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The Internet is full of factual and helpful information about e-cigarettes. However, if you’re unfamiliar with vaping vernacular, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the jargon that veteran vapers throw around. Below is a glossary to help you get up to speed. Even if you think you’re an e cig expert, you still might learn a new term or two.
Adapter – Dual threaded device used to allow a specific style or atomizer, cartomizer, or clearomizer onto a different style battery. This allows vapers to have the vapor production of one style of atomizer, while using the battery life of another style battery. (example: connecting a 901 atomizer threading onto a 510 battery)
Airflow (adjustable airflow) – This is a part on most vaping tanks; clearomizers, atomizers, etc; that allows more air to be received in the process of vaping, allowing for more vapor, as well as cooler vaper.
Analog or Analogue – Slang term for a traditional cigarette.
Atomizer (aka Atty) – The part of an e-cigarette that actually heats the juice to the point of vaporization.
Automatic – A style of electronic cigarette battery that does not have a button to activate the heating element. When the user draws on the mouthpiece the atomizer is activated. This style of battery is most similar in looks to a traditional cigarette.
American Wire Gauge (AWG) – This is the standard used in the United States to determine the resistance and diameter of the electric wire used to create the coils in atomizers.
Amperage (amps) – Amperage is the flow of energy along a circuit. In APV’s the lower the amps, the less capable you are of using high voltages on low resistance atomizers. This is prevalent in high voltage upon low resistance atomizers in dual coil cartomizers or clearomizers.
Aqueous Glycerine (AG) – The process in which VG liquid is thinned with deionized water, making it less viscous.
Box Mod – A box mod is any PV or APV that comes in a box shape, and comes in several different wattage selections. Some popular wattage classes for box mods are: 10-30 watts; 50-80 watts; 100+ watts.
Brick and Mortar (B&M) – A physical store that you can buy electronic cigarette or vaping related products.
Burner: Traditional cigarette/cigar.
Cartomizer (aka Carto) – A combination of cartridge and atomizer. These generally are considered to last not as long as an atomizer but are also less spendy; they hold more juice than a regular cartridge/atomizer combination. (Also see Dual and Triple-Coil Cartomizers.)
Cartomizer Tank: The cartomizer tank is a tube to hold e-liquid. The cartomizer sits in the middle of the tube and will have a hole punched in the bottom so that the e-liquid can feed itself into the cartomizer.
Cigalike: An electronic cigarette having a similar form factor as a traditional cigarette (Blu or NJoy, there are dozens of these). Generally considered to be the bottom of the ladder as far as build quality and vape quality in electronic cigarettes.
Clearomizer: A clearomizer is the transparent version of a cartomizer, designed to allow users to see how vaping actually works and how much e-liquid they have left. In reality, things are a little more complicated. Many in the electronic cigarette business choose to define clearomizers simply as transparent cartomizers, even though they’re not always built the same way. The clearomizer is usually made of thin, very easily breakable plastic, in order to remain transparent. Also most clearomizers don’t have polyfill filling, as it would make it hard for vapers to estimate how much e-juice they have left. Instead they have a wick.
Coil: A coil is a kanthal or nichrome wire that heats up the e-liquid to produce the vapor.
Coil Jig – A device that makes rebuilding your own coils so much simpler.
Clouds– Due to the highly dense water content in vapor, The vapor that is exhaled when smoking electronic cigarettes is referred to as clouds.
Cloud-chasers : vapers who prioritise for large
clouds of vapour above all else. These aficionados prefer the
mechmod-RBA type of set-up, and often belong to the sub-ohm club: those
who rebuild their atomiser coils to less than 1 ohm resistance, and in
some case under 0.5 ohm. This draws heavy current and produces
Cloud-chasers are disliked by some other vapers as they tend to create difficulties for the rest of vapers, due to their love of generating clouds of fog whether the time and place is appropriate or not.
Cutoff – Refers to how long the battery will activate the atomizer before shutting down (safety measure to protect the atomizer).
