Electronic cigarettes: A-Z Glossary of Terms


Adapter: this allows you to “mix and match” different atomisers (or atomizers) to different types of battery. Some vapers prefer the atomiser supplied by one manufacturer, but the battery used by another.
This way you can get the best of both worlds.

Adjustable Airflow: This is now a staple on sub-ohm tanks and most RDAs and allows us to restrict or open our airflow by twisting an airflow ring (sub-ohm tanks, some MTL tanks and some RDAs like the Geekvape Loop), top-cap or barrel (RDAs).

AFC (Air flow Control): The name says it all. consisting of either the airflow ring, barrel or top-cap.

Airflow Ring: A free moving ring, often at the base of a sub-ohm tank, which allows you to restrict or open the airflow slots or holes.

Alien coil: A fancy coil type used in rebuildable atomisers (RBAs), it consists of plaited or spun wires of various gauges, coiled and intended to produce the highest possible surface area for flavour and vapour production.

Allen key: Included in most RBA kits, this small L shaped tool allows you to loosen Ann tighten screws with a hexagonal indentation (grub screws, as opposed to Phillips screws).

Amps (Ampere): A measure of electrical current, see Ohms Law.

Analogue or Analog (cigarette): the term used to describe a traditional or “old fashioned” cigarette.

ASH: Action on Smoking and Health, a UK based lobby group very definitely against the use of tobacco, but currently with a somewhat ambivalent attitude towards electronic cigarettes.

Atomiser or Atomizer: an essential “heart” of the e-cig. It heats the nicotine or nicotine-free liquid of the cigarette to the temperature at which it vaporises. So, the atomiser actually has two components – a heating element and a tiny pump that forces the liquid through the atomiser. Handled with proper care and regular maintenance you can expect your atomiser to last for between 6 and 12 months (depending, of course, on its use).

Atty: a fairly common abbreviation for “atomiser” or “atomizer”.

Automatic: a reference to the type of e-cig that automatically activates the atomiser when the user draws on it (i.e. just like smoking a tobacco cigarette, and replacing the alternative system where a button needs to be pressed on the e-cig to activate the atomiser).

AVP (Advanced Personal Vaporiser): Don’t worry, this isn’t the name of some ‘even better’ vape you haven’t bought yet; it’s actually just the nerd’s term for a regulated mod…you know how we like our ACRONYMS.


Bat, Batt or Battery: just what it says, the battery that powers the atomiser of the e-cigarette. It includes the necessary circuitry, an LED and electric switch. It’s normally a 3.7v Li-Ion cell.

BCC (Bottom Coil Clearomizer): An atty with it’s coil seated in the base.

BDCC (Bottom Dual Coil Clearomizer): An atty with a dual coil setup at the base.

BVC (Bottom Vertical Clearomizer): The common case with most modern BCCs, where the coils are in vertical alignment so as optimise airflow.

Box Mod: Collective name for mods which run on (usually 2 or more) 18650s, 20700s or 21700s, named after the original external cell mods, which tended to be very much Box shaped, as a rule.

Bridge: acting as a kind of wick between the e-solution and the heating element, this is an absorbent, U-shaped piece of material covering the atomiser.


Carto, cartomiser or cartomizer: this contains both the cartridge containing the e-liquid or e-solution and the atomiser in just one single unit. They tend to be cheaper than buying cartridge and atomiser separately and generally contain a greater volume of liquid. You might also see them described as disposable e-cigs.

Carcinogen: The nasty, cancer causing shite that made us all stop smoking cigarettes…and vape instead! Cigarette smoke contains at least 70 known carcinogens.

Cart or cartridge: this is what holds the e-liquid, e-solution or juice that gets atomised into a vapour. The cartridge usually contains an absorbent material that acts like a wick to deliver the liquid to the atomiser. It is disposable once the liquid has been used up. Pod mods (Like the Joyetech Penguin or Eleaf Iwu) contain a refillable cartridge component which has the juice tank and coils inside it.

CASAA: Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association, a US-based pressure group promoting the use of e-cigarettes and championing their users.

Ceramic coil: should actually be called a ceramic coil head, since these ceramic tubes actually still contain a resistive wire and a wick. Basically, this alternative coil housing is believed to increase flavour and vapour production by heating and doubling as both an extra element and wick. Note that some researchers believe that ceramic coils may pose health risks and release particulates into our vapour.

Charger: can be used to recharge the battery of your electronic cigarette.

Cigalike: Those old school e-cigs which are designed to look like cigarettes.

Clapton Coil: A (now) common coil type, consisting of a coil of compound wire, made of a high gauge wire wrapped around a low gauge wire, to increase surface area and thereby improve both flavour and vapour.

