Last updated on September 12th, 2017
An E-Cigarette Glossary of Vaping Terms and Definitions
Wondering what sub-ohm vaping is? Puzzled over the difference between an eGo and a vaporizer? The Language of Vaping is constantly evolving as innovative new e-cigarette products emerge. Acronyms abound; new ecig abbreviations appear daily and the most popular Vaping Terms and Definitions move from vaper-speak to the vernacular.
306 – This is a style of atomizer used for dripping e-liquids. It is available in all levels of resistance and is 510 threaded. You can use a 306 atomizer with any e-cigarette that supports L88B or 510 atomizers.
m401, m402, and m403 – These numbers refer to e-cigarette battery lengths measured in millimeters. The m401 model is the longest length and has the longest battery life. The m403 is the shortest in length and has the shortest battery life.
510 – This number refers to the threads on an e-cigarette battery, atomizer, cartomizer or Clearomizer. Also known as a male thread, the 510 is by far the most popular style of e-cigarette threading because it is compatible with most electronic cigarettes available.
L88B – An early design of atomizer for smaller e-cigarettes, used before cartomizers became popular.
901– A style of e-cigarette with a female thread. It has since been surpassed in popularity by the 510 threaded e-cigarette.
Adapter – This is a small, Dual Threaded device used to create a sleek profile to an e-cigarette or vaporizer. It cosmetically bridges the gap between cartomizer, cartridge or Clearomizer when one is used on a different style battery.
Advanced Personal Vaporizer (APV) – An APV is larger than a traditional Cigalike and has a bigger, more powerful battery. APV’s usually feature variable voltage, variable wattage or both. APV can also be called a Mod or a modified e-cigarette.
AEMSA – American E-Liquid Manufacturers Standards Association – An all-volunteer trade association dedicated to creating “responsible and sustainable standards for the safe manufacturing of e-liquids.”
Aldehydes -Oxidation products of alcohols that when heated to high temperatures and ingested can be dangerous to your health. Studies have shown that vape mods cranked up to excessive levels (those that produce the unpleasant burnt taste of dry puff conditions) can form aldehydes. Aldehydes are also found in some oils, such as sunflower oil, when heated at a suitable temperature for frying
All Day Vape – The e-liquid that a vaper personally enjoys over any other; one that can vaped for long periods of time without getting tired of the flavor or experiencing vaper’s tongue.
AVA – American Vaping Association. This non-profit organization advocates for small and medium-sized businesses in the vaping and electronic cigarette industry.
Amperage (amps) – Amperage is the flow of energy along an electrical circuit. Some Advanced Personal Vaporizers allow the user to set the Amperage. Lower amps mean you must avoid using high voltages particularly when using low resistance atomizers.
Analog – A term used by the vaping community describing “traditional” tobacco cigarettes.
Atomizer (aka Atty) – The atomizer is the component in an electronic cigarette or vaporizer that is responsible for heating the e-liquid to the point of vaporization. The atomizer contains the heating coil, wick and mesh bridge. It is most often contained within the metal, glass or plastic housing called a cartomizer, tank or Clearomizer which is screwed into the battery; Some Atomizers stand alone, are cylindrical, and are used as Dripping Atomizers that require a Drip Tip.
Automatic – A style of electronic cigarette/ vaporizer battery that does not have a button to activate the heating element.
Battery – The part of an electronic cigarette that powers the heating element which turns the e-liquid into vapor. E-cigarette batteries come in many shapes and sizes. “Cigalike” batteries may be automatic or they may have a manual switch. Most have an LED light at the end that illuminates when activated. APV batteries almost always have a manual switch. Some models have added features like battery level LED lights or a puff counter.
BCC – This acronym stands for bottom coil Clearomizer. The atomizer coil sits at the bottom of the Clearomizer tank.
BDC – Another term for “Bottom dual coil Clearomizer”
Blanks – Cartridges or cartomizers that are not pre-filled with e-liquid. They are designed to be filled with the vaper’s e-liquid of choice. (read more).
Box Mod – A box mod is any PV or APV that comes in a box shape. Some of the most popular Box Mods are made by Vaporfi.
