Vaping/E-Cigarette Terminology

Vaping/E-Cigarette Terminology

Whether you are new to vaping or a veteran, conversing in the language of the vaping world can get a bit confusing at times. As vaping evolves, old terminology takes on new meanings, and new terminology emerges.

Fortunately, we have created a glossary of vaping and e-cig terminology. Here, you will find definitions of the most commonly used vaping terms, as they are used today. As vaping grows in popularity and new products and builds come to market, this list will be updated. To find a term without scrolling through the list, hit "CTRL" and "F" on your keyboard to search for a specific word or phrase.



Acronym for the nonprofit Association of American E-liquid Manufacturing Standards. AEMSA develops standards for the manufacture of e-liquids.


Acronym for airflow control. The flow of air is controlled via a screw or small dial on the vaping device tank or atomizer.

Actuator (contactor button)

The button on a mechmod that turns the device on or off.

Advanced Personal Vaporizer (APV)

Another name for a mod (see mod). Can be variable wattage, variable voltage, or mechanical. Batteries are replaceable.


How much air a vaper sucks through the tank or atomizer. More airflow helps produce more vapor. Less airflow will result in more intense flavor, but less vapor.

Alien Coil

A modified Clapton coil, where a wire is wrapped around three other wires in the metal conductor. Alien coils increase the vapor and flavor of hits. They also take longer to heat up than other coils, use more e-juice, and produce a warm hit.

All Day Vape

This refers to a vaper's favorite e-liquid.

Allen Key (Allen Wrench)

A small, L-shaped, metal tool for adjusting Allen screws. Allen screws are found in rebuildable tanks and atomizers.

American Wire Gauge (AWG)

A wire size standard used in the United States. Thicker coil wire results in more heat and vapor

(less resistance).

Amps (Amperage)

Energy flow across a circuit. Atomizers utilizing a lower resistance benefit from batteries with higher amperage, reducing the likelihood of the battery overheating from the low resistance.


Another name for a traditional cigarette.


A method of electrochemically treating an aluminum (or other metal) surface to make it more durable and resistant to corrosion. Vape gear is frequently anodized to prevent aluminum from dissolving into the e-liquid, preventing possible metallic taste when vaping and inhalation of dissolved particulates.

Atomizer ("Atty")

The part of a vaping device that heats e-juice and turns it into vapor. In the vaping world, the term is often synonymous with coil.

Aqueous Glycerin (AG):

Vegetable glycerin plus deionized, distilled water. AG thins out e-juice, making it more readily absorbed by the vaping device's wick.

Automatic ("Auto")

Refers to vaping devices with an atomizer sensor that automatically heats the coil without the need to press a button. The device senses when air is being drawn, thus automatically heating the coil to produce vapor.

Automatic Shutoff

A safeguard to prevent e-cig batteries from overheating. Most unmodified, regulated e-cigs will automatically shut off if they overheat.



Acronym in the vaping community for Big Tobacco.


The power source to the coil, or, heating element. Batteries can be automatic, which are switched on during inhaling, or manual, which require a button to be pushed to warm the vape juice. Some are built into the device, while others are replaceable.

Bottom Dual Coil Clearomizer (BDC)

A clear container (cartridge) with two built-in coils. A bottom dual coil clearomizer uses up batteries faster than single coil clearomizer, but some vapers prefer a BDC for the more intense throat hit it and vapor volume it provides.

Bottom Vertical Coil Clearomizer (BVC)

A bottom coil clearomizer, arranged vertically to allow for more airflow.


Empty cartridges with or without built-in atomizers, designed to be filled with the users preferred e-liquid.


E-juice PG/VG ratio. The blend affects the strength and smoothness of vape hits and how much vapor is produced.


Refers to either added flavor ("flavor boost") in an e-juice or a regulated mod feature that instantly increases voltage.

Bottom Coil Clearomizer

A type clear cartridge with a built-in coil that is configured either horizontally or vertically at the bottom of a vaping device. Bottom coil clearomizers can produce more flavor, more vapor, less leaking, and cooler hits than many top coil clearomizers.

Box Mod

A mechanical or variable modified APV that is box-shaped. Box mods are generally more powerful and portable than tube mods.

Bottom Vertical Coil Clearomizer (BVC, bottom feed clearomizer, "bottom feeders")

A bottom coil clearomizer that is configured vertically at the bottom of a vaping device. The vertical position of the coil provides more airflow than a horizontally configured one.


A small, steel mesh-coated, U-shaped covering over some disposable atomizers. A bridge helps absorb e-liquid and wick e-juice towards the coil.



Acronym for the nonprofit, Consumer Advocacy for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association. CASAA advocates for vapers' rights.


