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ECITA ISE: Annex IV Glossary of Terms

23 : Annex IV Glossary of Terms

Monday, November 10, 2014

There are a number of terms which are used regularly by ‘vaping aficionados’, which can be a little confusing for the uninitiated.


1st Generation – Used to describe the electronic cigarette models from the early years of the sector’s development (2006-2009/10). These predominantly follow the form factor of the traditional tobacco cigarette (see ‘Cigalike’), often in the same colour scheme of white with brown mouthpiece, although sometimes black. These may be 2- or 3-part devices (q.v.). Although the technology of these 1st generation devices has improved dramatically, they are restricted by the form factor to holding a very limited quantity of eliquid (q.v.) and having limited battery (q.v.) life. That said, they remain a very popular choice for smokers who have yet to switch to vaping, providing an easy ‘gateway-out-of-smoking’ for such consumers.

2nd Generation – Used to describe those devices (q.v.) which have a slightly different form factor to the traditional tobacco cigarette type, usually to accommodate a larger battery (q.v.), often with more advanced electronics, including some chips (q.v.), and often with tank (q.v.) atomisers (q.v.). eGo (q.v.) devices, and their component parts, would be regarded as 2nd generation devices.

3rd Generation – Used to describe a wide range of bigger battery (q.v.) devices, in an increasing variety of shapes and sizes. This would include the modified devices (see ‘Mods’), many of which increasingly include variable voltage (q.v.) features, with advanced electronics, such as the Kick (q.v.) and the DNA (q.v.) chips (q.v.), as well as the larger mechanical devices (see ‘Mechanical Mod’).

4th Generation – Who knows what the future has in store for this fast-moving, innovative sector?


Accessory – This describes a range of products which has been developed to accompany the electronic cigarette sector. These include various electronic cigarette holders, stickers, add-ons, cleaners, etc.

Adapter – Used to describe electrical adapters, allowing USB (q.v.) cables to charge (see ‘Charger’) via mains sockets (also see ‘Mains charger’); alternatively, the term is also used to describe the adapters which are used to allow a specific style of atomiser (q.v.) or cartomiser  (q.v.) to fit onto a different style of battery (q.v.).

Airflow – A term used to define the quality of the ‘draw’ (q.v.) when the vaper (q.v.) inhales on a specific device (q.v.). This can be altered by covering or uncovering the airhole (q.v.) on some devices.

Airhole – A small hole in the atomiser casing, or as part of the screw fitting of the connector, which allows air to be drawn into the atomiser (q.v.) when the user activates the device (q.v.). (See also ‘Vent’.)

Amps – The unit of measurement of electric current. Amps are a measure of the amount of electrical charge passing through a point in an electric circuit per unit time. In simple terms, amps are a measure of the ‘strength’ of an electrical supply.

Analogue – Slang term for a traditional cigarette.

Aqueous Glycerine (abbreviated as ‘AG’) – VG (see ‘Vegetable Glycerine’) diluted with deionised water to reduce the viscosity. This can help prevent poor wicking (q.v.) on the atomiser (q.v.), which can occur if pure VG is used in eliquid (q.v.) formulations. It also helps to prevent dysfunction of electronic cigarette atomising equipment.

Atomiser (abbreviated as ‘Atty’) – The part of an electronic cigarette which heats the liquid to the point of vapourisation. There is a vast range of types of atomiser, many of which are commonly known by their model number or brand name, e.g. 306, 401, 402, and 403 (m401, m402, and m403), 510, 808 (KR808), 901, CE4, CE5, CE8 (the 400 series, 510 and 901 are often commonly used to refer to the specific thread (q.v.), as it relates to fitting with particular batteries (q.v.), e.g. 510 fitting), or EVOD (q.v.), Protank, etc.

Automatic – A style of electronic cigarette battery (q.v.) which does not have a button or switch to activate the heating element, but relies instead on the user drawing (see ‘Draw’) on the device to activate the atomiser (q.v.). This style of electronic cigarette is the most comparable to smoking a traditional cigarette, but the least popular with experienced vapers (q.v.).


