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Vapers use a lot of terms that seem foreign to new e-cig users, so here's a list of some commonly used phrases and abbreviations to help you figure out what people are talking about. I'll update this list any time I think of a new word/phrase that needs clarification, so if you've got any suggestions for terms that I've missed, send me a PM and I'll add them. Thank you to everyone who submitted suggestions for this list, I couldn't have thought of everything without you!
- 510 - the term referring to the threaded connection between a tank and a mod. The name comes from the fact that the connector is 5mm long with 10 threads.
- Amp/Ampere - the scientific unit for the measurement of electric current.
- APV - Advanced personal vaporizer: this includes both VV/VW mods and mech mods.
- Atomizer - the part of an ecig that vaporizes the liquid. This contains the coil, wick, and an area for juice, and screws into the ecig using a 510 connection, or in rare cases, an 808 connection.
- Atty - short for "atomizer," the part of an e-cig that vaporizes the liquid. Plural "atties."
- Bottom Feed Atomizer - a kind of RDA which has a hollow 510 pin, allowing it to be used with a squonker. Abbreviated as "BF atty."
- Box mod - any mod which is shaped like a square or rectangle. This phrase is often limited to mean only mods that have two or more cells.
- Cartomizer - a disposable cartridge containing an atomizer.
- Cells - the proper name for those round things that most people call "batteries."
- Chuff Cap - a style of RDA top cap that has a very wide hole instead of a drip tip. This allows you to take bigger hits, which in turn allows you to blow bigger clouds. Also known as a "Competition style cap" since they are commonly used in cloud competitions.
- Cigalike - any ecig that is similar in size and shape to a cigarette, e.g. Blu, Vuse, etc. Cigalikes are by far the weakest and most ineffective form of vaping, as they are very small and cannot supply the power needed to provide a satisfying vaping experience.
- Clapton coil - a type of coil which consists of a wire core with thinner wire wrapped around the core, making the resulting wire look like a metal guitar string.
- Clearomiser - A non-rebuildable atomiser. Usually clear so you can see the juice. When the coils stop working or the wicks taste foul you replace the device.
- Cloud Chaser - someone who uses low resistance coils and high power settings in order to blow the biggest clouds of vapor they possibly can.
- Cloud Comp - a competition in which vapers try to blow the biggest, thickest clouds of vapor they can in order to compete with other vapers.
- Coil - the heating element which vaporizes eliquid. Coils are described by their resistance, size, and style of build. The term can refer to the heating component of a build, or to the entire interchangeable piece in a tank which uses pre-made coils.
- Deck - the area of a rebuildable atomizer where the coils and wick are placed, which contains positive and negative posts which are used to attach the coil(s) to the power supply.
- Drip - the act of pouring e-liquid directly onto the wick or coils of an atomizer, or of using an RDA.
- Drip Tip - the plastic, metal or wooden piece at the top of the atomizer where you place your lips to vape. Early ecig designs required you to actually drip liquid into the tip to put juice onto the coils, though very few modern atomizers actually use the drip tip for this purpose.
- Dry hit - the horrible sensation received from vaping with an empty tank or dry wick. It tastes like burnt cotton and will instantly give you the worst sore throat you've ever experienced. Known remedies include milk, beer, soda, or anything else to rinse the horror from your throat (but nothing will erase the terror in your memory).
- DTL - abbreviation of "direct to lung" meaning the act of vaping by inhaling directly to your lungs. Also called "Lung Hit." Contrast with MTL.
- Dual coil - a kind of build in which there are two coils, which lowers the atomizer's resistance while maximizing the surface area of the coils, resulting in a warmer vape that can be used at higher power levels to produce bigger clouds than a single coil.
- E-cig - electronic cigarette.
- eGo - a brand of e-cig. Sometimes used in the phrase "eGo style battery," which means pen-style batteries similar to the eGo.
- High VG - any e-liquid which contains a high percentage of vegetable glycerin, used for RDAs.
- Juice - liquid containing pharmaceutical grade vegetable glycerine (VG), propylene glycol (PG), flavorings and (usually) nicotine.
- Kanthal - a kind of resistance wire, used in ecigs to build coils which heat the liquid to create vapor.
