Electronic Cigarette Terms and Definitions

E-Cigarette Answers

Lets face it, electronic cigarettes are here to stay, so you might as well:

Get your vape game up, and your lingo down!

This is the term used while referring to a real tobacco cigarette. It is also used to describe the electronic cigarettes that resemble traditional cigarettes, “analog look-a-like”, “analog type e-cig”.

Advanced Personal Vaporizer (APV)
A version of the personal vaporizer, consisting of “advanced” features such as variable voltage (VV), or variable wattage (VW).

Allows the use of incompatible batteries and atomizer/cartomizers together.

Air Passage
This is the tube in the middle of a cartomizer as seen from the top looking down. Filler material surrounds the air passage, and the heating element resides inside. Can also be refereed to the air passage of automatic type batteries.

All Day Vape
Your favorite e-liquid, that you could just vape “all day”.

Atomizer (Atty)
The furnace, so to speak, of the electronic cigarette. Consisting of metal mesh, or coil heating element with a wicking material to draw the e-lquid in. Voltage is supplied from the battery, heating the element, which in turn vaporizes the e-liquid, producing vapor.

Automatic Battery
This type of battery is most common with the “analog type” electronic cigarettes. The heating element of the e-cigarette is activated when inhaling. This simulates the draw of a tobacco cigarette.

Battery (Batt)
The battery provides the required voltage to power the heating element. While the analog type e-cigarettes have an integrated battery, many other devices are now taking advantage of utilizing removable rechargeable batteries that require a separate charger.

See also: Understanding Electronic Cigarette Batteries

An empty cartomizer or cartridge, enabling the user to fill with their desired e-liquid.

The bridge covers the heating element of some atomizers, and assists with directing e-liquid to the surface of the heating element.

Cartomizer (Carto)
The cartomizer consists of a heating element, with filler material used to absorb the e-liquid. Cartomizers are convenient in that they provide a means to hold more e-liquid than their counterparts (atomizers).

Cartomizer Tank
A cartomizer tank is a device that consists of a tube and end caps. A cartomizer is placed inside, then the tank and carto are filled with e-liquid. The cartomizer will have holes punched for the delivery of the e-liquid inside the tank to reach the inside of the cartomizer.

Cartridge (Cart)
Rarely seen in the market place now. The cart is sleeve that contains filler material for e-liquid, and is slipped over an atomizer.

A CE-2 is a type of cartomizer tank that houses the heating element towards the top, with wicks that hang down into the e-liquid.

A charger is used to recharge your e-cig battery once it has been depleted.

CASAA is the Consumer Advocacy for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association. A non –profit organization campaigning on the behalf of electronic cigarette users.

Clearomizer (Clero)
A clearomizer is basically an over-sized cartomizer with a transparent housing. Designed to allow an easy means of determining how much e-liquid is left. The clearomizer is offered with a bottom coil, or top coil configuration with wicks providing the means of e-liquid transport to the heating element.

A coil is generally a piece of nichrome or kanthal wire that has been wrapped around a wicking material. As current flows through the coil, it heats to the point of vaporizing the e-liquid.

Connection Type
The connection type refers to the connection between the battery and atomizer/cartomizer. The most common are 510, 901, 808, 801. These are not interchangeable, with the threads being reversed or of a different diameter. The most popular seem to be the 510.

Most regulated e-cigarettes have a cut-off safety feature, or “automatic cut-off”. This feature will automatically stop the battery from providing power after so many seconds of inhaling, usually around 5-7 seconds.

Dual Coils
Dual coils are simply two coils in place of one, or a single coil in an atomizer or cartomizer. Dual coils produce twice as much vapor at the same voltage as a single coil.

For example: A 1.5 Ohm dual coil atomizer has two 3.0 Ohm coils in parallel, this will result in a total of 1.5 Ohms. When supplying power (5 Watts) to each of the coils, the battery is in fact supplying a total of 10 Watts (5 times each coil). For this reason, dual coils can be harsh on batteries.

Dual Coil Tank. A tank with a dual coil cartomizer inserted in the middle with pre-punched slots.