Base – This term is used to describe unflavoured nicotine solution of a strength (q.v.) for mixing into flavoured eliquid (q.v.), usually in 5.4% or 7.2% concentration. (See ‘Mixing Kits’). It may also be used to distinguish between the different diluents (q.v.) used in either base liquids or in flavoured eliquids, i.e. propylene glycol (q.v.) or vegetable glycerine (q.v.).

Battery (abbreviated as ‘batt’) – The power source for an electronic cigarette. Sometimes, the battery forms an integral part of the electronic cigarette body, as per the ‘cigalike’ (q.v.) type, or it may fit inside a larger modified device (see ‘Mods’).

BCC – Abbreviation for Bottom Coil Carto (see ‘Cartomiser’ and ‘Coils’). It has the atomising element (see ‘Atomiser’) fitted to the bottom of the tank (q.v.). Some of these devices (q.v.) have Dual Coils (q.v.), where the cartomiser or clearomiser (qq.v.) has 2 coils.

Box Mod – A modified device with a box-like form factor. See ‘Mods’.

Bridge – The small, inverted ‘u’ shaped covering inside an atomiser (q.v.). In some models, these are used to absorb liquid and help it wick (q.v.) towards the heating element.

Bridgeless – The term used to describe an atomiser (q.v.) which does not have a bridge (q.v.).


Cartridge (abbreviated as ‘cart’) – A plastic tube, often designed to look like a traditional cigarette filter, which is filled with an absorbent material (see ‘Filler’) which holds the eliquid (q.v.). A cartridge usually forms the mouthpiece at one end, or may have a drip tip (q.v.) inserted into it. Most cartridges have now been replaced by cartomiser (q.v.) or tank (q.v.) designs.

Cartomiser (abbreviated as ‘carto’) – A combined cartridge (q.v.) and atomiser (q.v.). Nearly all the electronic cigarettes marketed as ‘disposables’ (q.v.) have a cartomiser. These generally hold more liquid than normal cartridges, and tend to have far better-performing atomising (see ‘Atomiser’) units.

Charger – A battery charger. These may plug directly into the mains, or – far more commonly nowadays – operate via USB (q.v.). Also see ‘Mains charger’.)

Charging Case (or Personal Charging Case, abbreviated as ‘PCC’) – A portable case into which specific electronic cigarette batteries (q.v.) can be screwed (according to their various threads (q.v.)) to charge electronic cigarette batteries when away from electrical sockets. The PCC can be recharged itself (often via USB (q.v.)) to provide a portable unit which can recharge as many as four electronic cigarette batteries for one centralised charging. Particularly useful when using an electronic cigarette that has less than 2 hour battery life per charge – as is the case with the majority of cigalike (q.v.) devices (q.v.).

Chip/Chipset – There are various electronic chipsets used in electronic cigarettes. These are generally known by their brand or device (q.v.) name, e.g. DNA (q.v.), Kick (q.v.), Vamo (q.v.), etc.

Cigalike – A slang (and often derogatory) term for a 1st generation device (q.v.) which looks like a traditional tobacco cigarette. These are often the entry point for new users of electronic cigarettes, because of their resemblance to tobacco cigarettes.

Clearomiser – A ‘stepping-stone’ between a cartomiser (q.v.) and a tankomiser (q.v.), a clearomiser usually has a 1ml reservoir (approximately) for eliquid (q.v.) with either a clear outer, or at least a viewing window. This enables the user to see at a glance how much eliquid is left, and when the device (q.v.) needs topping up (q.v.).

Coils – Term used for the winding of wire to form the atomising element. (See ‘Atomiser’.)

Connector – See ‘Adapter’.

Current – See ‘Amps’.


Device – most commonly used to refer to 3rd generation (q.v.), modified units, but may be used to describe any electronic cigarette model. (See also ‘Mods’.)

