A list of terms used in the world of vaping to describe e-cigarette (or more accurately EV, electronic vaporiser) hardware, refills and usage.
For L to Z see the Resources menu at right.
For terms used in the political, health and similar areas, see: E-Cigarette Terminology.
Note: the term EV (electric/electronic vaporiser) is used extensively within these materials as it is more accurate than the term 'electronic cigarette' or 'e-cigarette', which are marketing terms that inaccurately associate vaporisers with cigarettes.
We have decided to use a combination international English / US English spelling: 'vaporiser', because it is unique. 'Vapouriser' is the correct international English spelling, 'vaporizer' the correct US spelling, and so 'vaporiser' is a word unlikely to be used for anything else.
actuator : or, contactor button: the on/off button on a mechmod (an all-mechanical EV with no wiring). Actuator is a more accurate term than 'switch', because these APVs have no wiring and therefore no switch, in the generally accepted sense that a switch is a wired-in electrical device. Actuators are a simple contactor that commonly uses a spring-loaded pin or lever or other contact-making method; they are frequently fitted in the negative line (unlike most electrical switches) since it is mechanically easier on some designs, especially tubemods.
Several types of actuators are in use. In rough order of invention/use, they are:
- a sliding top end section depressed by the thumb or mouth, as used on early copper tubemods using water pipe;
- a bottom end button, in use continuously on tubemods since the earliest commercial devices (e.g. the Screwdriver);
- a boxmod top button (e.g. Reo);
- a bottom end side actuator button (e.g. XHaler);
- a top end side actuator button in a separate switching section, often with opposing magnets providing the pushback (e.g. Poldiac).
adapter : a connector that allows a head with a given thread connector system to fit on to a body (battery holder) with a different connector; or to create extra length in the head system. Common adapters are 510-to-510 (for use of an atomiser and dripshield, or to save wear on the body connector, or to prevent liquid drip-down into the battery compartment), 510-to-eGo (to allow a twin-thread eGo head to fit a regular 510 battery holder), 510-to-KR8, 510-to-801, 901-to-510.
As the benchmark connector system is now the 510, most adapters feature a 510 battery end with another connector system at the head end.
aerosol : a scientifically more accurate description of e-cigarette 'vapour', because of the presence of liquid droplets suspended in air - technically, vapour is invisible. Because smoke is also an aerosol, the most accurate description for ecig vapour is an unstable liquid aerosol, because it is an aerosol comprised of microdroplets and it does not persist for long. Both smoke and ecig vapour contain particles: smoke contains solid particles, and ecig vapour contains liquid droplets that can also be referred to as particles, although they have a vastly different action in the lungs (the liquid aerosol from ecigs will dissolve just as the steam in a sauna dissolves in the lungs; the solid particulates in smoke cannot dissolve).
ADV, all-day vape : a flavour of e-liquid that a person finds acceptable to use for most or all of the day for an extended period of weeks or months. In general an all-day vape is not going to be a radical flavour, it will be probably be something not too far from the norm, possibly a tobacco variant and possibly a caramel or vanilla style of flavour; it is usually a flavour that many people find acceptable. The archetypal all-day vape is RY4, an early but still popular caramel-vanilla tobacco flavour, on which there are now hundreds (possibly thousands) of variations.
As any individual's taste changes over time, the ADV can also change.
analog : (slang) an ordinary tobacco cigarette. The implication is that as the digital / electronic version is the ecig, the analogue ('physical') version is the cigarette. The US spelling for 'analog' is always used (just as with 'program', a software routine).
anhydrous glycerine : glycerine with no measurable water content. Of limited benefit in refill manufacture since water must be added in order to reduce the viscosity, to render it usable for vaping (pure glycerine is too viscous to vape satisfactorily); perhaps it is supposed to represent greater purity. Sometimes abbreviated to AG - but this term is also used for a different (perhaps 'opposite') material, aqueous glycerine (glycerine with significant water content); therefore the abbreviation AG should never be used as it is confusing and non-specific.
APV : advanced personal vaporiser (or mod), a 2nd-generation or later improvement on the mini (a regular small-format ecig), with a much larger battery or batteries and often some additional features such as higher voltage or variable voltage. An APV can be defined as (1) a battery holder for generic batteries; or (2) a vaping device that has removable generic batteries and/or features additional to those found on minis; or (3) a large, multi-feature EV (electric/electronic vaporiser).
The older term 'mod' was used because such large-battery devices could not be purchased but had to be created by modifying ('modding') a torch/flashlight or similar. The first widely-made mod wa probably the 'copper', made by modifying 15mm copper water pipe and endcaps, using a 14500 lithium cell and featuring a sprung end that was as likely to be at the top end (the 510 connector end) as much as the bottom end. Bottom-end buttons then became more popular, and the first widely available commercial version was the Screwdriver in the UK.
APVs are the largest of the three main classes of e-cigarette (mini, mid-size and APV). They are 2nd-generation and later e-cigarettes that have at least three times the performance of a mini (aka cigalike), often with additional functions. They offer a multitude of features including large battery performance, stainless steel high-quality construction, digital readouts, high voltage, variable voltage, variable power, integral liquid feed, fine wood construction with marquetry, and so on.
APVs are available in 2 formats and 3 classes. The 2 common formats (shapes) are:
a. Boxmods: box format devices that generally look like a cigarette pack with a mouthpiece, and may be formed from billet metal, plastic, or be of fine decorated wood.
b. Tubemods: tubular format devices that usually look like a small flashlight with a mouthpiece at the top, are almost always metal, and are commonly colour-coated aluminium or stainless in construction.
The 3 classes (functionality types) are:
(1) Mechmods: fully-mechanical devices that are essentially just battery holders, with a mechanical actuator switch and no wiring or electronics (e.g. the Screwdriver);
(2) Basic electrical devices: simple battery holders with a wired positive line including an electrical switch (e.g. the Silver Bullet);
(3) Electronic devices: battery holders with electronic controls such as VV chips (among the first - though definitely not *the* first - was the Buzz).
From this it can be seen that there are six basic types of APV: 2 formats x 3 classes. There are many sub-types such as the hybrid.
