Introduction to Vaping – An E-Cig Glossary



5 (or 3) Click on/off – Some electronic cigarettes are turned on or off by clicking the activation button 5 (or some other number of) times in rapid succession.


510 / 808 / 901 etc – These numbers refer to the thread pattern of an e-cigarette. Some numbers refer to the size or spacing of threads, while others seem arbitrary. For a user, paying attention to the numbers ensures that the battery or device and the cartomizer have the same thread pattern for compatibility. There are also adapters available that will allow you to connect differently threaded pieces together.  The 510/808/902 have compatible threading for attaching drip tips etc. to a device.


Adapter – An adapter is used to “link” one thread pattern to another.  For example, a “510-to-eGo” adapter can enable you to use a tank with a 510 threading pattern on an eGo-style device

Analog – A regular, old-fashioned cigarette.

APV  or Advanced Personal Vaporizer. This term refers to devices that go beyond a typical personal vaporizer device (a typical PVD would be a basic disposable e-cigarette or eGo-style battery). Typically, APVs have advanced features such as larger battery capacity, variable voltage and or wattage capability, and, possibility, a puff counter, battery meter, ohm reader or RMS mode. 

Atomizer – The heating coil used to convert e-juice into vapor. An atomizer can be a specific piece of hardware used with an e-cigarette in combination with a cartridge, tank or direct dripping.  An atomizer may also sometimes be used as a generic term referring to the heating coil part of an electronic cigarette.

Automatic Battery – Typically found in e-cigarettes that resemble tobacco cigarettes, these devices are activated when the user takes a puff and shut off when the user stops puffing.  A vacuum switch or sound-detecting-circuit are generally the mechanisms used to activate the e-cigarette.

AVG (Mean) – This term is used in conjunction with Variable Voltage and PWM and is one of the methods used to calculate the frequency. It is generally believed that this method is less accurate at lower voltages producing actual voltages higher than the user selected.


Battery – A battery is what powers the atomizer to convert e-juice into vapor.  For e-cigarettes, the battery is typically a lithium ion (Li) type battery and is available in different battery capacity sizes.  In addition to the battery used for a PVD (personal vaporizing device), some Mechanical Mods and APVs use ICR or IMR based lithium ion batteries.


Blanks – Cartridges or cartomizers filled only with dry filler material (no e-juice) which are then filled with e-juice by the vaper.


Bottom Feeder – A specific type of APV which stores e-juice in a bottle built into the device. The liquid is then pumped into the attached atomizer or cartomizer from the bottom. The V-MOD is one such example.


Box Mod – This was one of the original types of home-made (or mod) e-cigarettes. It was built from a battery box with an attached atomizer. The term can also be applied to factory-built devices that have a boxy shape such as the iTaste MVP.

Bridge – The part of an atomizer that transfers e-juice directly to the heating coils inside the atomizer. Typically made of steel covered in steel wool or stainless steel mesh to absorb e-juice and help wick it towards the heating element.


Cartomizer – A contraction (combination) of a cartridge and atomizer. Also called a “cart” or “carto” for short and is sometimes referred to as a “filter”. These are self-contained units that both hold e-juice and house the heating element. Most e-cigarettes use cartomizers.


Cartomizer Tank – A tank that has holes in the top and bottom to house a cartomizer. Holes or slots are made or built into the cartomizer to allow it to draw in e-juice in the tank surrounding the cartomizer. This allows extended use without having to refill cartomizers.

Cartridge – Cartridges are mostly used with the older atomizer and cartridge system in a 3-piece e-cigarette. The cartridge houses e-juice in some sort of medium or small tank that makes contact with the atomizer’s bridge to conduct fluid to the heating coil.

CE2 – A style of cartomizer, typically clear, that uses no filler material. Instead, the heating element is suspended at the top of the cartomizer in a ceramic cup while long wicks feed liquid to the heating coil from the bottom part of the cartomizer.  Also referred to as a Clearomizer.

CE3 – Bottom coil variant of the CE2. These feature the heating element at the bottom of the cartomizer covered by a protective housing to keep liquid out. Liquid is transferred through holes in the cover via wicks. These styles of cartomizers never gained the popularity of CE2 or CE4 cartomizers.  Also referred to as a Clearomizer.

CE4 – This is a new class of large cartomizers. Sharing some of the traits of a CE2 or CE3, these devices are mostly designed to fit eGo-style e-cigarettes and have a larger e-juice capacity. Some versions have advanced features like replaceable heads or dual coils.  Also referred to as a Clearomizer.

Clearomizer – A term to describe clear or transparent cartomizers.  A clearomizer typically uses wicks instead of poly-filled cartomizers to deliver juice to the atomizer. 

Coil – A heating element used to heat e-juice and produce vapor.  These are typically made of either kanthol or nichrome wire.

Cut-Off – A feature on some devices that acts to prevent the atomizer from overheating after the battery is activated.  Sometimes the battery has an LED light to flash an notify the user that the cut-off feature has been activated.


DCT – Abbreviation for Dual Coil Tank. While DCTs typically come with a pre-installed dual coil cartomizer, single coil cartomizers also work with these devices.


