Vaping Vocab 101

The vaping world can be awfully intimidating, with enough slang terms and jargon to make a newbie’s head explode. The realm of vaping and its vocabulary is ever-expanding, with new innovations and slang terms cropping up on a regular basis.

We’ve compiled this handy glossary to help you navigate the confusing world of vaping.

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100% VG E-Liquids - A type of E-Liquid formulated with only VG (see Vegetable Glycerin). These E-Liquids are designed for vapers who suffer from a Propylene Glycol allergy/intolerance, as they contain no PG or flavourings with PG (see Propylene Glycol Allergy/Intolerance).

18650 - Standard size of rechargeable vape battery commonly used in mod devices.

21700 - A rechargeable vape battery that’s larger than the 18650.

50/50 E-Liquids - A type of E-Liquid that comes in 10ml bottles containing freebase nicotine and formulated with a ratio of 50% Vegetable Glycerin to 50% Propylene Glycol. 50/50 E-Liquids are great in most starter vape kits and pod kits and come in a range of nicotine strengths.

Airflow - A measurement of how tight or loose the inhale or draw on a vape is. Devices with adjustable airflow let you alter the amount of air allowed into the mechanism when inhaling.

All-Day Vape (ADV) - An E-Liquid you could vape all day without growing tired of it.

All-in-One (AIO) - A vape device that comes with everything you need to get started, minus any E-Liquids.

Amperage (Amps) - A measurement of the strength of an electrical current, usually in milliamp-hours (mAh).

Atomiser - An umbrella term for the part of a vape that contains the coil and wicking material. Used to refer to the coil itself or to the whole tank/pod interchangeably.

Atomiser Head - Otherwise known as a coil.

Automatic Draw Activation - A feature of some vapes where instead of pressing a button to fire, you inhale on the mouthpiece to vape.

Battery - Powers your vape device. All vapes have either one or two internal or external batteries. External batteries usually have to be purchased separately. Most vape batteries are rechargeable. The size and capacity of your battery dictates how long you can vape before needing to recharge.

Box Mod - A type of vape device that’s box-shaped, usually compatible with various tanks. (See Mod).

Buttonless Draw Activation - See Automatic Draw Activation.

Cartomiser (Cart) - A disposable pre-filled vape cartridge. 

Cartridge - See Pod.

Ceramic Coil - A coil with a ceramic wicking material. Ceramic generally has a longer lifespan than cotton, and it reduces the risk of burning your coil.

Cigalike - A type of vape device that resembles a traditional combustible cigarette in appearance.

Clearomiser - The standard type of tank nowadays, named for the clear glass/plastic around the outside.

Closed System Vapes/Pods - Pre-filled vape pods. Refers to a disposable, non-refillable type of vape pod.

Cloud Chasing - A vape culture term used to describe the (often competitive) activity of producing and exhaling large amounts of vapour.

Coil - The part of the device that heats the E-Liquid and turns it into vapour. All devices have one. Some require changing, while others are built into a disposable pod. Coils can be made of several different materials, but contain both the coil(s) and wicking material. They come in various resistances (ohms) for different vaping styles. Check out our #1 Guide to Vape Coils.

Cotton Coil - A coil with a cotton wicking material. The industry standard.

Custom Mod - A vape mod which has been handmade or professionally custom-made, not intended for mass production. Usually both expensive and difficult to find.

Diacetyl - A potentially harmful flavouring ingredient banned by TPD regulations in the UK.

Direct-to-Lung (DTL) - A style of vaping wherein vapour is inhaled directly into the lungs (as opposed to MTL or RDTL vaping). DTL vaping is similar to how one might smoke a shisha or water pipe.

Disposable Vape - Otherwise known as vape bars, puff bars, and often simply “disposables,” these devices are designed for one-time use and are ready to vape straight out of the box. Disposables come pre-filled with E-Liquid and are pre-charged, meaning that once the device is empty, it should be disposed of in accordance with your local authority’s guidelines. Disposables are an excellent option for new vapers looking to try vaping without having to purchase a whole vape setup, but they’re less cost-effective and eco-friendly than refillable vapes in the long run.

