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Electronic Cigarettes / Vapes: A-Z Glossary of Terms

Below is a collection of terms you might hear in the vaping scene. We will keep this updated to help you understand all of the “jargon”!


18350, 18650, 20700, 21700, 26650: These are types of removable vape battery. The first two digits are the diameter of the battery and the 3rd and 4th digits denote the length. The “0” on the end represents the cylinder shape. Usually you can only use one type of battery in a device, but there are some which are compatible with different types using adaptors. Find out more in our Guide to Vape Batteries.

510 Connector: A universal screw thread connection which you will find on most vape mods and tanks. This means they can be mixed and matched with other devices. Also some kits may have adaptors to allow for use with 510 compatible attachments.

gen 80s top view

510 Drip Tip: A drip tip is another name for the mouthpiece. This is the smaller diameter available and it suited for Mouth To Lung vaping where you prefer a tighter airflow. There is one size/type of these and they either fit or they don’t!

510 drip tips example

The base diameter (where it enters the atomiser) is usually 8.5mm. The 510 drip tips are usually taller than the 810 tips to allow for a cooler vape. But they do come in lots of different shapes and sizes, it is just the base diameter which is important.

810 Drip Tip: A wider bore mouthpiece to allow Direct To Lung vapers achieve a bigger volume of vapour. The base of this drip tip (where it enters the atomiser) is usually 12.5mm in diameter. You will often find these are shorter than 510 drip tips so your lips are closer to the vapour output.

810 drip tips
810 drip tips example

There are 2 types – one without O-rings (for atomisers with O-rings in the top cap where the drip tip fits) or with O-rings (for atomisers without O-rings in the top cap). Sadly these are generally not interchangeable – so you will need to make sure you buy the right type.810 drip tip types

510 Pin: This is the internal connector found on the base of an atomiser. It is usually solid and makes connection with the matching terminal on the mod. For Squonk devices this pin is hollow to allow e-liquid to flow into the atomiser. Many rebuildable atomisers include both hollow (Bottom Feed – BF) and solid 510 pins which you can swap between.


Adaptor: this allows you to “mix and match” different atomisers (or atomizers) to different types of device. 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. Often found in pod kits to allow use with other atomisers / mods.

mero 510 adaptor

Adjustable Airflow: This is now a staple on sub-ohm tanks, pod kits, AIO’s and most RDAs and allows us to restrict or open our airflow by moving a slider switch, twisting an airflow ring, top-cap or barrel (RDAs).

ADV (All Day Vape): Relates to a particular e-liquid flavour that you could happily vape all day without getting sick of it.

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

AIO (All In One): A device where the battery, electronics and tank are contained within one device.raga aio dismantle

Airflow: In order to inhale the vapour there needs to be air travelling across the heating element. In vaping the airflow refers to how loose or tight it is to inhale. For instance tight airflow is similar to inhaling a cigarette – ideal for those switching from smoking. Loose airflow is used for higher power vapes where you want a lot of vapour.

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.

Airflow Pins / Tubes: Some atomisers use airflow pins to restrict the airflow. These are fitted to the deck and usually come in different internal diameters to adjust the airflow. The benefit of these is that the airflow is always consistent and precise. Sometimes you may have to remove the coil to replace the pin which is a bit of a downside.

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 and tighten screws with a hexagonal indentation (grub screws, as opposed to Phillips / crosshead screws). Sometimes it is on a triple tool included with the atomiser. Hex head screws are often found on coil clamps and bottom feed (squonk) 510 pins.

allen key

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

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

Atomiser or Atomizer: The essential “heart” of the e-cig. It heats the e-liquid to the temperature at which it vaporises. There are many types but they always have a form of heating element (or coil) and wicking (absorbent material to transfer the e-liquid to the coil). This is a broad term for all kinds of vape tanks, pods or the area where e-liquid is vaporised.

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

Atomiser Head: Another word for a “Coilhead” or “Stock Coil”.