DIY – Do it yourself. Typically associated with making your own e-juice from unflavored nicotine base, flavors, and other ingredients. Sometimes used by bigger companies to describe advanced devices or refillable cartomizers.

Dripping / Direct Dripping (DD)– Applying e-juice directly to an atomizer one drop at a time, as opposed to using a cartomizer or tank/cartridge and atomizer combination.  Some users prefer this method as they feel it produces the best taste/flavor production by avoiding the use of any wick or filler material.  This method does require frequent dripping as a direct drip tip generally doesn’t have a large liquid capacity and overfilling can cause an atomizer/cartomizer to clog.

Drip Tip – An accessory mouthpiece that is used to “direct drip” e-juice onto an atomizer.  The  tip is usually designed with a large hole to facilitate dripping.  Many users prefer to use drip tips even on a cartomizer/clearomizer tank because of the appearance or feel of the tip.  The tip keeps the lips away from the heat of the coil.

Drip Well – a feature designed to catch excess e-juice and prevent it from “flooding” the atomizer.

Dry Burn – To run a cartomizer once all e-juice is removed, a technique used to burn built-up deposits on the heating coil and remove the taste associated with the build-up.

Dry Hit – The burning sensation or flavor that accompanies using an e-cigarette where there isn’t enough liquid to produce optimal vapor.

Dual Coil Cartomizer (DCC) – A cartomizer equipped with two heating elements wired together. Given the right conditions dual coil cartomizers produce a more intense vapor.

Dual Coil Tanksee DCT, above


eGo – Originally designed and manufactured by JoyeTech™, the eGo is a mid-sized e-cigarette built for extended battery capacity. There are currently a range of eGo variants on the market made by many manufacturers.  “eGo” – Style battery refers to a “pen” style battery.


Electronic Cigarette (e-cig) – A device that utilizes a heating element to vaporize e-juice and deliver nicotine (or nicotine free) vapor to the user rather than smoke. 

E-Juice or E-juice – The liquid used by vapers in electronic cigarettes or personal vaporizers.  The liquid usually contains a base (commonly VG and PG), flavorings, and, should the user desire, nicotine. 

Engine – The internal workings of a cartomizer, particularly a clearomizer. Generally contains the heating element and enclosure along with the air tube and battery connector.


Filler – The absorbent material in cartomizers and cartridges used to hold e-juice.


Filter – A term used by some e-cigarette companies in place of cartomizer to make the technology more accessible to new users.

Flooding – Flooding occurs when too much e-juice is inside of the atomizer or heating element.  Flooding prevents proper airflow to the heating element and causes in-efficient results and poor vapor/flavor production”



High Resistance (HV) – An atomizer or cartomizer with a higher ohm rating which generally permits the use of higher voltage batteries. 


ICR – A type of lithium ion battery technology that consists of lithium ion cobalt rechargeable batteries. 

IMR – A type of lithium-ion battery technology that consists of lithium ion manganese rechargeable batteries.  These are also known as safe chemistry batteries. These batteries do not require electronics to protect the battery circuit from overload as they are not prone to catastrophic failure.




Juice – A slang term for e-juice, may also be referred to as e-juice. Also a slang term for the rating of battery charge capacity.



Leaking – Leaking occurs at the base of the atomizer/cartomizer.  This can be caused by a number of factors including – the tank being stored above room temperature, high atmospheric pressure, poor build quality of the atomizer/cartomizer, or flooding. 


Low Resistance (LR) – An atomizer or cartomizer with a lower ohm rating.  A lower ohm rating will enable the heating element to get hotter faster and therefore produce vapor more quickly.  However, with hotter and more copious vapor comes faster consumption of liquid and battery life.



mAh – Milliamp Hour. The rating of battery charge capacity. This is often confused with output voltage. Given the same voltage (typically 3.7 with ecigs) a battery with a larger mAh rating does not deliver any more power, it simply lasts longer.


Manual Battery – An all-in-one e-cigarette battery that has a manual activation switch the user must press to engage the power prior to taking a puff.

Mechanical Mod/PV – A device that uses a removable battery and relies on a switch (rather than a circuit board) that makes a physical connection using a spring or lever to complete the circuit, providing power to the heating coil.  Mechanical Mods generally lack electrical components.

Milligrams (mg) – Term used to describe the amount of nicotine contained in e-Juice.  The dose can range from 0mg to 36 mg per mL of e-Juice. 

Mod – A term commonly referring to an electronic cigarette that uses a removable battery. The term is beginning to lose favor to the term APV. Mod can also mean to modify an existing product.


Ohm (Ω) – A unit of measure of electrical resistance.  A lower number indicates lower resistance and therefore more power transmitted faster (resulting in faster heating of an atomizer)


OLED – Organic LED, a display technology that provides a brighter and higher resolution readout on devices featuring a display screen.




Passthrough - A device that combines a standard battery tube with a USB port, allowing a vaper to utilize their device while charging.


Personal Vaporizer (PV) – A vaporizing device.