Breathing ELiquids – The process of letting a bottle of e-liquid gain optimum flavor by opening the cap and letting it sit for a period of time.
Dabbing – The process of vaping concentrates from a “dab straw”. This is done by pressing a dabber against a heated dab rigs nail and inhaling the vape extracted from the wax or oil concentrate.
Drip – The term used for adding drops of e-liquid into a cartridge, tank or Clearomizer.
Drip Tip – An ecig vaporizer mouthpiece or device made of plastic, metal or ceramic. Typically used for dripping e-liquid directly into an atomizer.
Dry Burn – Dry burn consists of applying a lot of power to a bare coil in order to burn off excess eliquid residue. Also, vapers who crank up the heat to very high levels can produce dry burn or can get an unpleasant “dry puff” of vapor. (read more)
Duel Threaded – Having threads on both ends of the device. Usually used when referring to the threads on an e-cigarette adapter.
Carbonyls – are aldehydes (eg. formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, benzaldehyde, acrolein) and ketones (eg. acetone, diacetyl, acetylpropionyl). Carbonyls are found everywhere; in the human body and even in such healthy products like apples, pears, potatoes, and spinach. Carbonyls can be dangerous in ecigarettes when the coil is overheated and creates Dry Burn.
Cartridge – Also know as a cart or filter, this is a plastic or metal covered mouthpiece that serves as the housing for the e-cigarette liquid, absorbent filler material and atomizer in a cigalike, first generation e-cigarette.
Cartomizer – A cartomizer (also called a carto or carto tank) contains the e-cigarette’s heating element (an atomizer with a coil) and a center tube for airflow. The cartomizer tank is designed to hold the e-liquid. The e-liquid is absorbed into a polyfil or gauze material that surrounds the coil. Cartomizers can be made of plastic, metal or a combination of both.
Cartomizer – Single Coil – A standard cartomizer that uses only 1 coil.
Cartomizer – Dual Coil – A dual coil cartomizer uses 2 coils. The dual coil design is meant to produce twice as much vapor as a single coil cartomizer.
CASAA – Consumer Advocacy for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association. This non profit organization campaigns for vaper rights, fair e-cigarette regulations and tobacco harm reduction.
Cigalike or Cig-alike – Any e-cigarette that has the similar appearance of a traditional tobacco cigarette.
Charger – A battery charger used to recharge an e-cig battery.
Clearomizer – A Clearomizer is a transparent type of a cartomizer which is the housing unit for the e-cigarette atomizer and e-liquid. Clearomizers can be made of glass, pyrex or polyethyene plastic. Clearomizers come in several sizes from the petite 0.9ml mini tank like those from Halo to ungainly 5ml hypertank sizes. A popular large clearomizer tank is the Kanger Aerotank Mega glass tank which holds 3.8ml.
Clouds – Another name for e-cigarette vapor which, because of the dense water content, creates a white water vapor resembling a cloud.
Cloudchaser – The name given to vapers who seek to create great clouds of vapor by modifying e-cigarette components.
Coil- The wire used to vaporize the e-liquid by creating an electrical circuit. The coil is usually made of Nichrome or Kanthal wire.
Cone – A small metal device used to create a streamlined look on an eGo ecig that is used with a cartridge rather than a cartomizer.
Custom Mod – Any PV or APV that was handmade from parts not designed for vaping.
Cut-Off – A safety feature that automatically cuts off the vapor if you take a drag for too long (usually over ten seconds). This prevents the atomizer from overheating. A flashing LED light usually accompanies this feature.
Dual Coil Cartomizer – (DCC) – This tank has an atomizer with a dual coil that sits at the bottom of the tank.
Dual Coil Tank – (DCT)– A large 3 to 6ml tank with a replaceable cartomizer. The DCT as “a clear container that holds vaping liquid and surrounds a cartomizer, auto-feeding the liquid through a small hole punched in the cartomizer.”
Digital Cigarette– Another name for Electronic Cigarette
Disposable E-Cigs – Electronic cigarettes that are designed to be used and then thrown away.
DIY – Do-it-Yourself. Many DIY vapers like to rebuild and maintain e-cigarette parts from the raw materials.