Diluent – The liquid that forms the bulk of the solution in which the nicotine is dissolved. Diluents do not just act as solvents, but also add to the functionality of the eliquid (q.v.) by creating the visible vapour. As such, describing them as a ‘diluent’ would be incorrect. (See also ‘Polyethylene Glycol’, ‘Propylene Glycol’ and ‘Vegetable Glycerine’.)

Disposable – Usually a cigalike (q.v.) product, these are designed to be used until they either run out of eliquid (q.v.) or the battery (q.v.) runs down, and then be disposed of. Many electronic cigarettes marketed as ‘disposables’ are actually refillable and rechargeable.

DIY – There is a significant market for mixing kits (q.v.), allowing the vaper (q.v.) to blend their own eliquid (q.v.). DIY mixers generally buy relatively high strength (q.v.) nicotine solutions, e.g. 5.4% (54mg/ml) or 7.2%, which they then mix down to a more commonly-useable strength, such as 2.4%.

DNA – A trademarked chipset (q.v.) of American design which provides variable voltage and wattage (qq.v.). Most often built into DIY (q.v.) box mods (q.v.), although some small run commercial products using this chipset are also available.

Draw – The resistance (q.v.) of an atomiser (q.v.) to inhalation. Some atomisers provide a ‘loose’ draw, which means that air is easily drawn through them, while others are described as ‘tight’, which means there is significant resistance (q.v.) to the airflow (q.v.).

Drip Tip – An accessory for use with an atomiser (q.v.) or cartomiser (q.v.). These have a larger aperture than the original mouthpiece and allow the user to drip eliquid (q.v.) directly onto the atomising component. Some vapers (q.v.) use a drip tip on their electronic cigarette purely for reasons of aesthetics and/or comfort.

Dripping – A method of topping up (q.v.) or adding eliquid (q.v.) to the atomising component of the electronic cigarette. The user drips a few drops directly onto the bridge (q.v.) or wick (q.v.), or directly onto the atomiser (q.v.) in bridgeless (q.v.) devices before vaping (q.v.). Many users feel that this method improves vapour production and flavour delivery, since there is no filler (q.v.) material involved with the process. That said, more modern devices often feature tanks (q.v.), which are not easily – or particularly usefully – filled by dripping. (See also ‘RDA’.)

Dry Burning – The process of activating an atomiser (q.v.) without supplying liquid to it. This is used to remove the residue that can build up on the coil from unvapourised components of eliquid (q.v.). Dry burning was most common in atomisers with non-replaceable heads (q.v.), but with the move towards tankomisers (q.v.) with replaceable heads, it is now less common. It is also used in rebuildable (q.v.) atomisers for the same purpose. Vapers (q.v.) can tell when the flavour has altered, and can judge when a ‘dry burn’ is needed or might help. In this way, it is possible to considerably extend the working life of the atomiser, thus further reducing the cost of vaping (q.v.).

Dual Coil – An atomising element with two coils (q.v.), rather than one. (See also ‘Cartomiser’.) Some vapers (q.v.) find that a dual coil device (q.v.) increases flavour and vapour production (q.v.).

Dual User – Someone who uses electronic cigarettes alongside traditional tobacco cigarettes, or other tobacco products.


eGo – Although originally a specific brand of electronic cigarette device (q.v.), the term ‘eGo’ has come into common usage to refer to a whole range of 2nd generation (q.v.) devices, which have a cylindrical battery (q.v.) (sometimes slightly tapered), using a 510-model thread (q.v.) with an outer larger thread, with various different atomisers (q.v.) or tanks (q.v.) attached. eGo-fitting devices often have a ‘skirt’ which covers the outer threads to give a more streamlined appearance. Also, to give a more aesthetically pleasing finish when using standard 510-threaded atomisers, a separate ‘ring’ is often fitted to cover the outer threads.

Electronic Cigarette (abbreviated as ‘ecig’ or ‘e-cig’) – The most commonly used and recognised term for an electronic or electrical product which delivers a vapour by heating a solution, usually (but not always) containing a small concentration of nicotine. It may, or may not, look like a traditional tobacco cigarette. (See also ‘Personal Vapouriser’.)