Clone: An imitation device, to be avoided.

Clouds: Are you sure you should be vaping?

Cloudchaser: A vape who’s foremost joy in life is the formation of epic, cumulonimbus vapour clouds.

Cloudcheck: A selfie of yourself cloud chasing.

Coil: The heating element inside your atomiser, consisting of coiled wire or mesh wire. Present in both RBAs and regular DL or MTL attys. When you build on an RBA you install the coils yourself, before wicking and vaping.

Coilhead: Inside a non-rebuildable atomiser, this is the SS capsule which houses the coil and wick and can be replaced when necessary.

Coiling tool: A small and nifty tool used for coiling wire to use in your RBA build, also used to position your coils during installation.

Coil jig: See coiling tool.

Connection (Pin): used with reference to battery connections and 510 or atomiser connections, points within your vaporiser set up where conductive points on the various components (mod, atty, battery) touch to complete the electrical circuit.

Cut-off: though not all e-cigs have this feature it is designed to close or shut down the device, to prevent the atomiser from overheating, if you take too long a drag (say, longer than 8 seconds). Cut-off may be accompanied by a flashing LED.

Deck: The base of a rebuildable atomiser, containing posts or holes and screws for fitting your coils.

Deskcheck: An Instagram hashtag used with photos of your vaping/working space, to show of your vape obsession and general awesomeness.

Diacetyl: a compound used in the flavouring of butter-popcorn and some buttery flavoured e-liquids. In factory workers at a micro-wave popcorn factory, the compound led to the onset of ‘popcorn’ lung and, in turn a wave of anti-vaping BS. This compound has never even been reported to cause PL in smokers, despite the diacetyl content in cigarettes being exponentially higher…therefore, reports that vaping diacetyl liquids causes PL are no more than sensationalist propaganda!!!!

Digital: A weird, inaccurate but slightly cool alternative term for e-cigs and vaping devices.

Dipping: this is a way of getting e-solution into an atomiser so that you can use it without a cartridge for a short while. The atomiser will need to have an exposed wick.

Disposable: just as it says, this is a fully-functioning electronic cigarette or pod (see the Vgod Stig) that can be thrown away once you’ve used up all the e-liquid or the battery runs flat. Usually the latter.

DNA: A chipset created by Evolv Vapour which revolutionised mod regulation and TC, setting a new standard for the industry.

Dripping, direct dripping or drip-tip: similar to dipping, but it works in reverse – you wet the wick of the atomiser by dropping some of the e-solution straight onto it. Again, the e-cig can be used for a short while without the need for a cartridge.

Dry vaping: you might need to do this if the atomiser gets flooded with too much e-liquid. Just take off the mouthpiece, remove the cartridge and inhale. It will dry out the atomiser but be careful not to overheat it by inhaling too long or too often.

Dry hit: A lungful of burned cotton fumes, what happens when you burn at a too high setting or forget to fill your atty or dripper.


ECA: Electronic Cigarette Association, an association of US manufacturers established to promote its members interests and set certain industry standards

ECF: E-Cigarette Forum, probably the world’s biggest electronic cigarette website.

E-cig, e-cigarette or e-ciggy: an electronic cigarette, using an atomiser to vaporise a nicotine or nicotine-free solution which can be inhaled when vaporised.

E-cigar or electronic cigar: like an electronic cigarette but in cigar form.

eGo (Battery or Threading): Designed by Joyetech, e-cig tank to battery connections or threading tend to be either 51o or Ego style, with eGo being used for old-school, pen style devices and having a female battery thread and a male atty thread.

E-juice or juice: also known as e-liquid or e-solution, it is the consumable component of an e-cig – the liquid which is vaporised and inhaled by the user. It comes in a huge range of flavours, some of which contain nicotine and some of which are nicotine-free. The base is normally made from propylene glycol (PG) – widely in the manufacture of food and cosmetics. Alternatively, it can be made of vegetable glycerol (VG) or indeed a mix of the two.

Electronic cigarette: also known as e-cig, e-cigarette, e-fag or e-ciggy. An alternative to conventional tobacco cigarettes, using an atomiser to vaporise a nicotine or nicotine-free solution which can be inhaled when vaporised.

E-hooka:A hooka pipe which uses a vaporiser instead of a combustion bowl.

E-liquid: also known as e-solution, e-juice or simply juice, it is the consumable component of an e-cig – the liquid which is vaporised and inhaled by the user. It comes in a huge range of flavours, some of which contain nicotine and some of which are nicotine-free. The base is normally made from propylene glycol (PG) – widely in the manufacture of food and cosmetics. Alternatively, it can be made of vegetable glycerol (VG) or a mixture of the two.