Auto Draw / Draw Activated: a reference to the type of vape 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). Usually an airflow sensor activates with the vacuum of inhaling on the mouthpiece and this triggers the device to heat up the coil.

Auto Feed: An advanced squonking system where an electronic pump supplies e-liquid to the atomiser. An update to the manual squeezy squonk bottle.

Authenticity Check: This is a method used by manufacturers to help combat counterfeit products. There will be a scratch off panel or code that you can input into their website to check your device is genuine. Find out more in our Authenticity Checklist.

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.

AWG: This stands for “American Wire Gauge”. When buying vape wire this is used to denote the wire diameter and the resistance.


Barrel: You will find this on an RDA and it is basically the side assembly. This often can be rotated to adjust the incoming airflow.

Base E-liquid / Base Mix / E-liquid Base: This is a premixed solution of PG and VG (to your specified ratios) to which you then add the nicotine and flavouring. You can of course mix your own but it is often easier to buy them premixed.

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. They can be internal (fixed) or external (replaceable). For more information visit our Guide To Vape Batteries.

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.

B&M: Stands for “Bricks and Mortar” – i.e. a physical vape store you can walk into. Not the bargain shop we all love!

Bottom Feed / BF: This is another name for Squonking.

Boro Tank: A type of refillable tank originally used in the Billet Box AIO (All In One) devices. Many devices have been created by other brands which are compatible with this standardised tank size. Usually they contain a removable rebuildable deck. There are also plenty of add-ons which can be used with the tank (See Boro Bridge). The name comes from the fact that this is made from Borosilicate Glass.

cthulhu rba aio boro tank
Cthulhu RBA AIO Box with Boro tank installed

Boro Bridge: These are components which can be added to a Boro tank to allow it to be compatible with different stock coils. For instance bridges are available which are compatible with Aspire Nautilus Coils, Voopoo PnP coils etc.

abyss bb bridges

Box Mod: Collective name for vape devices that just contain the battery, controls and electronics. You screw a tank or atomiser onto the mod. These can have fixed or replaceable batteries. They were originally created by “modders” (modifiers) who were invented their own vaping devices and started off life in a metal box assembly with added wiring and battery.

Buck / Boost: Some mods have a power converter which increases the current. These devices tend to have a higher output and do not loose as much power as the battery charge depletes. For more info visit our guide to Mechanical and Regulated mods.

Burnt 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. We have a guide to help diagnose why your vape might taste burnt here.

Bypass: This is where a regulated device can operate as a mechanical or semi-mechanical device. The output is not regulated so will be higher with a full battery charge and lower as the battery charge depletes. We tell you more about this in our guide to Mechanical and Regulated mods.


Carto, Cartomiser, Cartomizer, Clearomiser, Clearomizer: this contains both the e-liquid tank and the atomiser in just one single unit. These are quite old fashioned now and are usually only used for CBD vapes.


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

Cart, Cartridge: These are out of date now and only really found on Cig-a-like (cigarette style) vapes. 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. This screws on to the battery section. It is disposable once the liquid has been used up.


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

CBD: In a nutshell Cannabidiol [CBD] is taken from the cannabis plant however through process the active ingredient that makes a user ‘high’ – Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC – is removed. In other words you get the known medicinal effects of the cannabis plant but without becoming stoned out of your mind. CBD can be found in many forms but if you want to vape it – make sure you only use CBD Vape / E-liquid. You cannot vape other CBD liquid products as they can cause injury. Find out more about CBD here.

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 / Charging Cable: can be used to recharge the battery of your electronic cigarette. In modern times these just consist of a cable with a USB connector on the end for use with USB outlets or ports.

Chip / Chipset: This is the brain of the device and controls all the actions. Also this will denote the output, allow for adjustments, different user modes, displays and safety protections.

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.

Closed System: This refers to devices which cannot be refilled, either the device is disposed of when empty or replacement pods / cartridges are used. Often used to classify pod kits.