Eliquid or E-Liquid – Also referred to as ‘E-Juice’, ‘Juice’, ‘Liquid’, or rarely ‘Smoke Juice’. This is the liquid that is vapourised when using an electronic cigarette (q.v.) or personal vapouriser (q.v.).

ePipe – see ‘Pipe’.

Evod – A brand of tankomiser (q.v.).

Excipient – See ‘Diluent’.


Filler – The term used to describe the material used to absorb the eliquid (q.v.) in a cartridge (q.v.) or cartomiser (q.v.). Filler helps keep the eliquid inside the cartridge/cartomiser and delivers it to the atomiser (q.v.) at an optimal pace, so as not to flood the device (see ‘Flooding’ and ‘Leaking’).

Flooding – This term is used to describe what happens if too much eliquid (q.v.) is applied directly to the atomiser (q.v.). In cartomiser devices (q.v.), this can occur if the filler (q.v.) material has too much eliquid added to it, and in tank (q.v.) devices, it can happen if the eliquid is applied to the central column – which is designed to protect the atomiser from flooding, with the eliquid being taken to the atomiser via a wick (q.v.). Most atomisers require some airflow (q.v.) to be able to properly vapourise the eliquid, so adding too much eliquid is likely to affect vapour production and flavour. It can also have a detrimental effect on battery (q.v.) operation, if the eliquid seeps from the over-filled atomiser through the threads (q.v.) to the battery. (This is particularly problematic for automatic (q.v.) batteries, but may also adversely affect manual (q.v.) batteries.

Free liquid – This term is used to describe eliquid (q.v.) which is supplied in a bottle, rather than in a pre-filled cartridge (q.v.) or cartomiser (q.v.). This is the type of product which vapers (q.v.) use for dripping (q.v.) and/or topping up (q.v.), and/or in tanks (q.v.).


Glycerol – see Vegetable Glycerine.


Hardcore Vaper – Slang term, used to describe an experienced vaper who favours mods (q.v.) and/or rebuildables (q.v.).

Heads – Many clearomiser (q.v.) and tankomiser (q.v.) designs have coil (q.v.) units contained in replaceable heads. This enables the functioning part of the design to be easily replaced without replacing the whole unit.



Juice – See ‘Eliquid’.


Kanthal – A trademarked alloy of iron, chromium and aluminium with high temperature resistance (q.v.). It has long been used for heating elements, leading to its use as one of the heating wires in rebuildable (q.v.) atomisers (see ‘Coils’). There are varying thicknesses available to achieve different resistance, according to user preference. (See also ‘Nichrome’.)

Kick – The Kick is an American-designed circuit board that provides a drop-in module to add variable wattage (q.v.) functionality to mechanical mods (q.v.). It was originally specific to a particular module, but has become a generic term to describe all such drop-in modules.


Leaking – This can happen when too much eliquid (q.v.) is added to the device (q.v.). Eliquid can leak out of the bottom of the heating element and onto the battery (q.v.), and may escape from the unit and get onto the skin. Although very unlikely to cause any real harm, this is at least inconvenient, so best avoided. In some cases, this can cause damage to the device, particularly if it has an automatic (q.v.) battery. (See also ‘Flooding’.)

LED – Abbreviation for Light Emitting Diode. LEDs are commonly found in many electronic products. Many models of electronic cigarette have a LED, particularly on the 1st generation types (q.v.), at the tip. They are frequently found in 2nd and 3rd generation (q.v.) devices, on or near the switch. These can be useful to indicate that the device (q.v.) is actively being used. These are also commonly used on battery chargers (qq.v.) to indicate the completion of the charging cycle for the battery or PCC (q.v.)

