After updating this vaping glossary several times over the years, it’s astonishing to see the growth in e-cig slang and vocabulary. In fact, when I first wrote this in the very early days of vaping, we had about 15 words (and I had to scrape around for some of those)!
As we predicted at the time things are very different now, and even after excluding some very, very specialised terms we have a lengthy glossary. For a shorter, funner introduction to vaping terminology see The Secret Language of Vaping.
Vaping Terms Explained
ADV/All Day Vape: An e-liquid which is ideal for vaping all day.
APV (Advanced Personal Vaporiser): A number of people in the vaping community feel the word “electronic cigarette”, and its connotations with smoking, is unfortunate. Advanced Personal Vaporiser is one of a number of terms used as an alternative for more modern electronic cigarettes.
Amps: Short for ampere, a measure of electrical current. E-Cig batteries are measured in milli amh hours (1/1000 of an ampere).
Analog Cigarette: Used to refer to traditional combustible cigarettes.
ASH: Action on Smoking and Health. Along with their allies, the organisation opposes the electronic cigarette. ASH UK cautiously supports the device, but also supported the Tobacco Products Directive, which will put major restrictions on e-cigs.
Atomised Nicotine Utilizing Smoker (ANUS): Humorous, infrequently used term to describe a new vaper.
Atomiser (US: Atomizer): Electronic component that turns the nicotine solution contained within the e-cigarette into vapour. The word is starting to fall into disuse, with more people using the word coil.
Atty: Abbreviation for atomiser.
Bottom Coil Clearomiser (BCC): A clearomiser where the atomiser and heating coil is located at the bottom of the clearomiser. Usually also filled from the bottom end of the clearomiser rather than from the top.
Bottom Dual Coil Clearomiser (BDC): A bottom coil clearomiser with two coils. Provides more vapour and a stronger throat hit, but uses up batteries quicker than a single coil clearomiser. Increasingly being replaced by vertical coil cleaomisers.
Bottom Vertical Coil Clearomiser (BVC): A bottom coil clearomiser with a single coil in vertical configuration, allowing improved airflow. Available in clearomisers such as the Aspire Atlantis and Aspire Nautilus Mini.
Bridge: A covering over the atomiser in some coils.
Boxies: Vapers who prefer box mods.
Buck: A DC-DC power converter which steps down voltage while stepping up current.
Cartomiser (US: Cartomizer): The first e-cig devices were made up of a battery with a separate cartridge and atomiser. These evolved into cartomisers, which combined the seperate cartridge and atomiser into a single package.
Carts: Abbreviation of cartridges.
CASAA: Consumer Advocacy for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association (CASAA.org). Non-profit organisation campaigning on the behalf of electronic cigarette users.
Ceramic coils: A type of coil advertised as having a longer life span and creating more flavour and vaper. Following testing, safety concerns about ceramic coils in cartomisers have been voiced by Dr Farsalinos, who believes that small specks of ceramic could come loose from the coils. While ceramic coils can vary a lot (i.e. because there are safety concerns about some ceramic coils, these may be specific to the coil tested), the jury is still out on these.
Clearomiser (US: Clearomizer): A combined cartridge and atomiser with clear walls, which allow the user to see how much eliquid remains in the cartridge. For more information see The Ultimate Guide to Clearomisers.
Cigalike: An electronic cigarette that closely resembles a tobacco cigarette.
Coil: A coil is the part of the e-cig that heats e-liquid and turns it into vapour.
Clapton: A type of coil configuration. A clapton coil has a thin wire wrapped around a thicker wire that forms the main coil to offer more surface area to the wick.
Clone: A copy of a branded e-cigarette. Many of the top brands now feature authenticity stickers.
Cloud Chasing: The pursuit of blowing massive clouds. (Person: Cloud Chaser).
Custom Mod: A mod that has been customised by the user. Not available to purchase off the shelf, for example steam punk mods.
Diacetyl: A harmful compound which has been found in some e-juices, athough generally far below levels found in cigarette smoke. If you are worried, ensure you only buy e-liquid from companies which test their e-liquid. See Diacetyl in E-Cigarettes: What they never told you.
Disposable E-Cigarette: Designed to be used once and then disposed of after e-liquid has run out.
DNA Chipset: A brand of chipset that provides control and delivery of power to e-cigarettes.
DNA Mod: A mod that uses the DNA chipset .
Dipping: Refers to dipping an atomiser into e-juice prior to vaping.
Direct to lung: In contrast to Mouth to Lung vaping, in Direct to Lung vaping the vapour is inhaled to the lung without being held in the mouth first.
Dripping: Where e-liquid is dripped directly onto the coil, usually using a custom built mod.
Drip Shield: Prevents e-juice leaking when using drip tips. See Vape Rank’s What is a drip shield? for more info.
Dry Burn: The effect you get when you heat your coil with no or insufficient e-liquid. Usually done by accident, some vapers do this on purpose in order to remove residue. Can lead to the cotton catching fire. Scientists have advised against this.
Dry Hit: The feeling you get when you vape as or after the coil burns out. Here’s how to avoid it!
