An A to Z Guide to Vaping Terms
A beginner vaper is usually overwhelmed with the number of terms veterans are throwing around. It’s not unusual for someone to walk into a vape shop and, after a brief interaction with a person behind the counter, turn around and walk out even more perplexed. So, before you decide to buy your first vape device, make sure that you can confidently ask for what you’re looking for.
We’ll explain the most basic terms straight off the bat - things like vaping, mods, vape juice, RBA, coils, variable wattage, and others are the ones you will need to have a firm grasp on. Other vape-related terms we will list alphabetically - make sure to go through the whole list if you want to carry your own in a conversation with a vaping vet!
Popular Vaping Terms
Vaping - essentially, vaping is defined as an act of inhaling vapor produced by an e-cigarette or another vaping device. These other devices can be personal vaporizers or desktop vaporizers designed for vape juice, dry herbs, concentrates, or oils.
Cigalike - a simple vaping device that resembles a cigarette in size and shape. Cigalikes were the first vaping devices to be mass produced and are still sometimes used by beginner vapers. They have a battery and a disposable cartridge with vape juice, which needs to be replaced when depleted.
Vape pen - a step up from a cigalike, a vape pen is a larger device with a longer battery life. Vape pens can use disposable vape juice cartridges or refillable tanks.
AIO Vape - an all-in-one vaping device. Simple to use, AIO kits are the preferred devices of beginner vapers. The battery and the tank are integrated and this setup offers users some customizability when it comes to temperature settings, airflow adjustment, and vape juice options.
Mod - short for ‘modified’ - used to describe vaping devices made from various household items by the users themselves. However, the word mod today usually describes a box-like vaping device that delivers a lot of power and is fully customizable.
Tank - part of the vaping device which holds vape juice and the heating element. There are various types of tanks on the market; cartomizers are 1st generation tanks and are usually disposable and clearomizers are refillable and have a glass opening that allows users to see juice levels. These days, vapers use the term ‘tank’ more specifically - it describes a storage containment that’s advanced and allows users to customize their vaping experience by adjusting things like wicking, airflow, and other.
Mouth to Lung (M2L) - a method of inhaling the vapor that closely mimics smoking. The vapor is first inhaled into the mouth, held there briefly, and then inhaled into the lungs.
Direct to Lung (D2L) - a method of inhaling the vapor that requires a vaper to inhale a large amount directly into their lungs. It’s done with advanced e-cigs and tanks and low-resistance coils capable of producing that much vapor.
Airflow - the amount of air that’s allowed to enter the tank. Tight airflow means lower vapor production, while loose airflow increases it.
Clouds - used to describe big amounts of vapor produced by a device or by a specific style of vaping. Vapers who enjoy it are called cloud-chasers.
Vape juice (e-liquid) - liquids used in e-cigarettes. They are heated to high temperatures and turn into vapor, which is then inhaled. Vape juice can be made from Propylene Glycol or Vegetable Glycerin. They will also usually contain different flavorings, nicotine, and water, but they don’t have to.
Nicotine - a substance that is found in cigarettes and which makes them addictive. Some vapers use nicotine vape juices when quitting smoking and there’s a wide variety of them on the market. Nicotine concentration can range from 3 mg to 25 mg.
Throat hit - a tingling sensation on the back at the throat that’s the result of nicotine-based vape juices. Throat hit is usually associated with smoking and a lot of smokers feel that, when reproduced in vaping, it’s helpful at getting them to quit cigarettes more easily. High PG and nicotine vape juices have a stronger throat hit.
Steeping - the process of allowing a vape juice to mature and develop a full range of flavors. Usually required if you mix your own e-liquids - store bought vape juices are pre-steeped by the manufacturer and can be used immediately.
Other Vaping Terms (A to Z)
Analog - a term used to describe a regular combustible cigarette. They are called analog to emphasize the fact that their vaping counterparts are usually referred to as electronic cigarettes.
Atomizer - part of the tank that holds the heating element (coil) and wicking.
Battery - sometimes used to describe the part of the e-cigarette that delivers power. Batteries can be built-in or external. Frequently used external batteries are 18650 and 26650 Lithium-Ion batteries.