Li-ion (lithium ion) – The specific chemistry-type of most electronic cigarette battery cells. Commonly used types are lithium cobalt (generically referred to as lithium ion) and lithium manganese, often referred to as ‘IMR’. Lithium manganese batteries are also referred to as ‘safer chemistry’ batteries, as they are less volatile than lithium cobalt, while providing a higher discharge rate, enabling them to supply more power. IMRs are often used in variable volt/watt (qq.v.) devices.

Liquid - See ‘Eliquid’.

Low Resistance (abbreviated as ‘LR’) - An atomiser (q.v.) or cartomiser (q.v.) with a lower ohm (Ω) (q.v.) rating than standard equipment. This usually causes the heating element to heat faster and produces more vapour more quickly. In many cases, it produces more vapour than a device (q.v.) using standard resistance (q.v.). Low resistance is generally considered as 1.5 Ω or less.


Mains charger – Uncommon these days, but mains chargers can be used to recharge electronic cigarette batteries, plugging directly into a power socket. (See also ‘USB’.) Direct charging of electronic cigarettes from the mains is extremely uncommon, but the batteries for 2nd and 3rd generation devices (qq.v.) are often charged in mains powered battery chargers (q.v.).

Manual – Although this can, of course, refer to the instruction manual, it is more commonly used by experienced vapers (q.v.) to describe a style of electronic cigarette battery (q.v.) that has a button (on the top, bottom or side of the battery, or battery compartment) which activates the heating element. When the user wishes to use the device (q.v.), the button must be depressed for the atomising element to produce vapour. This style of electronic cigarette is more common in devices (q.v.) which do not resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes, although some of these also have manual batteries. Manual batteries are less likely to be adversely affected by leaking (q.v.) and/or flooding (q.v.).

Mechanical Mod – This term is used to describe a modified device (see ‘Mods’) which has a purely mechanical switch and does not contain any electronics (see ‘Chipsets’) at all.

Mesh – Mesh is used as a wicking (q.v.) material in rebuildable atomisers (qq.v.). It is composed of finely woven strands of stainless steel. (See also ‘Stainless Steel Rope’.)

mg – Abbreviation for ‘milligrams’, a common measurement used to describe the concentration of nicotine in an eliquid (q.v.) solution. ‘Mg’ is commonly used to refer to the strength (q.v.) in mg/ml. There are two common ways to describe the strength: milligrams/millilitre (see ‘ml’) and as a percentage, representing the percentage of nicotine as a weight by volume.  It is vitally important to understand the difference between the two. An eliquid strength expressed as 18mg/ml equates to 1.8% weight by volume. This is because of a discrepancy in the système international (SI) weights and measures standards. In simple terms, the litre does not fit this system, (the SI unit which is equivalent to the litre is the cubic decimetre, or dm3), which means that milligrams per millilitre must be divided by 10 to express them as a percentage.

Mini – A term used to describe any product which is a reduced-size form of an existing product, e.g. the mini Protank is a smaller version of the Protank.

Mixing Kit – A mixing kit contains the various base (q.v.) ingredients for mixing eliquid (q.v.), comprising base (q.v.) liquid, diluents (usually PG and VG (qq.v.)), and flavour concentrate. Some mixing kits also contain protective gloves, pipettes and empty bottles. Most will also come with instructions, and vapers (q.v.) can find eliquid mixing calculators online. (See  ‘DIY’.)

ml – Abbreviation for ‘millilitres’, a common measurement used to describe the quantity of eliquid (q.v.) contained in a bottle or cartridge/cartomiser (qq.v.). (See also ‘mg’.)

Mods – This term can be used to describe modifications to a device (q.v.) or accessory (q.v.), e.g. making an alteration to get more vapour production (q.v.) out of the atomiser (q.v.). It can also be used to describe a design variation, either of a commonly-manufactured electronic cigarette, or of any non-electronic cigarette product to create a modified electronic cigarette device. In the latter context, mods typically use larger, rechargeable Lithium Ion (q.v.) batteries (q.v.) which afford the user longer battery life and usually, increased vapour production. The most common batteries used in these devices are 18650 and 18350, where the length of the battery is 650mm or 350mm, and the width is 18mm. These devices seldom bear any resemblance to a traditional tobacco cigarette. Many mods will allow the user to control the voltage and/or wattage of their device to achieve optimal, personalised performance. (See ‘Variable Voltage’ and ‘Variable Wattage’.)