PG (or Propylene Glycol) – One of the common ingredients in e-juice, it readily vaporizes and is commonly believed to produce good flavor and throat hit, but less vapor than vegetable glycerin.  Propylene glycol is found in many food products and pharmaceuticals.  Some users report an allergic reaction to PG and therefore use 100% VG as the base for their e-Juice.


PGA – Pure grain alcohol, more commonly used in DIY e-juice and with vegetable glycerin, can also be useful in cleaning cartomizers and atomizers.

Protected Battery – A lithium-ion battery that features a built-in circuit board designed to disable the battery in the event of a failure. This is intended to prevent catastrophic failure that could include gas venting and fire.

PWM – Pulse-width modulation. Commonly used in variable voltage devices, PWM rapidly cycles power from the battery on and off to deliver a wave form approximating the desired output voltage.


Rebuildable Atomizer – Also known as RBA, an atomizer designed with a wick and coil assembly that can be built by the user using raw components such as wire and silica, stainless steel or cotton wicks. These atomizers are considered to be unsuitable for new users because incorrect use could cause damage to attached devices.


Replaceable Head – Some tanks and cartomizers like the Vivi Nova have a modular heating coil section, or head, that can be unscrewed and replaced, reducing costs when a heating element stops working.

Resistance (ohms) – Resistance, measured in ohms, is the restriction of flow of electrons. Resistance is what generates heat in e-cigarette heating coils. Lower resistance coils produce heat with lower voltage, while higher resistance coils require more voltage to produce the same amount of power.

Root Mean Squared (RMS) – Is the square root of the average of voltages in a device.  It is a method of calculating the equivalent DC voltage for a varying voltage waveform specifically calculating power. It acts as a pulse form to create constant equal voltage range, while normal voltage/wattage settings tends to drop off and become inconsistent on true range form.


Smokeless Cigarette – Another term for an electronic cigarette in which no actual smoke is produced, just vapor.


Steeping – Allowing freshly made e-juice to sit and age for anywhere from overnight to several weeks. Steeping often improves the liquid’s flavor by allowing the ingredients to fully combine and reach their full potential.


Stick-style – A term used to describe electronic cigarettes that are designed to look like regular cigarettes.

Standard Resistance (SR) – An atomizer or cartomizer with a common average ohm rating.  This level of resistance provides cooler vapor, less vapor, and less throat hit, but delivers longer battery life. 

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Tank - Piece of hardware for vaping that replaces a cartomizer cartridge.  The tank can be made either of acrylic or Pyrex (glass) and should be sealed to ensure that they remain leak-free.  Tanks can utilize a cartomizer insert or a wicking system to deliver e-juice to the atomizer. 


Thread Pattern / Threading – The style of connector threads used on e-cigarettes and cartomizers. Most often, these are referred to by a series of letters and numbers such as KR808D-1 or 510.


Throat Hit – The sensation one gets at the back of their throat when inhaling vapor from an e-cigarette. Many feel this is what helps e-cigarettes replicate the sensation of smoking. There are a number of things that dictate throat hit, nicotine content being the primary factor. Other factors include the mix of PG and VG in the e-juice as well as the hardware used and the power applied.


Vape/Vaping/Vaper – Derivatives of the concept of smoking. If a smoker inhales the smoke from a cigarette, an e-cigarette user inhales vapor from an e-cig and is called is a vaper. Vaping is the act of using an e-cigarette and "vape” is the analog to the word “smoke.”


Variable Voltage – A device that can adjust its power output across a range of voltages to allow the user to customize his/her experience based on personal preference and the cartomizer’s capabilities.

Vapor – The substance that is produced when the e-Juice is heated by the heating element.  The liquid converts to vapor. 

Variable Voltage (VV) – A personal vaporizer device that enables the user to control the voltage at which the device operates.  Modifying the voltage will change the quantity of vapor production and the flavor of the vapor. 


Variable Wattage – A personal vaporizer device that enables the user to control the wattage range at which the device operates.  Often, the device will automatically adjusts the voltage output according to the resistance of the attached cartomizer to the set power output in watts. This, in theory, provides a consistent experience regardless of a particular cartomizer’s resistance.

VG – Vegetable glycerin. This can also be used as the main liquid component in e-juice. VG is a thicker liquid that produces more vapor, but less flavor and throat hit than PG. Often PG and VG are combined in various ratios to provide balance between the properties of each type of liquid.

VRMS – A method used to determine the waveform to be generated in variable voltage or wattage e-cigarettes that use pulse-width modulation. VRMS is a fairly new trend in electronic cigarettes and is capable of providing more accurate power regulation, especially at lower voltages.


Wattage – The measurement of the actual amount of power delivered by the e-cigarette to the e-juice. Wattage is the combination of the voltage output by the e-cigarette or APV and the resistance of the cartomizer.


Wick / Wicking – The medium that delivers e-juice directly to the heating element to be vaporized. Most designs feature resistance wire like nichrome coiled around a wick of some type of varying length depending on the cartomizer or atomizer’s design. Wicking is the ability of the wick to deliver sufficient e-juice to the coil