Vaping terminology isn’t that tough to understand once you’ve spent enough time getting to know it, but your first few weeks using the lingo can be confusing AF. That’s where we come in. We’ve spent years following vape culture and staying up to date with the high-quality vape tools, techniques, and terms used by enthusiasts around the world. Now, we’re here to help you get up to speed.
Below, you’ll find a glossary containing all the important vape terms you need to know, along with simple definitions for each. Get ready to take your vaping vocab from simple to straight-up smokin’.
The part of your vape responsible for turning e-liquid into vapour.
The amount of air you take in on every drag. In most cases, the more airflow, the more vapour—but the less concentrated flavour—you’ll get. Some devices come with airflow controls so you can find the perfect amount of airflow for your personal vaping style.
A feature of some devices that automatically shuts them down when they begin to overheat.
The part of your vape that supplies power to the atomizer in the form of electrical current. Some vapes have rechargeable batteries, while others are meant to be disposed of once the battery has been depleted.
The liquid that other ingredients are mixed with to create e-liquid. Normally, the base liquid is made from vegetable glycerine (VG) and propylene glycol (PG).
The ratio of vegetable glycerine and propylene glycol used in a given e-liquid.
A type of vape mod that uses a battery shaped like a box. These batteries are larger and generally more powerful than the ones found in tube-shaped vape devices.
This is the part of your vape where e-liquid is stored. In pod systems, the cartridge is designed as a module (called a pod) that snaps into your device and out again when it needs to be refilled or replaced.
A part of the atomizer in your vape device. The coil wraps around a wick saturated in e-liquid and heats up when electrical current from the battery passes through it. This heat causes the liquid in the wick to turn into vapour that you can inhale through the mouthpiece of the device.
An e-cigarette designed to look and feel like a traditional cigarette.
Slang term for the removable mouthpiece on some e-cigarettes.
The term for drawing from your vape device when the coil has burnt out—normally producing an unpleasant burning taste.
The process of activating your device when there is no wick or liquid in it. This helps burn residue off the coil that may have built up over regular use (making it easier to clean).
This stands for Direct to Lung vaping—a style where you draw the vapour from your device directly into your lungs with a deep inhale.
Some vape devices have atomizers with higher ohm ratings. These may produce smoother draws with less of a throat hit.
Hybrid mods house the battery and atomizer in the same portion of the device instead of different modules. These mods may have a more streamlined and more compact appearance than others.
Another term for e-liquid. Also called “vape juice” and “e-juice”.
This stands for Light Emitting Diode, which is the technology used for the glowing light on your device. This light may be in the tip so as to resemble a lit cigarette (as in many e-cigarettes), or it may be on the side (as in many pod systems) to indicate the battery life of the device.
A malfunction that can happen when you overfill the cartridge in your device with e-liquid. Leaking can cause damage to your device (and other items, if you keep your device in a purse or in your pocket when not in use).
Shorthand for lithium ion battery, which is the type of battery technology used by nearly all current devices.
Some devices have atomizers designed for lower ohm ratings. These typically produce larger clouds of vapour but also have more of a throat hit.
This stands for milliampere hour. It is a unit of measurement used to describe the capacity of a battery.
Manual mods are a type of vape device that fires when you press a button. They are also commonly known as “button-activated” or “button fire” devices.
Mech (or “mechanical”) mods deliver power directly from the battery to the atomizer with no electronic regulating features. These mods are often harder to find than others, but they can provide an extra degree of customization for advanced users.
Milligram Strength is a unit of measurement used to determine the nicotine strength in a given millilitre of e-liquid.
Mouth-to-Lung vaping is a style where you take the vapour into your mouth before transferring it into the lungs. This style is more similar than DTL to the way most people smoke traditional cigarettes.
Shorthand for nicotine. Many (but not all) e-liquids contain nicotine to mimic the nicotine hit delivered by standard cigarettes.
A term used to describe any e-liquid that contains nicotine.
A term used to describe e-liquid without nicotine.
