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E-Cigarette Glossary

5/22/2015 by Scott McKirahan

By Scott McKirahan

When you start using an e-cigarette, you'll find out pretty quickly that there is a whole lot of jargon that people use to describe e-cig components and using electronic cigarettes, in general.

Although we would never be presumptuous enough to declare this the "most comprehensive e-cigarette glossary ever" (as some sites do), It does have pretty much every electronic cigarette term we know of. Hopefully this ever-growing list of e-cig lingo will help you make sense of what may seem like a foreign language at first.

Adapter - A small piece of hardware typically used to allow an atomizer or clearomizer to fit on a battery that it was not originally intended to go with.

APV - Abbreviation for "Advanced Personal Vaporizer."

Advanced Personal Vaporizer - An electronic cigarette with a battery that has advanced features like adjustable voltage and/or wattage. APV's may also include digital readouts that show battery life remaining, atomizer resistance and in some cases, they can even plug into computers and be programmed as well as enable digital printouts of e-cig consumption patterns.

Analog (Cigarette) - Slang term for a traditional tobacco cigarette (i.e. it is not electronic).

Atomizer - The part of an e -igarette that heats the e-liquid. Traditionally used in three piece models, it is the center section.

Atty - Abbreviation for "atomizer."

Auto - Short for "automatic" battery.

Automatic (Battery) - Typically only seen with convenience store e-cigarette models or on our iSmoka Mini eLeaf, electronic cigarettes with automatic batteries do not require a user to push a button. The battery senses when a person is inhaling either via sound or motion detection sensors and the battery is automatically activated, releasing vapor. Automatic batteries are the original e-cig batteries and are not used in any modern devices because they do not last very long. Because they must sense when a person inhales, the batteries are unsealed and e-liquid gets into the batteries very quickly, short circuiting them.

Battery - Part of an e-cigarette that powers atomizer coils. Typically, e-cig batteries are rechargeable lithium ion. They are usually sealed inside of a battery housing that has a button that powers the battery. Many newer models utilize individual batteries that are inserted into a separate battery housing.

Blank Cartridge/Tank - Refers to a cartridge or tank that does not have e-liquid in it.

Bottom Coil Device - A clearomizer type that has its coil(s) at the bottom, near the battery. Bottom coil devices tend to produce more vapor and throat hit without burning the e-liquid.

Bridge - A metal U-shaped piece inside of an atomizer that surrounds the wick and heating coil.

Cart - Abbreviation for "cartridge."

Cartridge - The mouthpiece end of an e-cigarette that holds e-liquid. Traditional cartridges have a gauze-like filler material that the e-juice clings to.

Carto - Abbreviation for "cartomizer".

Cartomizer - E-cigarette component that combines a cartridge and an atomizer in one piece. Used as standalone devices, they can also be "punched" (have holes in them) and used with certain clearomizers.

CASAA - Consumer Advocacy for Smokefree Alternatives Association. This is the largest consumer advocacy group for e-cigarettes and anything that is an alternative to traditional cigarettes. CASAA is a non-profit group that fights many of the legal battles in attempt to protect electronic cigarette users' rights.

Charger - A device that plugs into a wall, USB port or both that recharges e-cigarette batteries.

Clearomizer - A clear tube that houses either a cartomizer, atomizer head or coil that users fill with e-liquid. Completely transparent or opaque, it frequently comes in a variety of colors and allows users to see how much liquid is remaining in their e-cigarette.

Cone - A hollow tube that surrounds an atomizer, either for cosmetic purposes or to secure an atomizer head or coil to the battery. Originally only cone-shaped, the term "cone" is used now for cylindrical atomizer covers, as well.

Digital (Cigarette) - An electronic cigarette (the opposite of an "analog" cigarette).

Disposable (Cigarette) - Typically sold in convenience stores, these pre-assembled electronic cigarettes cannot be recharged or refilled. Disposables are usually the worst performing and most expensive to use e-cigarettes that you can buy.

Dripping - Filling an e-cigarette by dripping e-liquid directly onto an atomizer instead of using a cartridge. People who "drip" typically use drip tips instead of cartridges with their e-cigs.

