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Beginner Guide

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What is an Electronic Cigarette? What is Vaping? Do I need a cartridge or a clearomiser? Hoe does it work? What is a MOD? Do I need a drip tip?

All these new words can leave you feeling a little panicked and out of your depth and with so many questions that your head is spinning as you suddenly find yourself amongst people who seem to be speaking a whole new language.

In this peculiar environment new vapers can feel overwhelmed, lost and alone as they try to navigate around in this rather unfamiliar territory struggling to decipher what all these things are, what they need, and what they don't. 

All this coming at a time when there is a higher level of anxiety because you are embarking on a massive and all-important change.

At EXhale we want to help you to avoid that swamped confusion feeling and so have compiled for you a list of these new words and under each we have offered a simple explanation of its use or meaning.

 EXhale’s A-Z Glossary of the Electronic cigarette and Vape Related Terminology:


This is a term used when discussing an ‘old style’ tobacco cigarette. Think of this as being rather like the Analogue v Digital TV revolution!


This is the component part of an electronic cigarette that heats up converting the eliquid into a vapour. 

How it works

A battery is used to supply power to heat an element (the coil) which is housed inside of the atomiser.

    • In the earliest eCig devices often the atomiser and the tank (for eliquid) were separate. Nowadays atomiser and tank for eliquid are combined to create a sealed unit known as a clearomiser.

The heated coil element atomises the eliquid which during the inhale is mixed with oxygen thus producing the vapour which is inhaled. The device works in much the same as a smoke machine.

EXhale's Atomisers can be purchased by clicking here: Atomisers

There are many times of atomiser such as:

Clearomiser which might be BVC (Bottom Vertical Coil) BDC (Bottom Dual Coil) etc.

MOD Atomisers like RDA (Rebuildable Dripping Atomiser) RTA (Rebuildable Tank Atomiser) etc.


This is a flavourless liquid into which active ingredients such as liquid nicotine and flavour concentrates are added.

Bases used in eliquid production are PEG400, PG and VG

    • see the separate entry for each component below.

Our full range of flavourless bases, in various premixed nicotine strengths can be found on our Mixing Accessories page Flavourless Base Liquids


In a non-disposable electronic cigarette the lithium ion battery is rechargeable and capable of being re-used many times. 

A full re-charge of a standard eGo 650mAH battery will take between 2-4 hours.

    • The higher the milliamps per hour (mAh) of the battery the longer a full recharge will take.

After a full charge, dependant on the mAh of the battery in use, will provide between 2-10 hours of medium vape use.

    • The life of a full charge will depend on the mAh of battery, to some extent the ambient temperature, its age and its condition. 

Battery technology is moving forward at a great pace with vast improvements to design features, performance and use.

The most advanced batteries are variable voltage (VV), variable wattage (VW) (or both) or now can even be temperature controlled (TC) as well. These different modes of use allow users to tailor the vape experience to very individual preferences.

As well as VV, VW & TC batteries can be used as passthrough (you can vape whilst it is on charge via your PC's USB port) and also can be used as powerbanks (you can use the stored power to charge other devices such as a mobile phone or iPod.

Re-charging of an e cigarette battery

There are many ways to recharge a battery dependant on its design.

Most commonly this will be via a USB charging lead which is attached/screwed to the battery at one end whilst at the other a USB connector is plugging into the USB port of a PC. The battery draws its new power from your PC.

Alternatively it can be charged with the same lead by connection instead to the domestic mains using an appropriate adaptor/

Or it can be charged using a suitable adaptor from the 12V port in a car. ]

Whichever way you intend to recharge, we strongly recommend users read our guide:Lithium Battery Care & Safety Warnings

A MOD battery can have a built in cell recharged in a similar way or it may have a separate Lithium battery cell which as well as being chargeable on board is also removable for external charging.

Some batteries also benefit from being recharged via a dock. A dock is a stand into which the device is placed when not in use. Magnetic connections in the dock and on the bottom of the battery housing connect to allow trickle-charging of the battery, keeping it always topped up with power.

