What Is the Difference Between a Cigarette & an Electronic Cigarette?

The electronic cigarette promises safe smoking.
The electronic cigarette promises safe smoking. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The electronic cigarette, which is a lithium ion battery that powers an atomizer to disperse a liquid nicotine as water vapor, is growing in popularity as an alternative to the traditional cigarette. Smokers can still take in the daily nicotine that they crave while avoiding the tremendous number of chemicals added to traditional cigarettes.


The initial start up cost for an electronic cigarette, purchasing the lithium batteries and recharging device, is higher than the start up, or continuing use, price of a cigarette. Once the initial start up is paid, the continued use of the electronic cigarette is much lower, says E-Power Cigarette. Proper care and maintenance of your lithium battery will extend its life and ensure that you not have to purchase a new battery regularly.


The electronic cigarette contains a vapor comprised of four primary chemicals. These include nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and flavoring. This is compared to the traditional cigarette, which contains more than 4,000 chemicals. Additionally, the nicotine in electronic cigarettes is available at multiple doses and you can choose which to use depending on your current tobacco needs. The flavor options in electronic cigarettes range from chocolate, vanilla, menthol or tobacco flavor. The nicotine in electronic cigarettes allows users to intake a quantity of the chemical that sustains their physical need, while avoiding the 4,000 additional chemicals found in traditional cigarettes.


Traditional cigarettes use combustion as a converter, turning tobacco into inhalable smoke. Electronic cigarettes use a lithium ion battery, connected to a vapor atomizer, to convert the chemicals into inhalable, sweet water vapor. The electronic system eliminates the need to carry combustible lighters and does not require ash trays for discarded residue. The lithium ion batteries are rechargeable within a few hours of being plugged in to a power source.

Secondary Effects

The electronic cigarette is virtually odorless and does not stain your fingers or teeth through normal use, whereas a traditional cigarette does both as a result of extended use. Additionally, the electronic cigarette does not include any carcinogens or produce unhealthy second hand inhalation effects in those around you, says E-Power Cigarette. The resulting scent from an electronic cigarette originates from the flavor additive, and this scent is very slight.

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