Vaping Terminology

This is a list of terms used in vaping to describe e-cigarette hardware, refills and usage.

Vaping Terminology


Aerosol: The term “aerosol” is a scientifically more accurate description of e-cigarette “vapour,” owing to liquid droplets suspended in the air. Vapour is technically invisible.

The most appropriate term for e-cig vapor is an unstable liquid aerosol because it is an aerosol made up of tiny droplets that do not last long.

Although the particles in both smoke and e-cig vapor are small, they are not the same: smoke has solid particles, while e-cig vapor has liquid droplets that can be referred to as particles, but they have a dramatically different impact on the lungs (the liquid aerosol from e-cigs will dissolve just like the steam in a sauna; unlike solid particles that do not dissolve).

ADV, All-day vape: is a phrase used to describe an e-liquid flavour that someone finds acceptable to use for the majority of the day over many weeks or months. An all-day vape will not be a strange taste; it’ll most likely be something close to the norm, such as a tobacco variant or perhaps a caramel.

Like any person’s preference, the ADV may also change over time.

Analog: (slang) an ordinary tobacco cigarette. The conclusion is that the analogue (or “physical”) version is the cigarette, while the digital/electronic version is the e-cig. The spelling of ‘analogue’ in the United States is always employed (as with ‘program,’ a software routine).

APV: advanced personal vaporiser (or mod), a second-generation or later upgrade to the mini or cig-a-like (a small-format e-cig), with a larger battery or batteries and sometimes additional features such as higher voltage or variable voltage.

An APV is (1) a battery holder for generic batteries; (2) a vape device with detachable generic batteries and/or extras not found on minis; or (3) an EV (electric/electronic vaporiser) with several functions.

The older phrase “mod” was used because such large-battery devices could not be purchased but had to be built by modifying a torch/flashlight or similar.

The first widely-available modification was probably the “copper,” which utilised a 15mm copper water pipe and endcaps, a 14500 lithium cell, and a sprung end that was as likely to be at the top (510 connection) as much as the bottom (drip tip).

The Screwdriver was one of the first bottom-end buttons, and it was released in the UK as a commercial product.

APVs are the largest of the three types of e-cigarettes (mini, mid-size, and APV). They are 2nd-generation and later e-cigarettes that have at least three times the functionality of a mini (aka cig-a-like), often with extra features. Various characteristics include large battery capacity, stainless steel high-quality construction, digital readouts, high voltage, variable voltage, variable power, integrated liquid feed, and fine wood construction with marquetry.

APVs come in two types and three classes. The two most common shapes are:

a. Boxmods: box-shaped devices that resemble a cigarette pack with a mouthpiece, and can be made of billet metal, plastic, or finely decorated wood.

b. Tubemods are tubular-shaped devices that resemble a small flashlight with a mouthpiece on top, and they’re almost always made of metal and colour-coated aluminium or stainless steel.

The following are the three functionality types:

(1) Mech mods: fully mechanical gadgets that include a mechanical actuator switch and no wiring or electronics.

(2) Basic electrical devices: battery holders with a connected positive line and an electrical switch;

(3) Battery holders with electronic controls such as VV chips are also known as e-cigarettes.

It may also be inferred that there are six basic types of APV: two formats x three categories. There are many sub-varieties, such as the hybrid.

Atomiser: The atomiser is the heating coil that nebulises the refill liquid in a vape pen, or an “atty”: i.e., the whole atomiser unit from a 3-piece e-cigarette that comprises a steel tube 9mm in diameter (for the 510 models) with a metal end containing the atomiser coil, bridge and threaded connector system.

The original 510 atty was 9mm dia x 23mm long (27.5mm including thread connector), though later versions tended to be longer.

The name “atomiser” is incorrect because it really refers to a nebuliser.

An atomiser combines the elements of a toaster heater and an electric kettle: it heats up, but it must be immersed in liquid or placed in a very wet environment to cool down, otherwise it will overheat.

Since the liquid is fed via gravity into a regular atomiser, it behaves like an electric kettle and will not function upside down: it will overheat, go out of specification (overheat), and eventually fail due to lack of liquid cooling.

A regular atomiser operates at a temperature of 60 to 70 degrees Celsius. It will reach 300 C or more without liquid cooling, and it will ultimately fail.

Because the temperature is so high, the device will start producing smoke from melting internal components; it cannot produce vapour because there is no liquid left if the temperature rises to this level.

Automatic: (a) A miniature e-cig with an air pressure activated switch that does not require manual activation and draws air through it, making it a functioning replica of a tobacco cigarette; or (b) the battery itself, which contains all of the operating elements and is self-contained.


Battery: A rechargeable electrical storage device that acts as the power source for a personal vaporiser (e-cigarette) is known as a battery (or “batt”). A temporary item. See also: lithium-ion cell.

Battery Cutoff: To prevent pocket use and burnout, battery-powered devices have a limited operational period. The deadline may be as little as 6 or 12 seconds.

An absolute limit may be set that restricts the overall operational time across a certain period, such as 2 minutes.

Some versions may be overly stringent on the amount of time that a device can be used, particularly since priming puffs (qv) are frequently necessary on these little units.

BCC: bottom coil clearomiser, which contains the coil within the base of a (usually) replaceable cartridge that comprises the coil, wick, and centre air channel.

Although the term “BCC” is sometimes used to describe a regular carto with a bottom coil, this is not typical (the first bottom coil carto was a standard Boge 9mm x 35mm carto with the atomiser coil at the base instead of vertical and central; subsequently, the system was applied to other heads, hence BCC now implies clearos).

Best atomiser: Vapers have a lot of debates regarding which device produces the best vape. Because there can be no winner in matters of taste since what is ideal for one person may not be another’s favourite, this is an impossible question to answer.

In the atomiser category, the 306 (a 510 clone), 801, 510, and 510 Custom variants are among the most popular. A variety of clearos, as well as enhanced cartos, exist.

Tanks (tankomizers or glassomizers) are also popular since they provide the greatest adjustable vape settings as well as replaceable components and sufficient refill volume.

Many people have switched to RBA/RDA platforms recently. Sub tanks (sub-ohm tanks) are becoming increasingly popular.

It is easier to find good alternatives if one element, in particular, is being considered; for example, if vapour volume is the most important consideration, RBAs and sub tanks win – but the vapour may be drier than with other atomisers.

If you prefer a rich, creamy vape (moist with lots of taste), the older atomiser types such as the 510, and especially high-quality or custom variants such as the HH357, are top performers.

If you want a simple, fuss-free vape, the clearomiser is your winner. There is no such thing as a “best vape” because it implies various things to different people. My favourite device is not yours.

Boxies: one of the vaper cliques, this group prefer box mods.

Bridge: The mesh arch that sits above the heater coil in a conventional atomiser is known as a percolator. A silica wick may be included in the mesh (typically of stainless steel).

The objective of the bridge was to shield the coil from the cartridge wadding, guide the refill liquid down via gravity, make contact and capillary action contact with it, store some refill liquid near the coil and prevent flooding of the coil by limiting downward flow.

The modern atomiser’s bridge serves primarily as a liquid reservoir for nebulisation, and it aids in the formation of a liquid-saturated atmosphere around the coil.


Cartomiser : (‘carto’), It’s a type of device that combines an atomiser and a cartridge into one unit, which contains both the heating element and the liquid reservoir. A throwaway item

A carto generally has a vertical atomiser coil within a central air channel formed by a roll of silica cloth, surrounded by polyester wadding that keeps and stabilises the refill liquid. The whole system is completed with a top cap, also known as covers, which prevent leaks and have a central air hole of approximately 1.5mm.

The carto has taken the place of the atomiser and cartridge (containing the battery, this makes up the 3-piece tiny e-cigarette ‘cig-a-like’) as the most popular e-cigarette head unit, and thus, along with the battery, is a component of the 2-piece mini e-cig system: The basic design for not only 2-piece cigalikes but also bigger versions

The carto was originally designed by Kanger for the KR808 system, and the 9mm x 35mm KR8 model is still regarded as the gold standard; Boge and others have copied it in 510.