Our complete battery range can be found here: Battteries

To ensure safety and take proper care of their lithium ion batteries maximising their lifespan and performance all users should ensure that they:
    • follow safe charging practice
    • use the correct equipment with each battery
    • take proper care of lithium battery as per manufacturers instructions
    • read our guide Lithium Battery Care & Safety Warnings

BDC - Bottom Dual Coil

The coil type which is fitted to a bottom fed clearomiser. A dual coil has two heating elements (coils)  rather than the original standard single coil. Dual coils produce twice the amount of vapour and hit.

BVC - Bottom Vertical Coil

A bottom fed device with the coils set up in a vertical formation rather than the standard horizontal fixing.


The cartridge is a plastic disposable mouthpiece pre-filled with e-liquid. The liquid is held within the cartridge by saturation of a wadding material such as a special foam or wool.

A coil is fitted inside and is fed with the liquid from the wadding.

Once dry or burnt out the cartridge is unscrewed from the battery and most commonly cannot be refilled and are therefore disposed of.

Cartridges are commonly used on Cigalike devices.


A Clearomiser is a tank, atomiser and mouth piece combined all-in-one unit. It is designed to be used multiple times before either disposal or having a replacement coil fitted. Many different models are available and each might offer along with a different look and feel, a different method of refilling, or difference in size of tank (liquid capacity), a difference in coil type or set up (BDC, BVC devices)

A Cartomiser was used in the first and second generation of eCig device. It is generally a tank and atomiser combined and it may or may not include a mouthpiece. In some ecig models the cartomiser also acts as the mouthpiece. 

Our cartomiser & clearomiser range can be viewed here: Cartomisers and Clearomisers


A lithium ion battery cell is used for power fitted inside a MOD battery. MOD batteries can have a built in re-chargeable battery cells or they may require a separate cell which is recharged either on board or externally dependant on design/model/user preference.


A device or lead/cable used for recharging an eCig battery or battery-powered equipment (see also USB Charger)


Early e cigarettes, often the kind that provide the first eCig experience, were designed to appeal to the smoker who wanted something small and 'inconspicuous' a device that for all intents and purposes looked and felt like a cigarette earning them the name of 'cigalike'.

Doing their best to look and feel like a cigarette their batteries were most often white and the cartridge/mouthpiece was often coated in a paper printed to look like it was the filtered end of a cigarette.

The battery had an LED in the tip that lit when in use lit coloured red or orange to resemble the glowing tip of real cigarette. This was quickly altered however to be either green or blue so that it was very easy to differentiate between a person who was smoking and one who was vaping. Such a distinction being necessary because smoking is banned in public spaces and vaping is not.


Users who vape by dripping and/or by building themselves ever more advanced coil and wicking setups that are designed to vape excessive amounts of eliquid which is blended to create the most vapour.

Custom blended or off the shelf eliquids for cloud chasers will have a high VG content to create the thick plumes of vapour (clouds).

Such is the popularity of making such large dense clouds they are now competitions held to become a Champion Cloud Chaser such as at The World Series of Cloud Chasing

COIL - (as in Dual or Quad coil or Replacement Coils)

A coil is a thin gauge of metal wire that is formed into a coil thus creating a large surface area in a small space.

The coil is an element that is heated using the power of the battery which then atomises the eliquid. This mixes with oxygen during the inhale producing vapour.

Coil elements are made from different gauges (thinner or thicker) of wire and are formed in different lengths (number of wraps) thus each coil of different thickness and length/wraps will have a different 'resistance'. The resistance which is measured in oHms which is important to know for optimal setting when a user is using a variable voltage or variable wattage battery or when building their own coils.

    • An oHms meter is required if you build your own coils.

Dual Coil as the name suggests is a set up where rather than a single coil, a twin or second coil is used in a device. With both coils being heated there is a larger surface area and so more liquid is atomised in the same inhale. The outcome is a bigger cloud of vapour and a much stronger chest/throat hit.