The first use of the term APV is thought to have been to describe the Zen mechmod, also referred to as a hybrid.
aqueous glycerine : (see anhydrous glycerine)
atomiser : (1) the heater coil that nebulises the refill liquid; or (2) an 'atty': the complete atomiser unit from a 3-piece e-cigarette that comprises a steel tube 9mm in diameter (for the 510 model) containing the atomiser coil, bridge, threaded connector system with airhole at one end, and an open end at the other for connection of a cartridge or (more recently) a driptip. The original 510 atty was 9mm dia x 23mm long (27.5mm inc. thread connector), later models tended to be longer.
An atomiser is in fact misnamed since in reality it is a nebuliser. In function, it can be described as a combination of the heater element in a toaster combined with an electric kettle: the coil heats up but must be immersed in liquid or a heavily saturated atmosphere to cool it, or it will overheat. Since the liquid replacement is by gravity feed in a regular atomiser, it is like an electric kettle in that it will not work upside down: with no liquid cooling, it will overheat, go into out-of-parameter operation (overheat), and eventually fail.
A regular atomiser operates at around 60 to 70 degrees Celsius. Without liquid cooling it will go to 300 C or so, and eventually fail. At these sorts of temperatures, the device will generate smoke from melting internal components; it cannot produce vapour since there is no liquid left if the temperature has risen to this value.
automatic : (a) a mini ecig with an air pressure activated switch not a manual button, so that the vacuum created by the user drawing on it pulls air through and operates the device, thereby making it a functional replica of a tobacco cigarette; or (b) the battery itself, as this contains all the operating elements and is self-contained.
A mini ecig battery can be automatic or manual. Automatics are highly sensitive to leaking e-liquid, which causes them to fail, and means they are far less reliable than manual devices. Recently a 'sealed' automatic system has been devised; reliability data is awaited.
The early automatics also utilised a mic cartridge for operation: a microphone and electronic switching that operated when the sound of air passing through was detected. Needless to say, this resulted in unwanted operation when background noise levels were high, such as in a moving car (and especially trucks). This system was used because it is less sensitive to liquid damage than the pressure switch arrangement; but in the end it was found that frequent failures were preferable to unstable operation.
battery : ('batt'), the rechargeable electrical storage device that provides the power source for a personal vaporiser ('e-cigarette'). A disposable item. See also: lithium ion cell.
battery cutoff : auto batteries normally have a time limit on the operation cycle, to prevent pocket operation and burnout. The time cutoff may be from 6 to 12 seconds. A secondary cutoff may be in place that limits total operational time in an overall period such as 2 minutes. Auto batteries are not popular with ex heavy smokers, partly because of this reason; some models may limit useage time too strictly, especially since primer puffs (qv) are often needed on these tiny units.
batting : a term used for the wadding or filler in the cartridges used in the old 3-piece mini ecig systems. It generally comprised a white polyester spun wool ('polyfill'), and was available in sheets about 12mm thick. Because this system didn't work very well, the term 'modding' originally meant cartridge mods as much as anything else - the period from 2006 til 2009 and even into 2010 was a time of intense experimentation with cartridge mods, as it was the only game in town. There were dozens of cartridge mods, each with their own followers. A person could become famous in the vaping community by inventing a new type of cart mod. The most popular cart mod was the Blue Foam mod, where the batting was replaced with blue aquarium foam. The PTB mod (pyramid tea bag) was almost as popular.
Cartridges leaked, didn't hold much refill liquid (12 drops), didn't work all that well, didn't last long, and generally were a complete pain. Replacement with a driptip was a better option. It is just about impossible now to imagine how limited the options were, how convoluted the approaches to improvement were, and how incredibly restricted vaping was at that time: in 2008 or 2009, vaping was at about 1% of its capability today.
BCC : bottom coil clearomiser - the later type that features the coil within the base of a (usually) replaceable cartridge comprising the coil, wick, and centre air channel.
BCC could also be used for a regular carto with a bottom coil, but this is not common (the first bottom coil carto produced was a regular Boge 9mm x 35mm carto with the atomiser coil at the base instead of vertical and central; then the system was used on other heads and so BCC now refers to clearos).
BDC : bottom dual coil clearo (see above).
best atomiser : vapers love to argue about what device gives the best vape. Because in matters of taste there can be no winner, since what is the best for one person is not another's favourite, this is an impossible question to answer.
In the traditional atomiser types, the 306 (a 510 variant), 801, 510, 510 custom variants and 901 all have their followers. Various clearos and uprated cartos have their proponents. Tanks (tankomisers or glassomisers) also have their fans, as these give the best alterable vape parameters, along with replaceable parts and good refill volume. More recently, the RBAs / RDAs have converted many. Subtanks (tanks with sub-ohm coils) are now very popular.
If one specific aspect of the vape is being considered, it is easier to find good candidates; for example, if vapour volume is the key factor, RBAs and subtanks win - though the vapour can be drier than with other atomisers. If a rich, creamy vape is preferred (moist with high flavour) then the older atomiser models such as the 510, and especially high-quality or custom variants such as the HH357, are top scorers. If a cool, hassle-free vape is preferred, the clearos win out, and this may be the best option for a new vaper. There is no 'best vape' as this means different things to different people. My best vape is not your best vape.
bonuts : a mod for a regular atomiser that increases the amount of liquid that can be dripped into it. In practice, the direct opposite of de-bridging as it increases the amount of SS wick; and thus made possible by VV devices that can increase the voltage fed to the atomiser to compensate for the increase in thermal inertia (the cooling effect caused by holding more liquid adjacent to the heater coil).
A bonut is made by taking a stainless pipe screen, rolling it into a thin tube of about 2mm thickness, then bending the tube and forming it into a ring (it actually assumes a horseshoe shape). A pipescreen is an 18mm diameter circular piece of mesh made from stainless steel woven thread, the most common source being Ebay; do not use brass screens.
The mesh is then inserted into (typically) a 510 atomiser and pressed downward to sit around the heater coil and bridge. Another bonut is then inserted for a total of two; some users insert three although this is a tight fit in a 510 atty.
The complete bonut dripper rig comprises: a 510 atomiser, two bonuts inserted, a driptip, a solid 510-to-510 adapter, and a dripshield. The dripshield is an external sleeve that stops any leakage. This rig allows 8 or 10 drops to be dripped into a clean, dry setup. No leakage occurs as the dripshield covers all exit points. Top-ups are from 3 to 5 drops as required. This rig provides a hassle-free high-capacity drip rig; some claim dripping as the ultimate vape. The 510 bonut dripper rig still probably gives the most creamy, moist vape even at Q1 2015; though the vapour volume cannot compete with RBAs.
