Learn more about how e-cigarettes function

Have you ever seen someone smoking an electronic cigarette (or e-cigarette) in public and wondered how it works? Keep in mind that while it may not be a traditional cigarette, an e-cigarette is still a form of tobacco.

An e-cigarette is battery-powered and is either disposable or rechargeable. There is an airflow sensor that detects when you suck in air from the mouthpiece. Once the air is sucked into the device, the sensor alerts the microprocessor to start the heating element that turns the nicotine solution into vapor. E-cigarettes often have an LED light at the end that glows when you inhale.

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3 Main Parts of an E-cigarette

  1. The mouthpiece has a cartridge where nicotine solution is stored.
  2. When you inhale, there is a heating element that turns the nicotine solution into a vapor.
  3. The battery in the e-cigarette powers the heating element.
Composition of an e-cigarette

To learn more about e-cigarettes, visit UPMC Health Library and search for “e-cigarettes”. Now that you understand how an e-cigarette works, you can also read more about the dangers of e-cigarettes and how e-cigarettes affect the heart. If you are interested in learning more about how to quit smoking, check out our Journey to a Smoke Free Life booklet online. You can also enroll in a Smoking Cessation program at many of our UPMC facilities.

About UPMC

A $21 billion health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates more than 90,000 employees, 40 hospitals, 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a 3.8 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical insurer in western Pennsylvania. In the most recent fiscal year, UPMC contributed $1.4 billion in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution, and paid more than $500 million in federal, state, and local taxes. Working in close collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC shares its clinical, managerial, and technological skills worldwide through its innovation and commercialization arm, UPMC Enterprises, and through UPMC International. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside on its annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. For more information, go to UPMC.com.