Main content

    Health Information

    Electronic Cigarette

    Electronic Cigarette

    An electronic cigarette and its parts

    An electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, runs on a battery, either disposable or rechargeable. The airflow sensor senses when you suck in air from the mouthpiece. The sensor tells the microprocessor to turn on the heating element and start the process that turns the nicotine solution into a vapor that you inhale. Many e-cigarettes have an LED (tiny light) at the end that glows red when you inhale.

    For some smokers, e-cigarettes may satisfy nicotine cravings. They can be used in nonsmoking areas. And they may contain less of the harmful chemicals that are in cigarette smoke. But they still contain small amounts of harmful chemicals.

    The FDA does not regulate e-cigarettes. So there is no government oversight or standard for how much or what chemicals are in nicotine cartridges. This means that the contents printed on these cartridges may not be true.

    An e-cigarette cartridge contains a high concentration of nicotine that, if ingested, can be very poisonous or even fatal. Keep these cartridges out of the reach of children.

    By Healthwise Staff
    Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
    John Hughes, MD - Psychiatry
    Last Revised August 15, 2013

    Last Revised: August 15, 2013

    Author: Healthwise Staff

    Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & John Hughes, MD - Psychiatry

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

    1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.