The bonut was invented by ECF modder BJ43. He named it the SS donut, then admirers changed it to bonut by inserting the B from his web handle. A bonut dripper rig allows a user with a VV device to drip less frequently, with zero leakage, and to get the vapour experience required by turning up the voltage to compensate for the uprated liquid load. Before VV, it was necessary to de-bridge and/or de-wick atties in order to increase the heat, in order to maximise the vape from the usual inefficient and ineffective tiny 3.7v cell; now, with VV devices, more SS mesh can be added instead of having to remove it.
boxies : one of the vaper cliques, this group prefer boxmods.
bridge : the wire mesh arch that is positioned above the heater coil in a regular atomiser. Sometimes the mesh (usually of stainless steel) contains a silica wick. The purpose of the bridge was originally to protect the coil from the cartridge wadding, to transfer the refill liquid downward by gravity, contact and capillary action, to hold some refill liquid in close proximity to the coil, and to limit downward transfer of the liquid to avoid flooding the coil. The bridge in modern atomisers is mainly there to hold liquid for nebulising, and it contributes to creating a liquid-saturated atmosphere around the coil.
cartomiser : ('carto'), a combined atomiser and cartridge that contains both the heating element and the liquid reservoir. A disposable item. Generally, a carto has a central, vertical atomiser coil within a central air channel formed by a roll of silica cloth, surrounded by polyester wadding that holds and stabilises the refill liquid. This is topped by a disc or discs to prevent leakage, and finally a top plug, all having a central air hole of about 1.5mm.
The carto has replaced the atomiser + cartridge (with the battery, this formed the 3-piece mini ecig aka 'cigalike') as the most common e-cigarette head unit, and thus, with the battery, forms part of the 2-piece mini ecig system: the basic format for not only the 2-piece cigalike but larger models as well (though heads vary widely, in larger models). The carto was invented by Kanger for their KR808 system, and the benchmark carto is their 9mm x 35mm KR8 model; replicated by Boge and others in 510 etc.
A regular carto of 9mm x 35mm contains 1ml of refill liquid. About 80% of this can be used, since about 20% is retained by the filler wadding. Expert users generally report that a regular carto containing 0.8ml usable liquid is equivalent to around 6 cigarettes, because a cigarette to e-liquid equivalency is generally recognised to be 3 drops, and about 18 drops are available for use. In reality this is a subjective measure and cannot be calculated by any valid numerical method, since people smoke cigarettes differently: most ex-smokers will use 3 or 4 cartos a day if they smoked 15 or 20 a day; some might make one carto last most of a day. The nicotine strength of the refill liquid has a bearing on this (and introduces yet another variable, of course).
Cartos can be refilled and reused around 5 times before they need cleaning or disposing of. They can be cleaned about 3 times before their performance is too poor to continue use. Therefore it is theoretically possible to obtain around 15 x 6 'cigarette equivalent sessions' from a standard carto - for the financially challenged or the dedicated hobbyist. Most users of mini ecigs are either not aware that cartos can be refilled, or do not want the hassle of refilling or cleaning, and simply dispose of their pre-filled cartos after single use.
Mini ecigs use a standalone carto, which conveniently replicates the filter part of a tobacco cigarette in size and shape. Otherwise, the more efficient and capable mid-size and APV models normally use the carto within a tank: a normally transparent sleeve that slides on to the carto and provides an additional reservoir of refill liquid that feeds into the carto, which must be perforated near the base for this duty. Tanks normally vary between 4ml and 7ml capacity. A tank must be refilled from a bottle of refill liquid.
carto condom : the silicone plastic endcap placed over the ends of a new carto before sale to stop leakage and keep the product fresh.
cartridge : (1) - historic: the reservoir part of the original ecig design, the 3-piece mini. A plastic tube with one sealed and one open end, an airway system, containing replaceable wadding / batting, and accepting about 0.6ml (~12 drops) of refill liquid. Dimensions for the 510 version are 9mm dia x 34mm. There is a stepped section 10mm long at the open end, to allow it to slide into the atomiser.
(2) - recent: the term cartridge has been used to describe the replaceable coil/wick pack in the more advanced clearos (also 'head' is used for this, although it was already in use to mean any atomiser/tank device placed on top of a battery holder). 'Core' is replacing this term as it is less ambiguous.
charger : the battery charger that replenishes a discharged ecig battery. The original chargers for 1st-gen equipment featured a mains electricity plug with cord connected to a DC 4.2 volt charger unit of around 100mAh with appropriate thread for the mini ecig battery to screw on to. A red and green light on the charger revealed the charge state of the battery - red for on charge, green for fully-charged.
Chargers for 2nd-gen midsize batteries were the same but with larger outputs. They had a larger connector port for the eGo-size batteries to screw into, though the thread connector was the same. A mid-size battery needs a charger adapter in order to fit a mini charger; the adapter is simply a slimmer connector end; the charge rate qualifies as a trickle charge when used on the larger battery.
Then came mini USB connector charging ports at the battery base. There are two different user-error dangers here: (1) devices with a USB charger port may not charge correctly if the top connector thread is used for charging: only the device-specific charger should be used; and (2) some devices only accept a 4.2v input from a charger unit, so that connecting a 5v output direct from a computer USB port may cause an overload leading to a fire. Only use the charger and charging method that is associated with your specific device - other choices can lead to a fire.
APV batteries are normally recharged by removing the cells then placing them in the tray of a generic lithium cell charger, a typical model being the Trustfire TR-01 (popularly called the 'TR1'). An IMR cell can be recharged at 500mAh in these, and some have a 1-amp rapid recharge facility. The TR1 takes two 3.7 volt lithium cells of 10430, 10440, 14500 (AA cell size), 16340 (RC123a size), 17670, 18500, or 18650 size. Other chargers can take up to 26500 ('D' cell size) or 26650 lithium cells.
Chargers generally have a 12 volt jack for in-car use, and can handle a range of mains voltages and frequencies (typically 110v to 240v, 50Hz to 60Hz). US mains voltage is 110v and 60Hz AC, EU (nominal) voltage is 230v and 50Hz AC.