Dewick: The act of removing the wick from an atomizer.
Deck: The flat base area where the positive and negative posts sit on an RBA/RDA, which is designed to keep e-juice off of the battery connection. Some have a small raised lip on the outside edge to prevent e-juice from running down off of the deck.
DIY : do it yourself. This became established as the term for home improvements by the homeowner, and in the vaping world it refers to any self-made item or modification as against a store-bought solution. The most common areas of DIY are refill liquid, RBA builds, and storage solutions (stands and boxes and the like).
Drip Tip – An accessory that can be used in conjunction with an atomizer or cartomizer. These are an open mouthpiece allowing a vaper to drip juice directly onto the atomizer.
Dripping – A method of adding juice to the atomizer. A user will drip a few drop directly onto the bridge before vaping. Many users feel this method produces the best vapor production and taste since there is no filler material involved with the process. Used in conjunction with a Drip Tip.
Drip Well: The drip well is typically a bowl shape on a mod where the atomizer female connector sits. The drip well is designed to catch any excess e-liquid that may have leaked from the atomizer.
Dry hit : the first draw taken after refill liquid runs low is termed a ‘dry hit’: it will consist of low vapour volume, with hot, thin vapour and a noticeably dry quality to the vape. It is important that no further usage occurs until the device is refilled or replaced, since the next hit will burn the internals of the head and may render it unusable. In addition the product may be smoke and not vapour.
E-liquid : the common term for e-cigarette refill liquid. Also e-juice or juice.
Ekowool: A specific brand of braided silica used to make wicks for rebuildables.
Flooding – Something that can occur when too much juice is applied to the atomizer. Since atomizers require some air to properly vaporize Liquid, adding too much Juice to an atomizer will cause a decrease in Vapor Production and flavor.
Glassomizer: A clearomizer that uses glass rather than plastic for the tank.
Gurgling : a sign too much refill has been added, or it has obstructed the central air channel in the head. In some BCCs it indicates the liquid level has fallen too low.
Hybrid : a type of APV, normally a mechmod with integrated battery tube, reservoir tank and RBA. Examples: some GG models, some Zen models. The device is commonly a stainless tubemod with a genesis or RTA (i.e. a tank + RBA) made to fit exactly, so that it has the same diameter, construction and styling as the battery tube; usually the actuator is a bottom button.
IMR – LiMn2O4 Mod Battery (Safer Chemistry than LiIon)
Juice – Also referred to as E-Liquid, E-Juice, or sometimes Smoke Juice. This is the liquid that is vaporized when using an electronic cigarette.
Kanthal, Kanthal A1: Kanthal is a specific brand of resistance wire that is used in building coils for electronic cigarettes, usually sold for Rebuildables. Kanthal A1 is a specific grade of Kanthal wire which is considered by many to be the best wire for use in coils.
Leaking – This can happen when too much Juice is added to an atomizer or cartomizer. Juice can leak out of the bottom of the heating element and onto the battery, which in some cases can cause damage to the device (as is the case with Automatic Batteries).
Liquid – Also referred to as E-Liquid, E-Juice, Smoke Juice, or Juice. This is the liquid that is vaporized when using an electronic cigarette.
lithium cell types : electronic cigarettes use lithium ion cells (rechargeable lithium batteries) because of their high voltage and high charge density. Rechargeable batteries are also called secondary cells (standard batteries, that are not rechargeable, are called primary cells). Varying types of lithium ion cell are used; all except ‘Li-Fe’ cells have a nominal voltage of 3.7 volts. Mini ecigs use ‘Li-ion’ cells: lithium cobalt oxide LiCoO2; these are generally referred to as ‘unprotected Li-ions’. They need an add-on protection circuit to prevent overcharging / over discharge / excess current discharge, otherwise the cell is too unstable for consumer product use. Either the e-cigarette device contains the protection circuit, or the circuit is provided in the form of an add-on disk-shaped circuit board appended to the negative pole (the bottom) of the battery (this generally applies to 14500 series cells and larger). Mid-size ecigs (eGo type) also use a Li-ion cell, with the added protection circuit within the device. APVs, the large-format devices, use replaceable generic batteries and this allows the use of more efficient and safer cells. Typically, an Li-Mn cell is used: lithium manganese, aka IMR. These are a ‘safer-chemistry’ type that has no need of a protection circuit. Some of these larger devices may use Li-FePo4 cells (‘Li-Fe’ or lithium ferrous cells); these have a lower nominal voltage of 3.2 volts and are also of the safer-chemistry type. Some integral battery pack devices use ‘Li-Poly’ cells, which are lithium polymer cells.