QUAD Coil - In an *RDA or RTA the models design is often enhanced by being able to be used in either dual or quad coil mode, thus there is space and connection posts for two or four coils to be used.

(*RDA - Rebuildable Dripping Atomiser RTA - Rebuildable Tank Atomiser)

Replacement coils - Most standard vaping devices now use replaceable coil technology.

A Replacement coil is a small a sealed unit which is fitted into the atomiser

    • Early devices such as first and second generation atomisers/cartridges and clearomisers were made to be used for a  short time only then disposed of once they had perished and replaced with a new device.

Much more environmentally sound and much cheaper to replace than the entire atomisation device, Replacement Coils are generally sold in packs of 5.  Though they look similar in appearance to each other replacement coils are device specific and should be chosen with care.

    • For some devices there are several types of coil available to choose from such as having different gauges or even types of wire.

Inside of the replacement coil unit is a new coil through which is threaded a clean new wick (most often the wick is made from organic cotton).

Regular replacement of the coil is essential!

It's important not skimp or cut corners by opting to make economies here. Whilst we all need to keep an eye on our outgoings - it is important to remember how vital to your success your vaping gear is.

    • How much money is not using tobacco already saving you?
    • To continue with the same success it makes sense to spend a little each month to ensure that your vaping stays clean and crisp and that it continues to satisfy your craving. 

Why should you change a coil?

To help answer this let's look at the life of a coil and think about what happens to its element and wick during its useful life.

The coil and wick are constantly being fed with eliquid which is then repeatedly heated and having oxygen drawn across it.

    • If you have set your battery to high wattages or voltages these temperatures can be very, very hot indeed and will coat a coil more quickly. If you vape at high voltages/wattages/temperatures coils will need coil changes much sooner

As the eliquid is heated, layers of residual liquid are built up on the coil.

Think of how a kettle with each boiling accumulates a chalk build up. As the layers of chalk cover the element the power/heat has to work harder and it takes longer to heat the water to boiling point. 

Just as with the kettle example, as you vape repeatedly the coil becomes more coated, and the heat needed to atomise the liquid sufficiently will struggle to penetrate through those built up layers. 

As this is happening your battery is being made to work harder using its power inefficiently.

At the same time liquid is being drawn down and heated as it is vaped. A new layer is forming but as the coil ages some liquid is not adequately atomised and therefore, unvaped, it will sit around to form a thicker layer of residue to the coil and to the wick (see below).

This is normal degradation and is why every e cigarette no matter its size or style needs to be maintained regularly with cleaning and replacement parts.

When the coil needs to be replaced it is likely to still be operational. And although you are still vaping with it (and it is barely noticeable on a day to day basis) the residue build up is negatively affecting the flavour, taste and the impact of the vape.

    • You will notice this loss the most when you have just fitted a new coil. Suddenly all new your vape tastes amazing!

Coil Burn out

If you replace the coil regularly most likely it will still be operational when you make the coil change. However, very occasionally the unit will fails and replacement of the coil is forced upon us prematurely. 

The likely cause of a sudden failure will be 'burn out' of the coil.

      • Though the term burn/burnt is used here it is important to remember that no actual flame or burning occurs in vaping.

Being 'burnt out' here describes is the constantly reheated wire becoming brittle and thin. This makes it very susceptible to breakage which can occur if your device is sharply knocked or is dropped or, it will simply just occur. A seasoned vaper takes this in his or her stride and accepts that these failures are normal and do happen from time to time.

With the brittle and thinned wire coil broken apart, the electrical circuit is interrupted. The wire no longer receives power to heat up. 

The Wick:

At the same time as your coils' wire element is ageing so too is the wick which becomes sticky and carbonised with these residues which make it much less effective and unable to wick liquid to feed the coil.

With the wick and coil beginning degenerating vape production is reduced, the taste and flavour is tainted/altered and the throat and chest hit is altered.

Ultimately the vape is less satisfying and the coil needs to be replaced.

