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Vaping Terms

L to Z

Page 2 of the list of terms used in the world of vaping to describe e-cigarette (or more accurately EV, electronic vaporiser) hardware, refills and usage.
   For A to K and Numbers, see Resources menu at right.
   For terms used in the political, health and similar areas, see: E-Cigarette Terminology.


leaking : a perennial problem with ecig heads, ever since the first models. More recent models have reduced issues, but the problem can never be entirely eliminated because of the nature of the task: a liquid reservoir and nebuliser arrangement that must be open in some way at the bottom to allow air input and at the top to allow air output. Auto batteries and 3-piece ecigs have the worst record for leakage or leak-induced damage. Modern systems are almost - but not quite - immune; operator error can be a cause of leakage: adding too much refill or in the wrong place.

LED, oLED : solid-state electronic components that convert electricity into light using very little power, with little heat generation, and with high reliability.

LEDs or light-emitting diodes can be used for tip lights on mini ecigs.

oLEDs or organic light-emitting diodes are used for the more modern-looking display readouts that are much more precise and crisp-looking than the older, simple LED readouts.

lithium cell types : electronic cigarettes use lithium ion cells (rechargeable lithium batteries) because of their high voltage and high charge density. Rechargeable batteries are also called secondary cells (standard batteries, that are not rechargeable, are called primary cells). Varying types of lithium ion cell are used; all except 'Li-Fe' cells have a nominal voltage of 3.7 volts. Mini ecigs use 'Li-ion' cells: lithium cobalt oxide LiCoO2; these are generally referred to as 'unprotected Li-ions'. They need an add-on protection circuit to prevent overcharging / over discharge / excess current discharge, otherwise the cell is too unstable for consumer product use. Either the e-cigarette device contains the protection circuit, or the circuit is provided in the form of an add-on disk-shaped circuit board appended to the negative pole (the bottom) of the battery (this generally applies to 14500 series cells and larger). Mid-size ecigs (eGo type) also use a Li-ion cell, with the added protection circuit within the device.

APVs, the large-format devices, use replaceable generic batteries and this allows the use of more efficient and safer cells. Typically, an Li-Mn cell is used: lithium manganese, aka IMR. These are a 'safer-chemistry' type that has no need of a protection circuit. Some of these larger devices may use Li-FePo4 cells ('Li-Fe' or lithium ferrous cells); these have a lower nominal voltage of 3.2 volts and are also of the safer-chemistry type. Some integral battery pack devices use 'Li-Poly' cells, which are lithium polymer cells.

lithium ion cell : the correct term for a lithium rechargeable battery or 'Li-ion' battery. The nominal voltage is 3.7 volts. All e-cigarettes except for one design available for DIY (the 'Puck', which uses regular 1.5 volt rechargeables) use a lithium ion cell or cells. The size ranges from the tiny cells in the minis, of around 90 to 125mAh (milliamp/hour) to the 1,600 or 2,000mAh cells (18650 series) used in many APVs. Some XL devices use a 26650 series cell. The cell # delineates the physical size and type: an 18650 for example means 18mm diameter, 65mm length, round format.

All batteries provide DC current (not AC as in mains electricity). Only rechargeable cells are used in ecigs. Lithium ion cells are used because they have a higher voltage than regular rechargeable batteries (3.7 volts vs 1.5 volts) and because they have a higher charge density (the amount of energy that can be stored in proportion to their size and weight).

lithium ion cell issues : these cells cannot be regarded as intrinsically safe, in the way that regular 1.5 volt rechargeables are; they have stability issues. (There is an exception: Li-FePo4 cells are notably stable.) Their use must be subject to careful management: the physical conditions of use, the charging regime, and the discharge regime are all important for safety.

As an example, large battery packs that use these cells (as in electric cars and aircraft) must have extremely comprehensive management systems, and ideally cryogenic cooling systems, because thermal runaway is a significant issue. The recent Boeing Dreamliner aircraft battery fires occurred because the lithium cell packs were poorly designed and poorly managed (it appears that the design of the cryogenic cooling system may have been defective). The nominal voltage is 3.7 volts - this means the average circuit working voltage. They can be charged up to 4.21 volts and discharged to 3.2 volts. Usage outside these parameters will damage the cell. Maximum cell service life is achieved by charging to 4.17 volts maximum and discharging to 3.4 volts mimimum.

'Li-Poly' or Li-Po cells (lithium polymer packs) are normally flat/square in format, and additionally have an impact damage issue that means they must not be used for any service where shock impact may be experienced. Some sub-types are demonstrated to catch fire immediately if severe impact is experienced, or while subsequently on charge.