Cartos are typically cleaned and replaced about five times before they need to be replaced or recycled. They can be properly cleaned and re-used 3 times before their efficiency begins to decline.

Charger: The battery charger that replenishes a discharged e-cig battery. The first chargers for 1st-generation equipment had a mains plug with a cable connected to a DC 4.2 volt charging unit of around 100mAh and the appropriate thread for the small e-cig battery to screw onto. When plugged in, the red and green light on the charger indicated the charge state of the battery: red for on charge, green for fully charged.

The batteries for 2nd-generation midsize models were identical, although their outputs were larger. The threaded connector was the same, but the connection port was larger for eGo-size batteries to screw into. A mid-size battery requires an adaptor to work with a mini charger; it’s simply a smaller end that slides onto the bigger battery.

Then there was USB connector charging ports at the battery base. There are two types of user error involved with this: (1) if the top connector thread is used to charge devices, they may not charge correctly; and (2) some devices only accept a 4.2v input from a charger unit, so connecting a 5v output direct from a computer USB port might cause an overload and result in a fire.

Use only the charger and charging procedure recommended by your device’s manufacturer. Using other options might cause a fire.

The majority of the time, AGM batteries are charged by simply removing the cells and putting them in a tray of a generic lithium cell charger. These can be recharged at 500mAh using IMR cells, which have a 1-amp fast recharge option on some models.

The majority of 12-volt toys include a 12-volt jack for in-car usage and can operate on a variety of mains voltages and frequencies (typically 110v to 240v, 50Hz to 60Hz).

Cigalike, Cig-a-like: A popular name for the small e-cig that looks and feels like a traditional tobacco cigarette. (see mini)

Clearomiserclearo : One of the most popular head systems was the clearomiser, which is a large, transparent cartomiser. The clearomiser is a second-generation cartomiser that is bigger and does not contain any wadding because it contains a simple tank with a silica wick system feeding a top coil atomiser. Later versions have alternative operation techniques such as replaceable bottom coils.

A typical model holds from 1.7 to 3ml of refill liquid. They must be refilled from a bottle. They are usually filled several times and then discarded when performance deteriorates. These devices have the potential to crack over time.

Cloud-chasers: Cloud-chasers are vapers who value enormous clouds of vapour above all else. These enthusiasts like mech mod-RBA, high-power box mod-RBA, or hi-power box mod-sub tank setups.

Many mech mod users are sub-ohm enthusiasts: individuals who rebuild their atomiser coils to less than 1-ohm resistance, and in some cases as low as 0.5 ohm

A sub-ohm atty is not necessary for cloud production by hi-power box mods; they achieve the same volume of clouds with a 1.5-ohm coil as the power input might be varied (in some cases to near 12 volts); but, truly massive clouds require a sub-ohm coil.

The box mod market has seen a resurgence as a result of cloud chasing, with new high-wattage chips now available that can produce more than 200 watts.

Cloud-chasers are criticised by other vapers due to their proclivity for generating fog, even when the time and place are not ideal. Cloud-chasing is a type of sport vaping.

Coil: the wire into a coil that is heated and nebulises the refill liquid; the atomiser coil. It might be nichrome, kanthal, nickel, titanium or stainless steel wire.

A conventional atomiser contains a coil that is wrapped around a tiny length of silica wick, which measures approximately 1.5mm in diameter (this is termed a micro coil because other types have a larger diameter).

Kanthal or nichrome wire is used in an RBA. The resistance wire in all coils has a certain resistance per unit length (usually measured in Ohms per foot, inches or centimetres).

The coil must be immersed in a liquid or a saturated air environment to prevent overheating. The normal temperature of a coil is 60 to 70 degrees Celsius.

The solution is nebulised using a heater coil and airflow, resulting in an aerosol that is aided by the use of an excipient (a solvent or carrier liquid), such as PG.

In order that the coil temperature remains low, the liquid that has been nebulised must be immediately replaced, a process accomplished by various methods normally using some form of the wick.

The coil will overheat and go through a 300 C red-heat temperature if it is operated absent liquid (assuming enough power is available, which isn’t always the case).

At this time, conventional atomisers’ internal components will be melting and smoke will emerge. There is no vapour at this point since there cannot be any liquid present in order to reach this temperature.

Coil types: Coils can be organised in a variety of ways. The wire sort is one example: see above. Single coil, twin coil, and quad coil are the most common type of coils. Wrap-around wick is the kind of wick used.

Some of the most popular wire configurations are regular single wire coil, braided, Clapton, and hive (ribbon plus normal round wire). The variations in the build include horizontal coil, vertical coil, and a variety of other versions.

A build might be described as follows: a twin coil vertical wraparound rayon wick (or “dragon” style) in 28ga kanthal A1. Coil and wick builds are a huge, independent topic that encompasses hundreds of choices.

Cracking: Any tanks utilising acrylic window coverings and other plastic windows are prone to cracking and leakage as a result of e-liquid’s acidic components, particularly citric acid.

A variety of flavourings can cause this broad etching. It’s not clear whether the effect is due to the leaching of plasticisers (like phthalates), but it’s possible. Only glass composed of pyrex and quartz is completely resistant to liquid assault, although they are more susceptible to impact damage.


DCC: A double coil cartomiser, also known as a twin coil cartomiser, is a long cartridge with two atomiser coils in parallel, each of about 3 ohms resistance, and the overall resistance is generally 1.5 ohms. These cartos have excellent performance, but they require the battery to work harder.

Direct inhale: Direct-to-lung inhale – as employed with low resistance coils and high power. It’s nearly always used with coils below 1 ohm. The sub-ohm inhalation technique is the name for it. E-liquid vaporisers now exist in two distinct forms: direct inhalation and indirect inhalation (M2L).

DIY: do it yourself. The term “DIY” has been in use since around the twentieth century to describe home improvements completed by the homeowner. In the world of vaping, it refers to any self-handmade creation or modification as opposed to a shop-bought product. The most popular DIY projects are refill liquids, RBA builds, and storage solutions (such as stands and boxes).

Disposable: It’s an e-cigarette that can’t be recharged. A disposable vape is abandoned once the cartomiser is finished or the battery dies out.

Doubler: Flavour doubler liquid is a refill type that contains no nicotine. It’s simply base and flavouring, so it may be used to lower the refill strength by adding the doubler: while the nicotine concentration decreases, the taste remains consistent.

When the initial liquid is changed or stretched in any manner, it may be used as a flavour enhancer; tripler liquid has extra-strength flavour for this purpose.

Dripping: Dripping produces a rounder vapor and fills in any space between coils previously not filled. Instead of feeding it by another method, drip liquid onto an atomiser like a 510 or 901, which created the thickest flavour and most saturated vapour; but it was time-consuming and inconvenient except for enthusiasts. The frequency of dripping could be reduced using a drip shield.

The newest RDA rebuildable atomisers for dripping are the most recent variation of this usage mode. They can hold significant amounts of liquid without the need of a tank by utilising big wicks and a deep well.

Drip tip: A drip tip is a detachable mouthpiece. The name comes from the fact that it was designed for a particular type of drip tip with a larger internal bore than an ordinary cartridge or cartomiser endpiece, allowing liquid to be dripped down through it and into an atomiser without having to remove the mouthpiece.

The most common drip tips are circular in shape, but some employ the flat format seen on a briar (tobacco) pipe. Some people remove the tip and then drip onto the atomiser, while others simply drip straight through it.

Dry hit: A “dry hit” occurs in a vape pen when the first draw after liquid has run out is called a “dry hit.” It will have low vapor volume, with hot, thin vapour and noticeably dry flavour to the vape.

