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Beginner’s E-Cig Glossary

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Confused by the terminology used in vaping? You’re not alone! When starting off in the world of vaping, it’s easy to become bewildered by the amount of vocabulary.

Here you’ll find a guide to the essential words you need to understand vaping. If you’re looking for a more complete guide, check out The A-Z of Vaping: From Amps to Zero.

Still confused? We’d love to help out - contact us on [email protected] or use the contact details here.

Looking for a specific word? Click on the letter to find the word you need: A B C D E F I K L M N O P R S T V W Z


ADV/All Day Vape: An e-liquid which is ideal for all day use. Some vapers find rich or sweet flavours are not ideal for vaping all day.

Atomiser: Electronic component that heats the e-liquid, turning it into vapour. The word is starting to fall into disuse, with more people using the word coil.


Bottom Coil Clearomiser (BCC): A clearomiser where the atomiser and heating coil is located at the bottom of the clearomiser. This is increasingly being replaced by vertical coil clearomisers.

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 clearomisers (see below).

Bottom Fill: When the clearomiser/tank is filled from the bottom. Increasingly, tanks are being manufactured to be filled from the top. See top fill below for more info.

Bottom Vertical Coil Clearomiser (BVC): A bottom coil clearomiser with a single coil in vertical configuration, allowing improved airflow. You can read more about vertical coil clearomisers, and the benefits they offer, here.


Cartomiser (US: Cartomizer): A combination of a cartridge and an atomiser. Cartomisers are the easiest device to use, and are ideal for beginners who want something easy to use and similar to a cigarette. Halo cartridges are an example of these.

Clearomiser (US: Clearomizer): Similar to a cartomiser, but the walls of the cartridge are clear and allow you to see how much e-liquid is left. For more information see The Ultimate Guide to Clearomisers.

Cigalike: An electronic cigarette that closely resembles a tobacco cigarette. See the Halo Cigalike for an example.

Coil: A coil is the part of the e-cig that heats e-liquid and turns it into vapour. Also known as an atomiser. See A Vaper’s Guide to Coils for more info.


Direct to Lung (DTL): When you inhale the vapour directly to your lung without holding it in your mouth first. Also see Mouth to Lung (MTL) below.

Dry Burn: This occurs when a coil burns out. This is usually caused by not priming the e-liquid or by not using enough e-liquid. See 7 Easy Ways to Avoid A Burnt Coil for more info.

Drip Tips: Were originally used to refer to a device used to drip several drops of e-liquid directly onto an atomiser. Now sometimes used to refer to the mouthpiece of an electronic cigarette.


Electronic Cigarette: An electronic alternative to cigarettes. Produce vapour instead of smoke. Also known as the e-cigarette or e-cig. Public Health England states e-cigarettes are at least 95% safer than smoking.

E-liquid: A liquid solution, usually containing nicotine, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine, although some e-liquids contain zero nicotine. You can see our range of e-liquid here.


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.

Flooding: Occurs when e-liquid floods into the coil. Common signs your atomiser may be flooded include the device leaking e-liquid, reduced vapour and a gurgling noise upon inhale. This post offers advice on how to avoid flooding and leaking.


IBVTA: Independent British Vaping Trade Association. A trade association set up to support the independent vape industry. Roles including working with government and trading standards to ensure fair regulation, helps members to comply with e-cig regulations and promotes the use of vaping in the media.


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). 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.


mAh: Milliamp hour (1/1000th of an amp hour). The higher the mAh, the more power a battery can hold. The battery life still depends on the power you use it at. For example, if you use a battery to deliver power at 40 watts it will not last as long as a battery used to deliver power at 20 watts.

Mod: Originally for an electronic cigarette which has been modified into a unique design. Now frequently used to describe mass manufactured box style e-cigarettes. These typically have more power and more features than basic models.

Mouth to lung (MTL): In mouth to lung vaping the vapour is inhaled into the mouth and held there before being drawn into the lung. Also see Direct to Lung (DTL).


Nichrome/Nickel Wire: Nickel Chrome or nichrome wire can be used to measure the temperature of the coil in temperature control mods.

Nicotine Salts: Nicotine salts use the natural form of tobacco found in the tobacco leaf to create a smoother throat hit. They may also deliver nicotine more rapidly, helping to mimic the effect of a cigarette.


Ohms: A measure of electronic resistance. Used to measure the resistance of heating coils in atomisers. Also see sub-ohm vaping below.

Organic Cotton: Organic cotton, especially Japanese. Many vapers prefer to use organic Japanese cotton as it is cleaner. It is more absorbent than regular cotton, which means it lasts longer, reduces the chances of dry hits and delivers a more consistent flavour.


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.

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 in E-Cigarettes for more information.

Pod Systems: Pod systems come in two parts: a battery and a pod. The pod is filled with e-liquid and clips into the battery. Pod systems are divided into two types, a closed pod system (pods come pre-filled but are not reusable) and open pod systems (come with empty pods which can be refilled with any e-liquid).


Resistance: Refers to the resistance of the coil in the atomiser (measured in Ohms). A lower resistance used with higher power produces more heat and vapour. Also see sub-ohm vaping below.


Stealth vaping: Deliberately vaping in a way that is designed to minimise attention. Typically stealth vapers use certain techniques to minimise the amount of visible vapour exhaled and may use smaller, more discreet devices. For tips and tricks see Stealth Vape like a Pro.

Sub Ohming: Vaping with a coil with a resistance set below one ohm. When combined with increased power, this creates more vapour and larger clouds. See Sub Ohm Vaping: A Beginner’s Guide for more information.


TC (Temperature Control): When you set the temperature you want your atomiser to run at rather than the voltage or wattage. Can help avoid burning your coil and deliver a more consistent flavour. 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.

Tobacco Products Directive (TPD): Article 21 of the TPD puts into place major restrictions on e-cigs, including limiting the size of bottles to 10ml.

Top fill: When a tank is filled from the top. This is easier than filling from the bottom, as you do not need to remove the tank from the battery.


Vape: To inhale vapour from an electronic cigarette.

Vaper: A person who vapes.

Vaping: The habit/pastime of using electronic cigarettes.

Vent holes: Designed as a safety feature in batteries, these allow gases to be expelled from the battery.

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 PG v. VG: A Vaper’s Guide for more info.


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 it is vaped.


Zero Nicotine: E-Liquid or cartridges that contain no nicotine. Usually has a lower throat hit.


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