Some APVs have an integral battery pack and must be charged using a mini USB port. Be careful here as some of these mini USB ports are just for firmware upgrades.
chimney : sometimes used to describe the central air channel up through a clearo or tank.
chufftop or chufftip : a wide-bore driptip used for 'chuffing' or 'chugging' high-volume deep inhales of vapour for cloud-chasing.
cigalike, cig-alike : a popular name for the mini ecig class of products that resemble a tobacco cigarette in size. (see mini)
clean nicotine delivery system : what an EV / ecig is. A device that provides benefits without drawbacks in appreciable quantity.
clearomiser, clearo : a large, clear cartomiser, one of the most popular head systems now. The clearo is a 2nd-generation carto (and thus 3rd-gen gear) and is larger and has no wadding, being (initially) a simple tank with a silica wick system feeding a top coil atomiser. Later models feature other operational methods such as bottom coil replaceable cartridges.
A typical model is the CE4. They commonly hold from 1.7ml to 3ml of refill liquid. They must be refilled from a bottle. A disposable item, they are generally refilled several times then disposed of when performance falls off. The later models may have replaceable atomiser cartridges, to prolong service life. Cracking is an issue with these units (qv).
cloud-chasers : vapers who prioritise for large clouds of vapour above all else. These aficionados prefer mechmod-RBA, high-power boxmod-RBA or hi-power boxmod-subtank set-ups. The mechmod users often belong to the sub-ohm club: those who rebuild their atomiser coils to less than 1 ohm resistance, and in some case under 0.5 ohm. This draws heavy current and produces ultra-high-power vaping.
Hi-power boxmods do not need to use sub-ohm atties to produce clouds, they achieve the same cloud volume with a 1.5 ohm coil since the power input is variable (by raising the voltage, in some cases to near 12 volts); but truly monster clouds need a sub-ohm coil. Cloud-chasing is partly responsible for the revitalisation of the boxmod market, now that super high output chips are available that can supply over 100 watts.
Cloud-chasers are disliked by some other vapers as they tend to create difficulties for the rest, due to their love of generating clouds of fog whether the time and place is appropriate or not. Cloud-chasing is a division of sport vaping, qv.
The opposite is stealth vaping, qv.
coil : the wire formed into a coil that is heated and nebulises the refill liquid; the atomiser coil. It can be nichrome, kanthal, nickel, titanium or stainless steel wire. At Q4 2015 there us a move toward Ni201 (as against Ni200) and titanium wire for coils used in TC (temperature control) applications. Ribbon wire is used in some builds such as the hive type.
In a regular atomiser, the coil is wound around a short length of silica wick in a coil of around 1.5mm diameter (this is termed a micro coil as other types have a larger diameter). In an RBA, either nichrome or kanthal wire is used. All coils use resistance wire that is designed to have a specific resistance per unit length (normally expressed as Ohms per foot, per inch or cm).
The coil must be either immersed in liquid or a saturated atmosphere otherwise it will overheat. A coil runs at a normal temperature of 60 to 70 degrees Celsius. The refill liquid is nebulised by the combination of a heater coil and air throughput, and turns into an aerosol, a process that is enhanced by use of an excipient (a solvent or carrier liquid) such as PG. In order that the coil temperature remains low, liquid that has been nebulised must be immediately replaced, a process accomplished by various methods normally using some form of wick.
If the coil is operated without the presence of liquid it will overheat and pass through 300 C to a red-heat temperature (assuming sufficient power is available, which is not always the case). At this point, internal components of a regular atomiser will be melting and smoke is produced. There is no vapour at this point because in order to reach this temperature there cannot be any liquid present. A human cannot inhale this smoke although laboratory testing machines cannot tell the difference: where toxic components have been measured in the 'vapour', they are clearly pyrolytic compounds and generated by out-of-parameter operation.
coil types : RBAs are the principal driver for coil / wick experimentation, and this progress spills over into coils for pre-packaged tank atomisers, called cores. It seems unlikely, though, that any other atomiser type will overtake the RBA (including the RDA and RTA) for the sheer number of variants.
Coils can be grouped in various ways. These include the wire type: see above. The number of coils: single coil, twin coil, quad coil are popular. The wick format: central wick, wrap-around wick. The wire arrangement: regular single wire coil, braided, clapton, hive (ribbon plus normal round wire) are just some of the large number of options. The build variations: horizontal coil, vertical coil, and many other variations.
So a particular build might be described as: a twin coil vertical wraparound rayon wick (or 'dragon' style) in 28ga kanthal A1. In fact coil & wick builds are a large, separate topic area with hundreds of options.
core : the replaceable cartridge in a tank system that contains the atomiser and wick. The terms 'cartridge' and 'head' have been used for this, but they already had their own specific meanings (a cartridge is the reservoir section of an atomiser-cartridge 3-piece cigalike; head is a general term for any atomiser or tank unit that fits on a battery holder, aka a topper). Core is the latest term for this component, and the most accurate as it has no other meaning.
cracking : clearos and any other tanks that use plastic window material are subject to cracking and leakage due to attack from citric acid and other components in e-liquid. This aggressive etching is caused by a wide range of flavourings. It is not clear if the effect is caused by the leaching of plasticisers (e.g. pthalates). Some plastics are more resistant than others, but only pyrex glass and quartz are totally resistant to liquid attack; however they are more vulnerable to impact damage. We do not know, however, if genuine Pyrex is used (Pyrex in the UK uses genuine toughened borosilicate glass), or the cheaper versions ('pyrex' in other locations such as the USA does not use borosilicate glass and is just a generic term for toughened glass). Genuine Pyrex is highly resistant to impact damage, chemical attack and thermal shock.
DCC : dual coil cartomiser, a long carto of 9mm x 51mm in which two atomiser coils in parallel are used, each of about 3 ohms, and the final resistance is commonly 1.5 ohms. These cartos are known for strong performance though they drive the battery harder.
de-bridge, de-wick : a modification of atomisers popular before VV devices removed the need for such action. First generation ecigs were inefficient devices limited to battery voltage (nominally 3.7v) and usually with batteries also too small too deliver any realistic power without significant voltage drop. The optimum working parameters of an atomiser are above the voltage and current that a small Li-ion cell can deliver, therefore until the advent of regulated devices, performance was sub-optimal: essentially, the vape was too cool, too limited in volume, too limited in throat hit, and too limited in alkaloid delivery performance. De-bridging was an attempt to rectify this by removing one factor that added to atomiser cooling: the bridge, which often contained a silica wick. By doing this, the vape could be heated slightly.