- Lung Hit - a technique of vaping in which the vaper breaths in while using an ecig, pulling the vapor directly into his or her lungs. Contrast with "Mouth-to-Lung."
- Mech mod - mechanical mod: a mod in which there are no electronic components other than a button and a battery. Synonym "unregulated mod."
- mg - milligrams. This is the unit of measurement used for nicotine content. Abbreviated from "mg/ml" meaning the amount of milligrams of nicotine the juice contains per milliliter.
- ml - milliliter. A measure of volume used to measure how much e-liquid is in a bottle or how much can fit in a tank.
- Mod - derived from the word "modify" since early e-cigs were made from modified flashlights and other electronics, the word "mod" has become a synonym for "APV."
- MTL - see "Mouth-to-Lung."
- Mouth-to-Lung - a particular vaping technique, in which the vaper uses his or her tongue to draw vapor into his or her mouth before inhaling. This action closely resembles the feeling of taking a puff on a cigarette. Sometimes shortened to "MTL."
- Nickel - a kind of metal which is sometimes used to make coils used in temp control devices in place of kanthal.
- O-ring - a rubber ring, used to create a seal between two things. In ecigs, o-rings can be found in RDAs to hold the top cap on, in tanks to keep juice from spilling out, and in mods to prevent contact between positive and negative connections.
- Ohm - the unit of measurement for resistance.
- Ohm's Law - the mathematical formula which describes the relationship between power, resistance, current and voltage. See the FAQ post "What the heck is Ohm's Law?" for more information.
- PG - propylene glycol. This is the component of e-liquid that carries flavor and creates "throat hit."
- PV - personal vaporizer.
- RBA - rebuildable atomizer: a catch-all term that includes any atomizer that requires the user to build their own coils.
- RDA - rebuildable dripping atomizer: an atty that does not have a tank; instead, users drip juice directly onto the wick.
- RDTA - rebuildable dripping tank atomizer: an RDA in practice, but with a tank attached which drips the juice onto the wick. This includes the Big Dripper and 3D RDA.
- Regulated mod - any APV which uses electronic components such as capacitors, resistors and circuit board to regulate how much power is available to the atomizer.
- Resistance - a measurement of the conductivity of a particular coil. The unit of measurement for resistance is called an "Ohm," named after the German physicist who discovered Ohm's Law.
- RTA - rebuildable tank atomizer: a type of RBA where the user builds their own coils, which are then fed by a tank.
- Squonker - a type of mod which contains a bottle of juice, which is connected to the bottom of an RDA with a hose. The vaper squeezes the bottle, which forces juice up the hose and into the RDA, giving you the experience of dripping with the convenience of a tank. Using such a box is called "squonking," and the RDAs used are called "bottom feed," or "BF" for short.
- Tank - technically speaking, this means the part of an atomizer which holds the liquid. However, it is also commonly used to refer to any atomizer that has a tank (as opposed to dripping atomizers).
- TC - short for "temp control."
- Temp Control - short for "temperature control." A kind of ecig that uses nickel or titanium coils instead of kanthal, and regulates the power based on a set maximum temperature rather than wattage or voltage. Temp controls devices read fluctuations in the wire's resistance in order to determine the internal temperature of the atty. This allows vapers to avoid getting dry hits by preventing the wick from overheating if there is not enough liquid reaching the coils.
- Throat hit - the scratchy sensation of vapor hitting the back of your throat.
- Titanium - a kind of metal which is sometimes used to make coils used in temp control devices in place of kanthal.
- Unregulated mod - any APV which does not regulate the power available to the atomizer. This means that the atomizer always uses however much power the cell can produce, so the power tapers off as the cell gets drained.
- Vape - the act of using an e-cigarette. People who vape are called "vapers," while the act itself is called "vaping."
- VG - Vegetable glycerin. This is the component of e-liquid that creates thicker vapor.
- Voltage - the scientific term for the measure of a circuit's electric potential difference, or in plain English, the amount of electricity a battery can provide.
- VV/VW - variable voltage/variable wattage. Used to describe a type of mod which regulates the power available to the atomizer. Synonym "regulated mod."
- Watt - the scientific unit for the measurement of power.
- Wick - the absorbent material used to soak up juice and deliver it to the coil. Wicking materials include organic cotton, Japanese cotton, rayon, and silica.