Drip Tip - Originally used to fill an e-cigarette by dripping e -liquid directly onto an atomizer head, drip tips are usually removable mouthpieces these days that connect to cartomizers or clearomizers.

Dual Coil - An atomizer or cartomizer that has two independent coils that heat e-liquid at the same time. Two higher resistance coils working in tandem can heat liquid faster, producing more vapor without burning the e-liquid. The power needed to heat two coils simultaneously creates a strain on e-cigarette batteries, shortening their life between charges and their overall life expectancy. If the battery is not powerful enough, it can short circuit the battery immediately, causing permanent damage.

E-Juice - Another term for "e-liquid."

E-Liquid - The liquid used in e-cigarettes that creates the vapor which is inhaled. E-liquid can have varying concentrations of nicotine or no nicotine at all.

E-Solid - A paste-like substance that turns into liquid when heated. Although it lasts longer than e-liquid, so far, the taste of e-solids leaves much to be desired and it is known to severely shorten atomizer life.

Flooding - Term for putting too much e-liquid directly on an atomizer, usually by dripping. Flooding an atomizer causes it to function poorly or not at all.

Leaking - Sometimes caused by overfilling a cartridge, cartomizer or clearomizer, e-juice gets on the outside of an e-cigarette. Leaking also occurs in many older tank models or when seals get worn on atomizer heads or coils.

LED - Light Emitting Diode. It is the type of light that you typically see on electronic cigarettes when the battery button is pushed or, with automatic battery e-cigs, when a user inhales.

LR - Abbreviation for "Low Resistance."

Low Resistance - An atomizer head or coil that operates at lower ohms than standard atomizer heads or coils do. Lower resistance allows more power to come through from a battery, generating a hotter coil. This increases the amount of vapor but can also result in burnt tasting e-liquid. Low resistance atomizer heads and coils also drain a battery faster and can severely shorten a battery's life or even short circuit it if the battery is not powerful enough to handle the lower resistance.

mAh - Abbreviation for "milliampere-hour," it refers to the amount of electrical charge or the total capacity of a battery. The larger the mAh, the longer a battery will last (and the larger the battery typically is).


Manual - Can refer to the instructions that come with an e-cigarette kit or component. Usually, the term "manual" is used to describe electronic cigarette batteries. A manual e-cigarette battery has a button that must be pushed in order to activate the battery and produce vapor.

MG - Milligrams. Typically used to indicate the amount of nicotine in e-liquid.

Micro E-Cigarette - The smallest of all e-cigarettes, it is approximately the size of a regular 90 mm tobacco cigarette. Micro e-cigs typically have batteries that only last for about a half hour of vaping time and are usually only sold to novice electronic cigarette newbies at convenience stores.

Mini E-Cigarette - About 3/4 of an inch longer than a micro e-cigarette, mini e-cigs are about the length of a 100 mm tobacco cigarette and have batteries that last for 1.5-2 hours of vaping time.

ML - Milliliters. Most e-liquid bottle quantities are measured in milliliters, not ounces.

MOD - Short for "modification". Mods are very popular with some e-cig users because they allow them to get more vapor out of their e-cigarette. Because mods interact with other electronic cigarette parts in a way that they were not originally designed for, mods can sometimes be dangerous.

Mouthpiece - The part of an e-cigarette that goes into the user's mouth. Depending on the model, a mouthpiece could be a cartridge, tank, cartomizer or drip tip. Some models, like the iSmoka eLeaf, have an actual separate component called the "mouthpiece."

Needle Tip - A style of e-liquid bottle that has a dropper tip that is very thin. Sometimes made of plastic and sometimes metal, a needle tip allows you to deliver e-liquid to an atomizer or clearomizer much more accurately, reducing the chance of e-liquid going where you do not want it to go. Some clearomizers can ONLY be filled with a needle tip bottle or syringe.

Ohm - A measure of electrical resistance (also called impedance), the lower the ohms of an atomizer head or coil are, the more power it lets through from a battery. This causes the coil to heat faster and generate more vapor, provided the battery is powerful enough to support the lower resistance.

