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Vape Glossary of Terms

18th Apr 2024

Vape Glossary of Terms

A is for Airflow and Atomiser

Airflow – This is often an adjustable feature which dictates the amount of air that passes through your tank or pod from the coil to your mouth to produce vapour. If the airflow is a higher amount and fully open, this will create a cooler vape, and a warmer vape from a more restricted airflow, producing a ‘throat hit’ (see below), which is a similar sensation to smoking.

When you see more air vents on the side of the tank or pod, this usually means there will be an opportunity for greater airflow. You can block these with your fingers if you want to restrict the airflow manually. Controlling the airflow offers the chance to have a thicker or thinner cloud vape experience. If the airflow is adjustable, this is usually done with a switch or ring.

Atomiser – The part of the vape kit which acts as the heating element by conducting electricity from the battery. This turns the e-liquid you buy into the vapour flavour and intensity you love via the mouthpiece.

The atomiser - more commonly referred to as a vape coil, is available in different resistances to generate more or less power and cloud. Each atomiser, which screws into the vape tank or refillable pod, also contains a wick which absorbs the e-liquid.

B is for Box Mod and Burnt Taste

Box Mod - A box mod is a common term for a chunky vape kit that tends to be for more advanced vaping. This is named solely like this because it’s a square shape like a box and is a device you can modify and customise, depending on the list of features and settings that you can optimise. It’s ideal for more advanced vapers because box mods will have a screen, and larger to accommodate a bigger battery capacity for chugging big clouds of vapour and maximising flavour.

Burnt Taste - This can be what is experienced when the coil, or atomiser, reaches the end of its life and needs to be replaced. It’s caused when the wick wears out, making the e-liquid evaporate quicker, preventing it from soaking in the coil and causing that nasty and avoidable burnt taste.

To ensure this doesn’t happen, always keep your e-liquid at a satisfactory level and keep an eye on the coil for signs of vape juice buildup.

C is for Cartridge, Cloud Chase and Cigalike

Cartridge – This is a retro component of vaping that following the potential ban of single-use disposable vapes will likely be the best solution. Cartridges are prefilled e-liquid accessories with a mouthpiece at the top that fits on top of a battery.

They are super convenient and together with the battery look very similar in size and format to a cigarette.

Cloud Chase – This is a style of vaping some people seek to produce which also acts as a hobby. While some vapers like a discreet and minimal amount of vapour like smoking, cloud chasers want the opposite with the biggest clouds possible from high-wattage Sub-Ohm tanks and thick high VG e-liquids or shortfills (see below). Instead, they prefer big clouds of vapour to perform tricks or simply to achieve maximum flavour.

Cigalike – This is one of the first types of e-cigarettes which surprise-surprise, bears an uncanny resemblance to a cigarette, with a similar likeness to a tobacco cigarette without containing any tobacco. You can find some examples here, which are perfect as a starter kit for a new vaper.

D is for Direct to Lung, Dry Hit, DIY, Drip Tip, Disposables

Direct to Lung – Also known in vaping circles as DTL, this is a style of vaping where more vapour is drawn into the lungs directly. You inhale like you would when taking a deep breath. It creates more cloud, a cooler sensation, and is the typical experimental alternative to MTL (see below).

Dry Hit – This is what occurs when there is not enough e-liquid in your chosen tank or pod.

DIY – The slang term for somebody who makes their liquid, purchasing nic shots, in addition to VG and PG, to make their vape juice. It can work out cheaper in the long run, but it is nowhere near as convenient as ready-made e-liquids and takes testing to find the right strength and consistency, while also posing a danger to those who don’t mix correctly.

Drip Tip – This is the common name used for the mouthpiece which is attached to the top of the tank you have purchased. Drip tips can also come separately with tanks or kits, so you can remove and clean them for better hygiene.

They come in different shapes and sizes to accommodate all types of vapers, whether that’s narrow drip tips for MTL vaping or wide drip tips for direct lung and restricted direct lung vaping. Typically, they’re screwed or pushed into place depending on the tank in question.

Disposables – This refers mainly to single-use throw-away devices from brands like Elf Bar and Lost Mary, which contain everything you need to get started, including the charged battery, pre-installed coil and e-liquid to vapourise. Disposables can also refer to disposable pods which are single-use with a fixed coil.

E is for E-liquid

E-Liquid – Known by many names such as vape juice, vape liquid, or simply juice, e-liquid can contain or not contain nicotine and often features ingredients called Vegetable Glycerine and Propylene Glycol (a chemical mixture of the two or one based on preference are available), as well as flavourings. E-liquid is heated and then turned into vapour following inhalation.

F is for Flavour Chasing, Flooding

Flavour Chasing – This is the popular practice where a vaper is not as concerned about huge clouds (see cloud chasing), but instead heavily focused on discovering the best flavour profile. It involves a higher combination of PG compared to VG, using a warm low powered MTL kit, with the latter ingredient being naturally sweeter.

Flooding – When your coil becomes full of e-liquid in places it shouldn’t be, or the tank/pod begins to overflow due to over-zealous filling, either of these phenomena can lead to ‘flooding’, which causes the vaper to inhale vape juice.

G is for Ghost Vape, Gurgling

Ghost Vape – This is a trick performed by experienced vaping enthusiasts who wish to exhale the vapour, inhale to catch the vapour back in the mouth and blow it out again. There are plenty of videos on YouTube of fans in competitions who love to showcase tricks such as this one!

Gurgling – When a vape device overfills, this can lead to a spitting noise, and visually looks like liquid that would gurgle in your mouth. To fix this, simply increase the wattage of your device in small increments until to stop the gurgling sound.