lithium ion cell : the correct term for a lithium
rechargeable battery or ‘Li-ion’ battery. The nominal voltage is 3.7
volts. All e-cigarettes except for one design available for DIY (the
‘Puck’, which uses regular 1.5 volt rechargeables) use a lithium ion
cell or cells. The size ranges from the tiny cells in the minis, of
around 90 to 125mAh (milliamp/hour) to the 1,600 or 2,000mAh cells
(18650 series) used in many APVs. Some XL devices use a 26650 series
cell. The cell # delineates the physical size and type: an 18650 for
example means 18mm diameter, 65mm length, round format.
All batteries provide DC current (not AC as in mains electricity). Only rechargeable cells are used in ecigs. Lithium ion cells are used because they have a higher voltage than regular rechargeable batteries (3.7 volts vs 1.5 volts) and because they have a higher charge density (the amount of energy that can be stored in proportion to their size and weight).
mA– 1/1000th of an amp. This number is most often used in reference to the output of chargers.
mAh : milliampere hours, a measure of a battery’s capacity in terms of its output in milliamps by time. 1,000 milliamps = 1 amp. For example a 1,600 mAh battery is rated to deliver 1.6 amps for an hour. This figure has no relation to the burst (or ‘pulse’) power output, which can be 10, 20 or 30 amps for a battery rated around 1,600 mAh.
Mechanical Mod (mechmod) – A vaping device that contains no electronics
Micro coil: A type of wire coil where the coil is wrapped so that the loops of the coil are all touching, requiring more wraps than a traditional coil.
Milligrams (Abbreviated as mg) – The amount of nicotine found in a Juice. Typical levels include 0mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18mg and 24mg. Generally speaking, a medium level of nicotine is around 12mg. Those who use Juice with a higher nicotine content than that are generally people who were heavy smokers or have been vaping for quite some time.
Milliliters (Abbreviated as ml) – The amount of Juice in a given container.
Mod – Can be used to describe modifications to a device or accessory (such as getting more vapor production out of your cartridges) or a design variation of a commonly manufactured electronic cigarette. In the latter context, mods typically use larger rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries and allow the user longer battery life and increased vapor production but at the cost of the device looking like a traditional cigarette. Some mods will also allow the user to increase or decrease the voltage of their device to achieve optimal performance. This can also be simulated by using differently ohm-rated attys and cartos.
Mod Hoarder – A vaper who has too much time, too much money and too little space for all the devices they have acquired.
Mouthpiece: The mouth piece sits on and inserted into the atomizer or cartomizer. Some mouth pieces are items such as a drip tip or cartirdge.
Nichrome Wire– The resistance wire used in atomizer coils. Patented in 1905, it is made from nickel, chromium, and (often) iron. A common ratio is 80% nickel to 20% chromium. Generally considered the inferior of the two commonly used atomizer coil materials in cartomizers/clearomizers/atomizers.
NiMH: Ni-MH stands for Nickel-Metal Hydride. Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries have no Cadmium added. Cadmium is hazardous to the environment. When using Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries, charging should be monitored to avoid overcharging. Nickel-Metal Hydride has no Memory Effect and can be charged or topped-off at any time without affecting battery life.
O-ring : a circular seal usually made from silicone, nitrile or other synthetic rubber-like materials. O-rings are widely used in ecigs to provide a sliding fit with a good liquid and gas seal, especially in larger or custom models. Almost all driptips employ one (or two, in some cases).