Newbie (or ‘Noob’) – someone new to the vaping community, or just new to vaping.

Nichrome – A variety of alloys of nickel and chromium, often with iron. Like Kanthal (q.v.), it has a high temperature resistance (q.v.) and is often used in heating elements. It is used in the majority of mass-produced atomiser (q.v.) designs, as well as in rebuildable (q.v.) atomisers.


Ohm (Ω) – A measure of electrical resistance (q.v.). ‘Resistance’ is a measure of the difficulty an electric current has passing through a conductor. A lower number indicates lower resistance (q.v.) and therefore faster heating.

‘O’-rings – These are rubber gaskets used for sealing, to prevent flooding (q.v.) and/or leaking (q.v.).


Passthrough – A device that plugs directly into the USB port (q.v.) of a computer or charger (q.v.) and allows the user to vape (q.v.) without having to worry about battery (q.v.) life. Some vapers (q.v.) find that vapour production and/or flavour can be improved by using a passthrough, as compared to their normal batteries, because USB operates at 5 volts, rather than the 4.2 of a fully charged lithium ion (q.v.) battery.

PCC – see Charging Case

Pen Style – One of many styles of 1st generation (q.v.) electronic cigarettes. They are an exceptionally large form of 1st generation device, and may resemble a fountain or ball-point pen in appearance.

Personal Charging Case – see Charging Case

Personal Vapouriser (PV) – Another name for an electronic cigarette. More frequently used to refer to the more unorthodox modified devices (q.v.) (see ‘Mods’). This term may also be used to refer to devices which are capable of vapourising vegetable matter, such as tobacco leaf, although standard electronic cigarettes are unable to perform this function.

Pipe – (See also ‘E-pipe’.) An electronic cigarette in the form of a pipe. These may follow the form factor of a traditional tobacco pipe, but there are also many pipe mods (q.v.).

Polyethylene Glycol (abbreviated as ‘PEG’ or ‘PEG400’) – an uncommon diluent (q.v.) used in eliquid (q.v.) for certain flavours, where PG (q.v.) is deemed less desirable, or for vapers (q.v.) who are sensitive to PG. PEG400 has a similarly excellent safety profile as compared to PG(1), but is not as commonly used for eliquid manufacture. 

Propylene Glycol (abbreviated as ‘PG’) – the most common diluent (q.v.) in eliquid (q.v.). This ingredient is found in the vast majority of brands of eliquid. It is believed that approximately 3% of the population has a sensitivity to PG, and there is one anecdotal example of anaphylactic allergic response to PG, although this is not supported by the academic literature. PG is used as an ingredient for eliquid to produce the vapour which is inhaled. Typically, PG produces less vapour than its VG  (q.v.) counterpart, but provides more throat hit (q.v.). PG is a very well understood compound, following extensive research in the 1940s. It has been classified as GRAS (Generally Recognised As Safe), including by inhalation, for decades2. It is used in a variety of applications, including medicines, e.g. asthma inhalers, and cosmetics, e.g. baby wipes, shampoo, and is used in anti-freeze to reduce the toxicity. For the purposes of use in eliquid, it is vitally important that the PG be of pharmaceutical grade, since industrial-grade glycols contain certain impurities which would pose a risk when inhaled.



RBA – Abbreviation for Rebuildable Atomiser. This is generally used to refer to rebuildable tank atomisers (qqq.v.) with rebuildable atomisers without tanks generally referred to as RDAs (q.v.).

RDA – Abbreviation for Rebuildable Dripping Atomiser. A style of rebuildable atomiser (qq.v.) which is intended for use by dripping eliquid (q.v.) directly onto the coil (q.v.) and surrounding wick (q.v.) Examples include IGO-L, Octopus, etc. (See ‘Rebuildable’, ‘Dripping’ and ‘Atomiser’.)

