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What Is An Electronic Cigarette?

Let’s strip it back and look at exactly what an e cigarette is. If you’re new to vaping, it's understandable that you might need to know the basics. An e-cigarette is a device which heats up e-liquid, turning it into vapour that can be inhaled. The main parts are made up of a battery, tank and coil, which are easy to get to grips with and use every day instead of smoking.

Other names for electronic cigarettes

You might also have heard electronic cigarettes referred to as:

  • E-cigs
  • Mods
  • vape pens
  • Vapes
  • tank systems

Whilst these names are often used interchangeably, there can be some differences between them. As e cigarettes produce a vapour when used, they are often called ‘vapes’. This means they can be mistaken for vape pens or vape kits. A vape pen or vape kit is not entirely the same as an electronic cigarette but is, in fact, a type of electronic cigarette. We’ll go into this in more detail later on in the article.

How do e cigarettes work?

An e-cig works by heating up e-liquid to create vapour. Here are the key components.


E-cigarettes are made up of a battery, tank and coil. The battery is what powers the device. The tank houses e-liquid, and the coil is what turns it into vapour. When e-liquid is added to the tank, the coil will absorb it into the wicking material inside. Once it is well saturated, the coil can then be activated to heat up the liquid. This then turns into vapour which can be inhaled through the mouthpiece. Choosing the right e-liquid for your e-cig is crucial, so make sure to check out E-liquid Guide.

Types of e cigs

Not all vape e-cigarettes are the same. Here are the different types of devices available.


This type of device is the simplest to use and has grown in popularity through brands such as Elf Bar and Lost Mary. It is an all in one device that has a built in battery and coil. Plus the tank is prefilled with 2ml of e-liquid. There are no buttons either, so all you have to do is inhale into the mouthpiece to vape.


Mod kits feature a large battery and are designed to produce more vapour for longer periods. It is mainly experienced or sub ohm vapers that use this type of kit. The tank usually fits to the top of the battery through a 510 connection and the coils have a low resistance. This means the tank can be swapped out with any that has 510 thread.


Pod kits Can come in many shapes and sizes to suit any style. The tank itself will connect directly to the battery through a magnetic connection. Although this is more convenient, it does mean the tank is only compatible with certain kits. This type of kit is used by both experience and new vapers.

Vape Pens

Like the name suggests, these kits are small and narrow which makes them easy to store in a pocket or bag. The battery will last most users a full day of use and the high resistance coils are ideal for MTL vaping. This technique is similar to smoking which makes a pen style kit a great starter kit.

Are e-cigs safe?

According to the Office for Health Improvements & Disparities (Formerly Public Health England) vaping is 95% safer than smoking. However, vaping is designed to help people quit smoking. E-cigarettes should only be used by those who currently smoke or intend to start smoking. Those who don’t smoke should not start vaping.

It is also much cheaper to switch to an e-cigarette. To find out how much you can save, use our Quit Smoking Calculator.

E cigarette regulations

In the UK e-cigs are heavily regulated to protect consumers. Although we have left the EU, we still follow the Tobacco Products Directive that came into place in 2017. The main rules include the following:

  • E-liquid capacity – E-liquid containing nicotine can only be sold in bottles 10ml or less. Although, shortfill liquid can still be sold in larger bottles as it does not contain nicotine.
  • Nicotine Strength – E-liquid can have a maximum nicotine strength of 10mg (2.0%).
  • Warning Labels – Like with any product containing nicotine, vaping products must state that it is a highly addictive substance. This warning must be clearly labelled on the front of the packaging to ensure it is visible.

Where can I find the best E-cigarettes?

Choosing the right vape kit is essential, but it doesn’t have to be daunting. With our wide range of starter kits you will find some of our most popular devices for beginners and their key features, have a look and see which one jumps out at you.

If you want to give up smoking and are considering electronic cigarettes then our guide to Vape Starter Kits is a great place to start.

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