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 DTL or MTL attys. When you build on an RBA you install the coils yourself, before wicking and vaping. For tanks you buy pre-built coilheads.

Coilhead: Inside a non-rebuildable atomiser, this is the capsule which houses the coil and wick and can be replaced when necessary. Also known as a “Stock Coil”

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.

Cotton: This is the usual material used for wicking on rebuildable and stock coils. Newer alternatives are available using plant fibres.

Custom: This is usually a device which is designed, made or comissioned to certain specifications. Also this can refer to replaceable components to alter the design or operation.

Curve, Custom Curves, Power Curve, Temperature Curve: This is a mode you will find on advanced mods which allow you to specify the power levels and how they change over the duration of the vape. For instance you might want a higher power to initially heat up the coil quicker and then ramp the power down as you continue to inhale. You programme these into the mod and it stores them. Find out more in our guide here.

Cut-off / Over Time: Though not all vapes have this feature it is designed to shut off the firing, to prevent the atomiser or device from overheating, if you take too long a drag or hold down the fire button too long (say, longer than 8 seconds). Cut-off may be accompanied by a flashing LED or warning message. This also helps prevent accidental over firing which could damage the device.

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

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 used to be used in some buttery flavoured e-liquids before it was banned in 2016. 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!!!!

cruk popcorn lung

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

Disposable Vape: Just as it says, this is a fully-functioning electronic cigarette or vape that can be thrown away once you’ve used up all the e-liquid or the battery runs flat. Usually the latter. See our favourites here.

DIY: Stands for “Do It Yourself” and is often used in the context of mixing your own e-liquid or building / installing your own coils.

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

Drag / Draw / Inhale: The action of inhaling the vapour from a device.

Dripping, Dripper: You wet the wick of the atomiser by dripping some of the e-liquid straight onto it. This is the purest form of vaping – there is no tank chamber to get in the way of the vapour or flavour. You do have to keep manually adding e-liquid as there is no reserviour.

Drip Tip: A mouthpiece. Often replaceable and comes in 2 sizes, 510 is a thinner diameter for Mouth To Lung devices and the 810 is a wider diameter for sub ohm vaping. We explain more in the 810 and 510 drip tip explanations at the top of the page.

DTL / Direct To Lung: A style of vaping where more vapour is produced and inhaled directly to the lungs, rather than holding in the mouth fire. We tell you more about this in our Guide To Vaping Styles.

Dry vaping: you might need to do this if the pod gets flooded with too much e-liquid. Just take off the mouthpiece, remove the pod and inhale.

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.


E-cig, E-cigarette or E-ciggy: An electronic cigarette or vape, using an atomiser to vaporise a nicotine or nicotine-free e-liquid 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 510 or Ego style, with eGo being used for old-school, pen style devices and having a female battery thread and a male atty thread. Very rare to find this thread on standard vapes nowadays.

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

E-Hooka: A Hooka / Shisha pipe which uses a vaporiser instead of a combustion bowl.

proteus neo in use

E-liquid / 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 a combo of Propylene Glycol (PG) (widely in the manufacture of food and cosmetics) and Vegetable Glycerol (VG).

E-liquid Ratio / Mix: This refers to the ratio of VG to PG in the e-liquid. Higher VG e-liquids are designed for more powerful kits and as the e-liquid is a lot thicker in consistency it is sometimes not compatible with smaller coils. PG of 50% or above gives a strong throat hit using low power kits (starter kits or pods for instance) for those who prefer that, but it is not suitable for use in higher power kits as it would be too harsh and could leak due to the e-liquid consistency being too thin.

ENDS: Stands for “Electronic Nicotine Delivery System” – such as a vape. Mainly used in official documents.

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.

Etiquette: Informal rules to prevent vapers becoming an annoyance to those around them. Examples being – not to blow vapour over others and not to vape in enclosed spaces if it upsets others. We don’t want people to hate us vapers – we get enough of a hard time as it is!


