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The TABlites Electronic Cigarette Glossary

Electronic Cigarettes have evolved over the years to encompass lots of new ideas, new technology and new people.
All this innovation has lead to a bit of jargon being added to the lexicon. Terms that you may not have heard before; things that are solely related to vaping and quite a lot of electrical engineering ‘tech-speak’ have become pretty common to hear around vapers.

Well never fear! TABlites are here to help you through the jungle of terminology safe and sound. Maybe you’ll learn a little something about e-cigs along the way.

If there’s a specific term you are unsure about, simply hold your ‘Ctrl‘ key down and press ‘F‘, this will open the ‘Find’ box in the top right of your screen. Type in the term and you should automatically be taken to an instance of that term, by using the up and down arrows beside the ‘Find’ box you can navigate through each instance of the particular term.

Let’s begin!


This is a slang term used by vapers to describe a traditional tobacco cigarette.


An atomiser is the part of the electronic cigarette that vaporizes the e-liquid. The power from your battery heats up the coil which makes the vapour you inhale.

Auto Battery:

An automatic e-cig battery doesn’t have a button that you press, it is activated by the user inhaling on the atomiser which is connected to the battery. Most automatic batteries are the small cigarette-looking batteries which help simulate the action of smoking a real cigarette.


E-cig batteries come in many different sizes but they all have one thing in common, they are the power source of your electronic cigarette. The battery when activated sends power to your attached atomiser, heats the coil and makes lovely vapour for you to inhale.


A BCC or Bottom Coil Clearomiser is a fairly new atomiser on the market which has the heating element at the bottom instead of the coil being at the top as in a traditional clearomiser. The advantage of having the heating element at the bottom is the vapour is much cooler, for people who enjoy a less intense vape.

Brick & Mortar (B&M):

A B&M is an e-cig store that you can visit to purchase all your vaping products. The advantage of a store is you can see and try the products before you buy.


A cartomiser is a small cartridge that can come either pre-filled or empty for you to fill with your favourite e-liquid. It is a cross between a cartridge and an atomiser hence the name cartomiser. These are most often found on the cigarette-looking devices.


A charger is for recharging your flat e-cig batteries. Most chargers tend to use an USB connection to plug into a USB port on a laptop/Desk computer or games console which keeps the power going to the battery at a safe level.


This is a term coined by vapers to describe the electronic cigarettes that resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes.


The Clearomiser has been around for some time now and was a big step forward when first released. It was aimed at new users and was far easier to fill and use on a day to day basis. As time has moved on the technology has greatly increased the performance, with replaceable coils being introduced to cut down on waste and the way atomisers “wick” making the flavour and vapour production vastly better in comparison with the first units on the market.


The term “clouds” or “blowing clouds” means the vapour you exhale making a small cloud. As more VG-heavy liquids have come onto the market the vapour production, or “clouds”, have got denser, adding to the effect.


The coil is the part of the e-cig which makes the vapour (see Atomiser). A coil is a length of resistance wire, usually Kanthal or Nichrome, which is wrapped around the wicking material. When the battery is activated the coil will heat up and vaporize the liquid that has saturated into the wicking material.

Connection Type:

In the early days of electronic cigarettes there were several different connection types, which made it very limiting as to what atomiser was compatible with the battery you owned. As the industry has moved on and streamlined many aspects of the products available it has mainly come down to two connection types. A 510-connection is a male thread that screws directly into the female connection as seen on an iClear 30S for example. The eGo/510-connection is the most common electronic cigarette connection where the atomiser screws over the outer connection as seen on the CE4 or iClear 16 clearomisers.


The “cut-off” is a safety measure inside a battery that prevents it from being activated for too long. The battery will stop firing after the set cut-off time and the battery may even flash to indicate that the cut-off has been hit.


D.I.Y. refers to making your own e-liquid from concentrate so you can make your perfect mix.



This is the area where you install your coil and make your build on a rebuildable atomiser.

Drip Tip:

The drip tip or mouthpiece is the part you put your lips around when taking a draw on your e-cig. They come in many different shapes and sizes to suit each individual need. The name ‘drip tip’ comes from when people used them for dripping e-liquid directly onto the atomiser where now they are mainly used as a mouthpiece.


The term “drip” or “dripping” is the act of directly dripping e-liquid directly onto your atomiser. This started with the old style e-cigs in which a cartridge of wicking material was saturated with liquid, people found that this did not work very well so the cartridge was discarded and users started dripping liquid straight onto the atomiser to increase vapour and flavour production.

eGo Battery:

A very popular style of battery generally found in an electronic cigarette starter kit. The term eGo is the generic name given to this particular style of battery.

Electronic Cigarette:

A device used to vaporize e-liquid and mimic the sensation of smoking a traditional tobacco cigarette. A typical electronic cigarette is a system made up of three important parts. A power source (battery), a heating element (heating coil) and an e-liquid delivery system (tank). The battery supplies power to the heating element which heats the coil and vaporizes the e-liquid to create vapour. The e-liquid delivery system directs the e-liquid towards the heating coil which is then vaporized.


E-liquid is the substance inside your tank or cartomiser that is vaporized. E-liquid is usually broken down into three main ingredients, Propylene Glycol (PG), Vegetable Glycerine (VG) and Nicotine, although nicotine is optional.

Filling Material:

Filling material is what is also referred to as ‘wick’. This is usually either silica or organic cotton wool. The filling or wicking material acts as a sponge to soak up the e-liquid in your tank or cartomiser and feed this to the heating coil.


