Electronic cigarettes have been around for a while, but were made into a multi-billion dollar industry only recently in 2007. But how do they actually work? In this article, we’ll dig into their workings with a simple vaporizer teardown. These little cylinder-shaped products cost about $10 from your local corner store, and don’t contain any nicotine/other substance apart from a flavor and oil carrier. Take a look inside:
The e-cigg with label and top cap removed:
Pressing out the insides with a pencil:
The oil pad is soaked in a mysterious clear oily substance that smells distinctly like the flavor of the vaporizer. The insulator sits inside the oil pad, and acts as a shield for the heating element seen in the below picture. The element heats up the oil and produces the vapor which is then inhaled. What the oil actually is remains unknown, which is a little disconcerting considering its being pulled into your lungs. The rubber seal sits just inside the top cap, and acts as a fastener for the “draw sensor”.
The electrical workings:
The “draw sensor”, or referred to as switch & light in the above picture is placed in series between the battery and the element. The switch detects when air is pulled through the vaporizer, turning on the LED light and element. This then produces the vapor and adds it to the air as it is pulled through the device. The battery itself appears to be 3.7 volt lithium based, and isn’t rechargeable. The element is made of nicrome wire, a heat resistant metal that acts as a load, producing heat as a product of current.
Of course, this is a vaporizer and not technically a cigarette, but it contains the same internal workings as a standard electronic cigarette except for the nicotine. If you’re a regular user of these seemingly harmless products, I’d strongly recommend you investigate what actually lies within.