H is for Hit, High VG or High PG

Hit – A hit is simply the popular term for taking a ‘drag’ or inhalation of vapour from your favourite device!

High VG or PG – Vapers often tend to prefer one or the other. A high VG vape is for bigger clouds and sweeter flavour from your e-liquids. A high PG vape creates a tighter throat hit and warmer vape to experience a similar feeling to smoking.

L is for Low Resistance and Longfill

Low Resistance (coil) – This refers to vape coils or atomisers, and the power they can produce from the Ohms they can generate. Anything below 1.0 Ohm is classed as a Sub-Ohm resistance. The lower this is, the higher the power needed to generate vapour. Advanced vapers typically use a low resistance DTL Sub-Ohm coil at a higher wattage to vape big clouds, and a high resistance coil above 1.0 Ohms is for MTL vaping smaller cloud volume by producing less power.

Longfill – This refers to a larger bottle of e-liquid which contains flavour concentrate only. You can then add a nicotine shot and a base liquid. In contrast, shortfills only have a gap for a nic shot.

M is for Mouth to Lung, Mg

Mouth-to-Lung (MTL) - As explained earlier, this style in comparison to DTL (see above) tends to be followed more by beginner adult vapers who have switched from smoking. It involves a tight or loose draw into the mouth, holding for a few seconds, inhaling into the lungs and back out, like you would when smoking.

Mg – This refers to the milligrams of nicotine per millilitre of e-liquid. Strengths are typically as follows: 1.8%, 1.2%, 0.6%, 0.3% and then 0mg for freebase nicotine vape juice. With nic salts (see below), they’re typically measured in 10mg and 20mg strengths.

N is for Nic salts, Nic Shot

Nic Salts – This is a follow-up to traditional freebase nicotine e-liquids, which are salts formed from nicotine with an acid added to lower the PH level. Essentially, what it does is reduce the harshness of the chemical nicotine on the throat, meaning you can vape a higher strength of nicotine less frequently because of its smoother nature.

Nic Shot – This is a pure shot of nicotine, which is added to shortfills or longfills. It gives the vaper greater control over the consistency of nicotine in their e-liquid.

P is for Priming, Pod Kit, Pre-Filled, Pens

Priming – This is a useful habit where you add e-liquid to the coil to allow the accessory to saturate before use, helping to prevent burnt coils and increase flavour. Allow the coil to saturate for 5-10 minutes before first use.

Pods – A pod is like a tank but much smaller in form factor and often made of plastic. It holds a coil but is often magnetic and fits into place on top of a pod kit battery-powered device. Pods can be pre-filled or refillable and are typically 2ml capacity as the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD European regulations) states.

Pre-Filled – E-liquids are available in a pre-filled format inside either cartridges, pods, or disposables so that the vaper has less to think about and can vape as quickly as possible.

Pens – This refers to a vape device, called a vape pen, which is cylindrical, thin and long in shape like a pen you write with. It’s often enjoyed by vapers who want a vape kit with a familiar feel as they would expect from a cigarette.

R is for Rebuildable (RTA’s/RDA’s), RDL

RDA/RTA – Standing for ‘Rebuildable Dripping Atomiser’ or ‘Rebuildable Tank Atomiser’, both involve the process of rebuilding your coil or tank respectively and tend to be popular among very experienced vapers, with a great deal of time and knowledge playing its part.

RDL – This abbreviation refers to the style 'restrictive direct lung', which is becoming more and more popular in recent times. It’s a style that’s a cross between direct lung vaping and mouth-to-lung vaping. A bit looser and airier than an MTL vape.

S is for Shortfill, Starter Kit

Shortfill – A bottle of e-liquid without nicotine (typically 50ml or 100ml) with a space for a nicotine shot or two depending on the size you purchase. They create great flavour and are aimed at people reducing their nicotine levels and wanting to save money in the process, offering great value.

Starter Kit – This refers to a vape kit designed for beginners or simply those who seek a device with no thrills that’s easy to use and vape on the go, without too many complicated settings or functions. In most cases, they come with a coil, pod or tank and battery charger.

T is for Throat hit, Tank

Throat Hit – This is the sensation when vaping that ‘hits’ the back of the throat. Many vapers seek or hope for this familiar feeling to match the hit received when smoking (in particular with high-tar cigarettes).

Tank – A key accessory that holds larger amounts of e-liquid, the coil (heating element) and the chimney which acts as the passageway from the coil to the mouthpiece. They are refillable by nature and therefore longer-lasting, as well as customisable, offering features on many like adjustable airflow or removable drip tips.

V is for Vaper’s Tongue

Vaper’s Tongue – A sensation where you lose the taste of the e-liquid you have frequently vaped. It often happens because the olfactory senses on your tongue familiarise due to overuse with that flavour. To fix this, simply switch e-liquid flavours for a bit to regain the taste.

W is for Wattage, Wick

Wattage – A measure to understand the power generated by a vape kit. With most modern devices, there is a feature of adjustable wattage to find the right power performance level to suit the individual.

Wick – Found in a coil, it’s the piece of material (either cotton or fabric), which soaks up the e-liquid, and acts as the igniter to turn e-liquid into vapour when you fire up the device.

18650 or 21700, 50/50

18650/21700 - These are the most popular types of external batteries to use in electrical vape devices, which you can remove, replace and in most cases recharge.

It’s a handy way to vape with 18650 or 21700 batteries when you don’t have time to wait for an internal battery to charge via a USB before vaping.

50/50 E-Liquid – This refers to an e-liquid (vape juice), with a balanced ratio of 50% VG and 50% PG to achieve equal cloud production and throat hit.