Choosing Ecigs or Vapes
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Modern electronic cigarette vaporizer on wooden tableE-cigs, sometimes called ‘cigalikes,’ look very similar to traditional tobacco cigarettes. The differences are: they have a battery and a cartomizer. A cartomizer is the cartridge that holds the nicotine and eliquid, and the atomizer vaporizes the liquid. The vapor resembles “smoke”. There are cartomizers, atomizers, eGo ecigs (vape pens), mechanical mods (RBA), e-juices/e-liquids, and varying nicotine strengths.


The vape pens, or eGo style ecigs, have a battery and clearomizer. The clearomizer is an e-juice tank that is clear and has an atomizer. E-juice/e-liquid is a flavored liquid with or without nicotine.


Mods are often used by hobbyists, but anyone can enjoy a mod. There are variable voltage and mechanical mods. The battery case is the ‘mod’ and the e-juice tank is the RBA/RDA (rebuildable atomizer). These models have atomizers that are manually assembled.


The first vapes were called e-cigs. The vape pen and the mod came a bit later. E-cigs are the most recognizable because they look very similar to real tobacco cigarettes. The original e-cigs consist of a battery and a cartomizer. The cartomizer is a cartridge and an atomizer all in one. Cartridges hold the flavor and nicotine. The atomizer vaporizes the ejuice. Cartridges need replacing but the battery can be recharged. Some brands offer this in a one-piece disposable unit.


A tobacco cigarette produces about 10 drags or puffs. A cartomizer can last about 300 puffs or the equivalent of 36 cigarettes. Battery life is about as long as smoking 10 cigarettes. They are sold in convenience stores but with limited flavor choices and are easier on the pocketbook.


Vape pens are the most popular type of e-cigs. They have a battery, an atomizer and a tank. The tank holds the ejuice. Vape pens use a standard fitting called eGo making the battery and tanks interchangeable. Atomizers for these models consist of a wick to absorb the liquid and a core.


Nicotine strengths are offered in multiples of 6 mg per mL of liquid. Atomizers need to be replaced every 2 or 3 weeks.


Vape pens hold 1-2 mL of ejuice producing 50 drags per mL of ejuice. Another advantage of the vape pen is that it uses most brands and flavors of ejuice.


Mods are a favorite among vape hobbyists. They produce a lot more vapor with enhanced flavorings. They are like a vape pen but the batteries are a separate component and can be shared between other mods. The atomizer surface is rebuildable because the wick and coil are assembled manually. To get the vapor volume, atomizer resistances are usually lower. This helps burn more ejuice. Batteries drain faster but tanks are somewhat larger. Airflow is another factor in vapor volume.


Atomizers can last up to 2 weeks but it is difficult swapping them out. Tanks can use pretty much any brand of ejuice. Battery life is difficult to estimate. It all depends on the mod’s build.