DIY Vaping - "Do-it-yourself" vaping an advanced technique for vapers who build their own coils and/or mods and make modifications to their kit in order to customise their vaping experience and prolong the life of their hardware. DIY vapers use buildable coils with special coil tools and replaceable wicks.

Draw - Refers to the inhalation of vapour. Each individual vaper has their own preference for draw. Tighter draws are usually better for MTL while looser draws are better suited to DTL or sub-ohm vaping.

Dripping - In devices with DIY/rebuildable coils, this refers to the act of dripping E-Liquid directly onto exposed wicking material rather than filling a tank and waiting for the E-Liquid to saturate the wick.

Drip Tip - A term for the mouthpiece on a vape device, named after the act of dripping (see above). Some drip tips are replaceable.

Dry Hit - Occurs when there is insufficient E-Liquid in a device, the wicking material is dry, or the coil is burnt out. When you fire your vape under any of these circumstances, you’ll likely get a very unpleasant burnt taste.

E-Cigarette (E-Cig) - One of many terms used to describe a vape device.

E-Liquid (Vape Juice, E-Juice) - The “juice” inside a vape device that produces vapour and is responsible for the flavour in your vape. E-Liquids usually contain a specific ratio of Vegetable Glycerin to Propylene Glycol, and they also contain flavourings (either natural or artificial) and added nicotine (where applicable). If you’re unsure which type of E-Liquid you’ll need, check out our blog post: Which E-Liquid Should I Buy?

Fire/Firing - A term for “activating” one’s vape device—when power is supplied to the coil and produces vapour. Devices either have button-firing or are fired automatically by inhaling on the mouthpiece (see Automatic Draw Activation).

Flavour Ghosting - When introducing a new flavour of E-Liquid into a tank/pod which held or currently holds another flavour, sometimes the previous E-Liquid flavour lingers (or, haunts). This can be avoided by using separate pods/tanks and coils for various flavours.

Flavouring - Most E-Liquids are flavoured using either natural or artificial ingredients (or a combination of both). Flavouring is added to the E-Liquid 

Flooding - Occurs when too much E-Liquid is put into a tank or pod, causing the level to rise above or up to the mouthpiece. Flooding can inhibit vapour production and cause hot E-Liquid to spit from the mouthpiece during inhalation.

Freebase Nicotine - A pure form of nicotine found in 50/50 E-Liquids and Nic Shots, compatible with all device types. Freebase nicotine differs from the nicotine found in Nic Salts (see Nicotine Salts), because it enters the bloodstream more slowly and gives harsher hits with higher strengths.

Hon Lik - The inventor of the modern vape.

Integrated (Built-in) - Refers to either a coil or a battery which cannot be removed or replaced.

MHRA - The Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the governing body responsible for upholding and enforcing TPD regulations in the UK. All of the UK’s E-Liquids are submitted to, reviewed, and approved by the MHRA before entering the market to ensure the product’s TPD compliance and safety.

Mesh Coil - Instead of a classic spiral-shaped wire, mesh coils are made of a netted material, which covers more surface area of the coil and is better at conducting heat. Mesh coils therefore produce more vapour much quicker than traditional coils do.

Milliamp-hours (mAh) - A unit of measurement for electrical power, denoting the total amount of energy a battery can store at any given point. Generally, the higher a battery’s mAh, the longer the power will last.

Mod - Short for “modification,” this is a term used to refer to more advanced vape devices which contain a battery and are designed to be compatible with various tanks (sold separately), allowing vapers to further customise their experience.

Mouthpiece - Otherwise known as a drip tip or duckbill, this is the part of the vape that goes into your mouth or rests between your lips when you’re vaping.

Mouth-to-Lung (MTL) - A style of vaping wherein vapour is pulled into the mouth first before being inhaled into the lungs, similar to how one would smoke a cigarette or sip a drink through a straw.

