Vaping Acronyms Explained

 The world of vaping comes with its own vocabulary, and to understand how to use a vape device correctly, you may find that having a good understanding of this language is helpful.

While it may seem overwhelming at first, once you get to know the various vaping terms and acronyms, you’ll find that learning how to use a vape properly can be a straightforward process. 

So, let’s explore a vaping glossary of some of the most relevant terms in vaping.   

A-Z Vaping Glossary   



The airflow of a vape is the amount of vapour that is drawn with each inhalation. Airflow can be adjusted in several ways, such as changing atomizers, e-liquids, or coil resistance.


The atomizer, is the component of the vape device where the e-liquid is heated into a vapour. The atomizer typically contains a wick, which absorbs e-liquid from the tank, and the coil, which when powered by a battery heats the liquid so that it becomes vapour.


Every vape is powered by a battery that allows the coil to heat up. Some vape devices have replaceable batteries, while others have built-in batteries that cannot be removed.

Box Mod

A box mod is a type of vape that uses a larger, box-shaped battery. Box mods, like all mods, have interchangeable components, allowing users to customise their experience with different batteries, atomizers, and tanks.



A cartomizer is a type of atomizer that combines the components of an atomizer with a cartridge that holds e-juice. Early vape devices had separate atomizers and cartridges, but these days many vape devices use a cartomiser that includes both in one piece.


A cartridge is a component of a vape device that holds e-liquid. This may also be referred to as a tank, though generally the term cartridge is used to describe smaller, pre-filled pods that are attached to certain types of vape device.


A clearomizer is a type of atomizer that has clear walls and an integrated tank or cartridge. The clear outer shell of the clearomizer allows a user to see how much liquid remains in the cartridge.


A cigalike is a type of vape that is designed to visually resemble a cigarette.


A coil is a piece of spiral-shaped wire that is heated up to turn liquid into vapour. The coil sits inside the atomizer, where it wraps around the wick. The battery of the vape device is used to heat the coil. Some may use the term coil to describe the entire atomizer.

Direct to Lung (DTL)

Direct to Lung (DTL) vaping is a type of vaping where the vapour is inhaled directly into the lungs, without first being held in the mouth. This type of vaping requires specific devices, components and e-liquids. DTL vaping is the alternative to Mouth to Lung (MTL) vaping.


Dripping is a method of vaping where e-liquid is dripped directly on the coil of the vape – as opposed to being stored in and drawn from a tank or cartridge.

Drip Tip

A drip tip is a device used to drip e-liquid onto an atomizer for drip vaping. The term is also sometimes used to describe the mouthpiece of a vape.


E-cigarette, or electronic cigarette, is an alternative term for a vape device.


E-liquid is the liquid that is heated to create the vapour that’s inhaled when vaping. E-liquid is typically made up of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine, and can also include nicotine and flavouring. Every vape device requires an e-liquid to produce vapour; some disposable options may have the e-liquid built into the device, while others allow vapers to choose and refill their e-liquid.



Battery power in vape devices is measured in milliamp-hours (mAh).


Nicotine strength in an e-liquid is measured in mg - milligram per millilitre.


A mod is a vape device that has separate, interchangeable components. Originally, e-cigarettes were one pre-built, unalterable device. Mods allow users to change components like the atomizer, tank and battery to customise the vaping experience. 


The mouthpiece is the part of the vape that the user inhales from. This sits atop or comes as part of the atomizer, and when the e-liquid is heated and vaporised, the vapour is drawn through the mouthpiece upon inhalation. Mouthpieces can come in different shapes and sizes which may affect the airflow of the vapour.

Mouth to Lung (MTL)

Mouth to Lung is a type of vaping where the vapour is first held in the mouth before being drawn to the lungs, offering a familiar sensation for smokers.

Nic Base

A nic base is an unflavoured e-liquid, made from pure nicotine diluted with either propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, or both.

Nic Salt/Nicotine Salts

Nicotine salt is the form of nicotine that is often used in e-liquids. Nic salts are more easily absorbed than other forms of nicotine. Not all e-liquids contain nicotine, but those that do will use either nic salts or freebase nicotine.



An Ohm is a measure of resistance, used in vaping to represent the resistance of a coil. A lower resistance, or lower Ohm, allows a greater current to pass through the coil, making for higher temperatures and in turn, more vapour, while requiring more battery power. The resistance of a coil is typically between 1.5 and 3 Ohms, though there are other options available.


Priming is the process of preparing a new coil for use. This involves soaking the coil in e-juice before attaching it to the vape. Priming is not essential for every vape device, but is a necessary process for more technical vapes.

Propylene Glycol (PG)

Propylene Glycol (PG) is one of the two base substances used to create e-liquid, along with vegetable glycerine (VG). PG is thinner than VG and carries the taste of the e-liquid, while a higher VG level e-liquid creates a smoother vapour and less noticeable throat hit.

PG/VG Ratio

The PG/VG ratio is the ratio of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine in an e-liquid. E-liquid is offered with different PG/VG ratios, allowing vapers to customise their experience.  


Rebuildable Drip Atomizer (RDA) 

A rebuildable drip atomizer is an atomizer that can be rebuilt. With RDAs, e-liquid is dripped directly onto the wick before inhaling, as opposed to being held in a tank. Some vapers prefer this method, as it means they only use the exact amount of liquid needed and can switch between different e-liquids more efficiently than having to empty and refill a tank.

Rebuildable Tank Atomizer (RTA)

Like an RDA, a rebuildable tank atomizer is a coil or atomizer that can be rebuilt. Unlike RDAs, RTAs are used with a standard vape tank, as opposed to using a dripping method.


The coil in a vape device has a resistance level, measured in Ohms. Different levels of resistance impact the vaping experience, with lower resistance allowing for more heat, and therefore more vapour per inhale.



A squonk vape uses a squeeze bottle instead of a tank. The bottle is attached to the vape device, connected directly to the coil. When the bottle is squeezed, e-liquid is pushed towards the coil where it is vapourised. 

Sub Ohm

Sub-Ohm vaping is vaping using a low Ohm level and high airflow. To be considered a sub-Ohm, the resistance of the device must be less than 1 Ohm.



The tank is the component of a vape where the e-liquid is stored. Generally, tank is the term used for larger components that can hold more e-liquid, while cartridge is used to describe smaller receptacles.

Throat Hit

A throat hit is the sensation felt at the back of the throat upon inhaling from a vape device. Vapers may describe different throat hits as ‘strong’, ‘mild’, or ‘smooth’. Different types of vape device and vape liquid might impact the throat hit.

Vape Juice

Vape juice is another common term for e-liquid, alongside e-juice.

Vegetable Glycerine

Vegetable glycerine, or VG, is one of the two base ingredients of e-liquid.



The wick is a piece of fabric that absorbs e-liquid and holds it until it is turned into vapour. The wick sits inside the atomizer and is wrapped within the coil. When the coil is heated, the e-liquid that the wick has absorbed is vapourised.


Zero-nic refers to e-liquids that do not contain any nicotine. E-liquids are available with various nicotine strength levels, or with no nicotine at all.

Still confused?

The best solution is always to stop smoking altogether, but if that’s proving to be tricky and vaping is a tad too complicated, options like heated tobacco offer a better alternative.

Through heat not burn technology, heated tobacco uses real tobacco leaf for an authentic taste, but the leaf is not burnt, so no smoke is produced. This allows natural nicotine to be released from tobacco and does not require the use of e-liquids. Learn more about IQOS.  


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