Removing the wick from an atomizer.

Removing the bridge and wick from an atomizer. This is common for dripping.

Disposable E-Cig
The disposable e-cigarette is a one time use device, and is usually an inexpensive way for people to try out e-cigs for the first time.

See also: Disposable E-Cigarettes Reviewed

DIY, or “do it yourself” is anything that involves doing it yourself, whether mixing your own e-liquid, or constructing your own personal vaporizor mod.

Drip Sheild
Drip shields are sleeves that fit over the atomizer, providing a way to catch any e-liquid that may have leaked from the bottom.

Drip Tip
Drip tips were originally designed with dripping in mind. The opening is enlarged, allowing for easy dripping of the e-liquid directly from the bottle into it. Offered in varying materials, colors, and shapes, the drip tip has successfully migrated to everyday cartomizer use as well.

Drip Well/Drip Catch
The drip well, or drip catch, is a recess on the top of a PV Mod that surrounds the atomizer/cartomizer connector. This functions as a way to keep excess e-liquid that may have leaked, from spilling over the mod.

Dripping is manually dripping e-liquid into the atomizer, directly from the bottle.

Dry Hit
The dry hit is a result of insufficient e-liquid. Not only will this give a harsh and burnt taste, it can lead to prematurely “killing” your atomizer or cartomizer.

Electronic Cigarette (E-Cig, E-Cigarette)
The electronic cigarette is a device that simulates the act of smoking, while delivering nicotine in a vaporized form from e-liquid. Herbert Gilbert had originally patented “a smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” in 1963. However, attempts to capitalize on a cigarette replacement failed.

It wasn’t until Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist who lost his father to lung cancer from smoking, patented the first nicotine based e-cig in 2003. Since, e-cigarette usage is growing exponentially each year.

The E-Cigar is an electronic cigarette that mimics the look and size of a cigar.

The E-pipe is basically an e-cig resembling a pipe.

E-Liquid (Juice)

The liquid that is used to vaporize. E-liquid is vaporized by the heating element and this vapor is inhaled to create the sensation of smoking. Typically contains Vegetable Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Nicotine and Flavoring. Nicotine is optional.

E-Liquid (Juice) – E-Liquid is the liquid solution that is vaporized by the heating element. This vapor simulates the sensation and act of smoking. E-Liquid consists of three main components:

  1. Propylene Glycol (PG) or Vegetable Glycerine (VG), or in combinations of the two,
  2. nicotine, and
  3. flavorings.

eGo Style
A style of electronic cigarette originally produced by Joyetech. The eGo’s utilize 510 connections and larger batteries than the “analog type” e-cigs. This is usually the first step up from the smaller, more traditional looking electronic cigarettes for many vapers.

See also: eGo-T Review

The ECA, or Electronic Cigarette Association, is an industry group comprised of suppliers and manufacturers formed in early 2009, and help keep e-cigarettes a legal option for those in the US.

Filler Material
Material found in cartomizers, blanks, and cartridges, to absorb e-liquid.

Flooding occurs when too much e-liquid has been added to an atomizer, or when juice has been inadvertently been added to a cartomizers “air passage”.

The sound you get when flooding has occurred, and can lead to a mouthful of e-liquid that has not been vaporized.

Heating Coil
The part of the atomizer and cartomizer that heats up in order to produce vapor from the e-liquid. Usually made up of nichrome or kanthal that is wrapped around material for a wick.

High Resistance (HR)
Atomizers and cartomizers with a high Ohm rating, allowing higher voltages to be used.

IMR Battery
Lithium Ion Manganese rechargeable battery.

ICR Battery
Lithium Ion Cobalt rechargeable battery.

Because of its ability to withstand high temperatures, Kanthal is one of the materials used in electronic cigarette heating elements. The other is Nichrome.

Knuckle Head
A drip tip that can be adjusted to many angles.

Killed It
An expression of “killing” an atomizer, before its time. Usually from insufficient e-liquid.

Low Resistance (LR)
Atomizers and cartomizers with a low Ohm rating, allowing lower voltage devices to heat quickly.