Pass-through Cable - A cable with a USB port on one end and a smaller connector on the other that plugs into an e-cigarette. A pass-through cable allows users to vape continuously, utilizing the power from the device the USB plug is connected to (usually a computer) without draining the e-cig's battery.

PCC - Abbreviation for "Personal Charging Case."

Personal Charging Case - Usually shaped like a cigarette pack, a personal charging case has a large battery in it that can charge e-cigarette batteries several times before the case, itself, needs to be recharged.

PV - Abbreviation for "Personal Vaporizer."

Personal Vaporizer - Another term for an electronic cigarette.

Pen Style - An e-cigarette that is roughly the diameter and length of a ball point pen.

PG - Abbreviation for "Propylene Glycol."

Propylene Glycol - A major ingredient in many e-liquids, propylene glycol (PG) allows e-liquid to vaporize at a much lower temperature. E-liquids with higher concentrations of propylene glycol produce a better throat hit than e-liquids without PG or with very low concentrations of PG. E-juice with high concentrations of propylene glycol are much better for atomizer heads and coils, too. Found in many food items and antibacterial sprays, propylene glycol is deemed as generally safe for human consumption by both the FDA and the EPA. It is also the carrier used to transport antibiotics to lung transplant patients.

Smokeless Cigarette - Another term for an electronic cigarette.

Starter Kit - A package that contains everything a person needs to begin vaping. An e-cigarette starter kit may include e cig batteries, atomizers, cartridges, a charger, e-liquid and an instruction manual.

Tank (Cartridge) - The mouthpiece end of an e-cigarette, a tank gets filled with e-liquid and utilizes a special atomizer head that sits directly in the e-liquid. Tanks do not contain any filler material and typically hold considerably more e-liquid than cartridges that have filler material.

TH - Abbreviation for "throat hit."

Throat Hit - A slightly harsh sensation at the back of the throat. Most e-cigarette users want to experience a throat hit because it makes vapor seem more like real smoke. The ratio of PG to VG affects throat hit (the higher the PG, the more of a throat hit). The more nicotine there is in e-liquid, the harsher the vapor is, as well.

Topping Off - Adding a few drops of e-liquid to a cartridge or cartomizer. Cartridge models require topping off about every 20 drags or so.

TVECA - Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association. A non-profit organization whose stated goal is to create "a sensible and responsible electronic cigarette market by providing the media, legislative bodies and consumers with education, communication and research."

Two-Piece (E-Cigarette) - Typically sold in convenience stores and also promoted by online review sites who get a commission for every person they refer, a two-piece electronic cigarette utilizes a battery and expensive to replace pre-filled cartomizers. Two-piece e-cigs are typically the poorest performing e-cigarettes on the market.

Vape/Vaping - The act of using an electronic cigarette, the term "vape" refers to the vapor generated by e cigarettes. Because there is no combustion, there is no smoke, so you are not "smoking" when you use an e-cigarette.

VG - Abbreviation for "Vegetable Glycerin."

Vegetable Glycerin - Less expensive than Propylene Glycol, vegetable glycerin (VG) exhibits many of the same properties of propylene glycol and is a major ingredient in many e-liquids (especially cheaper e-juice). It allows e-liquid to vaporize at a much lower temperature and is made from various natural oils, including palm and coconut oils. Although e-liquids with high concentrations of vegetable glycerin produce more vapor, VG has little to no throat hit and is what many call "fake vapor" because it does not feel like smoke. E-juice with high concentrations of vegetable glycerin are known to drastically shorten the life of atomizer heads and coils. Vegetable glycerin is deemed as generally safe for human consumption by the FDA.

VV - Abbreviation for "Variable Voltage."

Variable Voltage - E-cigarettes that have a battery that users can change the voltage output of. The more voltage, the more power supplied to the atomizer coil, which produces more and warmer vapor.

VW - Abbreviation for "Variable Wattage."

Variable Watts - E-cigarettes that have a battery that users can change the wattage output of. The more watts, the more power supplied to the atomizer coil, which produces more and warmer vapor.

Wick - A threadlike material that absorbs e-liquid and surrounds the heating coil in many styles of atomizers.