Vaping Glossary: Jargon, Slang & Vape Terms Explained

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There’s a lot of jargon and complicated acronyms used in the world of vaping. Here’s a vaping glossary to help you out on your journey…


ADV (All Day Vape): An e-liquid that a vaper enjoys enough to use throughout the entire day without getting tired of the flavor. Finding an ADV is often a goal for many vapers.

Amps: Short for amperage, which is a measure of the electrical current flow in a vaping device. It’s important to understand amps to ensure you are using batteries safely within their limits. Exceeding a battery’s amp limit can result in battery failure or venting.

Analog Cigarette: A slang term for a traditional tobacco cigarette that burns and produces smoke through combustion, as opposed to an e-cigarette that produces vapor.

APV (Advanced Personal Vaporizer): A term for more powerful and customizable vaping devices, usually with variable wattage/voltage, temperature control and other advanced features. APVs are a step up from basic cigalike e-cigarettes.

Atomizer: The heating element that vaporizes e-liquid when power is applied. It contains a coil of resistive wire wrapped around a wick. When activated, it converts e-liquid into inhalable vapor. Atomizers can come in various types like tanks, RTAs, RDAs etc.

Automatic: An e-cigarette or vape that activates automatically when the user inhales on the mouthpiece, as opposed to manual devices that require a button press to activate. Automatic batteries were common in early cigalikes.


Battery: The power source of a vaping device. Most mods use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. It’s critical to use high quality batteries from reputed brands and to follow battery safety guidelines to avoid accidents.

BCC (Bottom Coil Clearomizer): A type of vape tank where the atomizer coil is located at the bottom, below the tank’s e-liquid reservoir. BCCs are known for better wicking and flavor compared to top coil designs.

BDC (Bottom Dual Coil Clearomizer): Similar to a BCC but with two atomizer coils at the bottom instead of one. The dual coils increase vapor production and flavor intensity.

Blanks: Empty, unfilled cartomizers or pods that the user can fill with their preferred e-liquid. Blanks are a cheaper alternative to prefilled cartos for those who want to use their own juice.

Box Mod: A type of APV that has a boxy, rectangular shape instead of being cylindrical like a tube mod. Box mods offer more space for electronics and battery capacity. Most box mods have variable wattage/voltage and other advanced features.

Bridge: A term sometimes used to refer to the wick in an atomizer or cartomizer. The bridge transports e-liquid from the tank to the coil.

Burnt Hit: An unpleasant experience where the vapor tastes burnt and harsh. This can happen when the wick is not fully saturated, the coil’s temperature is too high, or the coil is gunked up and needs to be replaced.

BVC (Bottom Vertical Coil): A popular Aspire coil design where the coil is oriented vertically at the bottom of the tank. BVCs are known for excellent flavor and vapor. Many Aspire tanks like the Nautilus use BVC coils.


Cartomizer (Carto): A combination of an atomizer and e-liquid cartridge in a single unit. The cartomizer contains a coil surrounded by polyfill material that absorbs e-liquid. Cartos are an older technology that has mostly been replaced by tanks.

Cartridge: The mouthpiece part of an e-cigarette that contains a tank to hold e-liquid. The cartridge attaches to the battery and usually contains the atomizer as well. Some cartridges are disposable while others can be refilled.

Chain Vaping: The act of taking multiple successive puffs on an e-cigarette without much break in between, similar to chain smoking. Chain vaping can lead to a harsh throat hit due to the coil heating up.

Check Atomizer: An error message that sometimes appears on regulated mods when the chip detects a short or open circuit related to the atomizer. This can be caused by an incorrectly installed coil, a damaged 510 connector, or e-liquid leak.

Cigalike: A type of e-cigarette designed to closely mimic the size and look of a traditional cigarette. Cigalikes are usually small, lightweight and low powered compared to larger vape pens and mods. They are a good starting point for new vapers.

Clapton Coil: An advanced coil design where a thinner gauge wire is tightly wrapped around a thicker core wire, resembling a guitar string. Clapton coils provide excellent flavor and vapor production with improved wicking. They are commonly used in RDAs and RTAs.

Clearomizer: A transparent tank system that contains the e-liquid and atomizer coil. Unlike cartomizers, clearos have a clear tank so the user can easily see the juice level. The atomizer head is replaceable. Clearomizers are very popular beginner tanks.

Cloud Chasing: The pursuit of blowing the biggest, thickest vapor clouds possible. Cloud chasers often use high-powered devices, low resistance coils and high VG e-liquid. Cloud chasing has spawned competitive vaping and tricks. It usually requires advanced user knowledge.

Coil: The heating element in an atomizer, usually made from Kanthal, Nichrome or other resistive wire. Current flows through the coil, causing it to heat up and vaporize e-liquid. Coil resistance is measured in ohms and is a key factor in vapor production.