It is critical not to use the device again until it has been refilled or replaced, since a subsequent hit will burn the head’s internals and render it useless. Furthermore, the product may be smoke rather than steam.


e-liquid: the common term for e-cigarette refill liquid. Also, e-juice or juice. A technically more accurate description is ‘refill liquid’.

e-cigar : an EV made to resemble a cigar in looks and flavour. The e-liquid used would typically be a cigar type such as Cuban or Cherry Cigar flavour, to stay in character.

e-cigarette : more accurately an EV or electric/electronic vaporiser. ‘E-Cigarette’ is strictly a marketing term – and a hugely successful one – since an EV has no possible functional, mechanical or material connection with a cigarette; it is far closer in operation to a medical nebuliser or asthma inhaler (indeed, many of the ingredients are the same).

However, an EV can be made to resemble a tobacco cigarette although all other attributes are vastly different and at the cost of massively reduced performance in all areas. The benchmark e-cig now is the midi or mid-size model range based on the eGo design; this 2nd-gen model has replaced the mini as the basic type as the performance is at least doubled. Mini e-cigs or cigalikes were the 1st-generation products; we are now on 3rd-gen in broad terms although some specific developments are gen-6 (temperature control for example).

The use of the term e-cigarette had great advantages, and now has equally great disadvantages:

– Firstly, it is inaccurate since an electronic vaporiser containing no tobacco is obviously unrelated in any way to a cigarette.

– A smoke-free, tobacco-free electronic water-based mist generator has no possible relation to a tobacco cigarette.

– It contributed greatly to the early popularisation of this THR system since the term encouraged smokers to try out a product with zero histories of use at that time.

– It still helps to suggest to smokers that they can switch without losing too much.

– It has now become a massive negative because it allows commercial rivals to claim that the use of an EV is smoking – a ridiculous concept since EV use is far closer to the use of an asthma inhaler than smoking.

– The viability and popularity of the EV depend to a certain extent on the use of this inaccurate marketing term.

Thus, we can see that the use of the term has (a) allowed vaping to grow exponentially, and (b) is the single largest problem facing EV use today: calling it an ‘e-cigarette’ makes it appear related to smoking, which EV use replaces and will eventually destroy. Inhaling tobacco-free mist from a nebuliser is not smoking, but can easily be smeared by propaganda as being similar in some way when the term used for the product is expressly but falsely designed to relate the item closely with the product it replaces.

electronic cigarette : (see

eGo : the first mid-size e-cig, invented by Janty and originally made by Joyetech. It became fabulously successful, and as they didn’t patent or copyright it, eGo clones are now the basis for a significant part of the e-cig industry. The eGo is now the benchmark e-cig. Joyetech still make it since they have manufacturing and name rights, and their model is of high quality compared to some of the clones; Janty now have the device made elsewhere. (see mid-size e-cig)

e-smoking : a term used in the past to describe vaping. It tended to be used by those who still considered themselves smokers even if they were exclusive vapers, and, equally, decried by those who considered that they had quit smoking entirely and that there is no connection between smoking and vaping. Thus it can be seen that the term itself represents one of the schisms within the vaping community.

EV : electronic (or electric) vaporiser. Probably the most accurate term for an e-cig, but not widely used. Alternatives are PV, ENDS, EC and several more.


flooding : when too much refill is added, the head can flood. It also happens if liquid is mistakenly poured into the central air channel. Normally the head must be removed, opened, shaken out or blown through, dried off, and refilled correctly.

Flooding can also occur in a cartomiser tank system if the feeder hole in the bottom of the cartomiser is too large for the viscosity of the refill – a viscous liquid needs a larger hole, a thin liquid a smaller one.


generation : the major steps in the technical progress of vaping are called the generations, as in 1st generation etc. At Q2 2016 we are at the 7th generation of hardware progression, as explained at the foot of this page: page 1 of the glossary of terms. However a simplified version is used for media explanations, and this holds we are currently at 3rd generation products. It runs like this:

1st generation: the cigalikes.

2nd generation: the midsize models, also known as the eGo type.

3rd generation: mods aka APVs, of all types.

As mech mods came before gen 2 (the Screwdriver existed a long time before the eGo), this version is technically incorrect, but it suits a simplified main media approach.

gurgling : a sign too much refill has been added, or it has obstructed the central air channel in the head. In some BCCs it indicates the liquid level has fallen too low.


Han Li : (aka ‘Hon Lik’) the inventor of the modern e-cig. Herbert Gilbert originated and patented the concept in the 1960s, but neither battery technology nor consumer motivation was present at that time.

Note that the name Hon Lik does not exist in Chinese and presumably results from someone mishearing the name; a mistake, unfortunately, perpetuated in the media. From the list of Directors of his company, Dragonite, it can be seen how he prefers the name written in Anglicised form: Han Li. (Many people will be aware of the name Han in the SE Asia area – China, Korea etc. – the Han dynasty being a typical example, and most are probably familiar with the surname Lee or Li.)

head, lately topper : any atomiser, tank, liquid reservoir and mouthpiece or combination that is attached to an e-cig battery at the user end. The part of the device that holds and nebulises the refill. Modern heads tend to be one-piece units that fulfill all the required non-battery jobs, though they may break down into their separate components; the mouthpiece is almost always a removable/replaceable component. The benchmark head at Q1 2014 was the clearomiser; cartos, atties, and RBAs are also heads.

The term ‘head’ was used until tanks with replaceable atomiser cartridges were introduced, when users started to use the term for the cartridges and called the whole unit a ‘topper’, perhaps because they did not know the term ‘head’ was already in use.

head (2) : sometimes used for the replaceable cartridge within a clearomiser or tankomiser that contains the atomiser, wick and lower chimney (the central air channel). ‘Core‘ is now used as it is more accurate.

hybrid : a type of high quality, short production run, custom APV, normally a mech mod, with a custom connector system that is usually much better than for example a 510 series connector – it is usually both stronger and electrically better due to lower integral resistance as it is much larger.

The connector system is usually a proprietary style and has no relationship to a 510 or any other standard type. (This definition is made very clear to ensure that D/C mods [qv] are not referred to incorrectly as ‘hybrids – they have nothing whatsoever to do with hybrids.)

The battery tube and head are integrated: the battery holder, reservoir tank and/or RBA are similarly styled, of the same exterior diameter, and connected with a proprietary system that does not fit anything else. Examples: some Zen models, some GG models. The device is commonly a stainless tube mod with a genesis or RTA head (i.e. a tank + RBA) made to fit exactly, so that it has the same diameter, construction and styling as the battery tube. The actuator is usually a bottom button.

A true Hybrid has a proprietary connector system that is extremely rugged compared to the 510 type and is far stronger and safer as a result. Thus, only the designed head unit can be connected to the battery holder section as nothing else will fit.

Do not confuse this APV type with the direct-connect system (qv) as there are no comparisons to be made. Genuine hybrids are top-quality devices, unlike the D/C type, which are cheap, nasty and dangerous by comparison. There are few e-cig models that should be banned for consumer protection – but D/C mods are #1 on that list.

HR : (see LR)

indirect inhale : M2L or mouth-to-lung inhaling. This is a method generally used with high-resistance coils of over 1 ohm. Power is low, typically around 10 or 12 watts. Vaping has split into two forms, M2L and D2L, low power and high power.

see also: direct inhale.


kanthal wire : kanthal A1 is the type of wire most used for RBA coil builds, and is sometimes used in manufactured coils. It is an iron-chromium-aluminium alloy, FeCrAl, that is very stable and gives excellent results in an atomiser coil. It probably has the least health concerns of any wire type used for this purpose. qv wire

kohgendo or koh-gen-do : organic Japanese cotton, used for wicks in RBAs. Vapers argue endlessly about the best wick material, and at Q2 2015 kohgendo appears to have the most support. Alternatives are rayon, other cotton types, silica, and SS mesh.


leaking : a perennial problem with ecig heads, ever since the first models. More recent models have reduced issues, but the problem can never be entirely eliminated because of the nature of the task: a liquid reservoir and nebuliser arrangement that must be open in some way at the bottom to allow air input and at the top to allow air output. Auto batteries and 3-piece ecigs have the worst record for leakage or leak-induced damage. Modern systems are almost – but not quite – immune; operator error can be a cause of leakage: adding too much refill or in the wrong place.