Drip Tip – A mouthpiece accessory with an opening that allows drops of e-liquid to be dripped directly to the cartomizer or tank without the removal of the tip.
Dripping Atomizers – These are atomizers that stand alone without a cartomizer or Clearomizer. They are used for dripping small amounts of e-liquid into the atomizer as a way to test out new flavors without filling a fresh cartomizer. They simply attach to a battery. The user drips a few drops of liquid into the center of the atomizer and uses a drip tip to inhale the vapor.
Dry Burn/Hit – The act of firing an atomizer on a battery without any e-liquid in the tank. This is a DIY method for burning e-liquid residue and impurities off the heating coils. (read more)
eGo/eGo Style– A second generation style of electronic cigarette that uses a larger, longer lasting battery than a cigalike, first generation e-cigarette. The eGe Style does not have a glowing LED tip. Most eGo Style e-cigarettes are compatible with 510 threaded cartridges, cartomizers and Clearomizers.
Electronic Cigar – A cigar style of electronic cigarette which uses the same components of an e-cigarette, but is shaped to resemble a traditional tobacco cigar.
Electronic Cigarette (e-cigarette or e-cig) – An alternative to traditional cigarettes that allows users to enjoy smoking without many of the harmful side effects. It contains e-liquid that is vaporized upon inhalation and usually consists of flavorings, purified water and nicotine.
Electronic Cigarette Starter Kit – An ecig kit usually composed of 2 batteries, 1 or 2 cartomizers or Clearomizers, a mouth piece, a USB charger and a Wall Charger.
E-Rig Attachment – This is basically an electronic bong, powered by the vaporizer’s battery.
E-juice – Another name for e-liquid.
E-Liquid – The solution that is vaporized within the e-cigarette cartridge, cartomizer or Clearomizer. It is comprised of Vegetable Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Nicotine and Flavoring. Also referred to as E-Juice, Juice, or Smoke Juice.
E-NIC – (Electronic Nicotine Inhaler) – Another name for an electronic cigarette.
E-Smoke – Another name for e-liquid or an electronic cigarette.
e-Vapor – Another name for an e-cigarette. Some Ecig companies prefer the name as it disassociates the product from cigarettes.
First Generation E-Cigarette – The name given to an electronic cigarette that has a cartridge style filter and a slim battery. First gen e-cigs are designed to look like a traditional tobacco cigarette. They are also called cigalikes or stick-style e-cigarettes.
Flavor Cartridge – Another name for a pre-filled cartridge containing nicotine and flavors.
Flooding – An event that occurs when too much e-liquid is put into the cartomizer, Clearomizer or atomizer. Upon inhalation, the vaper may hear a gurgling sound or get e-juice in his or her mouth. The performance of the atomizer is sometimes negatively affected.
Free-Base Nicotine – Nicotine occurs naturally in tobacco plants as either an acid or a base. The acidic form is more stable, and therefore more concentrated. The basic form, known as “free-base” nicotine, is volatile, especially when smoked because it is absorbed very quickly into the lungs when a person smokes. Some tobacco companies use ammonia to “freebase” the nicotine in smoke.
Fuse – A specially designed fuse for use in mechanical mods to prevent battery failure.
Glassomizer – A Clearomizer that uses glass rather than plastic for the tank. A popular example would be the Kanger Protank.
GRAS – (Generally Recognized As Safe) – This acronym was created by the Food & Drug Association (FDA) to ensure the public that a product is considered safe.
High Resistance (HR)- An atomizer or cartomizer with a higher Ohm rating that produces a cooler vapor, creates less vapor, but allows you to apply higher voltage to the coil. (read more)
HV Atty – An atomizer designed for higher voltage vaping, not for use with standard batteries that have low power.
Juice – Another name for e-liquid.
Knuckle Head– A vaporizer mouthpiece or drip tip that can be adjusted to any angle.
LED – Light Emitting Diode – In ecig terms it refers to the light at the end of most electronic cigarettes. In first generation ecigs, the LED mimics the lit end of a cigarette. In more advanced ecigs it alerts the user when the battery needs recharging.