A battery’s mAh rating, is its capacity in milliamp per hour.

See also: Calculate How Long Your Battery Will Last based on its mAh.

A type of battery, or PV mod that utilizes a button in order for it to function. Opposed to the automatic devices, and is preferred for those worried about e-liquid leaking into the connector of an automatic battery setup, as these are sealed.

Mechanical Mod
The mechanical mod is a PV that does not rely on circuitry or other electronics. For this reason, many advanced vapers prefer a mechanical mod. These can be dangerous if used improperly, though.

See also: Reviews of Mechanical Mods

Milligrams (mg)
Milligrams is a measurement of how much nicotine is in the e-liquid.

Your most common levels will be:

  • 0mg
  • 6mg
  • 12mg
  • 18mg
  • 24mg
  • 36mg

For example:
E-liquid listed as 24mg of nicotine means that for every milliliter (ml) of solution, you are receiving 24mg of nicotine.

Milliliters (ml)
The measurement of e-liquid.

For example:
A cartomizer can hold from 1ml to 3.5ml, or more, while a tank can hold up to, and over 6.0ml.
E-liquid is commonly purchased in 10ml and 30ml bottles.

A very small e-cigarette. The “mini-me’s” of e-cigs

See also: The Keyring Vape

Modifications made to an electronic cigarette to improve it.

A modder is someone who makes modifications to their PV.

The top end of a drip tip, that is inserted into the mouth.

Multi-Voltage (MV)
An e-cigarette that has different settings for voltage. Usually three presets from low, medium, and high.

NiMH Battery
Nickel Metal Hydride batteries contain no Cadmium. These types of batteries do not suffer from memory effect, and can be charged any time.

Nicotine is a stimulant drug found in tobacco and other plants of the nightshade family. It is also an ingredient found in e-liquid.

Nichrome is wound in coils to achieve a desired resistance. Being the oldest documented form of resistance heating alloys, Nichrome is one of the primary types used for heating coils in atomizers and cartomizers. The other is Kanthal.

No-Resistance Wire
Used in some RBA’s, no-resistance wires are usually installed where a high resistance wire would otherwise get too hot and melt a part of the device. Silver and nickel are commonly used in this application.

Ohm is a measurement of electrical resistance, and is expressed in Ohms Law, R=E/I, where R=Ohms, E=Volts, and I=Amps.
When selecting atomizers and cartomizers, it is this measurement we go by.


  • 3.0 Ohm single coil
  • 1.5 Ohm dual coil

See also: Ohms Law Calculator to find your perfect Ohm setup.

Personal Charging Case (PCC)
This is a case that once charged, is used to recharge an electronic cigarette battery when it is depleted. These are mostly used for the “analog” type e-cigarettes, and look like a familiar cigarette box.

Personal Vaporizer Mod (PV Mod)
The personal vaporizer mod is an e-cigarette that utilizes at least one 3.7 volt removable/rechargeable battery, and utilizes a button for activation. These are made from wood, stainless steel, aluminum, and plastic. Of course the PV mod is also larger than the eGo style e-cigs.

See also: What Are PV Mods?

Propylene Glycol (PG)
Propylene Glycol is one of the ingredients (base) used in typical e-liquid. Because some people are allergic to PG, there are e-liquids that use only VG as their base.

Primer is a VG based liquid suppliers usually put in atomizers for shipping and shelf-life. It will burn off quickly after initial use.

Another way to describe inhaling, or the draw taken while vaping.

Rebuildable Driping Atomizer, Rebuildable Atomizer (RDA, RBA)
Most atomizers you toss once you have “killed it”, with the RDA’s, you only have to purchase new wire for the coil, and wicking material. More expensive in the beginning, over time you save a lot of money. However, an RDA is for advanced users that understand and apply Ohms law while constructing the coils.

Rebuildable Tank Atomizer (RTA)
Similar to the RDA’s, with the exception they are used in tanks.