LEDoLED : solid-state electronic components that convert electricity into light using very little power, with little heat generation, and with high reliability.

LEDs or light-emitting diodes can be used for tip lights on mini e-cigs.

oLEDs or organic light-emitting diodes are used for the more modern-looking display readouts that are much more precise and crisp-looking than the older, simple LED readouts.

lithium cell types : electronic cigarettes use lithium-ion cells (rechargeable lithium batteries) because of their high voltage and high charge density. Rechargeable batteries are also called secondary cells (standard batteries, that are not rechargeable, are called primary cells). Varying types of lithium ion cell are used; all except ‘Li-Fe’ cells have a nominal voltage of 3.7 volts.

Mini e-cigs use ‘Li-ion’ cells: lithium cobalt oxide LiCoO2; these are generally referred to as ‘unprotected Li-ions’. They need an add-on protection circuit to prevent overcharging / over-discharge / excess current discharge, otherwise, the cell is too unstable for consumer product use.

Either the e-cigarette device contains the protection circuit, or the circuit is provided in the form of an add-on disk-shaped circuit board appended to the negative pole (the bottom) of the battery (this generally applies to 14500 series cells and larger). Mid-size e-cigs (eGo type) also use a Li-ion cell, with the added protection circuit within the device.

APVs, the large-format devices, use replaceable generic batteries and this allows the use of more efficient and safer cells. Typically, a Li-Mn cell is used: lithium manganese, aka IMR. These are a ‘safer-chemistry’ type that has no need for a protection circuit. Some of these larger devices may use Li-FePo4 cells (‘Li-Fe’ or lithium ferrous cells); these have a lower nominal voltage of 3.2 volts and are also of the safer-chemistry type. Some integral battery pack devices use ‘Li-Poly’ cells, which are lithium polymer cells.

lithium ion cell : the correct term for a lithium rechargeable battery or ‘Li-ion’ battery. The nominal voltage is 3.7 volts. All e-cigarettes except for one design available for DIY (the ‘Puck’, which uses regular 1.5 volt rechargeables) use a lithium ion cell or cells. The size ranges from the tiny cells in the minis, of around 90 to 125mAh (milliamp/hour) to the 1,600 or 2,000mAh cells (18650 series) used in many APVs. Some XL devices use a 26650 series cell. The cell # delineates the physical size and type: an 18650 for example means 18mm diameter, 65mm length, and round format.

All batteries provide DC current (not AC as in mains electricity). Only rechargeable cells are used in e-cigs. Lithium ion cells are used because they have a higher voltage than regular rechargeable batteries (3.7 volts vs 1.5 volts) and because they have a higher charge density (the amount of energy that can be stored in proportion to their size and weight).

lithium ion cell issues : these cells cannot be regarded as intrinsically safe, in the way that regular 1.5 volt rechargeables are; they have stability issues. (There is an exception: Li-FePo4 cells are notably stable.) Their use must be subject to careful management: the physical conditions of use, the charging regime, and the discharge regime are all important for safety.

As an example, large battery packs that use these cells (as in electric cars and aircraft) must have extremely comprehensive management systems, and ideally cryogenic cooling systems, because thermal runaway is a significant issue. The recent Boeing Dreamliner aircraft battery fires occurred because the lithium cell packs were poorly designed and poorly managed (it appears that the design of the cryogenic cooling system may have been defective).

The nominal voltage is 3.7 volts – this means the average circuit working voltage. They can be charged up to 4.21 volts and discharged to 3.2 volts. Usage outside these parameters will damage the cell. Maximum cell service life is achieved by charging to 4.17 volts maximum and discharging to 3.4 volts minimum.

‘Li-Poly’ or Li-Po cells (lithium polymer packs) are normally flat/square in format, and additionally have an impact damage issue which means they must not be used for any service where shock impact may be experienced. Some sub-types are demonstrated to catch fire immediately if severe impact is experienced, or while subsequently on charge.

Unprotected Li-ion cells must not be used in series (‘stacked’) as this is shown to create a significant risk of thermal runaway and failure with flame and violent outgassing. The use of such an arrangement in a sealed device has significant risks of explosion. Since this is the regular format used in ultra-high-power LED torches (flashlights), serious failure events are common; an expert on these issues at the Candlepower forum estimated there is a ‘lithium cell incident’ for every 1,600 units sold.

Regular lithium batteries, aka camera batteries, primary cells, and ordinary batteries – must not be used in an e-cigarette under any circumstances. This is because they may be recharged by mistake, leading to known examples of serious battery failure events.

Counterfeit batteries are a major problem in the e-cigarette world due to the wide-scale of the issue. This problem is specific to APVs since the mini and mid-size devices have integral cells installed by the manufacturer of the device, who can source them correctly.

Consumers, on the other hand, have little protection because it is almost impossible to verify the original source of the batteries they buy at retail. The problem is that the large-battery APV devices need safer-chemistry cells such as the Li-Mn / IMR type in order to operate safely; but such cells are expensive and therefore a target for counterfeiters, and may be of any type, beneath the fake label.

As a specific example: AW Batteries is a known source of good-quality 18650 IMR cells, and only sells through authorised distributors, and such batteries are expensive at around $10 each. They can also be found offered for sale on the Alibaba website, a popular source for Asian wholesale supplies; AW state that all available from this source are counterfeit.

This raises an important issue: since the fakes might be poor-quality IMR cells with a fake label or even reject-quality unprotected Li-ion cells stripped and re-labelled as AW IMR cells, there is a significant risk of violent failure in the high-demand service an APV may create: the dangers in this situation are clear.

lo-reshi-res : low resistance atomisers, high resistance atomisers. (see next entry)

Low Nicotine Vapes

Low nicotine vapes refer to vaping devices and e-liquids that contain a minimal concentration of nicotine, often around 0-3mg per milliliter. These options are popular among vapers who are looking to decrease their nicotine intake or enjoy vaping without a strong nicotine hit. Low nicotine vapes come in various forms, such as:

  • Low Nicotine E-liquids: These are juices used in refillable vape devices that contain a lower-than-average nicotine content.
  • Low Nicotine Disposable Vapes: These are single-use vaping devices that come pre-filled with a low-nicotine e-liquid. Low nicotine disposables are typically lightweight, user-friendly, and come in a wide array of flavors.

Opting for low nicotine vape can provide a smoother throat hit and allow vapers to enjoy the flavorful experience without a substantial nicotine impact.

LR : low resistance, typically used to describe the most common measurement applied to an atomiser.

LR – a pre-built atomiser with a resistance below 2 ohms is considered LR. SR or standard resistance is 2 ohms to 3 ohms. HR or high resistance is 3 ohms to 5 ohms. These all have uses according to the voltage of the battery or batteries in the e-cig / APV.

– Common LR values are 1.5 ohms and 1.8 ohms.

– SR is often 2.2, 2.5 or 3 ohms.

– HR is often 3.5 or 4.5 ohms.

In 2010 the first LR atomiser was introduced when the eGo had been in use for a while, in order to get a more powerful vape, as this was now possible with regular e-cigs as the battery size had increased from the 125mAh of the minis to the 650mAh and up of the mid-size units.

The 5 volt regulated box mods used SR atties, the ‘6 volt’ stacked-battery APVs used HR atties at this time, which had been the only way of getting a better vape than with the cigalikes. With the introduction of the eGo and LR atty, a decent vape was then possible with a ‘regular’ e-cig. Because resistance is related to power (lower resistance means more amps are drawn and thus more watts used), an LR coil uses more power and creates more vapour.