A cartridge with an atomizer / coil built into it (cartridge + atomizer = cartomizer). They can be disposable or refillable. The first e-cigarette devices were comprised of separate cartridges and atomizers that evolved into combined cartomizers.


The container that holds e-juice, usually containing a replaceable wick and coil. "Cartridge" i sometimes used synonymously in the vaping community with the term, "core".

Ceramic Coil

A porous tube, made of ceramic, with wires inside, surrounded by cotton, that acts as a wick and heating element in vaping devices. This type of coil can create more vapor and a more intense flavor.


A miniature e-cig design that mimics the look and feel of a traditional tobacco cigarette.

Clapton Coil

A customized coil with thinner wire wrapped in thicker wire. This provides a greater surface area to the wicking, delivering a more intense taste and thicker vape cloud. Clapton coils get their name from the fact that they resemble guitar strings.


A cartomizer made of glass or plastic, in which e-juice is visible.


A person who enjoys creating a large vapor cloud while vaping.


Vape "smoke", which is simply vaporized e-juice.


The metal, conductive part of a vaping device that heats e-juice to produce vapor.

Coil Jig

A tool used for wrapping coils, used to build or rebuild kanthal wire coils. They are normally used by vapers who vape with RDAs and RBAs.

Coil Winder

Used for wrapping coils manually, coil winders are sometimes a part of a coil jig unit. Coil jigs, screwdrivers, drill bits, or other wiring can serve as coil winders.

Coil Wrapping

As part of the process of building coils, coil wrapping is the act of manually wrapping wire around a coil winder.

Cone Threads

A type of coil threading found in eGo variety vaping devices.


The type of threading in an atomizer.

Custom Mod

A mod that is custom made and not available for off-the-shelf purchase.

Cutoff Time

The time it takes between inhaling and when an e-cig shuts off, normally 10 20 seconds. Designed as a safeguard to prevent the e-cig from overheating.


Disposable E-Cigarette

A disposable electronic cigarette that discarded after its e-juice has all been used.


When a user dips the atomizer into the e-juice or drips a few drops of e-juice onto the atomizer before vaping. Many users feel this creates a more intense flavor and a greater volume of vapor.


When a user inhales vapor directly into the lungs, rather than inhaling into the mouth first.


When a user inhales vapor into the mouth first, then into the lungs. This is typically the way traditional cigarettes are smoked.

Dragon Coil

A build type where the coils are wrapped with the wick. With adequate airflow, a dragon coil can help produce larger vape clouds than with typical coils.


To inhale vapor from a vaping device or e-cig.

Drip Shield

Used in conjunction with drip tips, prevents e-liquid from leaking.

Drip Tip

A removable mouthpiece on an e-cig. In the past, "drip tip" was used synonymously with "dipping".

Drip Well

A bowl-shaped well near an e-cig connector that catches leaking e-liquid.


See Dipping.

Dry Burn

To vape in short spurts without any e-juice. A cleaning technique for atomizers.

Dry Hit

Vaping without enough e-juice present or using a burned-out coil. Produces a harsh taste.

Dual Coil

Clearomizers, cartomizers, or atomizers that have two coils, rather than only one. Batteries lose charge faster, but more vapor is produced.


The part of a rebuildable atomizer that supports the positive and negative posts.


To remove a wick from an atomizer.



Electronic Nicotine Devices, another name for e-cigs. See e-cig.

E cig/E-cig

An electronic cigarette. A type of vaping device made to resemble a traditional cigarette.


An electronic hookah attachment that produces e-juice vapor.


A flavored liquid used in a vaping device. E-juice/e-liquids come in a variety of flavors and blends, with and without varying levels of nicotine.

E-NIC (Electronic Nicotine Inhaler)

See e-cig.


The vapor produced while vaping or using an electronic cigarette.

eGo (also, "ego" or "EGO"): JoyTech produced an e-cig named eGo, but the term is used today to describe a fitting type on a cartomizer or clearomizer.

Electronic Cigar

A rechargeable or disposable e-cig designed to mimic a Cuban cigar.


Favor Cigarette

A type of first-generation smokeless cigarette.


Metal, raised ridges on some tanks' drip tips to disperse heat.

Filling ("Filler", "Poly-Fil")

Material packed inside a cartomizer. It absorbs e-juice and is considered a part of the wick. Holds e-juice before it is transferred to the heating element.

Flavor Chaser

As opposed to a "cloud chaser", a person who prioritizes flavor over larger vape clouds.


When e-juice leaks into the heating element, causing decreased vapor production from the restricted airflow.



Generally Recognized as Safe. A term used by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Genesis Atomizer

A type of atomizer or tank that uses steel mesh instead of silica or cotton. The coil is situated at the top of the tank, with juice delivered by way of osmosis.