Unprotected Li-ion cells must not be used in series ('stacked') as this is shown to create a significant risk of thermal runaway and failure with flame and violent outgassing. Use of such an arrangement in a sealed device has significant risks for explosion. Since this is the regular format used in ultra-high-power LED torches (flashlights), serious failure events are common; an expert on these issues at the Candlepower forum estimated there is a 'lithium cell incident' for every 1,600 units sold. Regular lithium batteries, aka camera batteries, primary cells, ordinary batteries - must not be used in an e-cigarette under any circumstances. This is because they may be recharged by mistake, leading to known examples of serious battery failure events.

Counterfeit batteries are a major problem in the e-cigarette world due to the wide scale of the issue. This problem is specific to APVs since the mini and mid-size devices have integral cells installed by the manufacturer of the device, who can source them correctly. Consumers, on the other hand, have little protection because it is almost impossible to verify the original source of the batteries they buy at retail. The problem is that the large-battery APV devices need safer-chemistry cells such as the Li-Mn / IMR type in order to operate safely; but such cells are expensive and therefore a target for counterfeiters, and may be of any type, beneath the fake label. As a specific example: AW Batteries is a known source of good-quality 18650 IMR cells, and only sell through authorised distributors, and such batteries are expensive at around $10 each. They can also be found offered for sale on the Alibaba website, a popular source for Asian wholesale supplies; AW state that all available from this source are counterfeit. This raises an important issue: since the fakes might be poor-quality IMR cells with a fake label or even reject-quality unprotected Li-ion cells stripped and re-labelled as AW IMR cells, there is a significant risk of violent failure in the high-demand service an APV may create: the dangers in this situation are clear.

lo-res, hi-res : low resistance atomisers, high resistance attomisers. (see next entry)

LR : low resistance, typically used to describe the most common measurement applied to an atomiser.

LR - a pre-built atomiser with a resistance below 2 ohms is considered LR. SR or standard resistance is 2 ohms to 3 ohms. HR or high resistance is 3 ohms to 5 ohms. These all have uses according to the voltage of the the battery or batteries in the ecig / APV.

- Common LR values are 1.5 ohms and 1.8 ohms.
- SR is often 2.2, 2.5 or 3 ohms.
- HR is often 3.5 or 4.5 ohms.

In 2010 the first LR atomiser was introduced when the eGo had been in use for a while, in order to get a more powerful vape, as this was now possible with regular ecigs as the battery size had increased from the 125mAh of the minis to the 650mAh and up of the mid-size units. The 5 volt regulated boxmods used SR atties, the '6 volt' stacked-battery APVs used HR atties at this time, which had been the only way of getting a better vape than with the cigalikes. With the introduction of the eGo and LR atty, a decent vape was then possible with a 'regular' ecig. Because resistance is related to power (lower resistance means more amps are drawn and thus more watts used), an LR coil uses more power and creates more vapour. The battery needs to be, ideally, at least 650mAH in order to use the facility, to avoid too much voltage drop, and to avoid damage to the battery by over-current draw.

mAh : milliampere hours, a measure of a battery's capacity in terms of its output in milliamps vs time. 1,000 milliamps = 1 amp. For example a 1,600 mAh battery is rated to deliver 1.6 amps for an hour. This figure has no relation to the burst (or 'pulse') power output, which can be 10, 20 or 30 amps for a battery rated around 1,600 mAh.

manual : a manual battery has an on/off button, as against an auto battery which is operated by air pressure. This differentiator mostly applies to mini ecigs, which are supllied in both types. Virtually all larger models are manual.

mechheads : vapers who only use a mechmod, usually a mechanical tubemod - a tube format APV with no internal wiring or circuitry that is simply a battery holder with a mechanical actuator for a switch.

mid-size ecig : the larger, 2nd-generation e-cigarette models that have about double the performance of minis. Alternative names are ego-type, fat-batt.

The original design was the eGo (by Janty), who did not patent the design, and now there are a multitude of choices ('clones') including the kGo, Riva, Tornado etc. These models are about the size of a fat cigar, and are the medium-size grouping within the three size groups (mini, mid-size, APV). In function it has replaced the earlier penstyles, which were a short-lived attempt to improve on the performance of the minis.

The mid-size ecig is now the benchmark model, and all measurements of any metric should employ a mid-size unit as against a mini, which is obsolete for any purpose except new-user introduction or use by occasional / social smokers. 92% of persons polled at a typical vapemeet had upgraded from a mini to a larger model.

