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Electronic Cigarette

What is the Electronic Cigarette?

The Electronic Cigarette is an electronic device, which imitates a regular cigarette.

It is a new way for users of regular tobacco based cigarettes to regulate and control their nicotine intake while in public places.

How does it work?

The Electronic Cigarette works in the following way: the user inhales on the electronic cigarette, this causes an air flow sensor to signal to the inbuilt microprocessor to activate the atomizer. The atomizer converts the liquid nicotine in the cartridge into a vapour using heat ( atomization).The vapour is inhaled by the user. Simultaneously, a water based vapour is released from the glycol by the atomizer to resemble ‘smoke. This ‘smoke has no risk to its user or persons around them.

What is in the Cartridge?

The base liquid of the cartridge is a mixture of liquid-nicotine, tobacco extract flavourings and Propylene glycol. The liquid contains no harmful chemicals, unlike a typical tobacco based cigarette.

What powers the device?

A rechargeable lithium battery powers the device.

How do I know when my battery is fully charged?

All chargers come with a LED indicator which changes from red to green. The LED is usually red when you place a discharged battery into it, and will change to green when the battery is fully charged. Some people notice that the LED pulses or gives very tiny blips of green whilst on red and charging. This is completely normal.

How long will a battery take to charge?

For the majority of models, an initial charging time of 8 hours is recommended. After that, most models of e-cigarettes take between one and two hours to charge on the mains charger.

It may take slightly longer if charging through a USB charger, but this is not always the case.

You should find that if you have bought a two battery starter kit, one battery can be charging while the other is in use.

What available methods are there for charging a battery?

Most e-cigarettes have two types of charger:

A mains charger, and 2) a USB charger for your pc. The USB charger can be used in your USB computer port, in a USB hub, or you can buy a USB cigarette lighter converter for your car. You can also buy a USB-to-mains adaptor for charging.
The Titan (Joye 510) has the portable PCC (portable cigarette charger) available.
You can also convert a USB charger to an on the move option by buying a portable power pack (the pack usually charges through the USB on the computer).

Why do I need spare batteries?

Lithium batteries permanently lose capacity over time. This is why e-cig batteries have a relatively short life of 2-3 months.  The electronic cigarettes are considered as consumables, hence the reason the separate parts need to be replaced. 

But it is not working?

If however you experience problems with your battery i.e. the LED does not light up when you inhale on the cigarette, this generally means the battery either needs a good charge or that the battery is faulty. 

Remember before going to bed disconnect the battery from the atomiser, batteries can drain over night as they are in standby mode when not being used.

How to tell if your battery is faulty?

  • If when you screw your battery into the charger  the light does not change from green to red, and/or flash to indicate that the battery has connected to the charger, then it is probable that  the battery is faulty.
  • When you inhale on the  e-cigarette (with a fully charged battery) and there is no vapour, nor does the LED light up, this may indicate a faulty battery. however this may be caused by the atomizer, so please try a fresh atomiser before reporting the battery as faulty. 
  • The Electronic Cigarette not only helps the user to regulate their nicotine intake, and creates a vapour resembling smoke, but it also  looks like a cigarette; thereby helping the user with the psychological and physical habit  of holding  a regular  cigarette.
    The Electronic Cigarette has been awarded EC and RoHS certification as a safe electronic device.

Propylene glycol

“Also known as propane-1,2-diol,  it is an organic compound, usually a faint sweet, odourless, and colourless clear viscous(thick & sticky) liquid that is hygroscopic( absorbs water from the air) and miscible(capable of mixing with water) with water, acetone and chloroform.”  Wikepedia 09/08


Propylene glycol is used in the following ways:

  • As a moisturiser in medicine, cosmetics, food, toothpaste, mouth wash and tobacco products.
  • In electronic cigarettes to make the produced vapour better resemble cigarette smoke.
  • As a medical and sexual lubricant.
  • As an emulsifier (prevents separation) in Angostura and orange bitters.
  • As a solvent for food colourings and flavourings.
  • As a humectant (to keep product moist) food additive labelled E1520.
  • As a carrier in fragrance oils.
  • As a less toxic anti freeze (sounds scary, but it will be because of its nature as an emulsifier).
  • As a solvent used in photographic chemicals.
  • In hand sanitizer lotions.

Please note this is not a full list, but is of the most common applications.


Propylene Glycol poisoning has apparently only occurred through inappropriate intravenous (straight into the vein) use, or accidental ingestion by children. However, you will need to ingest a lot of propylene glycol to cause harm.  “Serious toxicity will occur only at extremely high intakes over a relatively short period of time” 09/08.

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated propylene glycol to be “generally recognised as safe.” Wikepedia 09/08.