The battery needs to be, ideally, at least 650mAH in order to use the facility, to avoid too much voltage drop, and to avoid damage to the battery by over-current draw.


mAh : milliampere hours, a measure of a battery’s capacity in terms of its output in milliamps vs time. 1,000 milliamps = 1 amp. For example a 1,600 mAh battery is rated to deliver 1.6 amps for an hour. This figure has no relation to the burst (or ‘pulse’) power output, which can be 10, 20 or 30 amps for a battery rated around 1,600 mAh.

manual : a manual battery has an on/off button, as against an auto battery which is operated by air pressure. This differentiator mostly applies to mini ecigs, which are supllied in both types. Virtually all larger models are manual.

mechheads : vapers who only use a mechmod, usually a mechanical tubemod – a tube format APV with no internal wiring or circuitry that is simply a battery holder with a mechanical actuator for a switch.

mid-size e-cig : the larger, 2nd-generation e-cigarette models that have about double the performance of minis. Alternative names are ego-type, fat-batt.

The original design was the eGo (by Janty), who did not patent the design, and now there is a multitude of choices (‘clones’) including the kGo, Riva, Tornado etc. These models are about the size of a fat cigar, and are the medium-size grouping within the three size groups (mini, mid-size, APV). In function, it has replaced the earlier pen styles, which were a short-lived attempt to improve the performance of the minis.

The mid-size e-cig is now the benchmark model, and all measurements of any metric should employ a mid-size unit as against a mini, which is obsolete for any purpose except new-user introduction or use by occasional/social smokers. 92% of persons polled at a typical vapemeet had upgraded from a mini to a larger model.

The physical size of the battery is critical to e-cigarette performance, since (a) a relatively high voltage is needed, (b) a very high current is required compared to the physical size of the cell – about 2 amps, and this is high for a small cell, and (c) the size of a battery dictates the time of usable performance. Larger e-cigs perform far better than smaller ones, almost entirely due to the size of the battery.

mini e-cig : a small-format e-cigarette, aka ‘cig-alikes’, ‘cigalikes’, ‘look-alikes’, ‘looky-likies’, ‘stick e-cigs’, and so on. Typical minis include the 510 and KR808 ranges. Minis are the smallest of the three classes of e-cig (mini, mid-size, APV) and are designed to replicate a tobacco cigarette in size and shape.

These cigarette clones were the 1st-generation models and at Q1 2014 were still the most popular in terms of market share (over 50% of the US market) since the majority of newcomers prefer a device that precisely replicates a tobacco cigarette in size, shape, and looks. However, the market has moved on, and far better performance is available from later (but larger) models.

The performance of minis has not improved radically unlike that of all the other model types, because the battery size constraints any improvement. In contrast, the performance of other models has improved significantly, and the 2nd-generation and 3rd-gen products are now dramatically superior. These more recent, larger models (such as the mid-size / eGo type or the APVs) provide a clear upgrade path, with performance gains of two to twenty times or so.

(see also super-mini)

mod : (1) any modification of an e-cig or one of its parts (see APV, bonuts, cartridges).

(2) the original term for a large-battery or removable-battery e-cig when such devices had to be DIY made from copper pipe or battery boxes. Since these advanced units can run $200 or $300 now, the term ‘mod’ is not accurate and has been replaced to some extent with the term APV (advanced personal vaporiser) by some manufacturers.

modding : reworking, customising and custom-building of any EV component or whole device. From 2006 to about 2009, modding mostly meant trying to get carts (cartridges) to work, and building copper pipe mods. Now it means custom building 100-Watt temperature control digital devices and all the rest of the customisations seen in a mature market.

nickel wire : Ni200, a wire type used in atomisers, and required for temperature control devices. It has very low resistance and is the most stable when used in a device that fixes the coil temperature maximum by varying the circuit voltage as needed. (Such values are always set or varied by fixing or varying the voltage since there is no such thing in reality as ‘variable power’ or ‘variable temperature’, per se.)

Unlike other wire types, there are some health concerns with this wire since it is very soft by comparison with other types, is said to more easily leach materials into solvents such as e-liquid and therefore the vapour stream. It is said to be more likely to have allergenic effects, and it is said there may even be a possibility that it may be carcinogenic in one or more of the forms that may be present in e-cig vapour. Titanium wire (qv) is therefore gaining ground for TC (qv) applications. qv wire

nichrome wire : the standard coil wire type used in most manufactured atomiser coils.

see wire


nicotine (see

noobs : (or newbies) are new vapers or alternatively anyone using a mini e-cig (cigalike).


Ohm : the measurement unit of resistance. A stock atomiser coil in a regular head is usually from 1.5 to 2 ohms. The higher the resistance, unless the voltage is varied, the cooler the vape and the less vapour produced. The lower the resistance, at the same voltage, the warmer the vape and the more vapour.

O-ring : a circular seal usually made from silicone, nitrile or other synthetic rubber-like materials. O-rings are widely used in e-cigs to provide a sliding fit with a good liquid and gas seal, especially in larger or custom models. Almost all drip tips employ one (or two, in some cases).


passthroughpass-through : (1) a corded battery that can be connected to a USB socket and used ‘online’, that is to say while charging; or (2) a corded connector without a battery inline that is used in the same way but usually delivers USB voltage (5 volts) direct to the connector (for the carto etc.).

These were systems popular in the 1st-gen days when battery performance was very poor, and those working at a desk could get either long-term performance from a mini by using a battery passthrough online, or get better performance by injecting 5 volts into their carto or atty by using a batteryless passthrough (at the risk of blowing the USB sub-board, because it had a 0.5 amp service not a 2 amp service at that time).

[Note that ‘online’ is an electrical term meaning ‘in use while also charging or working’, such as an ‘online UPS’, and has nothing to do with the internet.]

PCCpersonal charging case : a carry box for mini ecigs that also contains a battery to charge them with. Useful because the tiny batteries in cigalikes need frequent recharging.

penstyles : early medium-format e-cigs of around 150mm in length, resembling a pen in size and appearance, as they had a larger battery than the minis together with a step and wider diameter section at one end, the device, therefore, resembling a fountain pen. These were in effect the first mid-size models, and pre-existed the eGo type. They came after the mini and super-mini, and were an early attempt at improving battery life and performance since the minis of the time had really poor performance. The heyday of the pen style was 2009 – 2010, after which they died out as APVs and the eGo models (which started the explosion in mid-size clone devices) did the job far better.

A typical model was the DSE801. Many penstyle e-cigs were autos. All were of the 3-piece battery-atomiser-cartridge format, a poor arrangement in modern terms.

It needs to be stated, in fairness, that the 801 atomiser itself was probably the best ever invented, from an engineering standpoint, as it was slightly larger and mechanically far stronger than other competing model series such as the 510 and 901. When used as a dripper atty on a 5v box mod, the 801 atomiser represented the peak of performance in early 2010.

Unfortunately, the regular pen-style system suffered from the usual ills of the 3-piece e-cig designs: leaking, short refill usage, and annoying glitches such as leakdown battery death on the auto models.

The Ruyan V8 is an example of a vape pen still available now. It would be tempting to say that the world has moved on a long way since then; except that by re-modelling and re-marketing the devices as Shisha Pens, the circle has turned again. As an e-cig, the pen-style is obsolete for many years, like all its contemporary rivals.

PG : propylene glycol is a common excipient (carrier agent, diluent, solvent, inactive ingredient) in e-cig refill liquids. It was used originally because it performs much the same function in theatre fog machines: it makes water vapour visible and is harmless.

It has several useful properties: it is an excellent solvent for other materials, it disperses exceptionally well in an aerosol, it is all but inert in the human organism (it is mostly excreted but some are treated as a carbohydrate and metabolised to lactic acid), it is one of the most powerful aerosol bactericides and virucides known, and like all glycols has an exceptionally low freezing point. Several of these properties make it a popular choice for use in large building aircon plants as the water treatment agent.