The physical size of the battery is critical to e-cigarette performance, since (a) a relatively high voltage is needed, (b) a very high current is required compared to the physical size of the cell - about 2 amps, and this is high for a small cell, and (c) the size of a battery dictates the time of usable performance. Larger ecigs perform far better than smaller ones, almost entirely due to the size of the battery.

mini ecig : a small-format e-cigarette, aka  'cig-alikes', 'cigalikes', 'look-alikes', 'looky-likies', 'stick ecigs', and so on. Typical minis include the 510 and KR808 ranges. Minis are the smallest of the three classes of ecig (mini, mid-size, APV) and are designed to replicate a tobacco cigarette in size and shape. These cigarette clones were the 1st-generation models and at Q1 2014 were still the most popular in terms of market share (over 50% of the US market), since the majority of newcomers prefer a device that precisely replicates a tobacco cigarette in size, shape, and looks. However, the market has moved on, and far better performance is available from later (but larger) models. The performance of minis has not improved radically unlike that of all the other model types, because the battery size constrains any improvement. In contrast, the performance of other models has improved significantly, and the 2nd-generation and 3rd-gen products are now dramatically superior. These more recent, larger models (such as the mid-size / eGo type or the APVs) provide a clear upgrade path, with performance gains of two to twenty times or so.
(see also super-mini)

mod : (1) any modification of an ecig or one of its parts (see APV, bonuts, cartridges).

(2) the original term for a large-battery or removable-battery ecig when such devices had to be DIY made from copper pipe or battery boxes. Since these advanced units can run $200 or $300 now, the term 'mod' is not accurate and has been replaced to some extent with the term APV (advanced personal vaporiser) by some manufacturers.

modding : reworking, customising and custom-building of any EV component or whole device. From 2006 to about 2009, modding mostly meant trying to get carts (cartridges) to work, and building copper pipe mods. Now it means custom building 100-Watt temperature control digital devices and all the rest of the customisations seen in a mature market.

nickel wire : Ni200, a wire type used in atomisers, and required for temperature control devices. It has very low resistance and is the most stable when used in a device that fixes the coil temperature maximum by varying the circuit voltage as needed. (Such values are always set or varied by fixing or varying the voltage since there is no such thing in reality as 'variable power' or 'variable temperature', per se.)

Unlike other wire types, there are some health concerns with this wire since it is very soft by comparison with other types, is said to more easily leach materials into solvents such as e-liquid and therefore the vapour stream. It is said to be more likely to have allergenic effects, and it is said there may even be a possibility that it may be carcinogenic in one or more of the forms that may be present in ecig vapour. Titanium wire (qv) is therefore gaining ground for TC (qv) applications. qv wire

nichrome wire : the standard coil wire type used in most manufactured atomiser coils.
see wire

nicotine (see - N).

noobs : (or newbies) are new vapers or alternatively anyone using a mini ecig (cigalike).

Ohm : the measurement unit of resistance. A stock atomiser coil in a regular head is usually from 1.5 to 2 ohms. The higher the resistance, unless the voltage is varied, the cooler the vape and the less vapour produced. The lower the resistance, at the same voltage, the warmer the vape and the more vapour.

O-ring : a circular seal usually made from silicone, nitrile or other synthetic rubber-like materials. O-rings are widely used in ecigs to provide a sliding fit with a good liquid and gas seal, especially in larger or custom models. Almost all driptips employ one (or two, in some cases).

passthrough, pass-through : (1) a corded battery that can be connected to a USB socket and used 'online', that is to say while charging; or (2) a corded connector without a battery inline that is used in the same way but usually delivers USB voltage (5 volts) direct to the connector (for the carto etc.).

These were systems popular in the 1st-gen days when battery performance was very poor, and those working at a desk could get either long-term performance from a mini by using a battery passthrough online, or get better performance by injecting 5 volts into their carto or atty by using a batteryless passthrough (at the risk of blowing the USB sub-board, because it had a 0.5 amp service not a 2 amp service at that time).

[Note that 'online' is an electrical term meaning 'in use while also charging or working', such as an 'online UPS', and has nothing to do with the internet.]

PCC, personal charging case : a carry box for mini ecigs that also contains a battery to charge them with. Useful because the tiny batteries in cigalikes need frequent recharging.

penstyles : early medium-format ecigs of around 150mm in length, resembling a pen in size and appearance, as they had a larger battery than the minis together with a step and wider diameter section at one end, the device therefore resembling a fountain pen. These were in effect the first mid-size models, and pre-existed the eGo type. They came after the mini and super-mini, and were an early attempt at improving battery life and performance since the minis of the time had really poor performance. The heyday of the penstyle was 2009 - 2010, after which they died out as APVs and the eGo models (which started the explosion in mid-size clone devices) did the job far better.