Custom Mod: A modified or handcrafted vaping device, usually created by hobbyists or small scale manufacturers. Custom mods can be mechanical or regulated and offer unique designs and configurations not found in mass produced devices.

Cut-Off: A safety feature in regulated mods that stops power to the atomizer if the firing button is held down for too long, usually more than 10 seconds. This prevents the coil from overheating in case the button gets stuck.


Decking: The process of rebuilding the coil and wick in an RBA.

Diacetyl: A flavoring chemical used in some e-liquids, especially those with creamy/buttery profiles. It’s been linked to a serious lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans or “popcorn lung”. Reputed e-liquid makers no longer use diacetyl.

DIY: Abbreviation for “Do It Yourself”. In vaping, it usually refers to making your own e-liquid by mixing PG, VG, nicotine and flavoring. Many vapers get into DIY to save money and create custom flavors.

Draw: The act of inhaling on a vaping device to pull vapor into the mouth or lungs. MTL draws mimic the tight draw of cigarettes while DL draws are looser and more akin to sucking air through a straw.

Drip Tip: The mouthpiece of an atomizer or tank that channels vapor into your mouth. Drip tips come in different shapes, sizes and materials. Wide bore 810 drip tips are preferred for DL hits while narrow bore 510 tips are ideal for MTL.

Dripping: A style of vaping where the user drips e-liquid directly onto exposed coils and wicks of an RDA, as opposed to using a tank. Dripping offers robust flavor but requires the user to add juice every few puffs.

Dry Burn: The act of firing a coil without any wick or e-liquid to burn off residue and clean the coil. Dry burning is mainly done when building coils for RDAs and RTAs to ensure the coil is heating up evenly from the center.

Dry Hit: The harsh, unpleasant sensation of inhaling a puff from a wick that is not fully saturated with e-liquid. Dry hits taste burnt and acrid and can potentially ruin the coil. They are most likely to occur in high-powered sub-ohm tanks.

DTL: Abbreviation for Direct-to-Lung, a vaping style where the user inhales vapor directly into the lungs, as opposed to into the mouth first. DTL vaping depends on a looser airflow and higher power and usually produces bigger clouds.

Dual Coil: An atomizer build that uses two coils instead of one, usually positioned side by side. Dual coils provide more surface area and heat, resulting in increased vapor production. They are popular in sub-ohm tanks and cloud chasing RDAs.


E-juice/E-liquid: The liquid that is vaporized in an e-cigarette. E-juice contains propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), flavoring and usually nicotine. The PG/VG ratio, nicotine level and flavoring can be customized to the user’s preference.

E-cigarette: A battery powered device that vaporizes e-liquid to simulate smoking. Also known as personal vaporizers or ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems). Modern e-cigs range from small cigarette-like devices to more advanced mods and tank systems.


Flooding: When too much e-liquid oversaturates the wick and coil and spills into the airflow holes or chimney section of an atomizer. Flooding can cause gurgling sounds, leaking, and spitback. It’s more likely to happen in bottom coil clearos.

Freebase: A form of nicotine that has been chemically modified to make it more potent. Freebase nicotine is the most common type used in e-liquids as it is easily absorbed by the body. It has a harsher throat hit than nicotine salts.


Genesis Atomizer (Genny): An old school style of rebuildable tank atomizer where stainless steel mesh is used as a wick to draw e-liquid up from a tank below the build deck to the coil. Genesis atomizers are known for great flavor but can be tricky to build.

Ghost Inhale: A vaping trick where the user sucks vapor into their mouth and then opens their mouth to let the vapor flow out in a slow, controlled stream before inhaling it back.

Grub Screw: A type of threaded fastener used to trap wires in the posts of RDAs and RTAs. Grub screws allow coils to be installed and tightened down without needing additional screws or threading.

Gunk: Dark buildup that accumulates on atomizer coils after extended use. Gunk is a byproduct of e-liquid ingredients caramelizing due to the heat. Gunky coils can lead to muted flavor and need to be cleaned or replaced.


Halo: A vaping trick where the user makes a thick O-ring of vapor and then pushes smaller rings through it to create a halo or angel ring effect.

Heat Steeping: A method of quickly aging e-liquid to improve flavor by exposing it to heat. This can be done by placing the bottle in a hot water bath, on a candle warmer, or in a crock pot on low. Heat steeping is much faster than regular steeping.

High Resistance: Coils or atomizers that have a resistance well above 1.0 ohm, typically in the range of 1.8 to 3.0+ ohms. High resistance coils work best with low wattages and tight airflow for MTL vaping. They generally produce less vapor but more flavor than sub-ohm coils.

Hit: A synonym for puff or draw. The act of inhaling vapor from an e-cigarette.