Nicotine Salts - Commonly referred to as Nic Salts, these are a type of E-Liquid formulated with Nicotine Salt, as opposed to freebase nicotine, where the nicotine is derived directly from the tobacco leaf. There is an added natural acid—usually benzoic or citric—which alters the pH value of the nicotine to allow it to enter the bloodstream faster and to provide smoother throat hits at higher concentrations.

Nicotine Shot - Otherwise known as a Nic Shot, this is a 10ml bottle of straight-up freebase nicotine, usually either unflavoured or with added menthol, which is added to 0mg E-Liquids (see Shortfill).

Nicotine Strength - A measurement of the amount of freebase nicotine or nicotine salts in a given E-Liquid, measured in milligrams (mg) or, occasionally, in a percentage value (%). Nicotine strength needs vary from vaper to vaper.

Ohm (Ω) - A measurement of electrical resistance used when referring to coils (or pods with integrated coils). The lower a coil’s resistance, the more electrical current can be conducted through it. In vaping, a lower resistance allows for a higher wattage (see Sub-Ohm Vaping), which results in faster heating of the coil, larger clouds, and more flavour. With higher resistances, less vapour is produced. A coil’s resistance usually dictates the type of E-Liquid you can use and the style of vaping best suited to the device.

Open System Vapes/Pods - A term used to describe any refillable vape where the device has individual components and can be disassembled for the purpose of cleaning, refilling, etc.

Pass-Through Charging - Refers to the ability to charge and vape your device at the same time, while plugged in. Some devices are capable of pass-through charging, while others are not.

Personal Vaporiser - Another term for a vape device.

Pod - Serves the same purpose as a tank (holding E-Liquid, a coil, and wicking material), but it’s usually made of a plastic material and has fewer removable components. Pods are generally simpler to fill and maintain. They’re either disposable with an integrated coil, or reusable with changeable coils. Details of any pod’s coil compatibility and components can be found in its product description. 

Pre-Filled Vape Pods - A type of pod which comes pre-filled with E-Liquid and is designed to be discarded and replaced once empty. Pre-filled pods are only compatible with designated devices.

Pre-Wrapped Coils - An individual wiring component used in DIY atomisers (see RBARDA, and RTA) which comes pre-wrapped for DIY vapers' convenience.

Priming - The act of preparing a new coil for use by saturating the wicking material with E-Liquid. All coils should be primed before use to avoid burning. If you’re unsure how to prime your coil, check out our #1 Guide to Vape Coils for a detailed guide.

Propylene Glycol (PG) - One of two base ingredients found in most E-Liquids in varying ratios. PG is a pharmaceutical-grade ingredient used to create thinner E-Liquids and stronger throat hits. E-Liquids high in PG (50% or more) produce smaller clouds and are best suited for low-powered starter kits and pod kits. PG is considered safe to ingest in humans and can be found in many food products, cosmetics, and medications.

Propylene Glycol (PG) Allergy/Intolerance - Some vapers have a PG Intolerance or Allergy. Incidence rates are currently unknown, but estimated to affect between 1% and 4% of the population. Vapers with a PG allergy or intolerance will benefit from switching to 100% VG (Vegetable Glycerin) E-Liquids.

Rebuildable Atomiser (RBA) - Refers to an advanced type of atomiser head designed for DIY vaping, allowing the user to completely disassemble the coil for cleaning and changing of components, including the wiring and wicking material.

Rebuildable Dripping Atomiser (RDA) - A type of rebuildable atomiser (RBA) designed for E-Liquid dripping (see Dripping).

Rebuildable Tank Atomiser (RTA) - A type of rebuildable atomiser (RBA) which has a large tank around it to hold E-Liquids, as opposed to RBAs and RDAs which require dripping to saturate the wicking material.

Resistance - See Ohm.