E-pipe: you guessed it! It’s similar to the e-cigarette (and e-cigar), but with the look, feel and taste of a pipe.

E-smoking: what you’re doing when you’re using an electronic cigarette although you aren’t really smoking you are vaping.

E-solution: also known as e-liquid, e-juice or simply juice, it is the consumable component of an e-cig – the liquid which is vaporised and inhaled by the user. It comes in a huge range of flavours, some of which contain nicotine and some of which are nicotine-free. The base is normally made from propylene glycol (PG) – widely in the manufacture of food and cosmetics. Alternatively, it can be made of vegetable glycerol (VG) or a combination of the two.


FDA: the US Food and Drug Administration, responsible for the regulation of e-cigarettes in the United States – and currently involved in a critical law case with importers and suppliers of e-cigarettes.

Filler: an absorbent material packed into the e-cig’s liquid cartridge to ensure a steady flow to the atomiser without flooding it.

Flavour junkie: A vaper who’s main concern is the flavour profile of the juice and flavour production of the coil!

Flavour concentrate: Food grade flavouring, added to your VG, PG and nicotine solution in order to put the yumminess in your juice.

Flooding: this can happen if too much liquid reaches the atomiser and floods it.

Fog: Another word for vapour clouds.

Fused Clapton:A Clapton wire with two lower gauge cores instead of one, thereby increasing surface area.

GGrub Screw: A (usually) headless screw with an hexagonal indentation, an Allen key is required to loosen or tighten these.

HHandcheck: A popular instagram hashtag, used with had selfies of your current set up and juice

Heatsink: A heat absorptive disk, usually between components like the mod and atty, designed to redirect heat and prevent overheating of parts or transfer of heat from the tank to the mod.

Hot Spot: When building and installing coils on an RBA, areas where coils touch or are in some way damaged may heat up faster than others, these hot spots need to be smoothed out when you pulse and tweak your coils.

Hybrid: A type of mechanical vape (not to be used by beginners) in which the battery touches the atty connection directly and without regulation.

IIBVTA: The Independent British Vape Trade Association.


Juice: also known as e-liquid, e-solution or e-juice, it is the consumable component of an e-cig – the liquid which is vaporised and inhaled by the user. It comes in a huge range of flavours, some of which contain nicotine and some of which are nicotine-free. The base is normally made from propylene glycol (PG) – widely in the manufacture of food and cosmetics. Alternatively, it can be made of vegetable glycerol (VG) or you can mix both together.

Japanese Cotton:High quality, chemical free cotton, grown in Japan and ideal for vaping.

KKanthal Wire: A pliable Ion-Chromium-Alluminium alloy wire, commonly used in non TC coils as it has a very low TCR.


LED: at the tip of an e-cig there is an LED (Light Emitting Diode) which lights up to give the impression of the cigarette being alight – it makes it look a little more like a conventional, tobacco cigarette (or analogue). Sometimes the LED might flash or change colour to show the status of the battery e.g. whether it needs charging.

Leaking: as the term suggests, this is when the e-liquid, e-solution or juice leaks from an overfilled atomiser or cartomiser. Clearly, this can damage the heating element or battery.

Liquid: also known as e-liquid, e-juice, e-solution or simply juice, it is the consumable component of an e-cig – the liquid which is vaporised and inhaled by the user. It comes in a huge range of flavours, some of which contain nicotine and some of which are nicotine-free. The base is normally made from propylene glycol (PG) – widely in the manufacture of food and cosmetics. Alternatively, it can be made of vegetable glycerol (VG).

Lithium-Ion Battery: The type of rechargeable battery used in vape devices, either as external or built in cells. External variations include 18650s, 20700s and 21700s.

Low resistance or LR: this is a reference to the ohm rating of the cartomiser or atomiser. The lower resistance usually makes the heating element get hotter more quickly and produce vapour faster – and sometimes in greater volume than a standard atomiser of cartomiser.


M (numbers): basically, there are lots of them – 306, 401, 402, 403, 510, 808, and 901 – all reflecting the different styles, designs and lengths of e-cigarette currently available. Many of the differences are determined by the lengths of their respective batteries.

Manual: (as opposed to automatic), this refers to the type of e-cig that has a button which needs to be pressed to turn on the heating element and pump liquid through the atomiser to make vapour. I might be a little more awkward to use than an automatic but it is less susceptible to leaking.

