What Is a Cigalike?

By James Powley

Vaping devices have changed considerably since they were first brought to market in the early 2000’s. Different iterations have led to a wide variety of choices for consumers; box mods, vape pens, pod mods, etc. The first generation of e-cigarettes, cigalikes, were not refillable or rechargeable and, as the name suggests, they were designed to look like cigarettes, with LED lights at the end of the stick glowing during inhalation. Current iterations of cigalikes include options to recharge and replace cartridges, but all still visually resemble a cigarette.

Why Would I Choose a Cigalike Over Different Types of Vapes?

Some may choose a cigalike over other types of vapes if they have recently stopped smoking, as the design of cigalikes offers a more familiar experience to smokers.

Furthermore, cigalikes generally require less technical know-how than many other types of vapes, like box mods. Some cigalike designs are disposable, meaning they are meant to be thrown away and replaced when the e-liquid has depleted. Newer cigalikes use pre-loaded pods containing e-liquid. These can be removed when empty and a new one snapped into place. This allows the main body of the device to be reused.

Cigalikes are also designed for ease-of-use, eliminating the need for many of the manual tasks that come with other vapes, like refilling e-liquid and having to maintain and replace coils, for example. With fewer components and no need for adjustments, cigalikes are a simple option for those looking for an alternative to smoking.

How Long Does a Cigalike Last?

The length of time that a cigalike lasts will vary from brand to brand and depends on how regularly they’re used. In general, cigalikes last for roughly 300 puffs before the cartomizer needs to be replaced (for rechargeable and reusable models) or the device discarded (for disposable models). Rechargeable cigalike models tend to have a shorter battery life than other types of vapes, typically lasting around 6 to 8 months. Details vary between products; please consult your manufacturer for device-specific information.

As mentioned earlier, cigalikes look very different to most modern-day vapes, but their base technology is similar. A cigalike will feature the following components:

A Battery

This is used to power the device. With cigalikes, batteries can either be built-in and disposable, or operate as a rechargeable and reusable component.

An Atomizer

All vapes need an atomizer to vaporise e-liquid. A cigalike is no different. The atomizer is found in the e-liquid cartridge or atomizer. Cigalike atomizers may also be referred to as cartomizers, as they contain pre-filled cartridges of e-liquid that can be disposed of and replaced when empty.

When designed to closely resemble a cigarette, the cartomizer is where the filter would be, while the battery is where the tobacco would be. When using a cigalike, the mouthpiece is found on the cartomizer.


Just like all vapes, cigalikes use e-liquid. Depending on your device, the e-liquid can either be built into device, or loaded into a cartridge that can be screwed on the device, removed when empty, and replaced. Cigalike e-liquids come in a variety of flavours, including tobacco and menthol, and a range of nicotine strengths typically between 0mg and 20mg.

Other Alternatives to Smoking

smokers seeking a similar ritual to cigarettes, there is also heated tobacco. Instead of using e-liquids, heated tobacco products combine specially designed tobacco sticks with an electronic heating device. IQOS HeatControl Technology heats tobacco instead of burning it to deliver the true taste of real tobacco and studies* showed that the satisfaction of those who switched completely to IQOS is comparable to those who continued to smoke cigarettes. Learn more about IQOS heated tobacco.

*Source: 3 month clinical studies conducted in US and Japan with 160 adult smokers each under real conditions (ambulatory).

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