Rebuildable – Generic term for any atomising device (q.v.) which can be reconstructed by the user.

Resistance – See ‘Ohms’.


Safety Circuitry – Most of the cigalikes (q.v.) and some of the 2nd generation (q.v.) devices have battery (q.v.) cells encased in an outer tube. The vast majority of these have safety circuitry built in, to prevent over-heating, and to allow venting (q.v.) of built-up gases. Safety circuitry is also found in standard lithium ion (q.v.) batteries as used in 2nd and 3rd generation devices (qq.v.) or mods (q.v.).

Silica – Silica refers to a wide range of forms of silicon dioxide, usually used in a fibrous form with a wool-like texture. See also ‘Wick’.

Smokeless Cigarette – A rare term, occasionally used to refer to an electronic cigarette, due to there being no combustion with an electronic cigarette, and therefore, no smoke.

Stainless Steel Rope – A braided material made of multiple strands of stainless steel wire, resembling rope. Used as an alternative to mesh (q.v.) for wicking (q.v.).

Starter Kit – A kit which includes basic electronic cigarette equipment. Typically, these will include everything needed to begin vaping (q.v.). Most starter kits will include 1 or more atomisers (q.v.) or cartomisers (q.v.), 1 or more batteries (q.v.) (and it is far better if they come with at least two batteries, because otherwise, the would-be vaper (q.v.) is forced back to smoking while the one battery is recharging!), a battery charger (q.v.), and eliquid (q.v.) – either prefilled into cartridges (q.v.) or supplied as free liquid (q.v.).

Strength – The level of nicotine contained in eliquid (q.v.) usually expressed as mg (q.v.) per ml (q.v.) and/or as a percentage.


Tankomiser – a term used to describe a device which combines an atomiser within a tank reservoir for the eliquid. (See ‘Tanks’.)

Tanks – Tanks are a specific type of atomising device (qq.v.) which incorporates the atomiser  (q.v.), usually protected in a central column, with a wick (q.v.) to draw up the eliquid (q.v.) which is in the tank reservoir. Tanks come in many different models and may hold anywhere between one and 6ml (q.v.) of eliquid at a time. Many experienced vapers (q.v.) prefer to use tank devices (q.v.), particularly within bigger battery (q.v.) devices because this involves less user effort. Once the tank is filled and the bigger battery is charged, the device should be good to go for several hours without needing further topping up (q.v.) or other attention.

Thread – A term used to describe the screw threads which attach the battery (q.v.) section to the atomising section (of whichever model). Often used in conjunction with a specific model type, e.g. 901 thread, 510 thread, eGo thread. Adapters (q.v.) may be used to connect batteries of one type with atomising devices (q.v.) of another. The 510 thread has become an unofficial standard, and is almost exclusively used in 2nd and 3rd generation (qq.v.) devices. However, a large number of 1st generation (q.v.) devices use alternative threads.

Throat Hit (abbreviated as ‘TH’) – The sensation at the back of the throat when inhaling vapourised eliquid (q.v.). Typically, since nicotine is a significant contributing factor in throat hit, non-nicotine eliquids tend to have far less throat hit. The sensation is caused because the PG (q.v.) and the nicotine cause a slight and temporary irritation of the throat, but smokers and vapers (q.v.) alike find that this is often an important part of the appeal of these products. Indeed, some vapers deliberately seek to customise their vaping equipment to increase the throat hit.

Topping up (also known as ‘Topping off’) – The process of refilling the electronic cigarette. (See also ‘Dripping’.) It is very important that electronic cigarette equipment does not run dry, because this can lead to the production of unpleasant and potentially harmful compounds. (This also has a significantly detrimental effect on flavour, making the vaping (q.v.) experience taste unpleasantly harsh and burnt.) To avoid this, most vapers (q.v.) will top up their cartomiser (q.v.) or tank (q.v.) long before it is empty.