This practice began to become redundant when 5 volt APVs were developed by the modders on ECF, since 5v devices have no need for atomiser modification; when the 3rd generation ecigs (VV devices) became universal there was no longer any need to control vape parameters by mechanical alterations, since full electronic control provides all the variation needed.
direct-connect mechmod, D/C mod: a mechmod type that is notable for lousy design, poor safety factors and a disproportionately high number of meltdowns and occasional explosions. Do not buy or use one of these models, which are dangerous, and only exist for the sake of cheap manufacture.
A D/C device has no 510 connector at the top, it simply has a threaded hole in the top the same size as the 510 exterior thread. The male 510 connector on the head (topper) is screwed down into the device until it contacts the battery. Since there is often little or no height difference between the 510 positive and negative poles on the head connector, and therefore little or no clearance between the 510 negative outer connector and the battery positive pole, then if/when the head is screwed down firmly then both the pos and neg 510 poles connect to battery positive, a short-circuit is made, and a meltdown occurs.
DO NOT confuse a D/C device with a Hybrid just because neither uses a number-series connector sytem - they could not be more different. Hybrids are generally high-quality devices and have some of the strongest and safest connector systems available (far stronger and safer than any of the numerical systems), but D/C's have what can only be referred to as a cheap and dangerous lash-up. DO NOT BUY OR USE.
direct inhale : D2L, direct-to-lung inhale - as used with low resistance coils and high power. Almost always used with coils below 1 ohm. The sub-ohm inhalation method. Vaping has split into two types: direct inhale and indirect inhale (M2L) now.
see also: indirect inhale
DIY : do it yourself. This became established as the term for home improvements by the homeowner, and in the vaping world it refers to any self-made item or modification as against a store-bought solution. The most common areas of DIY are refill liquids, RBA builds, and storage solutions (stands and boxes and the like).
disposable : a mini ecig that cannot be recharged. It is disposed of after the carto has been exhausted or the battery runs out.
doubler : flavour doubler liquid is a refill type containing no nicotine. It is just base and flavouring only, and can therefore be used to reduce the refill strength by adding the doubler: the nicotine strength drops in proportion but the flavour stays constant. It can also be used to replace the flavour lost when the original liquid is modified or stretched in other ways; tripler liquid has extra-strength flavour for this purpose.
dripping : originally, to drip liquid on to an atomiser such as a 510 or 901 instead of feeding it by some other method produced the richest flavour and most moist vapour; but was fiddly and inconvenient except for aficionados. By using a dripshield and bonuts, the frequency of dripping was able to be reduced (qv bonuts).
The new RDA rebuildable atomisers for dripping are the latest version of this usage mode, and hold significant amounts of refill without using a tank, by the use of large wicks and a deep well. At Q2 2014, the latest wick material was rayon, which is said to outperform silica, SS mesh, cotton and other materials.
At Q2 2015 the most popular wick material for RBAs is probably now organic Japanese cotton (qv kohgendo).
dripshield : a sleeve that slides down over a regular atomiser (e.g. a 510) in order that dripping can be freely accomplished without leakage. (also see bonuts)
driptip : a removable mouthpiece. Originally named for a specific type with a larger internal bore than a regular cartridge or cartomiser endpiece so that liquid could be dripped down through it onto an atomiser without having to remove the mouthpiece. The benchmark model is of 9mm connector diameter to fit a 510 atty or KR808 carto. The connection employs a sliding fit sealed by an O-ring, so the tip can be easily fitted or removed. Most driptips are of circular format but some, notably the 901 and 510 DC carto models, use the 'whistle tip' flat format as used on a briar (tobacco) pipe.
When actually used for dripping, some users remove the tip then drip on to the atomiser, some drip straight through it.
dry hit : the first draw taken after refill liquid runs low is termed a 'dry hit': it will consist of low vapour volume, with hot, thin vapour and a noticeably dry quality to the vape. It is important that no further usage occurs until the device is refilled or replaced, since the next hit will burn the internals of the head and may render it unusable. In addition the product may be smoke and not vapour.
dry burn : a technique for cleaning an atomiser coil that has become encrusted with carbonised material or 'coked-up'. Any source of liquid feed is removed, and the on button is held down while the coil is observed, the button being released the moment the coil reaches red heat, and the process is repeated several times. The atomiser is then flushed with a solvent such as ethanol (plain vodka is commonly used).
The process may or may not work: it usually leaves a burnt taste because the wick surface is singed and blackened: whether or not this can be removed by the solvent flush is critical. If not, a permanent burnt taste is left, and the atomiser must be disposed of. If it does work, it is frequently the only way to clean a heavily-used atty.
Atomisers tend to coke up in proportion to lower voltage and higher flavour load. Therefore, the fastest to coke up are mini ecigs (as they run at very low power) with highly-flavoured and especially dark-coloured refills. The least affected by coke on the coil are 5 volt or VV devices run at 5 volts or so, using lightly-flavoured clear refills. Therefore, it can be seen that atomiser coking was a far greater issue in the past than today.
A dry burn cannot be used in a carto, as the filler wadding is burnt as a result and cannot be effectively cleaned. A coked-up carto must be disposed of. Devices with a wick that is removable can be dry-burn cleaned repeatedly.
ECF : the E-Cigarette Forum, which was both the starting point for and the catalyst for the growth of the vocal and highly-engaged online vaping community. ECF was the first forum and is the largest. It had millions of posts before any great interest in ecigs was shown by the pharmaceutical and cigarette industries, and therefore the notion that the ecig community does not exist or is an astroturf product of the tobacco industry is found to be hilariously funny by the community. To be fair, it may be unique: the ecig community appears to be alone among users of similar products, foods or drinks; it is certainly unique in both its engagement and highly-vocal defence of ex-smokers' rights. It is determined to make free choice of alternatives to smoking a voting issue, and appears to be successful in the early stages of that campaign; the potential is for 20% of voters to be swayed by the campaign and it is therefore not a trivial issue.
Started in 2007 by Londoner Oliver K, the first Admins were Kate (UK) and Spikey (NY), who are still active in the community. For the first year it was a mainly UK-based community; the second year saw more US members join, and from then on it became principally a US-based board and was moved from the UK to US web hosting in 2010. At its peak, about 80% of traffic was from the USA, but this is now gradually falling as the rest of the world catches up, with US traffic now below 70%. ECF was managed from the earliest to be a respectable, work-safe and family-safe environment, which may help to explain the significant number of doctors, medical researchers and public health staff who are members.