A typical model was the DSE801. Many penstyle ecigs were autos. All were of the 3-piece battery-atomiser-cartridge format, a poor arrangement in modern terms.

It needs to be stated, in fairness, that the 801 atomiser itself was probably the best ever invented, from an engineering standpoint, as it was slightly larger and mechanically far stronger than other competing model series such as the 510 and 901. When used as a dripper atty on a 5v boxmod, the 801 atomiser represented the peak of performance in early 2010.

Unfortunately the regular penstyle system suffered from the usual ills of the 3-piece ecig designs: leaking, short refill usage, and annoying glitches such as leakdown battery death on the auto models.

The Ruyan V8 is an example of a penstyle still available now. It would be tempting to say that the world has moved on a long way since then; except that by re-modelling and re-marketing the devices as Shisha Pens, the circle has turned again. As an ecig, the penstyle is obsolete by many years, like all its contemporary rivals.

PG : propylene glycol is a common excipient (carrier agent, diluent, solvent, inactive ingredient) in ecig refill liquids. It was used originally because it performs much the same function in theatre fog machines: it makes water vapour visible and is harmless. It has several useful properties: it is an excellent solvent for other materials, it disperses exceptionally well in an aerosol, it is all but inert in the human organism (it is mostly excreted but some is treated as a carbohydrate and metabolysed to lactic acid), it is one of the most powerful aerosol bactericides and virucides known, and like all glycols has an exceptionally low freezing point. Several of these properties make it a popular choice for use in large building aircon plant as the water treatment agent.

Some glycols are toxic, but PG is essentially inert in the human and animal organism. Since glycols have a low freezing point and are cheap to make, they are used as anti-freeze. The cheaper types tend to be toxic, such as DEG or dietheylene glycol, and this is known as a cheap but toxic antifreeze. PG on the other hand is more expensive, especially when produced to higher quality grades, and is only used as an antifreeze in situations where a non-toxic AF is essential; this can be for winterising RV and boat toilet systems since there is a possibility of human contact; and farmers can add PG to animal water troughs in winter as it is perfectly safe to drink.

PG has one of the most extensively-researched and known safe histories of any consumer chemical product: it has been used and intensively researched since the 1940s and has a large data resource proving its usefulness and safety. With 70 years' safe use for ingestion and inhalation, there are no questions left to answer.

Lastly, PG has a slight irritant effect when breathed in as a concentrated aerosol as in ecig vapour, and this is used to produce the TH or throat hit required to replicate cigarette smoke.

In general, PG is the perfect choice for an e-liquid diluent: it is harmless, has a huge data resource on its safety, is used in medicine for inhalation and injection (it is the diluent for many asthma inhalers, the nebulisers used by lung transplant patients, and several immiscible injected drugs such as diazepam and phenytoin), is proven absolutely safe, is extremely well tolerated, makes nice vapour, and has a slight TH as well.

In terms of the negatives: about 1 person in 10 finds that PG dries out the throat and upper respiratory tract, since it is a humectant (attracts water). Most find that this stage passes and they become acclimated to it; but some cannot tolerate this drying-out effect and about 1 in 100 need to find an alternative base. About 1 in 10,000 find that PG consumption in quantity has an unwanted effect on the skin, drying it out or creating itching; they switch to VG as an alternative.

The major pharmaceutical companies commonly used PG as the excipient for inhaled medicines in the past, but are gradually changing over to glycerine now that pure, synthetic products are available for this purpose (e.g. Dow Optim). Glycerine works in a very similar way, has no drying-out effect, and is equally harmless when inhaled. PG remains a better choice, though, for those with compromised lung function and/or vulnerability to lung problems (such as, especially, emphysema patients - who are at risk of pneumonia) since PG is such a powerful bactericide and virucide and has a drying effect; VG (glycerine) bases are not the best choice for these patients since they are simply bacteriostatic at best, and may have a 'wetting' effect not a drying one, at least for certain patients with lungs severely compromised by smoking.

plasma nicotine level : the only valid measurement of an EV's effectiveness: how much nicotine can be measured in the blood. A typical average level for a modern ecig is 12ng/ml, and the average min-max levels are 6ng and 20ng; but values outside these levels are seen. The  value rises over time more slowly than that for a tobacco cigarette, which reaches the peak value more quickly. A vaper achieving a 12ng value after 10 minutes may reach 20ng after 1 hour.

As a comparison, tobacco cigarette max levels are also higher - especially historically. Recent max levels seen in smokers were typically 30ng although 50ng is reported as common in the past, with 60ng reported.