Flooding occurs when your tank has “over-wicked” meaning that there is more e-liquid than can be vaporized. This will result in gurgling and little vapour and can lead to leaking.


A Glassomizer is a fairly new product on the market. It is a clearomiser with a Pyrex-glass tank for a better quality product and to avoid damage from e-liquids that can break down plastic tanks.


Gurgling occurs when there is too much e-liquid on the heating coil after the tank has flooded. It can also happen when there is condensation in the airflow tube.


This is the more common of the two types of resistance wire, Nichrome being the other alternative. Kanthal is regarded the better wire as it “beds in” much faster and gives better flavour.


The Kick is a drop-in module for mechanical mods to make them into a variable-wattage device. It also gives the device some safety features that are not on the device as standard.


Short for milliampere-hour which is the capacity or charge that the battery will hold. The higher the mAh rating the longer the battery will last between charges.

Manual Battery:

A manual battery has a button that you press to activate the battery. Most electronic cigarettes are activated using a button.

Mechanical Mod:

A mechanical mod or device has no circuitry or electronics in it whatsoever beyond a simple circuit. When the button or switch is activated it completes the circuit and activates the attached atomiser.

Milligram Strength:

The milligram strength (mg) is the amount of nicotine per millilitre (ml) of e-liquid. 6mg e-liquid will contain 6 milligrams of nicotine or 0.6% where an 18mg strength liquid will be 18 milligrams of nicotine or 1.8%.


A mod used to be a modified or custom built electronic cigarette made by a home “modder” out of an everyday household item such as a torch. As electronic cigarettes have become more mainstream the term is used very loosely to describe any big battery device that is not a standard eGo battery, usually the term APV (Advanced Personal Vaporizer) would be more appropriate. 


A standard unit of electrical resistance. With electronic cigarettes the ohms of your attached atomiser will determine what voltage or wattage your device will need to be set to in order to gain the heat to make adequate vapour and throat hit.


A pass-through is an electronic cigarette that plugs directly into a USB connection which supplies constant power to the device so there is no need for recharging the battery. This type of device is ideal for a person at their desk.


PCC or Personal Charging Case is a small box which is usually a similar size to a packet of cigarettes and is used for charging your e-cig on the go. You charge the case itself and it will charge your batteries repeatedly until the case needs charging again. It is generally used for cig-a-like batteries and is not as popular now that longer lasting batteries are on the market.

PG (Propylene Glycol):

Propylene Glycol is one of the base substances contained in e-liquid. PG carries the throat hit and flavour but a heavy PG juice will have thinner vapour. Propylene Glycol is NOT to be confused with Ethylene Glycol which is a highly toxic chemical found in anti-freeze although PG is sometimes added into anti-freeze to make the substance LESS toxic. Only food grade PG is used in e-liquid.


P.V is short for Personal Vaporizer which is the term many vapers prefer instead of ‘e-cig’.

Rebuildable Atomisers:

Rebuildable atomisers come in different varieties depending on how you want them to perform. The atomiser comes without a wick or coil installed and you can then build a wick and coil to your liking. The main two types are RTA’s (Rebuildable Tank Atomisers) and RDA’s (Rebuildable Dripping Atomisers).

Replacement Coil:

A replacement coil is the part of the atomiser/clearomiser that burns out and needs replacing when required. The simple screw in/screw out system has made them a very popular product because there is much less waste and they work out much cheaper than buying disposable tanks.


All atomisers have a resistance measured in ohms. The easiest way of understanding this is that the higher the resistance of the atomiser, the higher the volts needed to power it sufficiently.


A sub-ohm coil is any atomiser coil with a resistance under 1 ohms (so 0.9ohms and below). Sub-ohm coils should be used with caution by experienced vapers who understand battery safety.


A tank is the vessel that holds the e-liquid. Tanks can come in many different sizes all holding different juice capacities making it easy to choose one that is right for you.

Throat Hit:

Throat hit is the sensation at the back of your throat when you take a “draw” on your e-cig. Nicotine strength will play a big part in the amount of throat hit you will get and also e-liquids that are higher in PG content are known to give a stronger throat hit than VG based e-liquids.


The act of taking a draw on your e-cig.


A vaper is a user of an electronic cigarette.


Vapour is what you exhale after you have taken a draw on your e-cig.


A variable-voltage (VV) device gives the user the ability to adjust the voltage going to the atomiser. Each different device has set voltage range for the user to adjust between (usually between 3v-6v). As different atomisers are attached the voltage will need to be adjusted accordingly.


A variable-wattage (VW) device works a little bit different to a variable-voltage device. With a VW device the user sets the wattage that they prefer and the electronics works out the voltage needed to achieve the wattage set. It sounds confusing but basically if a device is set for 10w, any atomiser that is attached will be fired at that 10w setting and the electronics do the complicated part of working out the voltage. VW devices have become much more popular than VV devices because of their ease of use.

Vent Holes:

Vent holes are a safety measure on a big battery device (PV/Mod) that has a removable battery. It is very rare for a battery to fail but in the very unlikely case that a battery was venting gasses the vent holes give those gasses a means to escape in a safer way.

VG (Vegetable Glycerine):

VG is a very common ingredient found in most e-liquids. VG is a very thick liquid that carries a slightly sweet taste. E-liquids with a higher VG content tend to have a smoother throat hit than a PG based liquid. High VG liquids have become more popular with the introduction of RDA’s to the market. More VG will lead to a thicker ‘cloud’ on exhaling.

Wick/Wicking Material:

The absorbent material that wicks the e-liquid to the heating coil of the atomiser.

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