Tobacco Alkaloids (WTA) are also being included in the liquid as they are said to produce an experience that resembles that of actual smoking. Liquids of different nicotine concentrations are available to meet individual requirements. Different flavors are also available.
Are Electronic Cigarettes Harmless?
Studies regarding the effects of e-cigarettes on the user’s health are in progress in different parts of the world. The main advantage of the e-cigarette is that the user does not take in the tar as in the case of a smoker using ordinary cigarettes. But the vapor inhaled when using an electronic cigarette contains nicotine. Nicotine forms addiction in the user, which is not desirable. The vapors of some e-cigarettes were found to be having the cancer-causing agents TSNAs in them.
So, it can be concluded that electronic cigarettes are not completely harmless. It requires the support of sufficient research to establish the bad effects of using this new device. For the smokers, the conveniences it provides are many. It does not require match sticks to light. One can take a drag or two and simply drop it into his pocket as there is no need for fear of it causing burns. As it does not produce smoke, its use is said to be allowed in public places. Actually rules regarding this are yet to be formed.
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