E-cigarettes come in many forms and have multiple parts. They are usually cylindrical devices made of stainless steel or plastic that mimic cigarettes in terms of appearance, use, and sometimes taste, but do not contain tobacco. They can also look a lot like pens.
The vapour mimics the appearance of smoke. The act of using an e-cigarette is often referred to as vaping. Other names for e-cigarettes include vapour pens and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). These terms are more commonly used in the United States to describe devices that contain nicotine.
The cartridge contains water and flavouring in a base of propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), or polyethylene glycol 400. An atomizer containing a heating element turns the liquid nicotine into a vapour. A rechargeable battery powers the atomizer and the indicator light that glows (usually red) like a lit cigarette when the user inhales.
In Canada, there are regulations that e-cigarettes cannot be sold with nicotine in them; however, in the United States there are e-cigarettes that contain nicotine.There is currently no legislation requiring warning labels, child-proof packaging, or labelling for the amounts of chemicals in the liquid.