It is obvious that vapers report the same satisfaction level with a plasma nic level approximately 33% lower than their cigarette equivalent. This fact has (a) never been explained, and (b) never been reported in the medical press. However it was clearly noted by the inventor of the Favor smokeless cigarette in the early 80s, before it was crushed by the FDA in order to protect the smoking economy - he noted that pure nicotine inhalation was far more effective than smoked nicotine: the blood plasma level was much lower for an equal effect, and that smoking appeared to have a 'blunting' effect on the operation of nicotine (more is required to get the same effect). Or, less pure nicotine is needed for the same effect; and this is clearly seen in a lower plasma nic level for the same effect. This contradicts some beliefs that smoking 'maximises' nicotine effect: it very clearly doesn't and has exactly the opposite effect.

primer puff : a puff taken before the main usable puff when using a mini ecig. It is used because the tiny battery cannot heat the atomiser sufficiently to produce a usable result in a short time (i.e., the same time that a tobacco cigarette inhale lasts for); therefore, either an extra-long inhale of 6 or 8 seconds is used with a mini ecig, or a primer puff is taken (the vapor from the primer puff being discarded since it will have no usable nicotine content). However, auto battery mini ecigs sometimes cut out due to over-operation when used in a manner that delivers a satisfactory nicotine content, which by necessity involves either a primer puff or an extra-long inhale in order to heat the atomiser sufficiently; therefore it may be correct in some cases to describe use of an auto mini as simply a placebo product.

PV : personal vaporiser. A more accurate term than 'e-cigarette'; though EV is better (electric or electronic vaporiser).

RBA, RTA, RDA : rebuildable atomiser, rebuildable tank atomiser, rebuildable dripper atomiser. These heads are generally made from stainless steel and employ a rebuildable coil and wick system, with a tank reservoir in the case of the RTA. Unlike most other ecig parts, an RBA is not a disposable item, and this is part of its functionality and attraction: in theory an RBA might last for ever, needing only nichrome / kanthal / nickel resistance wire and wick material such as rayon, cotton, stainless steel mesh or silica rope for rebuilding the coil and wick occasionally (these are widely available for other purposes). Combined with a generic battery holder body (APV), they are essentially an everlasting device that only needs common parts for occasional maintenance. Some are small and slim in format, others fairly substantial. The tank variants must be refilled from a bottle.

The emergence of RBAs has caused a renaissance in the mechanical APV market ('mechmods'), since only these devices can reliably handle the high current demanded by the super-low resistance coils popular with some RBA users (often below 1 ohm, and referred to as 'sub-ohm' coils). These devices are capable of producing huge amounts of vapour, which is part of the attraction for some vapers.

However, at Q2 2015, the growing popularity of hi-power boxmods has meant that RBAs are losing ground, since although they can be used with these modern boxmods, subohm-style tanks can be used with them to produce giant clouds with a lot less hassle.

We may see a renaissance for RBAs around 2018 - 2020 due to the laws being introduced now to eliminate vaping in order to protect cigarette sales: if people cannot easily buy new tanks then perhaps they will go back to RBAs in large numbers, as wick and wire cannot be banned and will keep vapers going until the corrupt laws can be removed by eventual voter power.

spitback : the 'pop' sound and/or rapid ejection of a small drop of fluid into the mouth that can occur in atomisers, generally on the first draw, when the wicking process is suboptimal. A type of blowback.

sport vapers : vapour ring blowers ('smoke rings'), sub-ohmers, cloud chasers, cloud comp vapers (contestants in the cloud competitions that take place at conventions) and others: these vapers have gone way past any need to avoid smoking, and see vaping as a performance art, or a sport, or a way to replicate the atmosphere of Venus for some reason, wherever they are.

squonk : a press of a fingertip onto a plastic reservoir bottle in a bottom-fed boxmod is a 'squonk'. It is a squeeze and squirt function.

squonker : a bottom fed boxmod with a squonk hole, through which the plastic bottle reservoir is pressed with a finger. This 'squonk' forces refill liquid up through a tube and into any atomiser with a bottom feed hole.

squonkers : a vaper clique who use bottom-fed boxmods. These devices have an integral tank that feeds the atomiser. The tank is generally a 5ml plastic bottle or similar, which is squeezed by a finger pressing through a hole in the casing, and this pumps refill liquid up through a tube to, and through, the base of the atomiser. The action is called 'squonking', the hole in the casing is called the 'squonk hole', and vapers who use these devices exclusively are called squonkers.

stealth vaping : the art of vaping undetected in a situation where it may not be approved of or even be illegal. The opposite of cloud-chasing.

