E-cigarettes burst onto the scene about a decade ago, and they gave people a healthier alternative to smoking. Vape pens followed quickly after that, but rather than appealing to people who wanted to quit smoking, they largely attracted people who wanted to start vaping. Although a vape pen and an e-cig have a lot in common, there are key differences between them.

The Smoke

When you breathe out after inhaling either a vape pen or an e-cig, you don’t exhale smoke. Instead, you exhale water vapor. That creates the appearance of smoke, but it isn’t harmful to bystanders. Unlike smoke, it also doesn’t create any smelly odors.

Cartomizers and Atomizers

Generally, e-cigs have cartomizers and vape pens have atomizers. However, these parts play the same role. They heat up the e-liquid so that it can be inhaled as vapor.


With an e-cig, the e-liquid or ejuice is in a refillable cartridge. Depending on the design of the e-cig, you may be able to put in new cartridges or you may just have to throw out the whole thing once the e-liquid is gone.

In contrast, with a vape pen, the e-liquid gets held in a small area that’s like a cartridge. However, you don’t replace the whole thing. Rather, when you’re out of e-liquid, you just pour in new liquid.


To heat up the e-liquid, both vape pens and e-cigs have a small heating element coil, and that’s powered by a battery. The battery on an e-cig is smaller and generally needs to be recharged more often.

In contrast, the battery on a vape pen is larger and holds the charge longer. You can often go out for the day without worrying about recharging. Generally, however, you can conveniently recharge both options using the cigarette lighter or USB port of a car.


Style is the key area where you see the biggest differences between e-cigs and vape pens. Traditionally, e-cigs are designed to look like cigarettes. That reflects the original market this product was designed to appeal to. To attract people who are trying to quit smoking cigarettes, e-cigs tried to emulate the shape, size, and style of a traditional cigarette.

Vape pens, in contrast, are much flashier and more ornate. They aren’t trying to be cigarettes. They are trying to be their own thing, and they often look like luxurious pens used by high class executives.

Flavors and Nicotine

Both e-cigs and vape pens can come in multiple flavors. You can find everything from strawberry to tropical twist to menthol and classic tobacco. Some flavors have nicotine in them, which come in varying strengths. Others don’t contain any nicotine.

If you want to get different flavors, a vape pen can easily accommodate that. When the original flavor runs out, you just refill it. However, not all e-cigs can take new cartridges so if you’re buying an e-cig and you want different flavors, you need to make sure that the cartridge is replaceable, and you need to ensure that you buy the right size cartridge when you’re ready for a new flavor.

Now that you know the difference, come on down to Vapor Smoke Shop. We’ve got e-cigs, vaporizers, new flavors, and more for you to try. We’re located at 1627 Sardis Rd N #4b in Charlotte.