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.

Fill Port: This is where you add e-liquid to refillable devices. They often have a cover or removable cap to access the port.

Firing: This refers to the device heating up the coil and vaporising the e-liquid. The device will perform this action when you press the fire button or if it is an Auto Draw device – when you inhale on the mouthpiece.

Fixed Coil: Some pods / atomisers come with fixed coils. This means that when the coil performance has deteriorated it cannot be replaced. You replace the whole pod or atomiser. This is more expensive than replaceable coils, but is targeted to those who have difficulties or wish to avoid changing coils.

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. Usually used by those creating their own e-liquid.

Flooding: this can happen if too much liquid reaches the atomiser and floods it or if the atomiser is not vaporising the e-liquid fully – often due to insufficient power or the output being set too low. To clear a flooded atomiser, remove it from the battery, wrap in a tissue and blow down the mouthpiece until the e-liquid has cleared. If e-liquid has entered the device, you can try to clear it by blowing through the airflow inlet or USB port on the device. Also use a tissue to clean the electrical contacts. Unfortunately if this doesn’t clear it you may have damaged the internal electrics.

Fog: Another word for vapour clouds.

Freebase Nicotine: This is the standard form of nicotine used in e-liquid. It has been generally superceded by Nicotine salts as they are smoother and have a quicker absorption rate. Freebase nicotine can be very harsh at higher concentrations whereas Nic Salt is much more gentle for those who require strong nicotine.

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


Gasket: A form of seal. You will often get spares included with a tank or a kit so it is worth keeping hold of them for replacement in case of leaks.

Gauge / G: When buying coil wire the type is specified as the “Gauge” or “G” – for instance 24G. However it is not as simple as that, the “G” is based on the resistance of the wire too. The higher the “G” the thinner the wire and higher the resistance. A lower “G” value means it is a thicker wire with less resistance. Therefore the lower the resistance the hotter the coil will get and the quicker it will heat up. For lower power devices you would use thinner wire with a higher resistance to heat up slower.

Genesis: This is a type of rebuildable tank atomiser (RTA) where the coil deck is above the tank. A form of wicking – wire or cotton – supplies the e-liquid from the tank up to the deck. Find out more in our guide to Rebuildables.

Glass / Tube / Tank: Usually refers to the section of an atomiser when the e-liquid resides. On many atomisers this can be replaced for a larger capacity or simply to replace a damaged or leaky glass.

Grub Screw: A (usually) headless screw with an hexagonal indentation, an Allen key is required to loosen or tighten these. Usually found on rebuildable atomisers to clamp the coil.

Gurgling: See “Flooding”.


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

Heat Not Burn, HNB, Heated Tobacco: These devices use tobacco but instead of burning it, they heat it to a temperature which allows the nicotine to vaporise. This is safer than combustible tobacco such as cigarettes.

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.

High VG: An e-liquid with a VG ratio usually over 70%. Designed for sub ohm devices at higher power.

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. Therefore you need to be clued up in battery safety and ohms law to get the best performance whilst keeping safe. Learn more in our Guide to Mechanical and Regulated Vapes.


IBVTA: The Independent British Vape Trade Association.

Ice: A lot of e-liquids have cooling additives to give a cold fresh sensation when vaping. These usually have the suffix “Ice”.

Integrated: Fixed – not removable. Usually refers to mods with internal fixed batteries. Over time the batteries will degrade and with integrated devices they are not commonly replaceable.


Japanese Cotton: High quality, chemical free cotton, grown in Japan and ideal for vaping. Used to wick rebuildable atomisers to transfer the e-liquid to the coil.

Joules: A measurement of power / heat. Some mods use this for Temperature Control rather than degrees C or F.


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

Kick: A term which is basically the same as “Throat Hit” – the feeling of the vapour or nicotine after inhaling.