USB – Abbreviation for Universal Serial Bus. Commonly used to recharge electronic cigarette batteries (q.v.) and PCC’s (q.v.), often obviating the need for mains charging entirely.  (See also ‘USB Port’.) The USB standard is for a power supply of 5 volts (q.v.) and 500 mA. (See ‘Amps’.)

USB Port – The interface on a computer or laptop which allows for a USB (q.v.) device to be connected. Some mains chargers allow USB devices to source power from the mains (see ‘Charger’ and ‘Mains Charger’), acting as transformers, converting the 240 volt (q.v.) mains supply to 5 volts, compliant with the USB standard.


Vamo – A popular mass-produced variable wattage (q.v.) device.

Vape/Vaping – Used as both a verb and a noun to describe the use of electronic cigarettes, e.g. I am vaping blackcurrant today, and/or I like a vape with a coffee.

Vaper – A term used to describe a person who vapes (see ‘Vape’), often self-applied. It follows the same logic as the use of the term ‘smoker’: one who inhales smoke is a smoker; one who inhales vapour is a vaper. There is a vibrant online community of self-identified vapers, using a variety of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as a number of dedicated online forums, such as:





Vapour Production – Typically associated with eliquids (q.v.). Different atomising devices (q.v.) and different formulations of eliquid produce different amounts of vapour. Some prefer vast clouds of vapour, while others are less concerned with the visual appearance, focussing more on flavour and throat hit (q.v.).

Variable Voltage – A device (q.v.) or add-in module that provides the user with the ability to adjust the power supplied by the device to suit their requirements. Variable voltage provides a regulated voltage, regardless of the resistance (q.v.) of the atomiser (q.v.) attached to the device. (See also ‘Volt’ and ‘Variable Wattage’.)

Variable Wattage – See ‘Variable Voltage’. Variable wattage provides a regulated power output which takes the resistance (q.v.) of the attached atomiser (q.v.) into account.

Vegetable Glycerine (abbreviated as ‘VG’) – the other commonly-used diluent (q.v.) in eliquid (q.v.). (See also ‘Propylene Glycol’). VG has an excellent safety profile and is a well-understood compound. It is classified as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe), with an extremely low toxicity, including by inhalation.3 VG may be added to eliquid to add a little sweetness to the flavour, but is more commonly used to increase vapour production (q.v.). Pure VG is extremely viscous, which can make mixing difficult. (See also ‘Aqueous Glycerine’.)

Vent – A hole allowing ventilation in either an atomiser (q.v.) or battery casing, in case of catastrophic battery failure, which would otherwise result in a potentially dangerous build-up of pressure. (See also ‘Airhole’ and ‘Safety Circuitry’.)

Volt – The measure of potential difference between two points in an electrical circuit.

Voltage – See ‘Volt’. (See also ‘Variable Voltage’.)


Watt – A unit of power, defined as one joule per second. The power used by a device (q.v.)  can be calculated as the volts (q.v.) x the drawn current in amps (q.v.).

Wattage – See ‘Watt’. (See also ‘Variable Wattage’.)

Wick – The material which transfers eliquid (q.v.) from the reservoir (of whichever type) into the atomiser (q.v.). The most commonly used material is silica (q.v.) in various forms, but cotton wool, mesh (q.v.), stainless steel rope (q.v.), etc. are also used – particularly in rebuildable (q.v.) atomisers.

Wicking – Wicking is the process by which the eliquid (q.v.) is drawn up into the atomiser (q.v.) for vapourisation. Wicks (q.v.) are particularly common in tank (q.v.) devices (see also ‘Tankomiser’) but the term is also used to describe the process in cartomisers (q.v.) or atomising cartridges (q.v.).







1 http://www.inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jecmono/v14je19.htm

2 http://www.inchem.org/documents/sids/sids/57-55-6.pdf

3 http://www.inchem.org/documents/sids/sids/56815.pdf