ECF is run on a dedicated server cluster that handles high traffic (heavily-loaded forums cannot be run on cloud resources because there are thousands of database read/writes per second, which is impossible for a distributed server group to handle; a giant forum is the hardest server load in existence). There are multiple micro-sites on the same server cluster that present other content such as a wiki, ecig jobs board, (product) coupons, and so on. The cost is borne by member subscriptions and advertising by the ecig industry. One of the principal successes has been the way the commercial and community requirements have been balanced and are always weighted toward the community.
ECF is the world's largest ecig website (over 15 million pages on the sitemap), the largest ecig community, the world's largest e-cigarette marketplace, the largest vaping information resource, the centre of ecig campaigning, and has the best health and technical resources. The community includes chemists, lawyers, doctors and anti-smoking-harm campaigners who help the community in their respective fields. At Q1 2014 there were around 4,000 people online at once at peak times, the figure jumping to 10,000+ when a news item breaks. There are tens of millions of pageviews per month. ECF is a monster and variously described as vaping central, the biggest and best, or too big to care about the individual.
It performs a multitude of functions, the most important probably being the community input on products and the online mentoring function.
Without a shadow of a doubt ECF has prevented tens of thousands of early deaths, and is hugely more effective in reducing smoking-related morbidity and mortality (i.e. 'saving lives') than any single tobacco control resource of any kind.
e-liquid : the common term for e-cigarette refill liquid. Also e-juice or juice. A technically more accurate description is 'refill liquid'.
e-cigar : an EV made to resemble a cigar in looks and flavour. The e-liquid used would typically be a cigar type such as Cuban or Cherry Cigar flavour, to stay in character.
e-cigarette : more accurately an EV or electric/electronic vaporiser. 'E-Cigarette' is strictly a marketing term - and a hugely successful one - since an EV has no possible functional, mechanical or material connection with a cigarette; it is far closer in operation to a medical nebuliser or asthma inhaler (indeed, many of the ingredients are the same). An EV can however be made to resemble a tobacco cigarette although all other attributes are vastly different, and at the cost of massively reduced performance in all areas. The benchmark ecig now is the midi or mid-size model range based on the eGo design; this 2nd-gen model has replaced the mini as the basic type as the performance is at least doubled. Mini ecigs or cigalikes were the 1st-generation products; we are now on 3rd-gen in broad terms although some specific developments are gen-6 (temperature control for example).
The use of the term e-cigarette had great advantages, and now has equally great disadvantages:
- Firstly, it is inaccurate since an electronic vaporiser containing no tobacco is obviously unrelated in any way to a cigarette.
- A smoke-free, tobacco-free electronic water-based mist generator has no possible relation to a tobacco cigarette.
- It contributed greatly to the early popularisation of this THR system, since the term encouraged smokers to try out a product with zero history of use at that time.
- It still helps to suggest to smokers that they can switch without losing too much.
- It has now become a massive negative because it allows commercial rivals to claim that use of an EV is smoking - a ridiculous concept since EV use is far closer to use of an asthma inhaler than to smoking.
- The viability and popularity of the EV depends to a certain extent on the use of this inaccurate marketing term.
Thus, we can see that use of the term has (a) allowed vaping to grow exponentially, and (b) is the single largest problem facing EV use today: calling it an 'e-cigarette' makes it appear related to smoking, which EV use replaces and will eventually destroy. Inhaling tobacco-free mist from a nebuliser is not smoking, but can easily be smeared by propaganda as being similar in some way when the term used for the product is expressly but falsely designed to relate the item closely with the product it replaces.
electronic cigarette : (see www.ecigarette-politics.com/e-cigarette-terminology.html - E).
eGo : the first mid-size ecig, invented by Janty and originally made by Joyetech. It became fabulously successful, and as they didn't patent or copyright it, eGo clones are now the basis for a significant part of the ecig industry. The eGo is now the benchmark ecig. Joyetech still make it since they have manufacturing and name rights, and their model is of high quality compared to some of the clones; Janty now have the device made elsewhere. (see mid-size ecig)
e-smoking : a term used in the past to describe vaping. It tended to be used by those who still considered themselves smokers even if they were exclusive vapers, and, equally, decried by those who considered that they had quit smoking entirely and that there is no connection between smoking and vaping. Thus it can be seen that the term itself represents one of the schisms within the vaping community.
EV : electronic (or electric) vaporiser. Probably the most accurate term for an ecig, but not widely used. Alternatives are PV, ENDS, EC and several more.
flooding : when too much refill is added, the head can flood. It also happens if liquid is mistakenly poured into the central air channel. Normally the head must be removed, opened, shaken out or blown through, dried off, and refilled correctly.
Flooding can also occur in a carto tank system if the feeder hole in the bottom of the carto is too large for the viscosity of the refill - a viscous liquid needs a larger hole, a thin liquid a smaller one.
generation : the major steps in the technical progress of vaping are called the generations, as in 1st generation etc. At Q2 2016 we are at the 7th generation of hardware progression, as explained at the foot of this page: page 1 of the glossary of terms. However a simplified version is used for media explanations, and this holds we are currently at 3rd generation products. It runs like this:
1st generation: the cigalikes.
2nd generation: the midsize models, also known as the eGo type.
3rd generation: mods aka APVs, of all types.
As mechmods came before gen 2 (the Screwdriver existed a long time before the eGo), this version is technically incorrect, but it suits a simplified main media approach.
gurgling : a sign too much refill has been added, or it has obstructed the central air channel in the head. In some BCCs it indicates the liquid level has fallen too low.
Han Li : (aka 'Hon Lik') the inventor of the modern ecig. Herbert Gilbert originated and patented the concept in the 1960s, but neither the battery technology nor consumer motivation were present at that time.
Note that the name Hon Lik does not exist in Chinese and presumably results from someone mis-hearing the name; a mistake unfortunately perpetuated in the media. From the list of Directors of his company, Dragonite, it can be seen how he prefers the name written in Anglicised form: Han Li. (Many people will be aware of the name Han in the SE Asia area - China, Korea etc. - the Han dynasty being a typical example, and most are probably familiar with the surname Lee or Li.)
head, lately topper : any atomiser, tank, liquid reservoir and mouthpiece or combination that is attached to an ecig battery at the user end. The part of the device that holds and nebulises the refill. Modern heads tend to be one-piece units that fulfill all the required non-battery jobs, though they may break down into their separate components; the mouthpiece is almost always a removable/replaceable component. The benchmark head at Q1 2014 was the clearomiser; cartos, atties, and RBAs are also heads.