Koolada / Coolada: A cooling additive added to e-liquids to help create the sensation found in Menthol cigarettes or an icy blast. However this has no flavour and is often added to fruit and dessert e-liquid.


Lanyard: A chain or strap which is sometimes supplied with a vape kit so you can wear it around your neck.origin se lanyard

LED: On a vape you will usually find an LED (Light Emitting Diode) which 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 leaks from an overfilled atomiser. It also can be caused by faulty seals, insufficient wicking (rebuildable decks) or the wrong e-liquid. Clearly, this can damage the heating element or battery.

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 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.


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.

mAh: A unit of measurement to denote the capacity of a vape battery. It is an abbreviation of “MilliAmpere-Hour”.

Manual: (as opposed to auto), this refers to the type of e-cig that has a button which needs to be pressed to turn on the heating element to make vapour.

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. We tell you more about these devices in our Guide here.

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. Also the coil life is often improved.

Menthol: This usually refers to a cooling sensation combined with a Eucalyptus or Mint flavour which you find in Menthol cigarettes and Menthol e-liquids. Similar to what you would find in a Cough Sweet. Also can be mistakenly used for cooling additives such as Koolada, which have no flavour.

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 analogue 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.

Modes: On more advanced devices there are options for how the device operates. Examples being Variable Wattage, Temperature Control, Bypass, Eco etc.

MOSFET: Some mods have a “MOSFET” chip – which is part of the device or can be bought as an addition. The battery only supplies a small amount of power to the chip. The chip then makes the connection between the battery and the 510. This means the chip has some control of whether to allow full power to be connected. If certain conditions are not met a chip can prevent the battery power being connected to the 510. If a short circuit occurs for instance the chip can prevent the full battery power circuit being completed and possibly prevent something dangerous.

Mouthpiece: just as it says, replacing the term butt that you’d use for an analogue or conventional tobacco cigarette. Also known as a “Drip Tip”.

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. We tell you more about this in our Guide To Vaping Styles.


Nichrome / Nickel (Ni/Ni80): Nickel chrome alloy, used to make coiling wire. This wire 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 Salt / Nicotine Salt / Salt Nic: 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. More information can be found in our Guide To Nic Salts.

Nic Shot / Nicotine Shot: In order to buy e-liquid in larger quantities in TPD regulated areas, they are often supplied without nicotine. You then buy small bottles of mixed nicotine to add to the e-liquid yourself after purchase.

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

NRT: Nicotine Replacement Therapy. A form of medicinal nicotine used in patches, sprays, gums, inhalers and lozenges to help reduce the nicotine cravings when quitting smoking. Can be prescribed or bought over the counter.


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. It is important to abide by this law when using mechanical devices as if you get the values incorrect it could be dangerous, so make sure to swot up! We tell you all about this in our Guide to Volts and Ohms.

Open Circuit: When part of an electrical circuit is missing so it will not operate. It could be something simple as there being no atomiser installed or a loose connection.

Open System: This is used to refer to a device which is refillable. Often used to classify pod kits.

O-Ring: A circular seal often found around tanks and coil heads to prevent e-liquid leaking. Often you will get spares in with a tank – worth keeping hold of as they can degrade or get damaged.


Passthrough: This lets you vape on your device whilst it is charging.

Pen style: describes a particular kind of e-cig design that looks like a pen. Have a look at some of our favourites here.

Pod Kit / Pod System / Pod Mod: A style of vape where the tank is a pod. Usually refillable although you can buy Pre-filled replaceable pods. Often they have a fixed coil – where you discard the whole pod component when the coil has gone. Saving messy coil changes. But there are replaceable coil versions available. Usually the pod is only compatible with the device it comes with. For instance there is no 510 connection on the base – which you would find with a usual tank. So it is not interchangeable with other devices. There is often some compatibility with other models in a similar range – for instance the OXVA Xlim range. We have a list of our favourites here.