Ohm – A measure of electrical resistance. A lower number indicates lower resistance and therefore faster heating.
Organic Cotton Coils- A new coil setup made by Kangertech. It features a larger heating section, with the addition of the Japanese organic cotton that lasts longer than the majority of other, cheaper cotton coils.
Passthrough (PT): A PV that plugs directly into a power source (usually a USB port) to provide constant power to the device.
PEG (Polyethylene Glycol) – Polyethylene Glycol, a less common ingredient found in e liquid. It is a newer alternative to the main ingredients in used in making e liquid (PG and VG) that has been used in the last few years.
PGA– Pure Grain Alcohol. This is recommended to be the highest proof vodka you can get your hands on legally. 151 proof is the minimum needed for use in thinning of VG in 100% VG e liquid. It can also be used as a base in a tincture in order to create your own flavorings for DIY applications.
Propylene Glycol (Abbreviated as PG) – An ingredient found in many brands of E-Juice. Some users have reported an allergic reaction to it and must therefore use 100% VG Juice instead. This is one of the ingredients used that when heated will produce vapor that can be inhaled. Typically, PG produces less vapor than its VG counterpart but provides more Throat Hit. Propylene Glycol has been used medically for inhalation for many years in asthma inhalers.
Rebuildable Atomizer: Rebuildable atomizers vary in design. Some have fabric wicks, while some stay more pure from burning elements and use SS mesh and kanthal. Rebuildable atomizers are meant to save on cost and be readily fix-able. The cons can sometimes be performance, or ease of use. Some rebuildable atomizer designs incorporate a tank for holding e-liquid.
RBA: Rebuildable Atomizer (user serviceable parts). Generally referred to as an RBA when it has a tank or large juice well that does not require dripping of liquid directly onto the coil.
RBA, RTA, RDA :
rebuildable atomiser, rebuildable tank atomiser, rebuildable dripper
atomiser. These heads are generally made from stainless steel and employ
a rebuildable coil and wick system, with a tank reservoir in the case
of the RTA. Unlike most other ecig parts, an RBA is not a disposable
item, which is part of its functionality: in theory an RBA might last
for ever, needing only nichrome or kanthal resistance wire and wick
material such as raoyon, cotton, stainless steel mesh or silica rope for
rebuilding the coil and wick occasionally (these are widely available
for other purposes). Combined with a generic battery holder body (APV),
they are essentially an everlasting device that only needs common parts
for occasional maintenance. Some are small and slim in format, others
fairly substantial. The tank variants must be refilled from a bottle.
The emergence of RBAs has caused a renaissance in the mechanical APV market (‘mechmods’), since only these devices can reliably handle the high current demanded by the super-low resistance coils popular with some RBA users (often below 1 ohm, and referred to as ‘sub-ohm’ coils). These devices are capable of producing huge amounts of vapour, which is part of the attraction for some vapers.
Ribbon Kanthal, Ribbon Wire, Ribbon: A specific type of resistance “wire” used for building coils. Ribbon wire has a flat cross section rather than round, as with traditional wire.
Silica: Material used for building wicks. This is generally used to refer to braided silica cord. Silica has a very high melting point, so can be cleaned with an open flame such as a butane torch.
Sub-ohm : sub-ohm vaping is the use of an RBA (qv)
with an atomiser coil (or multi-coil group) of a resistance measuring
below 1 ohm. These devices can produce a phenomenal amount of vapour,
although it tends to be hotter and drier than with other devices.
There is an elevation of risk. This is because the atomiser coil/s become much hotter, since amp draw is elevated and tens of watts of power are used. More heat means that the vapourisation characteristics of the refill liquid are different, and the aerosol generated is likely to have a different chemical profile. There is a real possibility that toxic compounds are present in measurable quantity; refill liquid consumption rises by double or treble over regular head usage; and the combination of increased refill consumption, huge volumes of vapour, hotter atomisers and hotter vapour means that any contaminant or pyrolytic compound will be seen in greater quantity than with other types of head or consumption style. With daily consumption rates of 20ml (more than 4 times the average) and 80 watts of power use being reported by some sub-ohmers, this mode of vaping is rather different from the norm.