There are two approaches to stealth vaping: modify the technique used, or consume a refill specially made for stealth use. To stealth vape with normal gear, then ideally a small format device will be used that can be concealed in the hand or hand and sleeve; high PG / low VG refills are used, as these produce less vapour (the less glycerol, the less vapour); and a modified inhalation technique is used. The two most common methods are: (1), after the inhale, the vapour is held in for 5 seconds then released - the visible component will be reduced or eliminated; or (2) a double-breath move is used: after an average length inhalation, there is a short pause, then another quick inhale, then exhalation - again the vapour will be reduced or eliminated.

Another approach is to vape discreetly and use a low-vapour refill. For many years it has been possible to buy refills that produce very little vapour. These are often based around PG and alcohol, and there is no VG in them.

Vaping per se cannot in effect be banned anywhere as skilled vapers can easily escape detection. The most skilled can vape undetected even when observed by CCTV camera operators.

SR : (see LR)

steampunk : a style of mechanical (usually) devices of the APV type, and therefore mechmods, that resemble the mechanical devices of the industrial revolution in their semi-crude machine-like appearance. One example might look like a torch/flashlight made from a copper steam engine boiler adorned with cogs from a large clock; another may resemble a stainless steel hydraulic cylinder/piston assembly.

steampunkers : vapers who prefer mechmods of a clunky, utilitarian or machine-reminiscent variety.

sub-ohm : sub-ohm vaping is the use of an RBA or RTA (qv), often with mechmods, and running an atomiser coil (or multi-coil group) of a resistance measuring below 1 ohm (thus, 'sub-1-ohm'). These devices can produce a phenomenal amount of vapour, although it tends to be hotter and drier than with other devices.

There is probably an elevation of risk compared to regular vaping. This is because the atomiser coil/s become much hotter, since amp draw is elevated and many tens of watts of power are used. More heat means that the vapourisation characteristics of the refill liquid are different, and the aerosol generated is likely to have a different chemical profile. There is a real possibility that products of thermal degradation ('breakdown compounds') are present in measurable quantity, and some may be toxic; refill liquid consumption rises by double or treble over regular usage; and the combination of increased refill consumption, huge volumes of vapour, hotter atomisers and hotter vapour means that any contaminant or thermal breakdown compound will be seen in greater quantity than with other types of head or consumption style. With daily consumption rates of 20ml (more than 5 times the average) and 80 watts of power use being reported by some sub-ohmers, this mode of vaping is rather different from the norm. This is a subdivision of sport vaping, qv.

Note that the popularity of mechmod/RBA cloud-chasing and sub-ohming has probably passed its peak, which was at some point in early 2015. High-power boxmods have made mechmods a 2nd choice for many vapers now, since monster clouds can be generated with far less hassle using a hi-power boxmod and subtank. There will always be mechmod aficionados and RBA fanboys, but it looks as if the peak of interest in this combination specifically for big clouds has passed.

sub-ohmers : these vapers use the type of gear described just above. They are becoming greater in number; some wonder if that is altogether a good thing. On the other hand it has created a massive revitalisation of the mechmod market, a product area that had almost been killed off by VV and VW.

super-mini : early ecig models that were smaller than a mini ecig. They died out because of the appallingly bad performance due to the micro format.

tailpiping or stovepiping : the practice of drawing directly on an atomiser without using a driptip or mouthpiece of any kind. This was popular in the old days when voltage could not be increased easily, and vapers who needed a big hit would suck the atty direct in order to get hotter vapour. This has been replaced by VV and sub-ohm RBA coils.

TC, temperature control : a 7th-generation technology that allows the atomiser temperature to be controlled. The benefit is that dry hits can be avoided, since without sufficient liquid wicked to the the atomiser, temperature will ordinarily rise and create unpleasant effects; with TC, voltage input ('power') is controlled (reduced) and progressively less vapour is produced - leading to operator correction of the refill fluid supply situation.

An additional perceived benefit is to control max atomiser temp in order to limit any thermal degradation products in the vapour. For this secondary benefit to operate, the user must, presumably, be given a temperature limit for use with their preferred liquid; or a chart that shows maximum temperature for various mixes such as all-glycerol through various mix proportions to all-PG. This seems basic logic, although since at Q3 2015 I have never seen any such advice either specific or general or in graphical form, it is hard to describe this latter benefit as any more than ephemeral at present.

titanium : Ti wire is now being used for TC applications as it is said to have less implications for allergy or toxicity issues than Ni, nickel. Like nickel wire it has very low resistance and is stable at varying temperatures. A coil resistance of around 0.25 ohms is typical.