Liquid – Also referred to as e-liquid, e-juice, smoke juice, or simply, juice. This is the liquid that is vaporized when using an electronic cigarette.
Li-Ion – Lithium Ion Batteries – Considered the strongest and most powerful batteries in the electronic cigarette market, Li-Ion’s come in many different sizes and shapes. They now have added safety features.
Li-Po – The Lithium Polymer batteries are made of different material than the Li-Ion batteries and are considered less likely to experience thermal runaway.
Low Resistance (LR)– An atomizer or cartomizer with a lower Ohm rating than the standard equipment. This generally causes the heating element to get hotter faster, producing greater vapor and a stronger throat hit.
mAh – Milliampere-hour – Describes the capacity or energy charge that a battery will hold before it needs to be recharged.
Manual – An e-cigarette battery style that has a button to activate the heating element.
Manual Shut-off – A feature found on most manual ecigs that allows the user to shut off the battery with 5 clicks of the button in rapid succession.
Mechanical Mod (Mech Mod, Mech PV, Mech) – An advanced electronic cigarette part that does not have any electronics or wiring. It is most often a metal tube that holds a battery and has a mechanical switch and a connector at the top to accommodate a tank or atomizer.
mg strength -(Milligram strength per millilitre (ml) -This relates to the percentage of nicotine contained within the e-liquid. For example, 12mg is 12mg of nicotine per ml and equals 1.2% nicotine within the e-liquid.
Milligrams (mg) – Used as the unit of measure for how much nicotine is in a cartridge.Typical levels include 0mg, 6mg, 8mg, 12mg, 16mg, 18mg, 24mg, 30mg, 36mg and 48mg.
Milliliters (mL)- The amount of liquid in a given container.
Mod or MOD – Short for modification. Once referred to a modified flashlight battery or tube to be used as a vaporizer, it is now a common ecig term used to describe any vaping device that is not a cigalike.
Mouthpiece – The end of the e-cigarette the user puffs on. Cartridge mouthpieces look like a cigarette filter. PV mouthpieces come in various shapes and sizes and may be plastic, metal, glass or ceramic.
Mouth-to-Lung Hit: A mouth-to-lung hit is one whereby the vapor is first drawn and gathered in the mouth, then inhaled into the lungs. This is similar to the way in which smokers inhale cigarette smoke.
MV (Multi-Voltage)- A rare type of PV that offers several different voltage settings predetermined by the manufacturer.
HNB Devices – Heat-Not-Burn non-combustable vaporizers and similar products.
Nic Juice – E-Liquid containing nicotine, the addictive substance in tobacco.
Nicotine (Nic)– An alkaloid found in tobacco and other plants and vegetables within the nightshade family. Nicotine is found within all traditional tobacco cigarettes and is usually an ingredient in electronic cigarettes. Nicotine can be an addictive substance, but it is not carcinogenic. It is known to create a pleasant sensation and to either stimulate or suppress excitability. Nicotine is available in e-liquids in various strengths, but it is also optional in most brands of e-liquid. (read more)
Nicotine Salts – A nicotine formula patented by PAX Labs and used in their JUUL Vapor e-cigarettes. Unlike “free-base” nicotine formulas used by tobacco companies, JUUL’s formula uses the same type of nicotine found in tobacco leaves, giving you a “cigarette-like nicotine delivery” without the highly volatile dangers of free-base nicotine.
Noob or Noobie – Someone very new to vaping. Most new vapers are considered noobs until they learn how to use an e-cigarette.
NRT – Acronym for Nicotine Replacement Therapy
OCC – Organic cotton coil
Ohm (Ω) -The standard unit of electrical resistance. Vapers consider ohm levels when choosing an atomizer. (see Ohm Resistance Level)
Ohm Resistance Level – All coils generate heat that is driven by the e-cigarette battery. The heat turns e-liquid into a vapor, but some coils create more heat than others. Atomizer coils with Low Electrical Resistance (or Lower ohm numbers) create more heat and a warmer vapor. Those with High Resistance (or Higher ohm numbers) produce a cooler vapor. (read more)
Passthrough – A device that plugs directly into the USB port of a computer, charger or high end box vaporizer that allows the user to vape without having to worry about battery life.