Mechanical or mech: This is a mod that has no circuit board and therefore no regulation and runs off direct output from the battery, a switch at the bottom of the device allows you to manually push the battery up against the atomiser while vaping, to complete the circuit.

Mechanical Squonker: This is a squonk mod which works of the same principle as a mech but instead of using a switch, there is a button on the side of the mod. It is also unregulated and has no circuit board.

Mesh: Used with reference to a coil, RBA or atty. basically an alternative to the traditional coiled wire element, this employs a strip of mesh in order to heat the vapour. A highly popular option nowadays, due to the high surface area and low resistance, mesh provides outstanding vapour and flavour production.

Milligrams or mg: the amount, by weight, of nicotine contained in the e-liquid. Levels in common use are 0mg, 6mg, 8mg, 12mg, 16mg, 18mg, 24mg, 30mg, 36mg and 48mg, with a comparable level of nicotine found in the average analog cigarette at about 18mg.

Millilitres or ml: the amount of e-liquid, by volume, in any given capsule.

Mini-mod: A tiny mod, either single 18650 or using an on-board battery, for use with 22mm attys and under.

Mod: short for modification, this refers to the way in which an e-cig has been modified or adapted to suit a particular user’s tastes. It might be done to change the looks, the battery life or the amount of vapour produced, when compared to the manufacturer’s original specification.

Mouthpiece: just as it says, replacing the term butt that you’d use for an analogue or conventional tobacco cigarette.

MTL (Mouth To Lung):The type of inhale employed by cigarette smokers or light, high resistance vapers. Vapour is drawn into the mouth first, then inhaled from mouth to lung. Also used with reference to the coil and device types used for MTL.

NNichrome (Ni/Ni80): Nickel chrome alloy, used to make coiling wire. This wiretap has a slightly higher TCR than SS and a reasonably higher TCR than Kanthal, making it suitable for TC vaping.

Nicotine: An addictive yellowish liquid derived from tobacco, acts as a stimulant in small doses and a relaxant in larger doses. Toxic in excess.

Nic Salts: Because nicotine in regular vape juice is absorbed slowly by the body, it creates a relaxing as opposed to a stimulant effect. Nic salts or nic salt juices were designed to deliver a fast kick of nicotine to vapers, along with the desired stimulant effect.

Noob: A cigarette quitter who’s dabbling in e-cigarettes or a beginner vaper who is still learning the game.


Ohm: a measure of electrical resistance – the lower the resistance the faster the heating element is likely to warm up.

Ohm’s Law: a law stating that electric current is proportional to voltage and inversely proportional to resistance. I = V/R

Organic Cotton:


Passthrough: this lets you connect your electronic cigarette to the USB port of your computer or charger and therefore spares the e-cig’s battery. In fact, some users have reported a better flavour and/or improved taste when powering the device in this way.

Pen style: describes a particular kind of e-cig design that looks like a pen.

Portable charging case: even when you’re away from an available power source, you can use this to re-charge the battery of your e-cigarette.

Personal vaporiser, personal vaporizer or pv: yet another name for the electronic cigarette, e-cigarette or e-cig.

Primer: used by some manufacturers to protect the atomiser whilst being shipped – you’ll find it has a nasty taste!

Priming: the act of directly applying juice to a new coil and wick before the first fill, so that you don’t accidentally get a dry hit!

Propylene glycol or PG: a base ingredient of many producers’ e-liquid. It has been approved for use in medical inhalers for decades. An alternative to PG is vegetable glycerol (VG), which may produce more vapour but is said to have less taste.

Pulse: After building and installing your coils on an RBA, before fitting your wicking, it is best practice to lightly pulse or fire the coils from the bottom and (slowly) to the top of their range, using a sharp tool or screwdriver to iron out hotspots and make sure they are burning evenly.

RRBA (Rebuildable dripping Atomiser): An atomiser which allows the user to build and install their own coil and wick.

RDA (Rebuildable Dripping Atomiser): An RBA with no juice reservoir, where the user must manually drip juice on the coils before hitting.

RDTA (Rebuildable Dripping tank Atomiser): An RBA which has a tank but also allows the user to drip if desired. RDTAs often have a removable tanks section.


Smokeless cigarette: an alternative name for the electronic cigarette, e-cigarette or e-cig, which emphasizes that these produce none of the harmful smoke of conventional tobacco cigarettes (i.e. analogues).

SS wire: Stainless steel wire, has the lowest TCR of all the TC compatible wire types.

Stacked/Stacking: A mech mod which uses more than one battery, stacked one above the other.

Starter kit: everything you need to embark on your vaping journey, or the experience of electronic cigarettes. A typical starter kit may come with 5 or more cartridges pre-filled with e-juice, 1 or more atomizers, 1 or more batteries, and a charger.

