what are e-cigarettes and how do you use them

E-cigarettes let you inhale nicotine and help fight your nicotine craving - they carry a small fraction of the risk of cigarettes.

The need to know about e-cigarettes

What is an e-cigarette?

An e-cigarette is a battery powered device that allows you to inhale nicotine in a vapour rather than smoke. E-cigarettes don't burn tobacco and don't produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke. E-cigarettes work by heating a solution (e-liquid) that typically contains nicotine, propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine, and flavourings. Using an e-cigarette is known as vaping.

What does Public Health England (PHE) say?

PHE conducted a thorough review of e-cigarettes in 2018. This independent review found that, based on the available evidence, vaping is around 95% less harmful than smoking. The Royal College of Physicians came to a similar conclusion in their 2016 report 'Nicotine without smoke: tobacco harm reduction'.

What about the dangers?

In the UK e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality. They aren't completely risk-free, but they carry a small fraction of the risk of smoking cigarettes. E-cigarettes don't produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke. The liquid and vapour does still contain potentially harmful chemicals, but in smaller amounts. While, nicotine contained in e-cigarette liquids is addictive it is relatively harmless.

Anatomy of an e-cigarette

E-cigarettes are made up of three core components: a power source, a way to heat the liquid, and a mouthpiece. They come in different types and sizes, including disposable and rechargeable options.

If you would like help choosing the right e-cigarette and e-liquid, a specialist vape shop will be able to give you lots of advice. Remember to always refer to the manufactures instructions for information on your e-cigarette and e-liquid.


  1. Drip Tip

    A drip tip is the mouthpiece you use to inhale the vapour from the e-cigarette. There are hundreds of different shapes to choose from, so you can find which you like best.

  2. Atomiser

    The atomiser is the part of the e-cigarette that heats up the liquid until it turns into a vapour. It’s usually made up of a heating coil, similar to a kettle.

  3. Battery

    The battery is what powers the atomiser in the e-cigarette.
    Different e-cigarettes have different batteries, some lasting longer than others. Most can be recharged.

Combining your choices

You don’t have to rely on just one method to quit. You are more likely to quit smoking by mixing and matching personal support like motivational support from a health advisor with NRT, a prescription medication or e-cigarettes. What would work best for you?

Support

There is lots of support to help you quit smoking from health advisers, they are ready with tips, information and encouragement.

Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT)

NRT are products that provide you with a low level of nicotine and so can help you fight nicotine cravings as you quit.

Digital Mobile Apps

Apps on your phone are a great way to help you quit smoking, they can help you with tips, advise and encouragement when you need them most.

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