Some glycols are toxic, but PG is essentially inert in human and animal organisms. Since glycols have a low freezing point and are cheap to make, they are used as anti-freeze. The cheaper types tend to be toxic, such as DEG or dietheylene glycol, and this is known as a cheap but toxic antifreeze.

PG on the other hand is more expensive, especially when produced to higher quality grades, and is only used as an antifreeze in situations where a non-toxic AF is essential; this can be for winterising RV and boat toilet systems since there is a possibility of human contact, and farmers can add PG to animal water troughs in winter as it is perfectly safe to drink.

PG has one of the most extensively researched and known safe histories of any consumer chemical product: it has been used and intensively researched since the 1940s and has a large data resource proving its usefulness and safety. With 70 years of safe use for ingestion and inhalation, there are no questions left to answer.

Lastly, PG has a slight irritant effect when breathed in as a concentrated aerosol as in e-cig vapour, and this is used to produce the TH or throat hit required to replicate cigarette smoke.

In general, PG is the perfect choice for an e-liquid diluent: it is harmless, has a huge data resource on its safety, is used in medicine for inhalation and injection (it is the diluent for many asthma inhalers, the nebulisers used by lung transplant patients, and several immiscible injected drugs such as diazepam and phenytoin), is proven absolutely safe, is extremely well-tolerated, makes nice vapour, and has a slight TH as well.

In terms of the negatives: about 1 person in 10 finds that PG dries out the throat and upper respiratory tract since it is a humectant (attracts water). Most find that this stage passes and they become acclimated to it, but some cannot tolerate this drying-out effect and about 1 in 100 need to find an alternative base. About 1 in 10,000 find that PG consumption in quantity has an unwanted effect on the skin, drying it out or creating itching; they switch to VG as an alternative. See more regarding PG sensitivities here.

The major pharmaceutical companies commonly used PG as the excipient for inhaled medicines in the past, but are gradually changing over to glycerine now that pure, synthetic products are available for this purpose (e.g. Dow Optim). Glycerine works in a very similar way have no drying-out effect and are equally harmless when inhaled. 

PG remains a better choice, though, for those with compromised lung function and/or vulnerability to lung problems (such as, especially, emphysema patients – who are at risk of pneumonia) since PG is such a powerful bactericide and virucide and has a drying effect; VG (glycerine) bases are not the best choice for these patients since they are simply bacteriostatic at best, and may have a ‘wetting’ effect, not a drying one, at least for certain patients with lungs severely compromised by smoking.

Plasma nicotine level: the only valid measurement of an EV’s effectiveness: how much nicotine can be measured in the blood. A typical average level for a modern e-cig is 12ng/ml, and the average min-max levels are 6ng and 20ng; but values outside these levels are seen. The value rises over time more slowly than that for a tobacco cigarette, which reaches the peak value more quickly. A vaper achieving a 12ng value after 10 minutes may reach 20ng after 1 hour.

As a comparison, tobacco cigarette max levels are also higher – especially historically. Recent max levels seen in smokers were typically 30ng although 50ng is reported as common in the past, with 60ng reported.

It is obvious that vapers report the same satisfaction level with a plasma nic level approximately 33% lower than their cigarette equivalent. This fact has (a) never been explained, and (b) never been reported in the medical press. However it was clearly noted by the inventor of the Favor smokeless cigarette in the early 80s before it was crushed by the FDA in order to protect the smoking economy – he noted that pure nicotine inhalation was far more effective than smoked nicotine: the blood plasma level was much lower for an equal effect, and that smoking appeared to have a ‘blunting’ effect on the operation of nicotine (more is required to get the same effect).

Or, less pure nicotine is needed for the same effect; and this is clearly seen in a lower plasma nic level for the same effect. This contradicts some beliefs that smoking ‘maximises’ nicotine effect: it very clearly doesn’t and has exactly the opposite effect.

Primer puff : a puff taken before the main usable puff when using a mini e-cig. It is used because the tiny battery cannot heat the atomiser sufficiently to produce a usable result in a short time (i.e., the same time that a tobacco cigarette inhale lasts for); therefore, either an extra-long inhale of 6 or 8 seconds is used with a mini e-cig, or a primer puff is taken (the vapor from the primer puff being discarded since it will have no usable nicotine content).

However, auto battery mini e-cigs sometimes cut out due to over-operation when used in a manner that delivers a satisfactory nicotine content, which by necessity involves either a primer puff or an extra-long inhale in order to heat the atomiser sufficiently; therefore it may be correct in some cases to describe use of an auto mini as simply a placebo product.

PV : personal vaporiser. A more accurate term than ‘e-cigarette’; though EV is better (electric or electronic vaporiser).


RBARTARDA : rebuildable atomiser, rebuildable tank atomiser, rebuildable dripper atomiser. These heads are generally made from stainless steel and employ a rebuildable coil and wick system, with a tank reservoir in the case of the RTA. Unlike most other e-cig parts, an RBA is not a disposable item, and this is part of its functionality and attraction: in theory, an RBA might last forever, needing only nichrome / kanthal / nickel resistance wire and wick material such as rayon, cotton, stainless steel mesh or silica rope for rebuilding the coil and wick occasionally (these are widely available for other purposes).

Combined with a generic battery holder body (APV), they are essentially an everlasting device that only needs common parts for occasional maintenance. Some are small and slim in format, others fairly substantial. The tank variants must be refilled from a bottle.

The emergence of RBAs has caused a renaissance in the mechanical APV market (‘mech mods’), since only these devices can reliably handle the high current demanded by the super-low resistance coils popular with some RBA users (often below 1 ohm, and referred to as ‘sub-ohm’ coils). These devices are capable of producing huge amounts of vapour, which is part of the attraction for some vapers.

However, in Q2 2015, the growing popularity of hi-power box mods has meant that RBAs are losing ground since although they can be used with these modern box mods, sub-ohm tanks can be used with them to produce giant clouds with a lot less hassle.

We may see a renaissance for RBAs around 2018 – 2020 due to the laws being introduced now to eliminate vaping in order to protect cigarette sales: if people cannot easily buy new tanks then perhaps they will go back to RBAs in large numbers, as wick and wire cannot be banned and will keep vapers going until the corrupt laws can be removed by eventual voter power.


spitback : the ‘pop’ sound and/or rapid ejection of a small drop of fluid into the mouth that can occur in atomisers, generally on the first draw, when the wicking process is suboptimal. A type of blowback.

Sport vapers : vapour ring blowers (‘smoke rings’), sub-ohmers, cloud chasers, cloud comp vapers (contestants in the cloud competitions that take place at conventions) and others: these vapers have gone way past any need to avoid smoking, and see vaping as performance art, or a sport, or a way to replicate the atmosphere of Venus for some reason, wherever they are.

Squonk : a press of a fingertip onto a plastic reservoir bottle in a bottom-fed box mod is a ‘squonk‘. It is a squeeze and squirt function.

Squonker : a bottom-fed box mod with a squonk hole, through which the plastic bottle reservoir is pressed with a finger. This ‘squonk‘ forces refill liquid up through a tube and into any atomiser with a bottom feed hole.

Squonkers : a vaper clique who uses bottom-fed box mods. These devices have an integral tank that feeds the atomiser. The tank is generally a 5ml plastic bottle or similar, which is squeezed by a finger pressing through a hole in the casing, and this pumps refill liquid up through a tube to, and through, the base of the atomiser. The action is called ‘squonking’, the hole in the casing is called the ‘squonk hole’, and vapers who use these devices exclusively are called squonkers.

Stealth vaping : the art of vaping undetected in a situation where it may not be approved of or even be illegal. The opposite of cloud-chasing.