Steeping: The act of allowing your DIY or bought e-liquid or juice to stand (in a dark, cool place) so that the flavour profile can fully develop before use.

Sub-ohm: Usually a DL device or tank, with high wattage coils which have a resistance lower than 1.0 Ohm.

Sweet spot: The wattage range at which you most enjoy the experience of a coil. For example a 50-100W coil might have its sweet spot between 70 and 75W, all depending on your personal taste.


TC (Temp Control): Temperature control is a type of regulatory programming in AVPs which utilizes the TCR of a coil in order to predict temperature and resistance changes so that the mod can adjust wattage automatically, thereby optimising your vaping experience.

TCR (Temperature Coefficient of Resistance): A measure of resistance fluctuations within a coil, when temperature is applied. Different wiretaps have set TCR values, making them either more or less suited TC vaping.

THR: Tobacco Harm Reduction, the name of a project looking at ways to reduce the proven harm of smoking tobacco being carried out by scientists of the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Throat hit, throat kick, TH or TK: the tingling sensation you are likely to feel in the back of your throat when the vaporised nicotine of an electronic cigarette is inhaled. Since it is the nicotine that gives you the hit, you won’t feel it with a nicotine-free e-solution.

Ti Wire: Titanium coiling wire, one of the rarest but most TC friendly wire types, has a very high TCR.

Topping or topping off: filling or topping up the cartridge of your e-cig with e-juice.


Vape: what you do when you’re using an electronic cigarette i.e. inhale and exhale its vapour.

Vaper: someone who vapes – uses e-cigarettes.

Vaper’s tongue: a nasty tongue condition, achievable by excessive vaping, your tongue looks all whiteish and you can’t taste your juice anymore. Curable only with alcoholic beverages, black coffee and sushi condiments.

Vaping: the action of using or “smoking” an electronic cigarette.

Vapour, or vapor cigarette: alternative name for the electronic cigarette, emphasizing the fact that it is harmless water vapour, rather than harmful tobacco smoke that is exhaled by the user.

Vapour, or vapour production: a measure of the amount of vapour typically inhaled in one drag of the atomised liquid of an e-cig.

Vegetable glycerol, vegetable glycerine or vg – a base ingredient of many brands of e-liquid and an alternative to propylene glycol (especially if users are allergic to use of the latter). It is reported that vg generates more vapour than propylene glycol but is less flavour-some and lacks some of its Throat Kick.

Voltage: electrical potential difference or electric pressure, see Ohm’s Law.

Venting holes: small holes in the wall of a battery chamber, which allow the battery fumes and heat to escape in case of battery venting.


Watt: a measure of electrical power, see Ohm’s Law.

Wick: as in the wick of a candle, the small piece of string attached to most atomisers to aid the flow of e-liquid from the cartridge to the atomiser.

Wraps: a single loop around a coiling tool. For example, the average Clapton coil will have 4 wraps. The more wraps the higher the resistance, wire dependent. Also used with reference to battery wraps, the insulating shrink wrap around your rechargeable battery, which should always be replaced if damaged or worn.


Our aim is to create the most comprehensive A-Z glossary of terms for electronic cigarettes and a ‘go to’ for both experienced and new users.So if you think we have missed something or you just want to add to our A-Z then please leave a comment below and if suitable we will ad this to our list!

Greetings Vapers! I’m a 34 year old writer, editor and massive vaping enthusiast (since 2015) based in the beautiful Helderberg region in South Africa. My passion for vaping has steadily grown since I started vaping in earnest (as has my scorn for smoking). See, I tried vaping years before that but returned to cancer sticks after a bad experience (PG sensitivity). When I finally got back on the vaping train I decided to make it my business to educate beginners and vapers in general, so that they don’t jump to the conclusions that I did. I visualise a world without cigarettes…not just for health reasons: I’m tired of picking thousands of cigarette butts up off my lawn every morning, tossed over the wall by passers by. I can’t believe I used to be one of those people!


  1. Hi,
    Could you let me know if there are any uk suppliers who use v.g. as a base in there mini cig cartridges as I think p.g is causing me problems. Many thanks, Roy.

    • Hi Roy,

      There are mini e cigs that use VG as a base but not all cartomisers fit all kinds of battery. What brand e cig are you using at the moment?

      Another option would be just to fill your own cartomisers with bottled e-liquid. Most cartomisers can easily be re-filled. Or if you are looking for a new kit Jacvapour have blank cartomisers that you can re-fill. A review of the Jacvapour e cig can be found here


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