This is a question at the tip of the tounge of many prospective smokers of electronic cigarettes. The first thing to realise is that electronic cigarettes are a completely different category of product, the way they work bears no resemblance to the way the traditional cigarette works.
The cartridges of electronic cigarettes contain a small amount of liquid, known as e-liquid, that contains a small amount of nicotine. The liquid is an inert, harmless substance, either vegetable glycerine or propylene glycol. Electronic cigarette users, when ‘smoking’ or ‘vaping’ as it is increasingly called by users, will probably allow some of the vapour to escape when drawing on the electronic cigarette cartridge. But this vapour has very different properties to tobacco smoke. As a vapour, it does in fact quickly and readily, dissipate in the air; thus there will be a little in the immediate environment around an electronic cigarette user. This may create a short lived, very slight odour.
In considering whether electronic cigarettes smell, it is a good idea to consider the alternative. Traditional tobacco cigarettes do smell – a lot. The smell from conventional cigarettes doesn’t just stick to the conventional cigarette smoker. The smoke from conventional cigarettes likes to get into the skin, the hair, and the clothes of everyone else in the same environment as a cigarette smoker. Do electronic cigarettes smell like this? No they most certainly do not. It’s also the case that tobacco smoke tends to dirty up and yellow everything in its path, making it smell stale, and look grimy, from clothes and skin to furnishings and walls, carpets, curtains, and windows. Do electronic cigarettes smell like that? Once again, as a vapour which readily breaks down, there are no tar or smoke particles to form these unsightly malodorous yellow stains.
So do electronic cigarettes smell if an electronic cigarette user is ‘vaping’ in a restaurant or in a bar, or a dinner party at home, or even on vaping on the tube? The e-cig user will be pleasantly surprised at the fact that practically no smell is produced, and how inoffensive their e-smoking is. What about outside in the garden? Well, in that scenario electronic cigarettes are very unlikely to be smelt due to the natural dissipation which is aided by breezes in outdoor environments.
If you consider all these questions carefully, you will notice that most of these are all places where traditional cigarette users cannot smoke, because it is either against the anti-smoking laws, or it is frowned upon as being anti-social. No longer does that apply with e-cigarettes, and suddenly electronic cigarettes smell pretty good!
So all in all, when asking do electronic cigarettes smell, you’d have to say that the answers just reinforce the reasons why they are the number one alternative to tobacco smoking.