What is ECig and Vape pen? Explained

Electronic Cigarette (ecig) and Vape Pen have become extremely popular, especially for people trying to get away from smoking cigarettes or using traditional tobacco products. There is a lot of speculation about whether or not they are healthier for you, but most people aren’t even sure what they are, what they do, or how they do it. It’s true that when you decide to try and switch over to vaping it can be a little overwhelming. I mean, there are hundreds of options and it can get kind of technical. I imagine most cigarette smokers running out of a vape shop after talking to the employees behind the counter for just a few minutes. There are batteries, voltage, wattage, electrical resistance, and ohms to take into consideration and this can scare any potential vaper from switching over. Besides, cigarettes are easy. All you need is a lighter and your favorite pack of smokes, right? Well, vaping can be just easy too, once you get the basics down.


An ecig is a device that creates vapor and mimics the look and feel of smoking. It has four basic parts to it: The power source (battery), the tank, the coil or atomizer/cartomizer (the part that vaporizes), and the e-liquid, e-juice or even concentrated cannabis oil. An ecig basically uses a small amount of electricity to heat the coils in the cartomizer which vaporizes the concentrated oils or e-juice, and creates the smoke vapor. Pretty simple, right?

Power Source

There are several different styles of ecig. The most basic ecig is the one that you can buy at most convenient stores, gas stations, or standard smoke shops. They resemble traditional cigarettes and are disposable. They only last for a certain amount of puffs (depending on how hard you drag on them) and then they go into the trash can. It’s when you move from the basic ecig world into the world of vaping that things become a little more detailed.

The next step up is the eGo style or vape pen style e-cig. This is basically a rechargeable battery that differs in size, color, and battery life depending on the brand. They usually come with a mini-USB style cable to charge the battery. These (and every type other than the disposable kind) e-cigs require a separate tank and e-liquid or e-juice to operate as well, but we will cover that in a moment.

The other types of batteries available are for the more enthusiastic vaper. There are digital mods and mechanical, or mech, mods.

The mechanical mod is the ecig that requires more know-how. It is basically housing for a specialized rechargeable battery, so it doesn’t provide any way of controlling the output of electricity. Therefore, the mechanical mod is the most complicated route to go when it comes to e-cig use because it has to have the atomizer/cartomizer constructed specifically to handle the electricity the battery puts out.

The digital mod is basically the same thing as the mechanical mod but with a chipset inside of it that increases the safety of the device while also making it easier to use. The digital mod usually allows the user to set the wattage/voltage they want and have a digital display to show the power output and other features of the mod.


The tank is the part of the ecig that holds the e-juice. That is pretty much all it does. They vary in size and shape and most of them have the same size adapter on the bottom so they can screw into any of the mods or batteries. The tank also holds the coil for the atomizer/cartomizer. This allows the juice to seep into the wicks of the coil for continuous use.


Ok. This is where it starts to get more complicated. The coil is the basic part of the atomizer/cartomizer. It is the small, twirled (hence coil) piece of metal that heats up as the electricity goes through it. There is usually a wick around the coil that holds e-juice and that is what gets vaporized and turned into the smoke vapor.

RDA or re-buildable dripping atomizers are the tanks/coils that have to be built by the smoker and offer the most smoke and flavor according to most ecig users. The downside is that the vaper has to repeatedly drip e-juice into the coil for constant use. This is also the most dangerous and technical route for vaporizer and should be done with good instruction and research.

A RBA or re-buildable atomizer is basically the same thing as an RDA except that it has an actual tank on it to hold the e-juice. The coil and wick must still be built and tweaked by the user and caution should be used.

Other versions are the clearomizer/cartomizer/atmoizer tanks. They are all very similar in the sense that they have tanks that hold e-juice. The difference in them is how they get the e-juice to the coil for vaporizing. The clearomizer tanks use a silica wick that wicks the e-juice to the coil and the cartomizer use a polyfl around the coil that wicks the e-juice. Cartomizers and atomizers are very similar and they can both hold the most e-juice in their tanks because they use a punched cartomizer for the coil. These tanks can be customized a little as you can buy factory made coils specifically for the tank and replace them when they burn out and change your e-juices when you want to. These tank/coil systems come in all shapes and sizes with different levels of customization.


The e-juice utilizes two different bases, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. They have both been approved for human ingestion by the FDA for some time. The e-juice holds the flavor as well as the nicotine level, which can range from 0mg of nicotine to around 30mg of nicotine. The e-juice can come in many different ratios with most of them being 50%VG (vegetable glycerin) and 50% propylene glycol. People who use mechanical mods and re-buildable tanks/coils typically use 100%VG and are referred to as drippers because they have to drip their e-juice into the tank a lot more than someone who has a tank that holds more than a few drops of e-juice. E-juices come in almost any flavor imaginable.


Well, those are the basics. Just like there are a variety of different ways to use an e-cig there are also a variety of users ranging from beginners to experts. One of the best ways to start figuring out what you want is to go into your local vape shop dealer and start asking questions. There are plenty of forums online that can be used. The community of ecig smokers, drippers, and cloud chasers grows larger every day and there are plenty of people willing to help the new people who are trying to find a good smoking alternative or start a new hobby.