How does an Electronic Cigarette work?

How does an Electronic Cigarette work?

An electronic cigarette or e-cigarette or vape is a handheld electronic device that simulates the feeling of tobacco smoking.

Actually, they are fairly simple to use. Most vape devices offer a one-step operation. Essentially, each device is quite similar to operate and once you have used one, you can use them all.

Over the years this simple method of operation has remained unchanged but there have been fancy bells and whistles added along the way to add more functionality and capability.

In order to use a device it is as simple as depressing the firing button a certain number of times, usually 5. This powers the device on and from there, simply pressing the firing button again and holding it down will fire the atomizer.

Let’s look at the basic schematics of an electronic cigarette and how it in turn provides vapor.

How does an Electronic Cigarette work?The Battery of an Electronic Cigarette

The batteries are responsible for basically everything. Whether internal or external, it is the capability of the battery that dictates how well the atomizer is going to fire. Different batteries have different ratings, different mAh capacity. These factors play into the efficiency of the device and how well it is going to work.

When the firing button is pressed on a regulated mod a signal from the chip in the device allows the batteries to pass current through the device and into the 510 connection on the device. The 510 connection is where the atomizer screws into.

It’s that simple, the device is simply pushing the current from the batteries to the atomizer which will heat the coils inside and provide vapor.

Now, on something like a Mech Mod, the device is not regulated so proper knowledge of ohms law and battery safety overall is essential to their use.

How does an Electronic Cigarette work?A Mech Mod usually has a “button” located at the bottom of the tube that is pressed upwards. Inside the tube, the battery sits on this button and gets shoved up to make contact with the bottom pin of an atomizer. This opens the connection and fires the coils inside the atomizer.

The Atomizer of an Electronic Cigarette

This is essential to vaping, it is the other half of the whole. The atomizer sits on top of the mod, except for something that has a fixed atomizer.

The design of the atomizer has no bearing on the overall operation but what lies at the bottom is what we need to look at.

How does an Electronic Cigarette work?

On the bottom of the atomizer is the 510 pin connection. This pin is housed inside of the base, surrounded by the threaded portion. On a sub ohm type device, the pin usually protrudes through so that when a coil is placed it makes contact with the coil.

On a rebuildable device, the pin often connects into the post system of the building deck. This is because these style atomizers do not have permanent coils and require building your own and installing them into the build deck.

Since the start of vaping companies have improved on this connection and now most atomizers have a gold plated connection. This provides a superior connection that makes for a better vaping experience.

Advanced Operations

Vaping devices today come packed with a wide array of advanced options that some users will tinker with. The basics of a regulated device are simple. The chip inside powers the graphical interface that allows you to see and set the wattage or temperature settings.

Beyond that, there are additional settings within the UI of the device which will allow a vaper to tune into the perfect settings to achieve their preferred vaping experience.

Users are able to set things like temperature curve settings, power curve settings and more. These settings will make the device gradually work away at getting to the desired final setting.

How does an Electronic Cigarette work?

Some people ignore these settings and just use the base options already set on the device, which is completely fine and works perfectly.


As you can see, the operation of an electronic cigarette and how it works is really simple. Out of the box, all devices are ready to use and are usually programmed for simple use.

The mechanics of a vaping device are also very straight forward, the technology behind regulated mods are all doing the same thing, even if they look different. They all send power from the battery to the atomizer and fire the coils.

Some people may be intimidated by a vaping device but rest assured, they are simple pieces of technology.

John Pietersma

I am John Pietersma, a 30-year-old husband and father of three children who lives in Nova Scotia, Canada. Having vaped and built coils for four years, I am very passionate about vaping and writing product reviews for everyone to read.