Hydroscopic: The tendency of vegetable glycerin (VG) to absorb moisture from the air. High VG e-liquids are hydroscopic and can get thicker over time as they draw humidity, which is why many vapers store their juices in a cool, dry place.


iClear: A popular line of clearomizer tanks made by Innokin, known for their replaceable atomizer heads and pyrex glass tanks. iClears come in various sizes like the iClear 16 and iClear 30.

Inhale: The act of drawing vapor into the mouth or lungs from an e-cigarette. Different devices are suited for mouth-to-lung (MTL) or direct-lung (DL) inhales.


Juice: Shorthand for e-juice or e-liquid.

Juice Drunk: A lightheaded or dizzy feeling that some people get after chain vaping, usually with high nicotine. The effect is similar to a nicotine buzz from smoking and is a sign of using too much nicotine.

Jungle Juice: A style of DIY e-liquid that involves mixing several flavors together to create a complex, multi-layered profile. Jungle juices often have a tropical, fruity theme but there are many possible variations.


Kanthal: A commonly used metal alloy for making coils, consisting of iron, chromium and aluminum. Kanthal is known for its high resistance to oxidation and ability to withstand high temperatures. It is cheaper and easier to work with than other coil materials.

kCal: A measure of energy equal to 1000 calories. In vaping, kCal is sometimes used to express the battery capacity, especially for smaller devices like pod systems. For example, a 480mAh battery can be described as 1.77 watt-hours or 6.4 kCal.

Kick: An electronic module that can be added to a mechanical mod to provide basic protection and wattage regulation. Kicks are a way to get some of the features of a regulated mod while keeping the simplicity and form factor of a mech mod.


Leaking: E-liquid escaping from an atomizer or tank. Leaking can happen due to several reasons like a damaged O-ring, a loose connection, incorrect wicking, flooding, or even an issue with juice viscosity. It’s one of the most common problems faced by vapers.

LED: The light on an e-cigarette that glows when the device is activated. Early e-cigs used colored LEDs on the tip to simulate the ember of a burning cigarette. Most modern vapes have LED lights to indicate power level or battery charge.

Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion): A type of rechargeable battery used in the majority of vaping devices. Li-Ion batteries are known for their high energy density and low self-discharge. However, they can be dangerous if overcharged, damaged or mishandled.

Lux: A measure of light intensity, sometimes used to describe the brightness of the LED on an e-cigarette. Higher lux generally means a brighter light.


mAh: An abbreviation for milliampere-hour, a unit of electric charge that expresses the capacity of a battery. The mAh rating tells you how much current a battery can provide over time. Higher mAh batteries have longer life between charges.

Menthol: A common e-juice flavor that mimics the cool, minty taste of menthol cigarettes. Menthol e-liquids can range from subtle mint undertones to full-on icy blasts. They are refreshing on the throat and often popular with smokers trying to quit.

MEP: Acronym for “mouth-to-ear passthrough”. It’s a vaping trick where the user takes a big drag and slowly exhales a steady stream of vapor out of one corner of their mouth and into their cupped ear on the same side.

Milligrams (mg): A measure of nicotine content in e-liquid. Nicotine strength is usually expressed in milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL) or as a percentage. Common strengths are 0mg (nicotine-free), 3mg (0.3%), 6mg (0.6%), 12mg (1.2%) and 18mg (1.8%).

Mini Vivi Nova: A smaller version of the popular Vision Vivi Nova tank, designed for better portability and compatibility with eGo batteries. The Vivi Nova is a durable plastic tank with replaceable atomizer heads.

Mod: Short for “modification”, a mod is essentially any e-cigarette that is not a cigalike. Mods are usually larger, more powerful and more advanced than basic e-cigs. They can be mechanical or regulated and are designed to work with various atomizers.

Mouth-to-Lung (MTL): A vaping style where the user first draws vapor into the mouth, then inhales it into the lungs, similar to smoking a cigarette. MTL vaping relies on higher nicotine, tighter airflow and lower power compared to direct-lung vaping.


Nebulizer: A medical device used to administer medication in the form of a mist into the lungs. Some e-cig makers have marketed their devices as nebulizers in the past. However, there is no solid evidence for e-cigs being effective for this use.

Nickel (Ni200): A pure nickel wire sometimes used for making temperature control coils. Nickel has a lower resistance than Kanthal but is more malleable and can be dangerous if heated too high due to potential release of toxic compounds.

Nicotine: An alkaloid naturally found in tobacco that acts as a stimulant in small doses. Most e-liquids contain nicotine, which is highly addictive but is not the primary cause of smoking-related diseases. Nicotine strength can range from 0mg to 50mg/mL or more.

Nicotine Salts: A form of nicotine that is less harsh and better absorbed than regular freebase nicotine. Salt nic juices can deliver higher nicotine levels more smoothly.

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