Note that many devices will not operate with it: the resistance will be too low for some regulated devices, the performance is not necessarily identical to Ni; and at least one device exists that will not run a Ti coil without a firmware update, for a fee. The DNA40 TC chip is known to run Ti coils without adjustment.

tootle puffers : average vapers using average gear and happy with it. They generally vape at about 10 or 12 watts on regular-size gear and successfully avoid smoking, enjoy it, and pay no regard to the younger folks' extreme fashions. It seems likely that most are probably no longer in their twenties ;)  Tootling along, puffing happily, they have cracked it. Don't say this too loudly but they may be the modern equivalent of the 1950s-era pipe smoker.

Tootle-puffers are the opposite of cloud-chasers: they just like vaping and don't care about the visuals. The term was invented by an ECF-er and the history can be found there.

vape, to vape : (verb) the action of using an EV (electric/electronic vaporiser) and inhaling vapour.

vape : (noun) used as a term for the aerosol product itself and its quality: "My new boxmod gives a great vape".

vapegasm : the intense pleasure of a superb vaping experience caused by a new device or refill liquid that suits perfectly.

vaper : a person who vapes. The word vapers is sometimes used to mean the active online community as against those using an ecig, especially convenience store mini ecigs, who are unaware there is a large and engaged user community.

vaper cliques : many vapers find certain sub-groups attractive and see themselves (or, are seen by others) as part of that group. They include cloud-chasers, noobs, sport vapers, tootle puffers, sub-ohmers, steampunkers, mechheads, squonkers, boxies and more.

vaping : using an ecig, and thus inhalation of vapour not smoke.

vaper's tongue : an inability to taste any e-liquid that affects most vapers occasionally, especially at around the 4-month mark for a new vaper. It has several supposed causes including (for newcomers) being part of the process of regeneration of taste and smell post-smoking; or vaping too much of one flavour for too long.

vapour, vapor : the water-based mist that an e-cigarette produces. US spelling is 'vapor'. Vapour consists predominantly of water (~66%), plus small amounts of PG, VG (both generally = or <5%), and nicotine (generally ~1%). Flavourings make up the remainder. But: note that hardly any analyses of vapour ever agree on anything, since there are no agreed protocols for any form of measurements. Essentially, there are no concerns about any aspect of the ingredients except for flavourings. A more accurate term for ecig vapour is aerosol, qv.

In order to analyse vapour properly, an agreed set of protocols is needed, otherwise most analyses of the same product will be different. In effect, no vapour analyses have any value currently, as nothing is standardised.

vaporiser, vapouriser, vaporizer : the device used to turn refill liquid into vapour (Int. English) or vapor (US English). All such terms (vaping, vaporiser etc.) were previously used by cannabis consumers who heat the herbal material without burning it; but the tsunami of ecig use has covered up the previous usage, which is now perhaps a minority activity and usage compared with ecig vaping (there could be over 20 million vapers in the USA, according to surveys). Most people are probably not aware that 'vaping' originally meant cannabis use of a certain type, but times change, and the new often uses a foundation provided by the old.

vent holes : metal PVs larger than mid-size, and especially metal tubemods, need gas vent holes in the casing, otherwise a battery failure could be a serious event: the outgassing associated with a serious battery failure could result in an explosion if it takes place in a sealed unit. Small vent holes, especially at the bottom of the unit, are of no use: the pressure can rise at the top of the unit since the gas vents in a rechargeable battery are at the top (take a look), and the battery can swell as it gets hotter, thus jamming the battery tube and preventing gas escape via botton vents. Thus, large vents at the top of the unit are needed to completely eliminate risk of a lithium cell created explosion. In fact round holes are not normally sufficient as their cross-sectional area is not large enough, and slots are needed (as seen for example in the Akston-Hughes APV).

Battery failures resulting in explosions were more common in the days of stacked-batt tubemods - devices with two lithium cells in series - but they are making a comeback, as the wide prevalence of battery counterfeiting means that what looks like a high-quality Li-Mn 18650 cell may be anything but.

VV, variable voltage : this is gen-4 / gen-5 technology - see below for the generation series. A buck-boost regulator is employed to generate any voltage required from the nominal 3.7v lithium cell. The user can vary the voltage applied to the atomiser, in order to create the perfect vape, as desired by and measured by that person; and it is almost certain to be different to the setting another vaper might use at that time in that place for that refill liquid in that head on that battery. The flexibility to vary the result according to taste is the big advantage these devices confer.