PCC – Personal (or portable) Charging Case. This allows an electronic cigarette battery to be charged from the PCC battery and away from other power sources. The case may also be used for ecig storage.
PEG (Polyethylene Glycol) – Once used in e-liquids, PEG was all-but-abandoned in favor of PG and VG when it was learned that PEG was used to lower the freezing point in anti-freeze. PEG is still the main ingredient in the over-the-counter drug, MiraLAX.
Pen Style – A style of electronic cigarette that looks like a long ball point pen. It lost much of its popularity in 2010.
Personal Charging Case (PCC) – A portable charger shaped liked a cigarette box or compact case. It’s designed to hold and charge e-cigarettes and batteries.
Personal Vaporizer (PV) – Another name for an electronic cigarette, usually in reference to second generation style e-cigs.
Propylene Glycol (PG)– One of two main FDA approved ingredients used in the making of e-cigarette liquids. It is flavorless and thinner in consistency than VG. Some vapers have sensitivities to this ingredient.
PVS – Personal Vaping Systems.
Resistance Wire – Used in building coils for atomizers. The wire heats up when an electrical current is applied. It is typically made from Nichrome or Kanthal.
Rebuildable Atomizer (RBA) – Advanced atomizers that will vary in design since they are “rebuilt” by vapers from raw parts. Some are really part of tanks like those from VaporFi. Some have fabric wicks, others mesh or kanthal. Rebuildable atomizers are meant to save on cost. Parts are becoming more readily available from e-cigarette companies such as Mt. Baker Vapor and Firebrand.
Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer (RDA) – This is built with raw parts by DIY vapers who wish to save money.
Second Generation E-Cigarette – Any Personal Vaporizer, APV that is not a cigalike.
SFATA – Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association. SFATA is the largest trade association in the e-cigarette/vaping industry providing support to manufacturers, online retailers, vape stores, distributors, importers and wholesalers.
Smoke Juice – Another name for e-iquid, liquid, juice, or e-juice. This is the liquid that is vaporized when using an electronic cigarette.
Smokeless Cigarette – The term used to refer to an electronic cigarette because it does not produce smoke as does a regular cigarette.
Stacked Battery MOD – These advanced e-cigarettes are often shaped like tubes and use two 3-volt batteries stacked in series to achieve a 6-volt operation. They cost less than variable-voltage e-cigarettes, but they are less flexible and have been known to have safety issues.
Standard Resistance (SR) – Standard resistance atomizers have an ohm rating of between 2.2 and 4.2 ohms. A standard resistance cartomizer is typically 3.0ohm. They are used by most of the more popular brands of e-cigarettes on the market as they have a good life-cycle and deliver excellent vapor.
Starter Kit – A kit that typically includes everything needed to begin vaping. Depending on the style of e-cigarette you buy, your starter kit will come with 1 or more fillable cartomizers, 4 or 5 pre-filled cartridges, 1 or more batteries and a battery charger.
Steeping – Allowing your e-liquid to sit either open to the air, (also called “breathing”) or in a sealed container so the flavor reaches a more desirable intensity. (read more)
Stick Style– Any electronic cigarette that resembles the style of a traditional cigarette.
Straight-to-Lung Hit: Straight-to-lung hit is one where the vapor is directly channeled through the throat and to the lungs, bypassing the mouth. This is similar to the way in which you breath air directly into your lungs.
Sub-Ohming – A method used by advanced vapers to create greater vapor production. Using the principles of Ohms Law, battery amp capacity is increased while the ohms of the coils have a resistance of less than one ohm. (read more).
Tank – Another name for a refillable cartomizer or Clearomizer that holds e-liquid.
Temperature Control – Also known as TC, this advanced technology controls the true temperature produced by a coil. TC was first introduced by Evolv in its temperature sensing DNA40 board.
Thermal Runaway – A very rare but serious occurrence where a chain reaction results in the fire and bursting of any rechargeable lithium based battery including computer batteries. Thermal runaway can be caused by using incompatible chargers with your product, overcharging, short circuiting, stacking batteries, a physically damaged battery and other malfunctions.
