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Simple Guide to Electronic Cigarettes - by Ted Rogers (Trog)

Trog has been at the forefront of the esmoking or 'vaping' community for a number of years.  He just wanted an ecig that worked and suited the needs of the esmoker or 'vaper'.

He developed the first 'heavy use' ecig, The Screwdriver, but he also realises that not all smokers need such a luxury.




This simple guide informs, educates and cuts straight to the essentials we need to know about esmoking/vaping, occasionally using products he sells as examples.

If you are interested in using an ecig in places where you cannot smoke or are wanting to switch exclusively to ecigs, this guide is for you.


Reproduced with the permission of Trog from The SD Shop

How do ecigs work?

All Electronic Cigarettes work on a simple principle.

There is a power source , usually a battery, that powers a heater coil (atomiser).

This atomiser turns fluid into vapour (steam) which is breathed in by the ecig user.

The fluid or eliquid contains chemical nicotine and other ingredients such as flavourings to simulate the smoke produced by a conventional cigarette.

Ecigs come in many forms to suit an individuals requirements.

What atomiser should I use?

There are many atomisers on the market. Here we will give a brief description of the most popular atomisers. Remember that all atomisers wear out with use and need to be replaced to maintain a good ecig experience;


The 510 Cartomiser

This is a disposable atomiser that is ideal for the new user.

Convenient and reliable, simply recycle the cartomiser when it has run out of fluid.

Each cartomiser contains enough fluid for 200 to 300 draws.

Some advanced users refill their cartomisers to reduce running costs.


The Mini 901 Atomiser

This atomiser is a cost effective choice that is widely sold.

It uses replaceable cartridges to contain its fluid. Most advanced users top up or refill their own cartridges with fluid to lower running costs.

It has a reasonably long life, heavy users can expect 7-10 days use from this atomiser before its performance drops off too much.

Lighter users may go several weeks before they need to replace this atomiser with a new one.


The 510 Atomiser

This atomiser is very similar to the Mini 901.

It uses replaceable cartridges to contain its fluid.

Most advanced users top up or refill their own cartridges with fluid to lower running costs.

It has a reasonably long life, heavy users can expect 6-9 days use from this atomiser before its performance drops off too much.

Lighter users may go several weeks before they need to replace this atomiser with a new one.


The Classic Be112 Atomiser (also called the 801)

This atomiser is larger in size than the 901 or 510, and its cartridges hold more fluid.

They produce a nice flavoursome amount of vapour and should last as long or longer than a 901 before they need to be replaced.

Most users refill their cartridges to reduce running costs.


The Classic Be112 Tank Atomiser

This variation of the classic Be112 uses tank cartridges that hold neat fluid which is delivered to the heater coil at a consistent rate.

Users can replace or refill their cartridges.

They produce good amounts of vapour and offer the convenience of the tank cartridge system.

We are currently testing these atomisers as they are new to the market.


The SD-Ego Tank Atomiser

This Atomiser uses tank cartridges that hold neat fluid that is fed to the heater coil at a consistent rate.

They produce good amounts of vapour and are very convenient to use.

Users can replace or refill their carts.

These atomisers are new to the market and were currently putting them through their paces.


How long do atomisers last?

All atomisers lose performance over time.

Slowly but surely the heater coil and wick materials in the atomiser degrade which results in less vapour being produced.

As a rough guide a heavy user swapping from 40 cigarettes a day to full time esmoking/vaping can expect to replace the atomiser every 7 days (for optimum performance).

A lighter user may get several weeks use from an atomiser before it needs replacing.

If your batteries and cartridges are in good order but your ecig isn't producing as much vapour, then its usually time to replace the atomiser.    

Which ecig is right for me? 

There are many Electronic Cigarettes currently on the market that are often sold with all manner of extraordinary claims. This often leaves people considering making their first purchase very confused.

As a simple but effective guide to what an ecig is good for consider its size : Small cigarette like tubes are best used lightly as social smokers. The larger the ecig and its battery size, the better it will be for all day use.

Ask yourself one simple question : How much use will you give your ecig and make your purchase accordingly.

Small ecig = light social smoking use / Large ecig = all day heavy use.

Other key factors to consider are its type of switch , Automatic or Manual and the type of atomiser the ecig uses.

Automatic switches operate when the user draws on the ecig, this makes them ideal for new users. Manual switches need to be pressed by the user. They offer greater control, but might be a little difficult for new users.

Cartomisers are ideal for new users, but more advanced E smokers may well opt for a different atomiser choice.

What's in the fluid (eliquid) and the carts?

The eliquid found in bottles or cartridges has a blend of chemical nicotine, flavourings and other ingredients such as propylene glycol to simulate the smoke produced by a conventional cigarette.

It comes in many flavours and strengths to suit a users needs.

The strength of the nicotine content is measured in milligrammes per millilitre of fluid.

A typical higher strength fluid will contain 16 to 24 mg per ml nicotine content.

What strength of eliquid (fluid) is right for me?

A typical user should be quite happy with a fluid strength of 16 to 24 mg.

We would not recommend super high strength fluids above 30 mg.

Many esmokers/vapers slowly reduce the strength of their fluid (eliquid) over time, to reduce their Nicotine dependency.