VW, variable power ('variable wattage') : gen-6 technology allowed the power to be varied. A user can set the readout to show the power consumption, that is to say the value in Watts. Also, the facility exists to set this value so that whenever the head is changed the same power will be delivered and the same vape will result, even if there is some difference in the atomiser resistances of the two heads.

There is no variable wattage of course - the regulator just varies the voltage as needed then shows you the readout in Watts (the amp draw is fixed as it is set by the fixed resistance, and only the voltage can be varied). High-power boxmods create more watts by jacking up the voltage, and some go as high as 12 volts or more. This trend is rising. These devices will be advertised as high-power, high wattage devices; but as we have seen it actually requires high voltage to get this effect - people just seem to prefer the idea of 'more power'.

10 volts on a 0.5 ohm atomiser = 200 watts for example. There may be some health concerns here.

Watts : volts by amps - the unit of power and a guide to how much power and therefore work done and therefore heat is generated at the atomiser coil. So, a 4 volt battery pushing 2 amps draws 8 watts of power (4v x 2a). A 4 volt battery feeding a 2 ohm coil draws 8 watts of power ([4v x 4v] / 2) ohm.

wick : the material that feeds refill liquid to an atomiser by capillary action. The first material to be used was thin silica rope in the origibal atomisers such as the 901; then rolls of stainless steel (SS) mesh were used in the Genesis type of tank atomisers; then regular cotton wool was used in RBAs, as well as the previous types; then rayon and koh-gen-do, a form of organic cotton wool in thin sheets, of Japanese origin. All these materials are still in use, and the subject of much debate among vapers. There is no 'best' wick, as different materials have different properties when used in different formats in different coils in different atomisers.

wire : the thin metal strand used to form an atomiser coil with. The first type to be used was nichrome, in the first atomisers. Then kanthal became popular; then nickel and then titaniium, for use in temperature control applications. All are still used and have their adherents, who debate the advantages of each. Round wire is the most used, but ribbon and other forms are used for specialist applications.

For DIY coil building, kanthal is currently the most popular, and thickness grades from #26 to #32 are most used, with around #28 and #30 being the most common. 30-foot spools of wire are available. Since a mechmod and RBA can have an indefinite lifespan if well-maintained, and are suitable for rugged duty and non-urban use, only wire and wick (and batteries) - which are all available anywhere - are needed on the hardware side to keep a vaper in business indefinitely. This will probably be a consideration during the years when commercial opponents will be able to successfully outlaw most or all vaping products, depending on location.

At present it looks as if kanthal will remain the winner in the wire wars, as it is very stable and performs very well when formed into an atomiser coil. Pure nickel wire appears to have some health concerns and we should probably wait for more solid data on this material before widely promoting its use.

woody : any kind of wood-cased boxmod, as in: "Nice woody you've got there".

WTA : whole tobacco alkaloids, a term used to refer to compounds additional to nicotine that may play a part in the effects produced by tobacco consumption: the other active alkaloids in tobacco such as nornicotine, anabasine, anatabine, myosmine etc. There are many more active ingredients than nicotine in tobacco.

For example, some people still experience significant, extended and unrelenting cravings after smoking cessation when using an e-cigarette, even with a high-nicotine refill. This means that, even when supplied with more than sufficient nicotine (enough to cause symptoms of over-consumption), and even when the nicotine is inhaled (to replicate the fast effects of smoking), and even when the physical routines of smoking are well-replicated (thus removing any question of the implication of physical or social mechanisms in any remaining craving), there is an additional and currently unexplained chemical dependency issue. For a significant proportion of these people, additional consumption of Snus or WTA-inclusive refill liquid is an effective solution. This appears to demonstrate that WTAs are implicated in the dependence profile for those persons, and that, for them, the chemical dependence profile is complex.

Many quitters experience some cravings that gradually diminish over two weeks or so, even when supplied with correctly-performing 2nd-generation e-cigarette systems. Thus, it is found that the dependence on the WTAs / other cigarette smoke ingredients is surmountable by many who switch successfully to an ecig. A small percentage find their cravings persist even when supplied with sufficient nicotine and with WTAs, and this appears to indicate that there is dependence on other smoke ingredients / pyrolytic compounds.

There are currently only two vendors of WTA ecig refills, both in the USA, but this number is expected to increase. The limiting factor is the cost, because it requires (a) a custom extraction process from tobacco leaves; (b) an expert chemist; (c) a fully-equipped laboratory to test for desired and undesired ingredients. Thus, WTA-inclusive e-cigarette refill liquid is effective but not cheap.

qv = see elsewhere in the list



created 2015-07-08