Propylene glycol shows no evidence of being a carcinogen or being genotoxic.
Propylene glycol can be irritating to some individuals.

The electronic cigarette is a new product, and as yet does not have a data base of clinical trials and evidence as to the long term effects on the smoker.


Nicotine is not a proven carcinogenic, but it is addictive, and in the right quantity is a known poison.

With this in mind, the Royal College of Physicians in London, have stated that the risks associated with Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRP) to aid smoking cessation are significantly outweighed by the risks of smoking. The paper further states “While nicotine itself cannot be completely exonerated from causing adverse health effects, it is clear that its direct contribution to tobacco related harm is relatively minor. It is not nicotine itself, but the delivery system – cigarettes are an exceedingly ‘dirty delivery system.”  Sept 2008.

Nicotine is a naturally occurring substance derived from the tobacco plant “ Nicotania tobaccum” and it is an alkaloid. An alkaloid is an organic compound containing one nitrogen atom in a heterocyclic ring. Some other Alkaloids are: quinine, cocaine and morphine, they have medicinal/poisonous properties.  Sept 2008.

Nicotine, when obtained from a tobacco cigarette is distilled in the burning tobacco, and small droplets of tar containing nicotine are inhaled into the lungs. Due to the acidity of cigarette smoke, the nicotine is absorbed in to the lungs, unlike with pipes and cigars, that are less acidic, and the absorption of nicotine starts in the mouth. With cigarettes, the nicotine enters the blood stream and reaches the brain in about 10 seconds.

Tolerance to the toxic effects of nicotine such as nausea rapidly develops and persists. Some of these toxic effects are:

  • Headaches, dizziness, insomnia, abnormal dreams, nervousness.
  • Gastric upset, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea
  • Myalgia.(Palmer 1992)

Nicotine is metabolised mainly in the liver, but also to a lesser degree in the lungs and brain.

Nicotine is known to raise blood pressure and increase the heart rate, at the same time reducing the coronary blood flow, just when it is needed most; (the heart is pumping faster – needing more oxygen, yet at the same time less blood and oxygen are getting through). Nicotine differentially affects blood flow to different organs – vasoconstriction (less flow) to the skin, and vasodilatation (more blood flow) to muscles. (Benowitz 1982). Nicotine also increases the metabolism, and generally smokers weigh 4kg less than non smokers. (Perkins 1992).

Two clinical trials of nicotine medication in patients with coronary artery disease, used transdermal NRT to aid smoking cessation – they have found no evidence that nicotine is injurious. (Joseph 1994). What was more interesting is that many of the participants continued to smoke, so they had nicotine from both the patches and the cigarettes!

Nicotine is classed as addictive because it fulfils the following criteria:

  • Elicits effects within the brain which are pleasant and rewarding, and which re-enforces self administration.
  • Following a period of chronic exposure, withdrawal of the drug may elicit an abstinence syndrome, which the addict may seek to avoid, by further use of the drug.

Benowitz NL, Jacob P 111, Jones RT, Rosenburg J. Interindividual variability in the metabolism and cardiovascular effects of nicotine in man. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 1982: 221:368-72.
Joseph AM, Norman SM, Ferry LH, Prochazka AV, et al. The safety of transdermal nicotine as  an aid to smoking cessation in patients with cardiac disease.
Palmer KJ, Buckley MM, Faulds D. Transdermal nicotine. A review of its pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties, and therapeutic efficacy as an aid to smoking cessation.
Perkins KA. Metabolic effects of cigarette smoking. J Appl Physiol 1992. 72:401-9

Clinical trials have taken place in New Zealand using the electronic cigarette as an aid to smoking cessation, but to date the results have not been published.

We are unaware at present of any clinical trials in the UK with the electronic cigarette.

The Electronic Cigarette, The Law and The User

The Law introduced in the United Kingdom in the Health Act 2006, banned the use of tobacco based cigarettes in public places.

The Act was introduced in response to where tobacco based cigarettes kills over 100,000 people each year in the UK, as lit tobacco produces tar, carcinogens, carbon monoxide and up to 400 other toxic substances.

In Chapter 28 that incorporates the Smoking ban, the definition of smoking is stated as : smoking  refers to smoking tobacco or anything which contains tobacco, or smoking any other substance, and smoking includes being in possession of lit tobacco or of anything lit which contains tobacco, or being in possession of any other lit substance in a form in which it could be smoked.

The user of a electronic cigarette device is excluded from this Act as the device contains no tobacco; it is not ignited, and produces no smoke from burning substances.

The electronic cigarette can be used in any location and within any premises that introduced a ban on tobacco based cigarettes with the introduction into Law of the Health Act 2006.

© 2008 The Electronic Cigarette Company (UK) Limited.