Sub-ohm cloud-chasers are becoming greater in number; some wonder if that is altogether a good thing. On the other hand it has created a massive revitalisation of the mechmod market, a product area that had almost been killed off by VV and VW.
Steeping– Allowing your e liquid to sit either open to the air, or in a sealed container. This is generally not necessary in e liquid that has a high ratio of PG to VG. It is more often necessary in high VG ratio juices.
Tailpiping or stovepiping : the practice of drawing directly on an atomiser without using a driptip or mouthpiece of any kind. This was popular in the old days when voltage could not be increased easily, and vapers who needed a big hit would suck the atty direct in order to get hotter vapour. This has been replaced by VV and low-res RBA coils.
Thermal Runaway– A very rare but serious occurrence. A chain reaction that results in the fire and bursting of a rechargeable lithium based battery. This happens from a couple different possibilities: overcharging, short circuiting, stacking batteries, physical damage to the battery and other PV malfunctions.
Throat Hit – The sensation one feels in the back of the throat when vaporizing juice that contains nicotine. Because nicotine is a large contributing factor to throat hit, when a juice that contains zero nicotine is vaporized there is little throat hit.
Vape – The action of “smoking” an electronic cigarette. Since e-cigs actually produce vapor (rather than smoke) people refer to this as “Vaping”.
Vaper’s Tongue – This is a common problem among many vapers when they vape too much of one flavor, and their taste buds become desensitized to the flavor.
Vented Battery Cap– A simple hole or series of holes that allow for the battery to vent harmful gases in the case that your battery goes into thermal runaway.
VV (Variable Voltage)– Any PV, APV, or Mod that allows the user control over the voltage output of their device. Generally recognized as superior to regular PVs that have a static voltage output that cannot be changed.
VV Mod– A variable voltage mod. Usually has a removable battery and boosted supply. You can change the voltage to find your vaping sweet spot.
VW (Variable Wattage)– Any PV, APV, or Mod that allows the user control over the wattage output of their device across the atomizer coil. This differentiates itself from a VV device because the voltage is calculated to arrive at the set wattage.
Vegetable Glycerol or Vegetable Glycerin (Abbreviated as VG) – An ingredient found in most brands of E-Juice. This is one of the ingredients used that when heated will produce vapor that can be inhaled. Typically, VG produces more vapor than it’s PG counterpart but provides less Throat Hit. Some users who are allergic to Propylene Glycol must use 100% VG Juices. Physically much thicker than PG. Can be used as a nicotine suspension agent.
Watt (wattage)– The amount of raw heat that the atomizer coil uses to vaporize your e liquid.
Wick– Wicks are used to deliver e liquid to the coil in electronic cigarettes. Most atomizers use a wicks that are most commonly made from silica cord. However, wicks can also be made from rolled up steel mesh, fiberglass, cotton, and sometimes ceramic materials.
Wicking– The process of osmosis where more concentrated fluid moves to an area of lesser concentration in an effort to find equilibrium.
Wire: Generally refers to resistance wire used in building coils for atomizers.
510 – This refers to an e-cigarette with a particular componentry size. The 510 was originally developed by Chinese company JoyE and then widely emulated; becoming a standard of sorts in the industry.
401, 510, 801, 901, : Common threading types for attaching toppers to batteries/PVs/APVs, 510 being the most common.
901– An Atomizer with a female thread. it isnot compatible with 510 threading.
18650– A classification given to a specific size of Li-Ion battery popularly used in APVs, mechanical mods, and tube mods.
26650 – These are batteries that have typically been known for good sub-ohming. This is typically seen as true because the 26650 batteries more likely have a larger cathode/anode surface area, so they will be a bit less susceptible to thermal runaway. However, this is not always a indicator for a great sub-ohm battery.