E-Cig & Vaping Terminology
E-cigarettes are quite simple, but if you're new to the world of vaping it's easy to get confused by all of the complicated terminology. We have a unique language that's all our own, and with so many different facets to vaping (from equipment, to accessories, to delivery methods), uniquely coined terms, jargon and lingo are used to describe every aspect. Let's start with the basics and move on to the more advanced vaping terms:
The Basic Terms
If you have zero experience with e-cigarettes, you should become familiar with the most basic vaping terminology. Here are the terms that every user should know:
- Analog – Slang term for a traditional cigarette
- Atomizer (Atty) – Heats the liquid and produces the vapor. It’s housed inside a metal container that screws into the battery.
- Automatic – Type of e-cigarette that automatically activates the heating element when a user draws on the device. It does not have a button and often resembles a traditional cigarette.
- Battery – Houses the electronics that power the atomizer. They are typically 3.7v lithium ion and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
- Cartomizer (Carto) – The combination of an atomizer and cartridge. They're usually larger than a traditional cartridge and often hold more e-juice.
- Cartridge (Cart) – The term is often used interchangeably with “cartomizer,” but a cart is typically smaller and holds less e-liquid. Both include a plastic (or metal) tube packed with an absorbent filler material that holds the e-juice. They're attached at the base of the mouthpiece.
- Cigalike – Term used to describe an electronic cigarette that resembles a real cigarette (see Mini / Pen / Stick)
- Clearomizer (Clearo) – A transparent cartomizer that uses wicks rather than filler material to absorb e-liquid and deliver it to the atomizer.
- E-Cig, E-Cigarette – Shortened term used for “electronic cigarette.” Also referred to as: vapor cigarette, personal vaporizer and more.
- Ego – A popular “mid-size” style of electronic cigarette that utilizes 510 threads. Ego's are larger than traditional cigarettes, are manually operated, and are extremely popular because they're inexpensive and perform exceptionally well. Also referred to as vape pens.
- E-Liquid, Smoke Juice, E-Juice – Common names for the mixture of nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and natural or artificial flavorings that are used fill an e-cigarette and create vapor.
- Manual – Type of e-cigarette that includes a button (usually on the top or side of the battery) to activate the heating element manually. This style of e-cigarette is less like a traditional cigarette than an automatic, but it's preferred by many vapers because it's sealed and cannot leak, it gives users more control and normally produces stronger vapor.
- Mini, Pen, Stick – Smallest type of e-cigarette. These are about the same size as a traditional cigarette and have the shortest battery life of any style.
- Mouthpiece – The end of the device that the user inhales through, attached directly to the atomizer. Often made of aluminum or plastic.
- Nicotine Level – The amount of nicotine present in a cartridge or bottle of e-liquid. It's usually measured in mg or by percentage.
- Starter Kit – Includes all the basic equipment to begin vaping. They generally come with one or more batteries, a charger and tank / atomizer.
- Throat Hit – The burning sensation a user feels in the back of their throat when taking a drag from an e-cigarette. Because nicotine is a large contributing factor, juice that contains less nicotine often has a reduced throat hit. The quality of the e-liquid, vaping techniques and proper usage and care of the hardware also affect throat hit.
- Vape / Vaping – The action of “smoking” an electronic cigarette. Since e-cigs actually produce vapor (rather than smoke) people refer to this as “vaping”.
- Vapor – Produced by an atomizer when e-liquid is vaporized.
- Vapor Production – Indicates how much vapor is produced by a tank / atomizer when a user takes a drag.
More Advanced Terms
Once you understand all the basics, you'll eventually need to know more advanced vaping terms to take your vaping experience to the next level:
- Adapter – Allows one style of atomizer or cartomizer to fit a different style of battery so that users can customize their setup.
- Advanced Personal Vaporizer (APV) – An advanced version of a personal vaporizer. An APV usually consists of a bigger battery and features such as variable voltage / variable wattage.
- All Day Vape – Term for an e-liquid that someone prefers, one that can be vaped regularly without getting old or overwhelming one's taste buds.
- Blanks – Cartridges or cartomizers that ARE NOT pre-filled with e-liquid.
- Bridge – A small U-shaped covering inside of the atomizer that absorbs the liquid and leads it toward the heating element (atomizer).
- Cartomizer – Single Coil – A cartomizer that uses only 1 coil. This is standard for most cartomizers.
- Cartomizer – Dual Coil – A dual coil cartomizer uses 2 coils and is commonly used in tanks. A dual coil cartomizer has the ability to produce more vapor at a fast rate than a single coil.
- Cartomizer Tank – A tube to hold e-liquid that surrounds a cartomizer. The cartomizer sits in the middle and is fed from the tank, providing a longer vaping experience than a cartomizer alone.
- Coil – A coil is a kanthal, nichrome, nickel or titanium wire inside the atomizer that heats up liquid to produce vapor.
- Cut-Off – A safety feature that prevents the atomizer from overheating from too frequent or long drags by cutting off the power.