Dry Smoking: Done when atomiser is flooded with solution. Remove mouth piece, take out cartridge, replace mouth piece and inhale. Be very careful to avoid damaging the atomiser by over heating it.
Drip tips: Were originally used to refer to a device used to drip several drops of eliquid directly onto an atomiser. Now sometimes used to refer to the mouthpiece of an electronic cigarette.
ECA/ECASSOC: The Electronic Cigarette Association. An American industry association set up both represent the interests of and enforce certain standards on members. Now defunct.
ECCA: E-Cigarette Consumer Association of the UK. Grassroots organisation which represents UK consumers and also organised National Vaping Day in 2012. No longer active.
ECF: Abbreviation for E-Cigarette Forum.
ECR: Abbreviation for E-Cigarette Reddit.
ECITA: Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association: Represent the UK electronic cigarette industry. Members have to pay a monthly fee, adhere to strict standards and undergo strict twice yearly audits. Also campaigns for fair regulations on behalf of its member.
eGo (also written as ego or EGO): Originally an electronic cigarette model produced by JoyTech. Ego is now used to refer to the type of fitting of a clearomiser or cartomiser. Ego or 510 connection. See The Types of eGo E-Cigarettes on ECig One for details
Electronic Cigar: similar to the electronic cigarette (see below) but with a cigar style and flavour.
Electronic Cigarette: A cigarette where an atomizer vaporises the nicotine which is then inhaled as vapour as compared to the smoke normally inhaled. Also known as the E-Cigarette, the E-Cig, Electro-fag and even the E-Ciggy.
E-liquid: A liquid solution. Usually contains nicotine, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine, although some e-liquids contain zero nicotine. Alternatives to
ENDs: Electronic Nicotine Devices, another term for electronic cigarettes. Frequently used in scientific papers on e-cigarettes. Some vapers like the term as it suggests the END of smoking.
E-Pipe: If you have read the other two you can probably work out what an E-Pipe is…
E-Smoking: Smoking with an electronic cigarette.
Favour Cigarette: One of the first smokeless cigarettes. See Norman Jacobson below for more information.
Fins: Raised metal ridges, commonly placed on the drip tip of a tank, designed to dissipate heat.
Filling: Often refers to the material used to pack a cartomiser. It is an extension of the wick, and absorbs e-liquid that is supplied to the coil. Can also be called wadding or filler.
Flavour Chaser: A person who priorities flavour from his e-cig (often used in comparison with cloud chasing.)
Flooding: Occurs when e-juice floods into the atomiser.
Genesis atomiser – A style of RBA that consists of a tank below the coil deck. A wick (often stainless steel mesh) is fed though a hole into the tank and through the coil on the deck.
Han Li (commonly known in the west as Hon Lik): Inventor of the modern e-cigarette.
Herbert Gilbert: Considered by many to be the true inventor of the e-cig, he designed, patented and built a battery powered inhalation device in the 1960’s. You can read an interview with him here.
Hookah pen: Also known as shisha pens. Popular at one time, these were a style of e-cigarette, generally long and thin, and often available with flavours similar to those provided in hookah pens
Hot spots: On clearomiser coils, refers to a hot spot on the coil which can cause burning or bad taste. Some regulated mods have features to avoid this.
Hybrid: A mechanical mod designed without standard ego or 510 connection. The tank is essentially screwed directly onto the battery.
IBVTA: Independent British Vaping Trade Association. A new trade association set up to support the independent vape industry.
Joules: A measure of energy. Can be described as the work required to produce one watt of power for one second.
Kanthal wire: Trademarked name for a family of alloy used in resistance wires.
LED: The light at the end of the cigarette (light emitting diode). This lights up when the user inhales, resembling an analog. Depending on the model, the LED may convey information to the user about the battery, i.e. flashing when the battery is running out or glowing green to show it is fully charged.
LR: Abbreviation for low resistance. See resistances.
mAh: Milli amp hour (1/1000th of an amp hour)
Mech Mod: (Mechanical Mod) A mechanical mod is a device which has a battery and a switch with no adjustment or protection. For a guide and safety information see this article from On Vaping.
Mod: Originally the for an electronic cigarette which has been modified into a unique design. Now frequently used to describe mass manufactured box style e-cigarettes.
Mouthpiece: Replaces the butt of an analog.
Mouth to lung: In mouth to lung vaping the vapour is inhaled into the mouth and held there before being drawn into the lung.
Nic Base: A nicotine base designed for mixing with flavours. Typically comes in a pg/vg mix but with no flavours.
NNA: New Nicotine Alliance: An independent, non-commercial registered charity promoting an understanding of e-cigarettes and seeking an appropriate regulatory environment.
Nichrome/Nickel Wire: Nickel Chrome or nichrome wire can be used to measure the temperature of the coil in temperature control mods.
Norman L Jacobson: Pioneered the use of the term vaping. See our interview with Norman here.
Ohms: A measure of electronic resistance. Used to measure the resistance of heating coils in atomisers.
Organic Cotton: Organic cotton, especially Japanese, is favoured by many vapers for use in e-cig wicks.