THR – (Tobacco Harm Reduction) – THR is an important public health strategy used to encourage tobacco smokers to switch to low-risk alternatives. These alternatives include, nicotine patches, nicotine gum, smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes. (read more).
Thirdhand Vapor – A controversial concept that substances (nicotine in particular) remain on the surfaces in areas where people have vaped contributing to thirdhand exposure.
Throat Hit – The sensation experienced by one who uses an e-cigarette when the vapor hits the back of the throat. Former smokers who smoked high nicotine cigarettes or unfiltered cigarettes often desire a stronger throat hit which may be obtained by ordering e-liquids with higher nicotine content, by using atomizers with lower ohm resistance levels, or by using batteries with a higher input voltage.
Triple-Coil Cartomizer – An advance type of cartomizer that employs three coils providing about 1.6ohms of resistance. They are meant to deliver a stronger throat hit and greater clouds of vapor. These cartomizers require a battery that delivers at least 5 volts of power.
Tube Mod – Any PV or APV that comes in a tube shape. Most sizes are about 6-8 inches, but they can be longer.
Unprotected Battery: Any lithium based battery that has no protection for the overcharging or other situations that can cause thermal runaway.
USB Charger– An e-cigarette battery charger that lets you charge by connecting the battery to a computer’s USB port.
Vape – The name given to the act of smoking an electronic cigarette or vaporizer. It is also The Oxford Dictionaries’ “Word of the Year” 2014.
Vaper -The name given to the user of an electronic cigarette or vaporizer.
Vaper’s Tongue – The term given to e-liquid flavor burnout when a vaper experiences the unusual sensation of not being able to taste the flavor of his or her vape. (read more).
The Vaping Militia – An organization committed to protecting the rights and health of vapors by advocating for safe public use of personal vaporizers.
Vapor – Referred to in conjunction with an electronic cigarette, vapor is the water vapor or steam cloud formed from heating the e-liquid. When produced, the vapor is inhaled and exhaled by the user of the ecigarette. The vapor is not created by flame or combustion as is tobacco smoke and is known to be a safer alternative to smoking.
Vaporizer – A vaporizer turns a liquid into a gas or vapor. This is also another term used for an electronic cigarette, ecig, eGo or PV.
Vapor Production – Typically associated with vaping e-liquids, it indicates the amount of vapor produced using an average inhale of an e-cigarette.
Vaping – Smoking an electronic cigarette. Vaping is different than smoking tobacco cigarettes as the user inhales a water vapor instead of smoke.
Vent Holes – Typically used to refer to special holes made in the casing of Personal Vaporizers or MODS to vent battery gases away from the face and to prevent battery explosion.
VG (Vegetable Glycerine) – A common base ingredient found in e-liquid. VG is usually combined with Propylene Glycol (PG), water, nicotine and flavorings to form the e-liquid. Some e-liquids may be ordered with mostly or 100% VG where thicker liquid or vapor is desired, or when the vaper is sensitive to PG. (read more).
Voltage – The fixed amount of energy that travels through a circuit; in this case an e-cigarette battery. Most devices use 3.7 volt batteries.
Voltage Drop – The amount of voltage lost when the electricity travels from your battery through your device and to your coils.
VV (Variable Voltage) – A Personal Vaporizer or Advanced Personal Vaporizer may have a VV battery that allows the user control over the voltage output of their device.
VV Mod – A variable voltage PV or MOD. The user can change the battery voltage to create the perfect throat hit in balance with the ohms rating of the atomizer.
VW (Variable Wattage) – Any PV, APV, or Mod that allows the user control over the wattage output of their device across the atomizer coil. In most PVs, the wattage is automatically adjusted to be compatible with the voltage.
Watt (Wattage) – The unit of electrical energy or power. One watt is the product of one ampere of electrical current and one volt of energy. In other words, it is the amount of raw heat that the atomizer coil uses to vaporize your e-liquid.
Wicks – Used to deliver e-liquid to the coil in electronic cigarettes. Atomizers use wicks made from silica cord, fiberglass, cotton, steel mesh, or, (less often) ceramic materials.
Wicking – A capillary action where more concentrated fluid moves along a wick to an area of lesser concentration.