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. eroll mac pcc

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

Pre-filled: A device, tank or pod which comes filled with e-liquid. These are not usually refillable and are replaced when empty.

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! Also it refers to leaving the atomiser to stand after the first fill or a new coil to allow the wicking to absorb the e-liquid. Usually 5-10 minutes is sufficient.

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. We tell you more about PG and VG in our Guide.

Puff: Another word for an inhale or drag on a vape. Sometimes pods, coils or disposable vapes will specify a minimum number of puffs you can expect. This is pretty ambiguous as everyone vapes differently, the length of your puff is variable and will impact the life of the device.

Puff Count: Some devices have “puff counters” which can track how many times you vape. Ideal for monitoring how long your coils or battery charge lasts. You can usually reset them to zero too.

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 at a low power until they just start to glow. Then using a sharp tool or screwdriver to scrape the coils to reduce hotspots and make sure they are heating up evenly.

Pulse Mode: Some mods have a mode which supplies a pulsed output – which is similar to the Curve mode but more rapid. This can improve the flavour and coil life. Vaporesso use this in a lot of their devices.

PWM: This refers to PWM (Pulse Width Regulation) mods which are a digital version of power regulation and these are a bit rare – usually found as custom made mods or user modified devices. These basically switch the power on and off quickly to provide an average power. The speed at which this occurs is called the Frequency. You can read more about this in our guide to Regulated and Mechanical mods.


RBA (Rebuildable dripping Atomiser): An atomiser which allows the user to build and install their own coil and wick. Find out more in our guide to Rebuildables.

RDA (Rebuildable Dripping Atomiser): An RBA with no juice reservoir, where the user must manually drip juice on the coils before hitting. We tell you more in our guide to Rebuildables.

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. For more info read our guide to Rebuildables.

RDL / Restricted Direct Lung: This is a vaping style which sort of falls in-between MTL and DTL. We tell you more about this in our Guide To Vaping Styles.

Refillable: Sort of self explanatory – a device, tank or pod which can be refilled with the users own e-liquid choice. Is less expensive and gives more freedom of flavour choice and nicotine strength.

Regulated: This means the vape device has circuitry to regulate the output and provide safety protections. This is the opposite of a mechanical mod. More details in our guide here.

Resistance: This relates to the properties of the coil and is measured in ohms (Ω). The resistance determines how the coil heats up. It is very important to make sure the resistance of the coil is compatible with the device or battery used. We tell you all about this in our guide to Volts and Ohms.

RTA: This is a rebuildable atomiser with a tank section – get the economy of a DIY atomiser with the convenience of an e-liquid reservior. We explain more in our guide to Rebuildables.


Semi Regulated: This means the vape device has circuitry to provide safety protections but otherwise acts as a mechanical mod. This is a hybrid of a regulated mod and a mechanical mod. More details in our guide here.

Shoelace: This is a style of cotton which you can buy for wicking which has a bound end – like a shoelace. Therefore it is much easier to thread through coils. You can buy it in different diameters to suit the coils you are using.

Shortfill: Due to the TPD regulations, any e-liquid containing nicotine cannot be supplied in quantities larger than 10ml. In order to buy larger quantities, the e-liquid is supplied with no nicotine. The bottles used are often bigger than required to allow room to add nic shots, hence the name “Short fill”. We tell you how to use these in our guide here.

Short Circuit: When an electrical connection is made which is not supposed to exist. For instance liquid could cause two circuits to make a connection or something touching both ends of a battery. This is dangerous as it could result in fire or explosion. Most regulated devices have protections against this, but you should not rely on them. It can also occur when charging, using or carrying removable batteries.

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).

Spitting: See “Flooding”.

Squonk / Squonking / Squonker / Bottom Feed: This is a type of device which feeds e-liquid from the mod to the atomiser. The mod has an internal e-liquid reserviour (Squonk bottle or tank) which you refill. You squeeze the bottle (or on more modern devices there is an electronic system) to feed the e-liquid through the 510 pin connector on the mod through the hollow squonk pin connector on the base of the atomiser. We tell you much more about Squonking in our Best Squonk Mods & Guide To Squonking.