Pen-Style: A particular style of electronic cigarette, known for its resemblance to a ball point pen.
Personal Electronic Nicotine Inhaler System (PENIS): More of a joke than a term commonly used despite the efforts of some vapers to popularise the term. Included for the sake of completeness!
Passthrough: Device that plugs directly into a computer or USB charger so that users can vape without having to worry about recharging their electronic cigarette.
PCC: Personal Charger Case/Portable Charging Case. Used to charge cigalike devices on the go.
Priming: The process of soaking your new coil prior to use. This reduces the chances of dry burn and burnt out coils and is essential when using more powerful set ups.
Propylene Glycol: A colourless liquid that forms the majority of the solution in the Electronic Cigarette. The liquid has been extensively tested for safety – see Propylene Glycol for more information.
Personal Vaporiser (or PV): An alternative name for the electronic cigarette.
RBA: Rebuildable Atomiser
RDA: Rebuildable Dripping Atomiser
Resistance: Refers to the resistance of the coil in the atomiser (measured in Ohms). A lower resistance produces more heat and vapour. See The Vaper’s Guide to Voltage, Watts and Ohms for more info.
Ruyyan Cigarette: The first modern e-cigarette, by inventor Hon Lik.
Second Generation ECigarettes: Used by scientists to refer to tank systems, with cigalikes being first generation e-cigarettes.
Silica: A type of wicking material that has largely been replaced by cotton and ceramic
Smoke-juice: Another phrase for E-juice.
Smokeless Cigarette: Alternative phrase for electronic cigarette. Not commonly used by vapers, but often used in media stories about electronic cigarettes.
Snus: Snus is the Swedish version of snuff. Since Snus was taken up in Sweden, lung cancer rates in the country have dropped to the lowest in Europe. The EU has banned Snus in almost all member countries, and attempted to do the same with e-cigarettes.
Squonking: Refers to the action of the squeezing a bottle of e-liquid which is directly attached to the coil in your mod. For details see Vaping 360’s Guide to Squonking.
Stealth vaping: Deliberately vaping in a way that is designed to minimise attention. Typically stealth vapers used certain techniques to minimise the amount of visible vaper exhaled and may use smaller, more discreet devices. For tips and tricks see Stealth Vape like a Pro.
Steel Mesh: Used for building wicks.
Sub Ohming: Vaping with a coil with a resistance set below one ohm.
TC (Temperature Control): When you set the temperature you want your atomiser to to run at rather than the voltage or wattage. See Temperature Controlled Vaping for more info.
Throat Kick/ Throat Hit: The definition seems to vary according to the vaper, but essentially the feeling when the vapor hits your throat. See The Vaper’s Guide to Throat Hit for a full definition and guide.
THR (Tobacco Harm Reduction): Much of the scientific support for the electronic cigarette has come from scientists involved in tobacco harm reduction.
Titanium coils: Alternative to nickel coils. Titanium is stiffer, offers higher resistance and is easier to work with. However, there is some controversy over titanium, with some vapers questioning the safety.
Tobacco Products Directive (TPD): Article 21 of the TPD puts into places major restrictions on e-cigs.
Topping: Topping up a cartridge with e-juice. Also known as topping off.
Vape: To inhale vapour from an electronic cigarette.
Vaper: A person who vapes.
Vaping: The habit/pastime of using electronic cigarettes.
Vapeaversary: When you celebrate the day you switched from smoking to vaping.
Vapers In Power: A political party representing vapers in the UK and standing in elections to raise awareness of vaping issues.
Vape Porn: Traditionally refers to pictures of e-cigs and e-juice. The proliferation of scantily clad young women in the vape industry may be leading to an evolution of this term.
Vaper’s Tongue: Refers to a loss of taste, from suddenly going off a flavour to losing all taste for flavours. If you have vaper’s tongue, here’s what to do!
Vapour And Gratification Inducing Nicotine Apparatus (VAGINA): Again, this one is not commonly used!
Vent holes: Designed as a safety feature in batteries, these allow gases to be expelled from the battery.
Venting: When gases are released via the vent holes from an e-cig battery.
Vooping: Vaping on the loo (you can work out the details!)
VG: Vegetable Glycerine: Vegetable glycerine is a clear, colourless, odourless but very sweet liquid used as an alternative to propylene glycol by vapers who mix their own liquid. Some vapers maintain it increases vapour production. See Vegetable Glycerine: Is it safe? for more information.
Watt: A measure for units of power. 1 Watt = 1 Joule per second
Wick: A small piece of fabric or cotton which is found in the cartridge. The wick absorbs the e-liquid and holds it until is vaped.
Wrap: A single revolution of a wire when building a coil.
X-Vaping: To exhale vapour from an e-cigarette. (Actually, we just made this one up.)
You: The person who uses your e-cig.
Zero Nic: E-Liquid or cartridges that contain no nicotine.
Zooping: Using your e-cigarettes at the zoo while looking at beasts.
This is a work in progress. We may have missed some words, and there are bound to be new ones added. So if you think we are missing some, do suggest them in the comments below!