A form of nicotine used in many e-liquids. Nic salts tend to absorb more easily into e-liquid, producing less of a throat hit when drawing.
An acronym that stands for polyethylene glycol. This is one of the primary ingredients in most e-liquids.
A style of vape device with a light and slender profile. These devices are highly portable and usually quite innocuous, making them popular vapes for travelling.
A feature of some devices that allows them to plug straight into USB ports. This allows you to use the device regardless of its battery status (as long as it’s plugged in).
Resistance refers to how much current can flow through the coil in your atomizer as you’re using your device. As stated above, higher resistance usually makes for smaller clouds and smoother hits, while lower resistance produces larger clouds but can cause more of a throat hit.
Mods that allow you to build and install your own coils and wicks to customise your vaping experience. These are typically used by people who have more experience vaping, as they take longer and are more intricate to set up.
Regulated mods come with auto shut-off capabilities and other safety features to prevent them from overheating during use.
Starter kits generally include everything you need to start vaping with a given device. You get the device itself, a manual, and normally some e-liquid. Starter kits for pod systems also tend to include a pod or two, along with a couple of coil options if the device takes more than one kind.
A technique where you “season” your e-liquid by exposing it to the air for a period and letting the ingredients it contains settle.
This advanced vaping technique allows you to create much larger-than-normal clouds while vaping. Sub-ohming requires low-resistance coils and higher-wattage mods, and is easier to do with a device that allows for plenty of airflow.
Some vapes have large glass or plastic containers for holding e-liquid. These “tanks” aren’t as portable or subtle as the cartridges used by other kinds of devices, but they tend to hold a lot more e-liquid.
The feeling you get when vapour enters your throat. Throat hits can be smooth or harsh, depending on your vaping style and the amount of resistance in your device’s coil.
A technique where you inhale from the atomizer with no mouthpiece attached. This is not recommended, especially for those of you who are new to vaping. While it can produce more airflow and larger clouds, it can also burn your mouth—ouch!
Vegetable Glycerine (VG)
Another of the key active ingredients in most e-liquids. This clear liquid can be combined with polyethylene glycol to make the base liquid for an e-juice, or used as base liquid by itself.
Variable Voltage (VV)
Variable voltage devices allow you to change the amount of voltage supplied by the battery during use. Think of it like a manual transmission for the battery on your device—it allows you to control the power output directly instead of automatically adjusting voltage during use to maintain consistent power delivery.
Variable Wattage (VW)
Variable wattage devices let you set the desired wattage for your coil, then adjust the voltage coming from the battery automatically in order to accommodate your preference. These devices are typically simpler to use—like a vape device with an automatic transmission.
Also called filler, this material is an extension of the wick inside your device’s cartridge and helps absorb e-liquid so it can be vapourized.
A piece of material (often cotton) held in place by the coil in your atomizer and saturated with e-liquid. E-juice soaked up by the wick will be vapourized as current passes through the coil and heats it up.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What's the difference between VG and PG e-liquid?Vegetable Glycerine (VG) is a thicker liquid known for producing more vapor, while polyethylene glycol (PG) is thinner and can carry flavor better. Many e-liquids use a combination of both.
How do I know when my coil needs to be replaced?
A burnt taste or reduced vapor production can be indicators. Over time, coils can accumulate residue which reduces their efficiency.
Should I use a device with Variable Wattage (VW) or Variable Voltage (VV)?
VW devices automatically adjust the voltage based on your desired wattage, simplifying the process. VV devices require manual adjustments, offering more customizability but potentially more complexity for beginners.
Is there a health difference between vaping nicotine and zero-nic e-liquids?
While both types of e-liquids eliminate the tar and many harmful chemicals found in traditional cigarettes, nicotine-based e-liquids still deliver nicotine, which can be addictive and have its own health implications.
What does "steeping" e-liquid achieve?
Steeping lets e-liquids age, which can result in enhanced flavor profiles. It's similar to letting wine or spirits age for better taste.