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Vaping Glossary - what does it all mean?

The ultimate vaping glossary

# - A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W–Z


AKA Atty, an atomiser is the component which turns e-liquid into vapor (technically an aerosol).


Tobacco cigarette. A tongue-in-cheek way of differentiating an e-cig from an ‘analogue’ smoke.


Anti Nicotine and Tobacco Zealots: Typically members of anti tobacco groups, but also unaffiliated individuals who hold strong, unscientific beliefs about the dangers and nature of nicotine, and who collude in keeping the public in the dark about the safety of non-smoked tobacco products relative to smoking.


The component part of a vaping device which causes e-liquid to turn into a vapor. Contains one or more coils of resistance wire, and comes in a multitude of formats depending on the device.

Amp: Ampere

An ampere is the international system of units unit of electric current. Currents passing through vaping products are in the Milliamps (thousands of an amp) range.


A feature on some vaping devices where the vape is generated when the user puffs, rather than by pressing a button.

All Day Vape

Some vapers have an eliquid or eliquid/device combo which they use ‘all day’. Some vapers will have other vapes for different circumstances.

APV: Advanced Personal Vaporizer

A vaping device with high battery capacity and advanced microelectronic features such as the ability to vary the voltage or wattage, or the ability to monitor puffs taken.

AWG: American Wire Guage

A North American system of measurement for the diameter of electrically conducting wire


Um, a battery! Although in this context, “battery” often refers to the whole ‘power unit’ of an e-cigarette or eGo type device (i.e. including the switch, LEDs and threading for cartomiser or Tank). Many other batteries are used in Mods/APVs

B&M: Bricks & Mortar

Sometimes know as “vape stores”, these have sprung up across America and other parts of the world in recent years.

BCC: Bottom Coil Changeable

A tank design in which the coil sits at the bottom (battery end). The coil is housed in a protective unit which is replaced regularly.

BDC: Bottom Dual-Coil Cartomizer

Similar to the above, but utilizes twin-coils for greater performance.


Empty (I.e. not prefilled) cartomizers which vapers purchase to fill with their favourite e-liquid

Box Mod

A mod in a box shape! Has a number of advantages over cylindrical devices, such as the ability to contain additional functionality in a configuration that only a cuboid shape can permit. The box mod form-factor is preferred by many vapers.  If you are thinking about purchasing one, check out our guide to buying your first box mod.


Typically found on older devices or on dripping atomizers, the bridge is a steel mesh which wicks e-liquid onto the atomizer coil.


Originally referred to a larger (transparent) cartomiser which did not require filler material, but now used generically to describe tank systems with ‘viewports’ (such as the EVOD or CE3 etc) which allow the user to see how much eliquid remains in the tank. Semi-disposable


Deprecated to some degree, although still available from a few sellers. First generation cigalikes were 3 piece devices comprised of a battery, an atomizer and a cartridge containing an e-liquid saturated filler which was inserted into the atomizer.


Many different chargers are provided for use with vaping products. Some are classic battery chargers for rechargeable batteries, some are designed for the specific e-cigarette, typically with a screw-threaded attachement.

It is important to only use the charger provided with the vaping product purchased. Using incorrect chargers has been implicated in some battery fires.


Once referred to as a “mini”, e-cigarettes which resemble cigarettes are often now referred to as cigalikes, cig-a-likes or cig-alikes. This is to differentiate the category, which is commonly found in places where smoked tobacco is sold, from the rest of the vaping devices, which are found online and in dedicated vape stores.

CASAA: Consumer Advocates for Smokeless Alternatives

A consumer-led, volunteer Tobacco Harm Reduction organisation which campaigns for the truth to be told about the relative safety of smokeless tobacco and vaping products compared with smoked tobacco. They spend much of their time organizing against state and city wide restrictions being applied to vaping products, and have had a huge amount of success. If you haven’t yet done so, please become a member and donate if you can.


An automated feature in some vaping products (usually cig-a-likes) which cuts off power to prevent overheating and the associated dry-puff.


All atomizers utilize a coil of Kanthal or Nichrome wire which heats when current is applied to it, and produced the vapor from the e-liquid. Coils are configured in a myriad of different ways, and are of different lengths and thicknesses. Many vapers choose to ‘build’ their own coils according to their own preferences. The overall output of a coil is subject to ohm’s law.


Dripping is a technique whereby a dripper (usually a pipette) is used to drop small amounts of eliquid directly onto the atomizer. This is in contrast to the typical eliquid in a tank or filler material being wicked to the atomizer.

Drip tip

A drip tip is a mouthpiece which enables e-liquid to be dripped through it onto the atomizer.

Drip On-Demand (DOD)

DOD systems are designed to allow the semi-automated dripping of e-liquid onto the atomizer coil/wicking. In some respects, this is the "holy grail" of vaping product design.


The nJoy king was the first "all-in-one" e-cigarette designed to be fully disposable. Once it's spent, it is discarded.

Direct Dripping

In direct dripping, the e-liquid is dripped onto the atomizer coil itself, as opposed to on the wicking material surrounding the coil.


The DNA is a series of integrated power regulating chipset and display screens produced by Evolv. They are often used by modders, but also in commercially available offerings.