The term 'head' was used until tanks with replaceable atomiser cartridges were introduced, when users started to use the term for the cartridges and called the whole unit a 'topper', perhaps because they did not know the term 'head' was already in use.
head (2) : sometimes used for the replaceable cartridge within a clearomiser or tankomiser that contains the atomiser, wick and lower chimney (the central air channel). 'Core' is now used as it is more accurate.
hybrid : a type of high quality, short production run, custom APV, normally a mechmod, with a custom connector system that is usually much better than for example a 510 series connector - it is usually both stronger and electrically better due to lower integral resistance as it is much larger.
The connector system is usually a proprietary style and has no relationship to a 510 or any other standard type. (This definition is made very clear to ensure that D/C mods [qv] are not referred to incorrectly as 'hybrids - they have nothing whatsoever to do with hybrids.)
The battery tube and head are integrated: the battery holder, reservoir tank and/or RBA are similarly styled, of the same exterior diameter, and connected with a proprietary system that does not fit anything else. Examples: some Zen models, some GG models. The device is commonly a stainless tubemod with a genesis or RTA head (i.e. a tank + RBA) made to fit exactly, so that it has the same diameter, construction and styling as the battery tube. The actuator is usually a bottom button.
A true Hybrid has a proprietary connector system that is extremely rugged compared to the 510 type, and is far stronger and safer as a result. Thus, only the designed head unit can be connected to the battery holder section as nothing else will fit.
Do not confuse this APV type with the direct-connect system (qv) as there are no comparisons to be made. Genuine hybrids are top-quality devices, unlike the D/C type, which are cheap, nasty and dangerous by comparison. There are few ecig models that should be banned for consumer protection - but D/C mods are #1 on that list.
HR : (see LR)
indirect inhale : M2L or mouth-to-lung inhaling. This is a method generally used with high-resistance coils of over 1 ohm. Power is low, typically around 10 or 12 watts. Vaping has split into two forms, M2L and D2L, low power and high power.
see also: direct inhale.
kanthal wire : kanthal A1 is the type of wire most used for RBA coil builds, and is sometimes used in manufactured coils. It is an iron-chromium-aluminium alloy, FeCrAl, that is very stable and gives excellent results in an atomiser coil. It probably has the least health concerns of any wire type used for this purpose. qv wire
kohgendo or koh-gen-do : organic Japanese cotton, used for wicks in RBAs. Vapers argue endlessly about the best wick material, and at Q2 2015 kohgendo appears to have the most support. Alternatives are rayon, other cotton types, silica, and SS mesh.
Kohgendo is used for women's make-up removal etc., and like many such things the detail history of its original introduction and use can be probably be found in the post history at ECF.
qv = see elsewhere in the list
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18650 : the battery size that has become the benchmark and market standard for APVs. 18mm diameter, 65mm long, and circular in form. A regular Li-ion type was the standard before the current Li-Mn and hybrid types became fully established. Only the latter two modern types should be used now: basic Li-ion cells (Li-Co) whether protected or not are obsolete and should never be used in an APV.
So, in order to make this absolutely clear: the 18650 rechargeable ('secondary cell') Li-Mn or hybrid is the benchmark for APV batteries at July 2015, and neither earlier types such as protected or unprotected Li-ion (Li-Co) cells nor primary cells of any kind (non-rechargeables) should be used.
The 18350 cell is used for small-format APVs, but cannot provide as many amps and does not last as long before a recharge is needed.
2-piece : a term used to differentiate the two types of mini ecig - a 2-piece model has a battery and carto (cartomiser - a combined atomiser and cartridge). This was the later type of mini. Many models of this specific type are autos.
3-piece : see above - the 3-piece model was the original type of mini (cigalike), and consisted of a battery, atomiser and cartridge. Later, cartomisers were invented and the 2-piece became more popular.
26650 : the cell size used in large-format APVs, especially mechmods, as it provides a high amp output with less voltage drop than smaller sizes, and/or lasts longer before needing a recharge.
306 : an atomiser series that is similar in size to the 510, uses the same thread, but has a projecting coil and bridge instead of the 510's recessed style.
510 : the atomiser series that became the benchmark. It has a 9mm diameter and a 7mm connector thread, with recessed coil/wick. Lots of variants including short models, long models, and improved models such as the HH357 (9mm is 0.357 inches, and the similarity to pistol bullet diameters provides some fun).
801 : an atomiser that resembles a larger version of a 510. Well-made models provided, in some people's opinion, the best vape of any atomiser before the modern era.
808 : or KR8, or in full, the KR808. This is the Kanger equivalent to the 510. It is exclusively a mini carto system used on cigalikes. It is a successful option for minis and holds a sizeable section of the market, under various re-badged names and brands. The thread connector is reversed compared with a 510, with the female side on the carto. There were two variants that are not compatible in every way, the D1 and D2. The thread connector is the same as the 901, except that the air channels are different so that 901 gear may not work - it will fit but there may be an air channel blockage.
901 : a very popular mini atomiser series of the same style as the 510 and KR808. The connector is the same as the KR8 but the air channels may not line up.
The generation series
1st-generation : first-generation or 1st-gen ecigs are the type invented by Han Li (aka Hon Lik) in the late 1990s. These featured mini format (cigarette replica), an integral (but separate from the battery) electronic controller to limit charge and discharge of the unprotected Li-ion cell (a rechargeable 3.7 volt cell), and 3-piece design. The battery controller was in the form of a tiny circuit board with micro electronics that limited the charge voltage to 4.2v and the discharge voltage to ~3.3v. The first model was called the Ruyan after Han Li's company name (= 'like smoke' in Chinese).
Previously, there had been at least one patent of an electric cigarette. These were not commercially successful. Han Li's device proved successful because (a) the time was right: people were looking for a safer alternative to smoking, and (b) the combination of a lithium battery and electronic controls made the device a practical prospect for the first time.
2nd-generation : 2nd-gen devices arrived when users started to modify their devices for better performance. The problem with the mini ecigs was that they were on the limit of performance due to battery size and voltage restrictions; in fact, below acceptable performance for most smokers except light smokers or social smokers who did not demand too much from their equipment. Early mods included the single 14500 lithium cell boxmod (ex: the Nicostick) and the copper water pipe conversion with two endcaps and a 14500 cell (ex: the Copper).