Restricted Direct-to-Lung (RDTL/RDL) - A style of vaping where vapour is inhaled directly into the lungs, like in DTL vaping, but with tighter airflow, requiring less movement through the coil. RDTL blurs the once clearly defined lines between MTL and DTL vaping.

Shortfill - A nicotine-free E-Liquid which comes “short filled”—as in, with extra space left in the bottle for users to add nic shots (see Nicotine Shot). Because they contain no nicotine, the bottle can be any size—which is why you’ll see shortfills in 50ml and 100ml bottles, as opposed to the 10ml limit on E-Liquids with nicotine. Most shortfills are formulated with high VG blends (see Vegetable Glycerin), making them ideal for vaping with advanced vape kits.

Steeping - Once a common practice that is now integrated into the manufacturing process, steeping is the act of allowing an E-Liquid to rest after production and before usage in order to fully develop the E-Liquid’s flavour. Until recently, it was recommended that vapers let their E-Liquids rest for up to two weeks after purchasing them, but now, E-Liquid manufacturers factor this into their production process. All of the E-Liquids on our website come pre-steeped.

Sub-Ohm Vaping - A subcategory of vaping usually reserved for experienced vapers with advanced vape kits which involves using hardware with a resistance below one ohm (Ω) to produce larger clouds of vapour and more flavour. Sub-ohm vaping is conducive to higher-powered devices and thicker E-Liquids like Shortfills, but does not work well with higher nicotine strengths. Sub-ohm is not recommended for new vapers, as they generally rely on nicotine as they switch from smoking traditional cigarettes to vaping.

Tank - The part of a vape device which holds the E-Liquid, coil, and wicking material. Standard tanks have a 510 threaded fitment and can be used with various devices (see Mod). Some tanks are designed to be used only with specific devices. Every tank is compatible with a particular coil or range of coils, which will be listed in the product description.

Throat Hit - Refers to the sensation felt at the back of the throat when inhaling either combustible cigarette smoke or vapour. E-Liquids with higher levels of PG (see Propylene Glycol) provide a more satisfying throat hit compared to high-VG E-Liquids.

Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) - Otherwise known as EUTPD, this is the EU legislation responsible for many of the regulations imposed on the UK’s vaping industry. TPD was introduced in 2016 to protect consumers from disreputable manufacturers and potentially harmful E-Liquid ingredients.

Vaper’s Tongue - Occurs when a vaper uses the same E-Liquid flavour for a long period of time or overuses a single flavour, causing one’s sense of taste to diminish alongside instances of dry mouth. This is caused by the dehydrating properties of both PG and VG, which can cause a film to form over one’s tongue, causing a loss of sensory input to the taste buds. This can be easily rectified by changing your E-Liquid flavour or by drinking a glass of cold water.

Vape Kit - Another word for a vape device. Most vape kits are all-inclusive (see All-In-One), while others only come with a mod and require the separate purchase of a compatible tank or pod.

Vaping - The act of using a vape kit filled with E-Liquids to produce vapour for inhalation.

Vegetable Glycerin (VG) - Alongside PG (see Propylene Glycol), VG is one of the two base ingredients in every E-Liquid. VG is both thicker and sweeter than PG, which can have an effect on flavour and vapour production. High-VG E-Liquids (like Shortfills) are best suited for sub-ohm devices and advanced vape kits, as the thickness of the E-Liquid is less likely to clog devices with lower resistances.

Wattage (Watts) - A measurement of the firing power in a device. A device with higher wattage (a sub-ohm device) produces more heat and more vapour, and requires a coil with a lower resistance. Most starter vape kits and pod kits are low-wattage, which is better suited for Nic Salts and 50/50 E-Liquids

Wick/Wicking Material - The material inside a coil which absorbs the E-Liquid so it can be turned into vapour by the heated coil. They come in a variety of different materials, such as cotton and ceramic.

Wire Coil - The standard type of coil, made of a spiral-shaped wire. Wire coils can be found in many basic starter kits and pod kits, as they work well with low-powered MTL vaping to produce smaller clouds.