Eventually using this method an esmoker/vaper can kick the habit completely.

Others just continue to use the same strength fluid as a replacement to smoking when they are in public places, at work or enjoying a night out in the pub.

Just how much do ecigs cost to use?

The running costs of any electronic cigarette will vary greatly depending on the amount of use (and the type of device) that it is given.

Here we will give 2 examples, one light user, and one all day heavy user.


Example one: The light "social smoker"

The light user may well use an ecig such as the SD Social Smoker.

These are very affordable to buy.

If the individual uses his/her device for 1 hour per day then they will need 1 new cartomiser every 2 to 3 days.

If purchased in bulk the cartomisers are approx £1 each.

So this light social smoker who uses their device for 1 hour per day can expect to spend about £3 per week on supplies.

Light use ecigs do not contain the same heavy weight batteries found in all day devices.

This means they may need replacing sooner.


Example two: The all day heavy user

The all day heavy user swapping from a 30 cigarette per day habit will be using an ecig such as our SD-Ego.

Most heavy users purchase fluid and refill their own cartridges to keep running costs down.

A typical ex 30 per day individual will use 2 to 3 ml of 24mg fluid per day.

To maintain optimum performance we would recommend a heavy user replace their atomiser once per week.

Over a 1 week period this equates with 17.5ml of fluid at (approx) £9, and 1 atomiser at roughly £6.

So far the total per week for a typical ex 30 per day esmoker/vaper is about £15 per week.

We would also recommend that 1 new cartridge be used per 2 days even if the user is refilling them so as to maintain optimum performance.

So the total per week for this example user would be approximately £17 per week.

This would compare with a 30 per day cigarette smoker spending £63 per week (at £6 per pack of 20)!  

My ecig used to work great, but its "wimped off", why is this?

The 3 most common causes of your e cigs performance dropping off are as follows:

1: The atomiser is old and needs replacing.

2: The cartridge is old / dry etc / and needs replacing.

3: The battery is old and needs replacing.

Also make sure to clean the electrical connections and parts of your e cig on a regular basis.

They can get messed up with fluid and such meaning your ecig will not operate properly.

How much fluid (eliquid) should I use?

Below are some typical examples of how much fluid (eliquid) an esmoker/vaper uses;


  • A light social smoker should use 1ml (or 1 cartomiser) of 24mg strength fluid or less per day.
  • An ex 30 cigarettes per day person swapping completely to esmoking can expect to use between 2 and 3 ml of 24mg fluid per day.


These figures can vary greatly depending on the users actual esmoking/vaping habits.

But we would not recommend that any esmoker/vaper uses more than 5 ml of 24 mg per ml fluid per day. 

How long will my batteries last?

The run time of your ecig will vary greatly depending on the type of device, and the amount of use it is given.

Below are some examples of typical run times;


  • The SD Social Smoker will provide 100 to 150 draws before it needs recharging.
  • This may happen over 1 hour, or used sparingly it may last a user all day.


  • The SD-Ego, Mk1 and Mk2 SD's all use much larger batteries.
  • This means a user may get several hundred draws before the battery needs recharging.
  • Typically a heavy user will go several hours or longer before the battery in these devices needs recharging.


Bear in mind that if a high power (lower resistance) atomiser is attached to your E cig that run times between charges will be lower.

If atomisers are consumable parts that wear out, then why do some sellers offer lengthy guarantees?

Atomisers wear out.

This is a fact no matter what guarantees or claims sellers make.

Many sellers make extraordinary claims about their products. We dont.

Instead we use our years of expert knowledge and research to give honest and reliable information.

How many times can I recharge my batteries?

All batteries degrade over time. Each time you recharge your battery its run time will get a little less.

Ever wondered why your laptop used to run for 4 hours on batteries but only manages 1 hour of use now? Its the same with any battery but how does this affect your ecig?

The battery in a small device such as the SD Social Smoker is being worked hard. It is a tiny thing thats powering a similar atomiser that a product like the all day SD-Ego uses.

It will manage about 30 charge - discharge cycles before a user may notice a significant drop off in run time. If charged once per day this means a user may wish to replace the device after about 1 month.

An ecig such as the SD-Ego, Mk1 / Mk2 ScrewDriver contains a much bigger battery.

It's not being worked as hard as the Social Smokers battery, and so it will manage many more charge - discharge cycles before it needs to be replaced.

These devices normally manage 200+ charge - discharge cycles before a user may wish to replace the battery / kit.

How do the atomisers work?

All atomisers work using a simple principle.

The atomiser contains a heater coil, this heater coil gets hot enough to turn small amounts of liquid into vapour (steam).

With use the heater coil and other wick materials in the atomiser degrade.

This causes a decrease in vapour production and indicates that it is time for a user to replace their atomiser.

Can an electronic cigarette be used to quit smoking?

At present there have been no clinical trials commissioned and completed to suggest that electronic cigarettes can be used to quit smoking.

As such they can not be sold as smoking cessation or nicotine replacement therapies.

However many of the hundreds of thousands of ecig users world wide claim to have had great success in cutting back or stopping completely the smoking of conventional tobacco products.

Other smokers only use their ecigs where they are not allowed to smoke.

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