SS (Stainless Steel) 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. Usually designed to be simple to use and maintain. We have listed our favourites here.

Stealth Vaping: When you want to hide you are vaping. Usually it refers to a mode on a mod where you can turn the screen off so it doesn’t illuminate and attract attention. It can also refer to discrete amounts of vapour or the fact that the device can be concealed easily in the hand.

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. We guide you through the process of mixing your own e-liquid here.

Stock Coil: This is another name for a replaceable coil head. This comes in a small assembly which includes the wicking. These are usually designed for the atomiser in question – although there is some cross compatibility. Examples being Voopoo PnP coils, Smok RPM coils.

argus pro 2 included coils

Sub-ohm: Usually a DTL device or tank, with high wattage coils which have a resistance lower than 1.0 Ohm. We have a guide to explain more here.

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.


Tank: This is usually another word for an atomiser which has an e-liquid reserviour.

TC (Temperature 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. We have a guide to help you understand and use this technology here.

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. We have a guide to help you understand and use this technology here.

THR: Stands for Tobacco Harm Reduction, meaning alternatives to smoking which are less harmful.

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. Often the kick depends on the proportion of PG in your e-liquid and the nicotine strength.

Ti / Titanium 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 tank of your e-cig with e-liquid.

TPD: TPD stands for “Tobacco Products Directive” which is a bunch of restrictions placed on the supply of vapes and e-liquid. The main points being that vapes cannot have a larger capacity tank than 2ml, e-liquids containing nicotine can only be sold in 10ml quantities or less and the maximum nicotine concentration allowed is 20mg. The UK has to follow these regulations plus other regions in the EU. We tell you more about this in our Guide To The TPD Regulations.

Tube Mod: A vape mod in the shape of a tube!


Unregulated: Another name for a Mechanical Mod.


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 / Vape Tongue: a temporary tongue condition, where you can’t taste your e-liquid anymore. Curable only with alcoholic beverages, Black coffee and Sushi condiments. Or of course a Minty e-liquid can often wake up the tastebuds again!

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

Vapour, or vapor cigarette: alternative name for the electronic cigarette, emphasising 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.

Vaporiser: Although a vape is a Vaporiser, the term is generally used for devices which heat dry herbs, wax or concentrates. We tell you more and list our favourites here.

VV / VW / Variable Wattage, Variable Voltage: These terms are used for devices which have adjustable output. We explain more in our guide here.

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. We tell you more about PG and VG in our Guide.

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

Voltage: Electrical potential difference or electric pressure, we tell you more in our Guide to Volts and Ohms.

Vooping: Having a vape whilst on the toilet.


Watt: a measure of electrical power, we tell you more in our Guide to Volts and Ohms.

Wick / Wicking / Cotton : This is usually an absorbent Cotton material (or more recently plant fibres) used to transfer the e-liquid to the centre of the coil.

Wire: This is what “Wire” coils are made from – strangely enough! A coil is basically a cylinder of wire which is heated up to vaporise the e-liquid. You can buy different types and materials. We talk more about the materials and making coils in our guide here.

Wraps (Coil): 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.

basic vaping coil

Wrap (Battery): Used with reference to battery wraps, the insulating shrink wrap around your rechargeable battery, which should always be replaced if damaged or worn.

rpm 5 battery safety card


Zero Nic / 0% Nic: This refers to e-liquid which has no nicotine added. Often this is used for Shortfill bottles or those who do not want to vape nicotine. As the TPD regulations only allow e-liquid to be sold in 10ml quantities when it has nicotine added, the way around this is to sell zero nicotine e-liquid in shortfill bottles. The bottles are larger than required so you can add nicotine shots after purchase.

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 add this to our list!

layura-ann burgess
Laura-ann Burgess

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!

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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