Coil - the heating element that produces heat and evaporates vape juice. It’s usually made of wire.
Cotton - the most popular wicking material.
Dripping - the process of applying (dripping) vape juice directly to the wick and the coil. Dripping requires the use of a dripper, which is a specialized, open-form tank. Most vapers agree that dripping enhances the flavor.
Dry hit - a bad-tasting inhale that’s a result of poor wicking or no vape juice in a tank. It tastes like burning cotton mixed with smelly socks. Avoid by making sure that there’s always enough juice in the tank before taking a hit.
Flooding - happens when there’s too much vape juice in the atomizer. The atomizer then ‘chokes’ because it can’t heat up that amount in such a short time. The result is less vapor and gurgling noises.
Hybrid - hybrid mods connect the tank directly to the battery, avoiding the connection pin altogether. This ensures an easier power transfer and no voltage drop.
Leakage - a term used to describe a tank that’s leaking vape juice. Leaky tanks are dangerous and have to be replaced because vape juice can cause damage to the battery portion of the device.
mAh - stands for milliamp-hour. It’s an indication of how much energy a battery can store. The higher the mAh rating, the longer the battery will last before it needs recharging.
Mechanical mod - a vaping device that delivers unregulated power to the atomizer. There are no safeties involved so vapers can fire low-resistance coils without issues. These devices can be dangerous if mishandled and are recommended for advanced vapers only.
Mouthpiece - part of the tank that is used for inhaling. Can be made from different materials but the most common ones are polyoxymethylene (Delrin) and stainless steel.
Ohm - denotes electrical resistance. Low-resistance coils (0.1 to 0.9 ohm) produce thick, warm vapor, while higher resistance coils produce colder vapor.
Pass-through vaping - indicates that a vape device can be used while charging (universally charged through a mini USB port).
Propylene Glycol - a substance used in producing vape juices. It’s viscous, odorless and colorless, and great at carrying additional flavors.
Priming - the process of preparing an atomizer for vaping. New atomizers need to be primed by applying a couple of drops of vape juice directly to the wicking to prevent them from burning when first fired.
Regulated mod - a vaping device with built-in safety features that prevent over-charging, over-heating, and other undesirable outcomes.
RBA - stands for ‘rebuildable atomizers’. RBAs are used by experienced vapers who like to make their own coils and fiddle with their setups in order to create the best possible vaping experience for themselves.
RTA- shorthand for rebuildable tank atomizers.
RDA - shorthand for rebuildable dripper atomizers.
Resistance - depends on the type of wire that is used in coil-building, its circumference, thickness, and the number of ‘twists’.
Sub-ohming - the process of vaping on coils that have a resistance lower than 1 ohm. These coils heat up faster and result in more vapor production.
Sweet spot - that elusive spot where temperature, airflow, vape juice, and other vaping elements conspire to produce a perfect vaping experience.
Unregulated mod - unregulated mods are mods that are basically just a battery with an attached tank. The circuit is completed by pressing a button and there are no chips that regulate the process.
Vaper’s tongue - desensitization of vaper’s tongue. It can occur when using the same vape juice for too long. It usually sorts itself out after a while and after vaping on a different flavor.
Variable voltage - vape devices that allow users to adjust the voltage output.
Variable wattage - vape devices that allow users to adjust the wattage output.
Venting - a dangerous situation that happens when a battery in a vape devices starts overheating. This can be due to uncareful use or a short circuit. When a battery vents, it explodes, usually completely destroying the device and causing injury and damage.
Vegetable Glycerin - a substance used for making vape juice. VG is colorless and slightly sweeter than PG. High VG vape juices produce thicker vapor than their PG counterparts.
Wick - material used to soak vape juice and transfer it to the heating element. Wicks can be made from silica, ceramic, or cotton.
Wire - refers to a type of wire that is used in coil making.
What Other Vaping Terms Confuse You?
While this is by no means an exhaustive list of vaping terms that you will encounter in your exploration of the industry, we believe it will provide you with a good basic understanding of the most popular terms that are used. We’ll try to keep the list updated but if you have any questions, make sure to leave a comment and we’ll be happy to help you out!