Drip Shield

Dry Puff/Burn/Hit

If there is not enough e-liquid in the device, the remaining e-liquid may overheat causing a dry-puff. Almost all new vapers will experience this nasty phenomenon a few times in the early days, but it's easily avoided by ensuring sufficient e-liquid is present.

Do It Yourself (DIY)

Many of the innovations in vaping products have come from hobbyists DIYing their own devices and e-liquids. ECF has an active community of DIYers, but it's not for everyone - there are risks involved, particularly with handling concentrated nicotine e-liquids.


Depending on who you talk to, “e-cigarette” is either the name for the whole category of vaping products, or refers to those devices which resemble tobacco cigarettes (see Cigalikes). Also, E-cigars, E-pipes, E-hookahs: all terms describing vaping versions of traditional tobacco products.


E-liquid is the liquid which is aerosolized by vaping products. It's typically comprised of 4 ingredient categories: nicotine, humectant (PG/VG), water and flavorings.


The first mass-produced 2nd generation vaping product, eGo was never trademarked and is sold as a generic product by many suppliers. The original eGo device was produced by Joyetech, but all the major manufacturers have a similar device in their inventory.


E-Cigarette-Forum.Com, the first online community for vapers and still the largest and most active. ECF has been hugely influential in the formation of vaping culture and the vaping industry.


A silica braided wicking material used by many vapers, particularly in rebuildable atomizers. It is preferred because of its excellent wicking and its heat-resistant non-toxic properties.


All Cig-A-likes contain a filler which acts both as a binder for the e-liquid (so it doesn’t leak) and a wicking material for the liquid to reach the atomizer coil.


The genesis rebuildable atomizer was one of the first commercially available. The name is used generically to refer to rebuildables with specific design features.



A tank system with a glass (or pyrex) sheath, as opposed to polycarbonates. Some vapers believe these to be safer than plastics.


GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe). This applies to food and cosmetic ingredients only, and not to inhalable products since they’ve not been tested for inhalation safety. Regardless, GRAS ingriendients should only ever be used in e-liquids.

High Resistance (HR)

Atomizers which run at a higher resistance typically run cooler and drain less power from the battery.

Hot Spot

A phenomenon where a rebuilt atomizer coil is not fully in contact with the wicking material. This causes hot-spots which can often be seen glowing, and causes a burned taste. Vapers rebuilding their coils must learn to avoid this.

HV High Voltage HV Atty

High Voltage atomizers typically use a higher resistance coil, due to Ohm’s law: Lower resistance atomizers would run too hot.


2 Meanings: Hybrid atomizer or Hybrid PV. Hybrid atomizers are a dripping atomizer designed to allow greater performance from directly dripped e-liquid. Hybrid PVs are designed to be seamless all-in-one devices, raising the design standard of the PV from a cobbled together look to a sleek, beautiful artisan creation.




Alternative name for e-liquid


An alloy composite wire used to build atomizer coils.


A circular chipset inserted into cylindrical mechanical mods to regulate the power output of the batteries. Produced by Evolv.

Knuckle Head


Tank systems are prone to leaking e-liquid, either due to being improperly filled, or in the process of refilling them. E-liquid in contact with skin is not problematic so long as it is washed off soon afterwards.

Li-Po Li-Ion



Low resistance atomizers run hotter than their higher resistance counterparts. This in turn produces a warmer vapor, with a stronger throat-hit sensation.


Many vaping products require the user to press a button to provide power to the atomizer coils (as opposed to activating through puff). This is preferred by many, as it allows the preheating of the coil prior to taking a puff.

Mechanical Mod (Mech Mod, Mech PV, Mech)

Mechanical mods are devices in which there is no microelectronic circuitry (unless a Kick is added). Power output is controlled through Ohms law - that is to say, by combining battery voltage with specific resistance of the coil to create the desired heat.

For more information about these mods, check out our article on the basics of mechanical mods.

mg strength

The convention has been for manufacturers to describe the nicotine strength of their e-liquid in terms of the number of milligrams (weight) per milliliter (volume) of e-liquid. Some manufacturers are now choosing to use percentages instead, as this is based on volume alone.


Deprecated - used to describe smaller cigalikes.


MilliAmp Hours: This is the rating of energy density in a battery. It describes how long (time) a battery can provide a current for. An 18650 battery rated at 2600 mAh run at a setup draining 2amps will last for 1.3 hours on a full charge, for example.

Micro coil

A smaller diameter coil, typically constructed by wrapping kanthal around a hanging nail or some such, and having the coil pushed together without space between wraps. See this ECF thread for a nice example



MV (Multi-Voltage)







Personal Vaporizer (PV)



Propylene Glycol (PG)

Passthrough (PT)





Propylene Glycol (PG)



Thermal Runaway

Throat Hit (TH)

Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR)

Tube Mod


Vape safe



VG: Vegetable Glycerin

VV: Variable Voltage

VW: Variable Wattage


Vapor Production




Have any suggestions? Found a term not included? Please let us know in the form at the bottom of the page, and we'll add it right away!

  • GeoffZoref

    There are many words here that remain undefined. I woud be happy to go throug it and ill in the missing definitions for you. Please email me at