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E-Cigarette & Vaping Glossary

E-Cigarette & Vaping Glossary

Vaping Glossary

For those who are new to vaping, there are many terms that you’ll find unfamiliar. The language can seem confusing at first, especially when many places use it without any explanation. We have put together this handy glossary of all the most common vaping terms, including types of e-cigarette, styles of vaping and e-cigarette and vape components.

Vaping Styles

Direct to lung (DTL)
Direct to lung (otherwise known as DTL) vaping is where you inhale the vapour directly from the mouthpiece into your lungs.

Mouth to lung (MTL)
Mouth to lung (otherwise known as MTL) vaping is where you inhale the vapour from the mouthpiece into your mouth, before inhaling it into your lungs. This is the same way in which someone would smoke a cigarette.

Sub ohm
Sub Ohm vaping is a DTL style of vaping that produces large smoke clouds. Sub Ohm devices use low resistance coils that are under 1 ohm.  Find out more about the different style of vaping in our beginners guide to vaping.

Types of E-Cigarette

Also known as a first generation cigarette, a cigalike is an e-cigarette which resembles a regular tobacco cigarette.

Disposable e-cigarette
These devices are designed for single use and can be thrown away once they stop producing vapour. This is usually within 1-2 days, depending on the amount of usage. Unlike other devices, they do not contain a rechargeable battery.

Electronic cigarette
Any electronic device which emits vapour. Intended as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes, a special liquid (see e liquid) inside the device is vaporised by an atomiser. Also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs or vapes.

An e-cigarette which has been modified into a custom design, often to achieve a better ‘hit’ of vapour or a larger vapour cloud.

Pod system
Otherwise known as ‘pod mods’, ‘pod kits’ or ‘pod vapes’, these are the newest generation of vape devices. They are simple to use and maintain and usually consist of a rechargeable battery and disposable ‘pods’. Depending on the device, you can either get refillable pods which need to filled with e liquid, or pre-filled pods which are used until they are empty, then disposed of.

Tank system
This is any type of vaping device that features a refillable ‘tank’. The tank usually features a glass container which is then filled with e liquid, and a replaceable ‘coil’. The coil heats the liquid in the tank and turns it into vapour.

Vape kit or ‘vape’
Most users refer to their device as a ‘vape’, regardless of the type of device. When it comes to choosing or purchasing an e-cigarette, the term ‘vape kit’ usually encompasses all types of vaping device.

Vape/e-cigarette starter kit
These starter kits contain everything you need to get started with using an e-cigarette, normally containing a cartomiser (refill), tank or pod; a battery, a charger and a manual.

Second generation e-cigarettes
These are e-cigarettes that feature a refillable tank. The tank is then filled with e liquid and usually features a replaceable ‘coil’. This is in contrast to cigalikes, which use ‘cartomisers’ and are first e-generation e-cigarettes.

E-Cigarette Components

Airflow adjustment
Many devices that feature a refillable tank also feature airflow adjustment. This is usually a twist section at the bottom or top of the tank that allows the user to adjust the amount of air flowing through the tank. This allows the user to customise the flow of vapour and makes the ‘draw’ of the e-cigarette tighter or looser.

The electronic component inside the e-cigarette which turns e liquid into vapour. The atomizer contains a ‘coil wire’, as well as a wicking material, within a metal casing. Nowadays, we tend to call the whole atomiser a ‘coil’.

Another word for refills – this term is most often used for the refills used with cigalike e-cigarettes.

One of the main components of the second-generation e-cigarette, a clearomiser is a cartomiser with clear walls, allowing the user to see how much e-liquid remains in the cartridge. In refillable devices, these are now most commonly referred to as ‘tanks’.

Nowadays, most e cigs or vape kits that are ‘open systems’ (i.e. a refillable tank) feature replaceable ‘atomizer heads’. These are often just referred to as ‘coils’ and contain the coil wire and wicking material. The wick soaks up the e-liquid and the coil wire heats the juice up and turns it into vapour.

