It emits a flavored fog containing nicotine (if the user prefers it) as an alternative to smoking tobacco. It contains no tobacco, tar, or known carcinogens, there is no second hand smoke.
The device uses a liquid to produce the vapour. The liquid consists mainly of pharmaceutical or food grade propylene glycol, flavourings, glycerine and nicotine. Nicotine amounts are typically available in ranges from zero to 36mg per ml.
Propylene glycol is used to make the vapour more like smoke, it is commonly used in theatrical fog machines. A small number of users experience allergic reaction to propylene glycol and should discontinue use if symptoms appear. Glycerine based e-liquid can be used in this case.
Care should be taken to keep the liquid out of reach of children and pets as nicotine is toxic.
The personal vaporising device comes in various models and colours, most of which are similar to the size of actual cigarettes, pipes and cigars.
Although the words e-cig and e-cigarette are commonly used, they are not the best terms to describe the device.