There are two approaches to stealth vaping: modify the technique used or consume a refill specially made for stealth use. To stealth vape with normal gear, then ideally a small format device will be used that can be concealed in the hand or hand and sleeve; high PG / low VG refills are used, as these produce less vapour (the less glycerol, the less vapour); and a modified inhalation technique is used.

The two most common methods are: (1), after the inhale, the vapour is held in for 5 seconds then released – the visible component will be reduced or eliminated; or (2) a double-breath move is used: after an average length inhalation, there is a short pause, then another quick inhale, then exhalation – again the vapour will be reduced or eliminated.

Another approach is to vape discreetly and uses a low-vapour refill. For many years it has been possible to buy refills that produce very little vapour. These are often based around PG and alcohol, and there is no VG in them.

Vaping per se cannot in effect be banned anywhere as skilled vapers can easily escape detection. The most skilled can vape undetected even when observed by CCTV camera operators.

SR : (see LR)

Steampunk : a style of mechanical (usually) devices of the APV type, and therefore mechmods, that resemble the mechanical devices of the industrial revolution in their semi-crude machine-like appearance. One example might look like a torch/flashlight made from a copper steam engine boiler adorned with cogs from a large clock; another may resemble a stainless steel hydraulic cylinder/piston assembly.

Steampunkers : vapers who prefer mechmods of a clunky, utilitarian or machine-reminiscent variety.

Sub-ohm : sub-ohm vaping is the use of an RBA or RTA (qv), often with mech mods, and running an atomiser coil (or multi-coil group) of a resistance measuring below 1 ohm (thus, ‘sub-1-ohm’). These devices can produce a phenomenal amount of vapour, although it tends to be hotter and drier than with other devices.

There is probably an elevation of risk compared to regular vaping. This is because the atomiser coil/s becomes much hotter since amp draw is elevated and many tens of watts of power are used. More heat means that the vapourisation characteristics of the refill liquid are different, and the aerosol generated is likely to have a different chemical profile.

There is a real possibility that products of thermal degradation (‘breakdown compounds’) are present in measurable quantity, and some may be toxic; refill liquid consumption rises by double or treble over regular usage; and the combination of increased refill consumption, huge volumes of vapour, hotter atomisers and hotter vapour means that any contaminant or thermal breakdown compound will be seen in greater quantity than with other types of head or consumption style.

With daily consumption rates of 20ml (more than 5 times the average) and 80 watts of power use being reported by some sub-ohmers, this mode of vaping is rather different from the norm. This is a subdivision of sport vaping, qv.

Note that the popularity of mech mod/RBA cloud-chasing and sub-ohming has probably passed its peak, which was at some point in early 2015. High-power box mods have made mech mods a 2nd choice for many vapers now since monster clouds can be generated with far less hassle using a hi-power box mod and sub-tank. There will always be mech mod aficionados and RBA fanboys, but it looks as if the peak of interest in this combination specifically for big clouds has passed.

Sub-ohmers : these vapers use the type of gear described just above. They are becoming greater in number; some wonder if that is altogether a good thing. On the other hand, it has created a massive revitalisation of the mech mod market, a product area that had almost been killed off by VV and VW.

Super-mini : early e-cig models that were smaller than a mini e-cig. They died out because of the appallingly bad performance due to the micro format.


Tailpiping or stovepiping : the practice of drawing directly on an atomiser without using a driptip or mouthpiece of any kind. This was popular in the old days when voltage could not be increased easily, and vapers who needed a big hit would suck the atty direct in order to get hotter vapour. This has been replaced by VV and sub-ohm RBA coils.

TCtemperature control: a 7th-generation technology that allows the atomiser temperature to be controlled. The benefit is that dry hits can be avoided since, without sufficient liquid wicked to the atomiser, the temperature will ordinarily rise and create unpleasant effects; with temperature control, voltage input (‘power’) is controlled (reduced) and progressively less vapour is produced – leading to operator correction of the refill fluid supply situation.

An additional perceived benefit is to control max atomiser temp in order to limit any thermal degradation products in the vapour. For this secondary benefit to operating, the user must, presumably, be given a temperature limit for use with their preferred liquid; or a chart that shows the maximum temperature for various mixes such as all-glycerol through various mix proportions to all-PG.

Titanium : Ti wire is now being used for TC applications as it is said to have fewer implications for allergy or toxicity issues than Ni, nickel. Like nickel wire, it has very low resistance and is stable at varying temperatures. Coil resistance of around 0.25 ohms is typical.

Note that many devices will not operate with it: the resistance will be too low for some regulated devices, the performance is not necessarily identical to Ni; and at least one device exists that will not run a Ti coil without a firmware update, for a fee. The DNA40 TC chip is known to run Ti coils without adjustment.

Tootle puffers: average vapers using average gear and happy with it. They generally vape at about 10 or 12 watts on regular-size gear and successfully avoid smoking, enjoy it, and pay no regard to the younger folks’ extreme fashions. It seems likely that most are probably no longer in their twenties 😉 Tootling along, puffing happily, they have cracked it. Don’t say this too loudly but they may be the modern equivalent of the 1950s-era pipe smoker.

Tootle-puffers are the opposite of cloud-chasers: they just like vaping and don’t care about the visuals. The term was invented by an ECF-er and the history can be found there.


vapeto vape : (verb) the action of using an EV (electric/electronic vaporiser) and inhaling vapour.

Vape : (noun) used as a term for the aerosol product itself and its quality: “My new small mod gives a great vape”.

vapegasm : the intense pleasure of a superb vaping experience caused by a new device or refill liquid that suits perfectly.

vaper : a person who vapes. The word vapers is sometimes used to mean the active online community as against those using an e-cig, especially convenience store mini e-cigs, who are unaware there is a large and engaged user community.

vaper cliques : many vapers find certain sub-groups attractive and see themselves (or, are seen by others) as part of that group. They include cloud-chasers, noobs, sport vapers, tootle puffers, sub-ohmers, steampunkers, meatheads, squonkers, boxies and more.

vaping : using an e-cig, and thus inhalation of vapour not smoke.

vaper’s tongue : an inability to taste any e-liquid that affects most vapers occasionally, especially at around the 4-month mark for a new vaper. It has several supposed causes including (for newcomers) being part of the process of regeneration of taste and smell post-smoking, or vaping too much of one flavour for too long.

vapourvapor : the water-based mist that an e-cigarette produces. US spelling is ‘vapor’. Vapour consists predominantly of water (~66%), plus small amounts of PG, VG (both generally = or <5%), and nicotine (generally ~1%). Flavourings make up the remainder. But: note that hardly any analyses of vapour ever agree on anything, since there are no agreed protocols for any form of measurements. Essentially, there are no concerns about any aspect of the ingredients except for flavourings. A more accurate term for e-cig vapour is aerosol, qv.

In order to analyse vapour properly, an agreed set of protocols is needed, otherwise most analyses of the same product will be different. In effect, no vapour analyses have any value currently, as nothing is standardised.

vaporiservapouriservaporiser: the device used to turn refill liquid into vapour (Int. English) or vapor (US English). All such terms (vaping, vaporiser etc.) were previously used by cannabis consumers who heat the herbal material without burning it; but the tsunami of e-cig use has covered up the previous usage, which is now perhaps a minority activity and usage compared with e-cig vaping (there could be over 20 million vapers in the USA, according to surveys). Most people are probably not aware that ‘vaping’ originally meant cannabis use of a certain type, but times change, and the new often uses a foundation provided by the old.

vent holes : metal PVs larger than mid-size, and especially metal tube mods, need gas vent holes in the casing, otherwise, a battery failure could be a serious event: the outgassing associated with a serious battery failure could result in an explosion if it takes place in a sealed unit.

Small vent holes, especially at the bottom of the unit, are of no use: the pressure can rise at the top of the unit since the gas vents in a rechargeable battery are at the top (take a look), and the battery can swell as it gets hotter, thus jamming the battery tube and preventing gas escape via bottom vents. Thus, large vents at the top of the unit are needed to completely eliminate the

risk of a lithium cell created explosion. In fact, round holes are not normally sufficient as their cross-sectional area is not large enough, and slots are needed (as seen for example in the Akston-Hughes APV).