Coil wire
This is a coiled up piece of thin metal wire and is the element that heats up within an e-cigarette. It is wrapped in a wicking material and heats the liquid to create vapour.

Ohms are a unit of resistance. In vaping, coils are always supplied with a measure of resistance in ohms. A lower resistance coil will have a higher current flowing through it. Higher resistances will receive less current. Essentially, lower ohms mean more heat and more vapour. Higher ohms mean less heat and less vapour. Usually coils at over 1 ohm resistance are suitable for ‘MTL’ vaping (see definition below). Coils below 1 ohm are suitable for ‘DTL’ vaping (definition also below).

Refills refer to ready-to-use cartridges, used with some e-cigarette devices. This can include cigalike e-cigs and pod vape devices. They contain an atomiser (or coil) and e liquid, and are usually disposable.

A vape tank is the part of a vape kit that contains the coil and e liquid. Apart from cigalikes and pod kits, most other devices include a tank. They are almost always refillable and usually feature

Wicking material
This is the material inside the atomiser that soaks up e liquid from a tank or cartomiser. It is usually made of cotton but can also be made from ceramic.

E-Liquid Terms

Another term for ‘e-liquid’

Used to refill second-generation e-cigarettes or tank system vape kits. E-liquids are made from the base ingredients; propylene glycol & vegetable glycerine, with flavourings and sweeteners added. E-liquids also often contain nicotine.

Also referred to as e-juice, vape juice, or vape liquid.

50/50 e-liquid
A vape juice with a 50/50 ratio of the two main e liquid ingredients; propylene glycol (PG)  and vegetable glycerin (VG). These well balanced e-liquids are suitable for most vape kits. Read out blog How to Choose the Best VG and PG Ratio to find out more.

Freebase nicotine
This is the type of nicotine used in tobacco cigarettes, as well as most standard e liquids. Nicotine is highly addictive but most experts agree that it does not cause cancer.

Nicotine salts
Nicotine salts are e-liquids made from nicotine extracted from the tobacco leaf. They provide a faster, smoother nicotine hit than freebase nicotine. Find out more in our nicotine salt blog post.

Priming is allowing time for your liquid to fully saturate the wick in your coil.

Propylene glycol
PG is a colourless liquid with a slightly sweet taste. It is commonly used as a preservative in the food industry. Used a base ingredient in e-liquids, it has a lower viscosity than vegetable glycerine (VG). E Liquids with over 50% PG are suitable for devices with standard ohm coils (1 ohm and above) – see also ‘Vegetable Glycerine’.

Vape liquid
Another term for ‘e-liquid’

Vape juice
Another term for ‘e-liquid’

Vegetable glycerine
VG is a colourless liquid used as a sweetener and thickener in the food industry. It is another base ingredient used in e-liquids and provides a ‘carrier’ for the flavourings and nicotine. E Liquids with over 50% VG are suitable for devices with sub ohm coils (under 1 ohm).

Vaping Terms

Burnt hit
A burnt hit happens when you power your vape without enough liquid on the wick. Without enough liquid, your coil wire will burn the wicking material. This produces a foul taste and often means the coil is no longer unusable. Due to this, it’s important to prime a new coil and to not let the e liquid level get too low in your tank.

Dry hit
A dry hit usually happens before a burnt hit. This is a warning sign that there isn’t enough liquid in the wicking material within your coil. You will notice less vapour and a lack of flavour. If you experience a dry hit, leave some time for the coil to soak up more liquid, or refill the tank.

Priming (a coil)
This is the process of allowing a new coil to soak up liquid before using it for the first time. You can find out how to prime a coil here.

Throat hit/kick
The feeling you get when the vapour first hits your throat. Higher nicotine vape juices will produce a harsher throat hit, as will those with a higher percentage of ‘PG’. If you find the throat hit is too harsh for you, try lowering your nicotine strength or using a liquid with a 50% PG/50% VG ratio.

To use or inhale vapour from an e-cigarette.

A person who uses an e-cigarette.

To use an e-cigarette.

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