Current high demand on postal services mean deliveries may take longer than usual.
0 My Basket

How Electronic Cigarettes Work

You must be over 18 to purchase products from E-Cigarette Direct

Electronic cigarettes (also known as e-cigarettes or ecigs) come in many different forms, the most common being the cigalike and the refillable tank system.

These electronic devices are designed to provide you with nicotine (unless you are using zero nicotine refills) and imitate the action and feel of tobacco smoking, but without the use of tobacco. Unlike regular tobacco cigarettes, electronic cigarettes produce vapour instead of smoke, which is odourless and does not linger like conventional tobacco smoke.

In this section we provide a short guide to how electronic cigarettes work. For more information, see The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Electronic Cigarettes.

How Electronic Cigarettes Work

While there is some variation between different types of electronic cigarettes, there are some basic principles which apply to all electronic cigarettes.

All electronic cigarettes contain e-liquid. E-liquid contains nicotine, propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG) and flavourings. Propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine produce vapour and the sensation on the back of your throat – although PG produces more vapour and VG produces more throat hit.

Inside the cartridge or clearomiser there is a wick or wadding which soaks up and holds the e-liquid. There is also an atomiser, which is heating element in the shape of a coil. When the e-cigarette is activated, the coil heats up the e-liquid, producing vapour which resembles smoke.

Scientists have told us that the crucial difference between cigarettes and e-cigarettes is combustion. When a cigarette is lit, it burns tobacco producing smoke. As the smoke cools down, it creates tar and carcinogens. In comparison, an electronic cigarette vaporises a liquid instead of burning it. For more information, see our Interviews with the Experts series.


Cigalikes are electronic cigarettes that resemble traditional cigarettes. In contrast to most more modern devices, cigalikes have a sensor that automatically detect when air is inhaled. This sensor activates the heating element in the cartomiser (a cartridge which contains an atomiser).

Tank Systems

Tank systems use a ‘tank’ or clearomiser. These are clear, allowing you to see how much e-liquid is contained. In addition, there is a reduced amount of wadding or wick, which soaks up the e-liquid as it is needed. Most tank systems are manual, and you will need to push a button before vaping.

Advanced Devices

Over the last few years the technology behind e-cigarettes has exploded, creating a range of exciting new devices.

Variable voltage devices allow you to control the amount of power input into electronic cigarettes, while variable wattage allows you to precisely control the power output. Some devices allow you to switch between variable voltage and variable wattage devices. To learn more about these devices and how to use them see The Vaper’s Guide to Voltage Watts and Ohms.


Login To Your Account

If you have an account with us, please log in.

* Required Fields

Forgot Your Password?

You Must Be Over 18 to Buy From E-cigarette Direct

Why do I have to prove my age?

To our website you look under 18.

So, as a responsible retailer, we need to check your age.

You'll only need to do this once and it takes less than a minute.

Our age verification system is quick and easy to complete. Simply enter your date of birth, and our system will use the information from your order to do the rest.

On rare occasions, you might find that you don’t succeed on first try. Don’t worry - our super-friendly customer service team is on hand to ensure that, as long as you are 18 or over, you can still get your vaping supplies!

Once you have confirmed your age we won’t usually need to check again. (Exceptions can occur, for example if you change your name).

(You can help us check your age by ensuring your name and address are spelt absolutely correctly in the order form :) )

How your data is used

We use as little data as possible. The only data that ECigaretteDirect keep is information needed to send your order, and your date of birth (so we only have to check once!)

Your age is checked using Experian, which will check the information you provide against information in existing records to confirm you are over 18. No credit check is performed but a record of the search will be visible to you on your credit report. This will not affect your ability to get credit.

Why do we check age?

As you may know, there has been some concern that under-18’s may try vaping.

This is against both our company policy and the law.

And as responsible retailers, we need to do everything we can to ensure that every customer is of legal age.

For more information, see our Terms and Conditions.

How Secure is e-Cigarette Direct?

Your privacy is important to us, and your personal information should remain just that - personal.

See the little green lock in the search bar? That’s our security certificate (SSL or secure socket layer to be precise). It encrypts all the information you enter so that no-one else can see it.

Information you provide for age verification is sent securely to Experian and no details of the checks are stored in our system. Ever.

If you have any concerns, please call our friendly customer services team on 01792 852843 (Mon - Fri, 9am - 5pm).

For the techies: Our SSL certificate uses an sha256 hashing algorithm.