Resistance (Ohms)
The resistance of atomizers and cartomizers affect the vaping experience, so to speak. Low resistance (low Ohms), and high resistance (high Ohms), can be matched to the intended purpose of your setup.

See also: Electronic Cigarette Ohms Calculator to see what Ohms will work best with your set up.

Resistance Wire
A resistance wire is what heating coils are made of, Kanthal and Nichrome are typically used.

Single Coil
A single coil cartomizer or atomizer uses only one coil, and is typical in most.

Standard Resistance:
Standard resistance atomizers and cartomizers are generally thought of to be 2.5 Ohms.

Stacking is the use of two 3-volt batteries stacked in series to achieve 6-volt operation and generally cost less than variable-voltage e-cigarettes.

In rare instances, improper usage of a stacked battery mod can even result in a battery explosion.

See also: Variable Voltage E-Cigarettes for more information on stacking batteries.

Stealth Vaping
Stealth vaping is using a device that is small, or blends in. These electronic cigarettes bring little attention to themselves, allowing you to sneak a vape without drawing attention.

See also:

Steeping is the practice of letting e-liquid sit for a period of time before vaping. It is accepted that in some cases, the flavor will be better once the ingredients have had time to mature or “merry”.

Material found in cartomizers. See also filler material.

Tanks are a way of ensuring you have an ample supply at your fingertips throughout the day. A good tank with a quality cartomizer is hard to beat for uninterrupted vaping during the day.

See also: Tanks for E-Cigarettes

Throat Hit (TH)
Throat hit is the sensation felt compared to a traditional tobacco cigarette while inhaling. Several factors influence throat hit, and include, nicotine level, PG/VG mix, voltage or wattage setting.

Topping Off
Topping off is the practice of continually adding e-liquid to a cartomizer or tank before “really” needing it. Ensuring it is always “topped off” or full.

USB Pass-through
An electronic cigarette that has USB pass-through implemented, will allow you to vape and charge it at the same time through a USB connection to your computer.

It’s what we do every time we inhale from an electronic cigarette. Inhaling the vapor created from heating the e-liquid with the heating element from a atomizer or cartomizer.

Variable Voltage (VV)
A variable voltage electronic cigarette gives you the flexibility to control the intensity of your vape. This is because in a variable voltage device, you have the ability to supply more or less voltage to the heating coils than your battery would normally accomplish without the “boost” or “buck” technology.

See Also: Understanding Variable Voltage to see if it’s right for you.

Variable Wattage (VW)
With a variable wattage electronic cigarette, you accomplish the same as with a VV device, except you are varying the wattage output. You also don’t have to worry about the Ohms of the atomizer or cartomizer used as the voltage will automatically adjust according to your wattage setting.

Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
Vegetable Glycerin is used in e-liquid as a base. VG is often used in conjunction with PG, or as a 100% alternative if PG causes allergic reactions.

Vent Holes
Vent holes are incorporated into the design of your “better” PV mods, as they allow discharged gasses to escape in case of a thermal runaway, or failure of a battery. Usually placed in the bottom cap, we are now seeing vent holes placed in areas towards the top, as the gases from most batteries will vent from the positive pole.

The battery supplies the required volts to energize, and heat the coils of the atomizer or cartomizer. Most personal vaporizors without regulation achieve 4.2 volts fully charged, while an eGo type will normally somewhat regulate it to 3.4 to 3.7 volts. Variable voltage devices can range anywhere from 3.0 to 6.0 volts.

See Also: Variable Voltage Explained

Your wattage is a product of the voltage input and the resistance (Ohms) of the cartomizer or atomizer used.

See Also: Watts Calculator to see what your wattage output is.

The wick is the material used in a cartomizer or atomizer to absorb and direct e-liquid to the heating element for vaporization and ultimate throat hit.

Resources For Further Reading on Electronic Cigarettes:

Electronic Cigarette Wiki
Inventor of the E-Cig

If you’ve actually read this far, your ready to find out what the Best Electronic Cigarettes are. If you’re looking for your first starter kit, this is it. Enjoy, and always, “keep calm & vape on“…err…Get your vape game up, and your lingo down!