Genesis Atomizer

A tank or atomizer that utilizes steel mesh wicking, rather than cotton or silica, and delivers e-juice through a hole in the tank to the coil.


A glass (as opposed to plastic) clearomizer reservoir.

Goose Neck

An long atomizer mouthpiece that looks like a goose neck. Goose necks come in various materials, sizes, and colors.

Grub Screw

A type of atomizer post clamp.


Han Li (Hon Lik)

The inventor of today's standard electronic cigarette.


See "coil".


Layers or fins sticking out of an atomizer, e-cig, or drip tip that dissipate internal heat faster.

Herbert Gilbert

Inventor of the first e-cig, which was developed in the 1960s.

High Resistance Atomizer

Describes a heating element operating at a higher ohm, used for vaping at high voltages (above-ohm vaping).

Hookah pen (Shisha Pen)

A long, thin type of e-cig that uses hookah flavors.

Hot Spot

A part of the coil that glows, indicating that the coil is unevenly wrapped in that spot. Often detected through a dry hit.

HV (High Voltage)

Atomizers and mods that operate above 3.7 volts. Could cause early loss of battery life in standard, lower-powered batteries. Higher-powered batteries are recommended.

Hybrid Mod

An electronic cigarette that is designed with the atomizer and battery holder together as a single unit.



Acronym for a rechargeable lithium ion cobalt battery.


Acronym for a rechargeable lithium ion manganese battery.



Shortened term for e-juice / e-liquid.


Kanthal Wire

A trademarked type of wire used in coils, usually in devices running at high wattages.


(A) Throat hit (B) Chip created by Evolv that converts mechanical e-cigs to variable wattage or variable voltage vaping devices.



Acronym for light-emitting diode. Some e-cigs have an LED at the end of the device to mimic the experience of smoking a traditional cigarette. It also serves as a warning light for when the battery is getting weak, normally glowing red when the battery has lost its charge.


Occurs when e-liquid seeps out of its container. Can damage batteries.


A rechargeable lithium polymer battery.

Low Resistance (LR)

An atomizer, a cartomizer, or a clearomizer operating at a lower ohm. Allows the vaping device to heat faster and produce more vapor faster than with higher-resistance components. Can cause batteries to die out faster.


mA/mAh (Milliampere Hour)

Representation of the amount of power over a certain period. Is measured as 1/1000th of an ampere. Describes charger output in the vaping world.

mg (milligrams)

Normally presented in the vaping world as milligrams of nicotine per milliliter of e-juice.

MV (Multi-Voltage) Mods

Regulated mods that allow the user to control the voltage setting during vaping.


Refers to a type of electronic cigarette or vaping device where the user must push a button before or during inhaling to produce vapor.

Manual Shutoff

A series of button clicks that turn the device off, prolonging battery life and preventing misfires.

Mechanical Mod (Mech Mod)

A vaping device with a battery, no wires, and without a regulating chip. Mech mods are normally made of metal tubing and use a button to turn the device off and on. Since voltage cannot be adjusted, the amount of vapor produced will become weaker as the battery grows weaker.

Micro Coil

A standard type of coil, using any gauge wire, wrapped around a 5/64 or 7/64 drill bit or screw or jig of the same size, where all the coil loops touch one another. Creates lower resistance (lower ohms), faster heating, more vapor, and shortened battery life.


The end piece of a vaping device through which vapor is inhaled. Can be customized using a drip tip or built in.

Mouth-to-Lung Hit

When vapor is held in the mouth before being inhaled into the lungs.


(A) A modified e-cig or vaping device (B) A premanufactured, box-style vaping device that produces stronger vapor with a longer battery life than a standard vaping device. Can be variable or mechanical.


Nic / Nic Juice

Refers to an e-juice containing nicotine.

Nic Base

A flavorless, base nicotine liquid that is custom mixed with various flavors of e-juice.

Nichrome Wire

Wire made of nickel and chrome, sometimes containing a small amount of iron. Used in high-wattage vaping devices, in temperature control mode, and with certain exotic builds of coils.


Refers to an e-juice that contains no nicotine.



A measure of the resistance of electricity in a vaping device. Higher ohm ratings result in slower heating and cooler, thinner vapor.

Organic Cotton

A type of all-natural cotton that is used for wicks in rebuildable tanks and atomizers, as opposed to traditional silica wicks. Organic cotton wicks provide for a cleaner and more intense flavor at the expense of the wick burning faster.



Acronym for a portable or personal charging case for a cig-a-like.

PG (Propylene Glycol)

A harmless, colorless, base liquid that makes up most of an e-juice.

PV (Personal Vaporizer)

Another name for an electronic cigarette or vaping device.