Battery failures resulting in explosions were more common in the days of stacked-batt tube mods – devices with two lithium cells in series – but they are making a comeback, as the wide prevalence of battery counterfeiting means that what looks like a high-quality Li-Mn 18650 cell may be anything but.


VVvariable voltage : this is gen-4 / gen-5 technology – see below for the generation series. A buck-boost regulator is employed to generate any voltage required from the nominal 3.7v lithium cell.

The user can vary the voltage applied to the atomiser, in order to create the perfect vape, as desired by and measured by that person; and it is almost certain to be different to the setting another vaper might use at that time in that place for that refill liquid in that head-on that battery. The flexibility to vary the result according to taste is the big advantage these devices confer.

VWvariable power (‘variable wattage’) : gen-6 technology allowed the power to be varied. A user can set the readout to show the power consumption, that is to say, the value in Watts. Also, the facility exists to set this value so that whenever the head is changed the same power will be delivered and the same vape will result, even if there is some difference in the atomiser resistances of the two heads.

There is no variable wattage of course – the regulator just varies the voltage as needed and then shows you the readout in Watts (the amp draw is fixed as it is set by the fixed resistance, and only the voltage can be varied). High-power box mods create more watts by jacking up the voltage, and some go as high as 12 volts or more. This trend is rising. These devices will be advertised as high-power, high wattage devices; but as we have seen it actually requires high voltage to get this effect – people just seem to prefer the idea of ‘more power’.

10 volts on a 0.5 ohm atomiser = 200 watts for example. There may be some health concerns here.

Watts : volts by amps – the unit of power and a guide to how much power and therefore work done and therefore heat is generated at the atomiser coil. So, a 4 volt battery pushing 2 amps draws 8 watts of power (4v x 2a). A 4 volt battery feeding a 2 ohm coil draws 8 watts of power ([4v x 4v] / 2) ohm.

wick : the material that feeds refill liquid to an atomiser by capillary action. The first material to be used was thin silica rope in the origibal atomisers such as the 901; then rolls of stainless steel (SS) mesh were used in the Genesis type of tank atomisers; then regular cotton wool was used in RBAs, as well as the previous types; then rayon and koh-gen-do, a form of organic cotton wool in thin sheets, of Japanese origin. All these materials are still in use, and the subject of much debate among vapers. There is no ‘best’ wick, as different materials have different properties when used in different formats in different coils in different atomisers.

wire : the thin metal strand used to form an atomiser coil with. The first type to be used was nichrome, in the first atomisers. Then kanthal became popular; then nickel and then titaniium, for use in temperature control applications. All are still used and have their adherents, who debate the advantages of each. Round wire is the most used, but ribbon and other forms are used for specialist applications.

For DIY coil building, kanthal is currently the most popular, and thickness grades from #26 to #32 are most used, with around #28 and #30 being the most common. 30-foot spools of wire are available. Since a mechmod and RBA can have an indefinite lifespan if well-maintained, and are suitable for rugged duty and non-urban use, only wire and wick (and batteries) – which are all available anywhere – are needed on the hardware side to keep a vaper in business indefinitely. This will probably be a consideration during the years when commercial opponents will be able to successfully outlaw most or all vaping products, depending on location.

At present it looks as if kanthal will remain the winner in the wire wars, as it is very stable and performs very well when formed into an atomiser coil. Pure nickel wire appears to have some health concerns and we should probably wait for more solid data on this material before widely promoting its use.

woody : any kind of wood-cased boxmod, as in: “Nice woody you’ve got there”.

WTA : whole tobacco alkaloids, a term used to refer to compounds additional to nicotine that may play a part in the effects produced by tobacco consumption: the other active alkaloids in tobacco such as nornicotine, anabasine, anatabine, myosmine etc. There are many more active ingredients than nicotine in tobacco.

For example, some people still experience significant, extended and unrelenting cravings after smoking cessation when using an e-cigarette, even with a high-nicotine refill. This means that, even when supplied with more than sufficient nicotine (enough to cause symptoms of over-consumption), and even when the nicotine is inhaled (to replicate the fast effects of smoking), and even when the physical routines of smoking are well-replicated (thus removing any question of the implication of physical or social mechanisms in any remaining craving), there is an additional and currently unexplained chemical dependency issue. For a significant proportion of these people, additional consumption of Snus or WTA-inclusive refill liquid is an effective solution. This appears to demonstrate that WTAs are implicated in the dependence profile for those persons, and that, for them, the chemical dependence profile is complex.

Many quitters experience some cravings that gradually diminish over two weeks or so, even when supplied with correctly-performing 2nd-generation e-cigarette systems. Thus, it is found that the dependence on the WTAs / other cigarette smoke ingredients is surmountable by many who switch successfully to an e-cig. A small percentage find their cravings persist even when supplied with sufficient nicotine and with WTAs, and this appears to indicate that there is dependence on other smoke ingredients / pyrolytic compounds.

There are currently only two vendors of WTA e-cig refills, both in the USA, but this number is expected to increase. The limiting factor is the cost, because it requires (a) a custom extraction process from tobacco leaves; (b) an expert chemist; (c) a fully-equipped laboratory to test for desired and undesired ingredients. Thus, WTA-inclusive e-cigarette refill liquid is effective but not cheap.


18650 : the battery size that has become the benchmark and market standard for APVs. 18mm diameter, 65mm long, and circular in form. A regular Li-ion type was the standard before the current Li-Mn and hybrid types became fully established. Only the latter two modern types should be used now: basic Li-ion cells (Li-Co) whether protected or not are obsolete and should never be used in an APV.

So, in order to make this absolutely clear: the 18650 rechargeable (‘secondary cell’) Li-Mn or hybrid is the benchmark for APV batteries at July 2015, and neither earlier types such as protected or unprotected Li-ion (Li-Co) cells nor primary cells of any kind (non-rechargeables) should be used.

The 18350 cell is used for small-format APVs, but cannot provide as many amps and does not last as long before a recharge is needed.

2-piece : a term used to differentiate the two types of mini e-cig – a 2-piece model has a battery and carto (cartomiser – a combined atomiser and cartridge). This was the later type of mini. Many models of this specific type are autos.

3-piece : see above – the 3-piece model was the original type of mini (cigalike), and consisted of a battery, atomiser and cartridge. Later, cartomisers were invented and the 2-piece became more popular.

26650 : the cell size used in large-format APVs, especially mech mods, as it provides a high amp output with less voltage drop than smaller sizes, and/or lasts longer before needing a recharge.

306 : an atomiser series that is similar in size to the 510, uses the same thread, but has a projecting coil and bridge instead of the 510’s recessed style.

510 : the atomiser series that became the benchmark. It has a 9mm diameter and a 7mm connector thread, with recessed coil/wick. Lots of variants including short models, long models, and improved models such as the HH357 (9mm is 0.357 inches, and the similarity to pistol bullet diameters provides some fun).

801 : an atomiser that resembles a larger version of a 510. Well-made models provided, in some people’s opinion, the best vape of any atomiser before the modern era.

808 : or KR8, or in full, the KR808. This is the Kanger equivalent to the 510. It is exclusively a mini carto system used on cigalikes. It is a successful option for minis and holds a sizeable section of the market, under various re-badged names and brands. The thread connector is reversed compared with a 510, with the female side on the carto. There were two variants that are not compatible in every way, the D1 and D2. The thread connector is the same as the 901, except that the air channels are different so that 901 gear may not work – it will fit but there may be an air channel blockage.

901 : a very popular mini atomiser series of the same style as the 510 and KR808. The connector is the same as the KR8 but the air channels may not line up.


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OZ Vapour Team
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