Vaping works by heating liquid in a small device so you can breathe it into your lungs. The e-cigarette, vape pen or other vaping device heats the liquid in the device to create an aerosol. This isn’t water vapor. Mist from e-cigarettes contains particles of nicotine, flavoring and other substances suspended in air. You breathe these particles into your mouth from the mouthpiece, where they go down your throat and into your lungs.

What are e-cigarettes (vape pens)?

An electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) is a device that heats up the liquid nicotine and flavoring for you to breathe in. There are many varieties of e-cigarettes that go by different names, including vapes, vape pens or sticks, e-hookahs, hookah sticks, mods and personal vaporizers (PVs). They can also be collectively called electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

Most types of e-cigarettes have:

  • A cartridge, tank or pod that holds liquid (can be refillable).
  • A heating element for turning the liquid into breathable particles (aerosol, commonly called “vapor”).
  • A battery to power the heating element.
  • A power or control button (some are activated by sensors when you inhale).
  • A mouthpiece to breathe in the aerosol.