Pen-Style E-Cig

An electronic cigarette that looks like a writing pen.

Passthrough Vaping

Vaping while the vaping device is charging, made possible by a USB-compatible device.

Primer Liquid

A vegetable glycerin-based liquid applied to coils and wicks to prevent them from drying and rotting while being stored or shipped.


Traditionally accomplished through repeatedly pushing a button, priming is the act of soaking a newly installed coil with e-juice prior to the first vape with the new coil. Reduces dry burn and chances of coils burning out early.



RBA (Rebuildable Atomizer)

An atomizer made of separate components that can be reconfigured or rebuilt.


An RBA used in dripping. Acronym for rebuildable dripping atomizer.


Acronym for rebuildable tank atomizers.


Acronym for a rebuildable tank made of stainless steel.

Regulated Mod

A mod with built-in safeguards against overheating.


How quickly electricity passes through a heating element, measured in the unit ohm.

Ribbon Wire (Ribbon Kanthal, Ribbon)

A type of wire used in coils that is flat instead of round. Results in more intense flavor and more vapor production.

Ruyyan Cigarette

The first type of contemporary electronic cigarette, developed by Hon Lik.


Second Generation E-Cigarettes

Used in the scientific community to refer to vaping devices that use tanks.


A battery component in some electronic cigarettes and PVs that detect when vapor is being inhaled. The advantage of a sensor is that the user does not need to press or click a button to power the atomizer.


A wiring style that doubles the output of voltage in a device but shortens the life of the battery.


A material traditionally used in PV wicks, largely being replaced by ceramic and organic cotton wicks.

Smart Chip

The part of a battery unit in a PV that provides advanced, customizable functionality and settings.

Smoke Juice

E-liquid/ e-juice.

Smokeless Cigarette

A term most often used by the media, "smokeless cigarette" is just another term for an e-cig.


Generally refers to using a bottom feeder. Utilizes a squonk hole to transfer e-juice into a rebuildable dripping atomizer.


A generally unsafe method of increasing the power of a mechanical mod by placing several batteries together, end to end.

Standard Resistance

Typically between 1.8 and 3.0 ohms, this is the standard range of resistance used in most vaping devices.

Stealth vaping

Vaping so as to not be detected. Stealth vapers typically employ techniques that decrease vapor volume and use smaller devices.

Sub Ohming

The act of vaping with resistance set to less than one ohm. Produces very large vapor clouds.


TC (Temperature Control)

Controlling the temperature at which a vaping device operates, rather than varying the wattage or voltage.


Dripping directly and then inhaling without using a drip tip.


The container that holds e-juice. Can be made of plastic or glass.

Thermal Runaway

When a lithium-type battery overheats due to a malfunction in the electrical circuitry.


The connection between a tank and the rest of a vaping device.

Throat Hit

Inhaling vapor directly to the back of the throat, resulting in tingling inside the throat.

Titanium Coil

Sometimes utilized instead of a nickel coil for its resistance and stiffness. Some controversy does still exist over the safety of titanium coils, though.

Topping Off

Instead of waiting until all e-juice is used, "topping off" is the act of adding a few drops of e-liquid to fill an e-juice container before it becomes completely empty.

Triple Coil

Cartomizers and rebuildable vaping devices that use three coils to produce tremendous clouds of vapor. As with most methods of producing massive vapor, the drawback is that the battery will wear out quickly.

Tube Mod

A small, tube-shaped electronic cigarette or personal vaping device.


USB Passthrough

A feature of a PV that allows the user to vape while the device is charging through a USB connection.

Unprotected Battery

A battery manufactured without any safeguards against corrosion or leaking. Vapers with unprotected batteries must be careful to use and charge the batteries in the correct manner to maintain safety.

Unregulated Mod

A mech mod.


VG (Vegetable glycerin)

Combined with PG to form the base of e-liquids. Typically derived from coconut or palm oil. VG is colorless and clear with a sweet taste.

VV (Variable Voltage)

A vaping device feature that allows the user to increase or decrease the device's voltage via a button.

VW (Variable Wattage, Variable Power)

A feature of some vaping units that allows the user to control the number of watts produced by the device.


The act of inhaling vapor from an electronic cigarette or vaping device.


A person that uses a vaping device to vape.

Vaper's tongue

This occurs when taste is temporarily dulled due to vaping for extended periods of time.


The release of gases via vent holes in the battery of an e-cig or vaping device. Prevents battery from overheating.



Made of cotton, silica, stainless steel, or ceramic, a wick absorbs e-juice and carries it to the coil. Controls the flow of e-juice so that flooding does not occur.


The number of times a coil goes around a bit or jig. More wrapping produces increased resistance.




Zero Nic

See "No-Nic".