The first commercially-successful mod of an ecig was the Screwdriver from Trog in the UK. This featured a mechmod design with a larger battery (the RC123a lithium cell), giving better and longer performance per charge. Then 5 volt devices were invented that featured a resistor disc to drop the voltage from two cells in series. These were all correctly termed 'mods' at the time, as they derived from modders' work and had limited commercial success due to the small market of the time combined with lack of knowledge of their existence for many regular ecig users.
All early mods were 'mechmods': that is to say, mechanical mods with no electrical wiring whatsoever - the on/off button was a spring-loaded contactor, often at the bottom end of the device. Some used stacked batteries for a '6 volt' vape - this means two lithium cells were placed in series, and the full-charge voltage was actually 8.4 volts. HR atties had to be used as a result (high-resistance atomisers of 3.5 and 4.5 ohms), otherwise the atomiser burnt out due to over-voltage. These 6v mods were intrinsically dangerous and several exploded due to violent battery failures together with use in a semi-sealed metal tube (we know of around 15 events). There are numerous documented examples with photos. Several people were hospitalised as a result, a couple with serious facial injuries. The problem was essentially due to the intrinsic instability of Li-ion cells, lithium battery thermal runaway, and poor design using metal tubes with insufficient gas venting capability. The introduction of Li-Mn IMR cells, and the move to VV devices, ended the spate of mod explosions.
Basic electrical mods came later (these, such as the Silver Bullet, have a wired positive line and therefore an electrical on/off switch). The basic mods were an important feature of the early online community, and throughout 2009 they represented the optimum performance profile; by 2010 the competition included 3rd-gen devices in the form of 5 volt regulated boxmods, and these had hugely improved performance over any 3.7 volt device seen thus far.
It is also correct to describe the mid-size ecig as a 2nd-gen device: the regular eGo has exactly the same components as a mini but on a larger scale. Janty invented the eGo design but omitted to patent it; it was widely copied to the extent that it is now the benchmark ecig. The 650mAh battery mid-size ecig with a clearo is now the standard unit against which all others are compared; it is the norm, the benchmark. There are also 900mAh, 1,000mAh, and 1,300mAh versions. The Tornado, Riva, kGo etc. are just some of the almost identical clones. The ecig industry is, essentially, based on clones - it exists because people did not realise the value of their designs and didn't patent them; or because patents are too expensive to buy, or to enforce.
Cartomisers are 2nd-gen head technology.
3rd-generation : the 3rd-gen devices were electronically-regulated devices with greatly improved performance. The first of these were the 5 volt boxmods that usually comprised a plastic container for 2 batteries, usually 14500 size, converted to a box-format ecig with an electronic voltage drop regulator that cut the series voltage of 2 cells, nominally 7.4v but 8.4v at full charge, to 5 volts (generally about 4.8v on load). These devices provided the first real example of good performance available to all, as the cost of a 5v boxmod was easily affordable and the 14500 cells and charger were available at any online battery specialist. The 5-volt boxmods ruled throughout 2010: the best performance available to the most people; already about three times the performance of a mini ecig was available to all. To vary the vape required varying the head resistance, but no one was complaining because the improved performance was so dramatic.
Clearomisers are 3rd-gen heads.
4th-generation : the VV or variable voltage devices were the 4th-gen wave. They started with (as usual) the ECF modders and their experimentation. The first devices were buck regulator (voltage cutting) devices that cut the voltage from two series lithium cells to whatever the user required - from around 3.3v to 6v. Rather crude potentiometer wheels provided the external voltage control, or screwdriver-adjusted pot wheels internally. The first ones didn't even have any voltage readout, you had to guess off a scale; the later ones had a crude LED readout like a Sinclair digital watch (the 1st-gen digital watches produced by the famous Cambridge inventor). Looking back, that seems so crude now; at the time we were amazed by the new flexibility available. Modern VV devices have pushbutton control and 0.1 volt steps visible on an oLED readout.
By this stage it was obvious that the term 'mod' was no longer appropriate - it was ridiculous when applied to $250 devices that had full electronic control and oLED screens. Some vendors began using the term APV, advanced personal vaporiser, and it stuck. We often now refer to any replaceable-battery or multi-feature device as an APV.
5th-generation : the 5th-gen devices are buck-boost VV devices. The regulators could now produce any required head voltage from any battery voltage, and can therefore use a single lithium cell to create any voltage required. If the voltage needed is lower than battery voltage, the regulator cuts it down as required ('buck' duty); if the voltage needed is higher than battery voltage (as it almost always is), then the regulator amplifies it to the required voltage ('boost' duty). So now we could derive from 3.3v to 6v (or indeed any voltage required, later) from a 3.7v lithium cell. Of course, nothing's for nothing, so to get a higher voltage than battery will require something - and what is used is more amps. So, a VV APV with one battery might draw 4 or 5 amps to produce the 4.5 to 5.5 volts typically required. This means the battery better be good, and in practice IMR cells (Li-Mn) have proved the best by the performance vs cost measure. An IMR cell of the 18650 size most commonly used can typically deliver 10 amp pulses repeatedly without issue.
6th-generation : VW or variable wattage APVs were the gen-6 group. These can be set to deliver a preset power (watts) to the head, so that changing the head for another with a different resistance makes no difference to the vape produced, in theory. Variable power was at first only available in APVs of significant price such as the Darwin from Evolv, the first commercial model of this type; but cost and size comes down over time, and VW is now available in cheaper units. This process is already considerably advanced since the first VW device, the Darwin, at several hundred dollars (and a commercial failure at the time since even at that cost it was underpriced by at least 100% - it sold in the thousands but the returns/repairs were impossible to support for long); and you can buy a VW device now for around $100 or even less (Q4 2013).
It is useful to note that in reality there is no such thing as VW, it is simply a readout conversion and/or a presettable value - see the entry here on VW.
7th-generation : in Q1 2015 gen-7 arrived, with temperature control technology. These chips allow a regulated APV to control the atomiser temperature. The advantages of TC are many, including the ability to avoid dry hits and burnt hits, and the ability to set a maximum temperature that avoids thermal degradation products in the vapour. There are some minor drawbacks, such as a new type of coil wire being required - pure nickel or titanium - as a heating element is required that has very low resistance and changes resistance progressively with changing temperature, unlike kanthal or nichrome.
Gen-8 : who knows? :)
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