- Drip Tip – A plastic or aluminum addition that allows juice to be dripped directly onto the atomizer. Also acts as mouthpiece.
- Dripping – A method of adding juice to recessed and exposed atomizers by dropping it directly onto the bridge before vaping. Many users feel this method produces the best vapor production and taste since there is no filler material involved. Used in conjunction with a Drip Tip.
- Dipping – A method of adding liquid to atomizers that have an exposed wick, after which the e-cig can be used for a short period without a cartridge.
- Dry Burn – Method for cleaning buildup from an atomizer coil.
- Filler Material – Absorbent material used in cartridges and cartomizers to deliver e-liquid to the atomizer at an optimal pace.
- Flooding – Issue that occurs when there’s too much e-juice in the atomizer, decreasing the amount of vapor produced and affecting the flavor.
- High Resistance (HR) – An atomizer or cartomizer with a higher Ohm rating that allows you to apply higher voltage to the coil.
- Leaking – Similar to flooding but this issue occurs when too much liquid is added to an atomizer and leaks out of the bottom and onto the battery, which in some cases can cause damage to the device.
- Light Emitting Diode (LED) – A diode that converts applied voltage to light. These are commonly used in electronic cigarette devices to indicate that the device is actively being used.
- Low Resistance (LR) – An atomizer or cartomizer with a lower Ohm rating that typically heats hotter and faster, producing vapor more quickly.
- mAh – The term “mAh” is short for Milliamp Hour. Battery capacity is measured in mAh, with higher mAh ratings leading to increased battery life.
- Milligrams (mg) – Unit of measure for the amount of nicotine: 0mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18mg, 24mg, etc.
- Milliliters (ml) – Unit of measure for the amount of e-juice per bottle.
- Mod – A modified e-cigarette designed to the specific standards of a user. Mod devices can be purchased with fully customizable options, or changes and alterations can be made to standard products, i.e. batteries, cartridges and mouthpieces so as to fit the particular desires of a user; often to increase battery life and / or vapor production..
- Ohm – A measure of electrical resistance in e-cigarettes. A lower number indicates lower resistance and therefore faster heating.
- Pass-Through – A device that allows users to vape without a battery by plugging one end into a USB port and the other into the atomizer. Anecdotal evidence suggests that better vapor production and/or flavor is produced through a Passthrough compared to regular batteries.
- Personal Charging Case (PCC) – A PCC keeps your battery charged while away from an outlet and often resembles a pack of cigarettes. They're typically only used with mini, stick style e-cigs.
- Personal Vaporizer (PV) – Another more general term for an e-cigarette. Usually used in reference to larger devices (also known as mods)
- Propylene Glycol (PG) – PG is a base ingredient used in e-liquid. Although some people have mild allergic reactions to PG, it has been thoroughly tested, FDA-approved and generally considered safe. Known for producing excellent flavor and throat hit, it produces slightly less vapor than it's counterpart – VG.
- Rebuildable Atomizer – Rebuildable atomizers are meant to save on cost and be readily fixable. They vary in design and complexity; some have fabric wicks, while some use SS mesh and kanthal.
- Throat Kick – Generally considered a positive review of a hit.
- Standard Resistance – Term used to describe the standard resistance rating of a component. Standard resistance cartomizers are typically 3.0ohm. Standard resistance atomizers are 2.5ohm.
- Tank – A special type of cartridge (transparent or solid) that holds considerably more liquid than a standard cartridge with filler. Used in conjunction with cartomizer or an atomizer.
- Topping Up or Topping Off – The term for filling the cartridge with e-juice
- Triple-Coil Cartomizer – A recent addition to the list of cartomizer. It uses three coils providing a stronger vape than dual coil models.
- Variable Voltage (VV) – Allows a user to control how many volts a device will produce.
- Variable Wattage (VW) – Allows a user to control how many watts a device will produce.
- Vegetable Glycerin (VG) – Vegetable glycerin is an e-liquid base used in combination with, or as an alternative to propylene glycol. It's ideal for those who are allergic to PG and is known for producing excellent vapor.
- Wick – A small piece of cotton or fabric housed in many types of atomizers that provides the e-juice needed to produce vapor.
Some Technical Stuff
E-cig models are often broken down by thread-type. If you know the type of battery threading used, you can find the appropriate components to go with your device.
- 306 (aka LR306) – One of many styles of atomizers available. Since they are compatible with 510 ports, many users of 510 devices use LR306 atomizers on their batteries.
- 401, 402, 403 – Also referred to as m401, m402, and m403. One of many types of electronic cigarettes available. These are all essentially the same unit (same threading on batteries and atomizers) but with different length batteries. The 401 model is the longest in physical length and battery life of the three while the 403 is the shortest in length and battery life.
- 510 – Arguably the most common and popular thread type available. 510 threading is used on smaller, mini-style e-cigarettes, as well as larger Ego models and mods.
- 808 or KR808 – Common thread used on many mini e-cigs and a variety of larger models.
- 901 – Another common thread type used on many e-cig models.