Replacement coils are inexpensive and will keep your vaping clean, fresh, crisp and efficient.


These are concentrated flavourings used to add flavour e-liquids.

Concentrates do not contain nicotine.

There is an ever-increasing range of  concentrate flavours available for those who like to ‘custom brew’ or custom blend their own eliquids.

Concentrate can also be used by those wishing to make their off the shelf premixed e-liquid flavours much more powerful and impactful or to make them into a cocktail blend. 

Our concentrates range is available here


A stand into which the battery device is placed when not in use. Magnetic connections both in the dock and on the bottom of the battery housing connect together allowing trickle-charging of the battery, thus keeping it always topped up with power.


A technique for the delivery of nicotine to the atomiser - usually an RDA device.

This is when e-liquid is dripped directly onto the atomiser which is fitted with a drip tip.


In its purest form a drip tip is a mouthpiece with a very wide opening to allow eliquid to be fed directly onto the atomisers' wick and coil.

However, the term is used when describing more 'off the shelf' eCig models that are not actually made for vaping by dripping at all.  The term drip tip has been widely adopted in the industry to mean the drip tip style/shape of mouthpiece. 


This is the liquid which is made from base into which are added flavourings and most often, though not always, which also contain nicotine.

The base of an eliquid is usually PG or VG or a blend of both.

Flavourings can be artificial and naturally derived but are always food and pharmaceutical graded.

Nicotine is added and described in MG strengths.

Bottles of eliquid are regulated and must comply with all regulations introduced by the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) .

In Europe and the UK bottle size for any liquid that contains nicotine can be no larger than 10ml in capacity.

Eliquid bottles are usually fitted with a nozzle for easy refilling or for dripping.

For in depth information about eliquid please see our dedicated guide Eliquid - Facts & Information


The Giantomiser is a large capacity “tank” cartridge used in the EXhale Kyngo eCig device.

Attachments in the Giantomiser range are also compatible with EXhale eGO CE5 and AmeGo starter kits.

EXhale Giantomisers can be found here.


This a pouch bag made of a sturdy, thick fire-proof material in which are placed/enclose your charging eCiig/lithium batteries.

The LiPo Guarg Safety Charging Bag reduces risk in the case of malfunction or fault.

We advise that all e-cig users adopt safe charging procedures and advocate use of a LiPo Guard Charging Bag.


A battery housing, most often but not always, without built in micro-circuitry.

A mechanical mod can be designed to accept cells which can be/are removed from the device for recharging or they can have the cell that is built in for onboard charging. Some are designed to accept cells and offer onboard or dock charging.

MOD batteries are much more powerful than standard eGo type lithium ion batteries as are supplied with most off the shelf electronic cigarette starter kits.

MOD devices are recommended for advanced users only.


MilliGram strength.

This is the measurement of how much nicotine is in the E-liquid. 


In its purest form MOD refers to having made alterations or modifications to a purchased battery.

However in vaping this term in now largely used to describe a style of battery and or devices that are used on/with Mechanical MOD batteries such as RDA & RTA devices.

All MOD's are for advanced users only.

MOUTHPIECE - see drip tip

The part of an eCig which is put to the mouth for inhaling of vapour.

The mouthpiece is often removable for cleaning and is on some models also removed for liquid filling. It can  also be fixed/non removable.

The mouthpiece can be made from plastic, metal or Delrin and as drip tip style is widely adopted  mouthpieces are most often round however mouthpieces are also found in a more flattened shape.


The chemical compound of tobacco to which we have been addicted and which we obtain instead through vaping eliquid. A full explanation about what nicotine is offered by Wikipedia What is Nicotine?.

Nic Juice/Nic Liquid

Eliquid containing nicotine as an ingredient. The liquid that is used in an eCigarette to vape with to deliver nicotine.


A battery that has a feature known as passthrough allows for it to be safely vaped and for continued use whilst also going through the charging cycle.

The battery is being re-charged attached to a PC via the supplied USB Charging Lead.

Useful for office workers or those who are sat a computer for long periods of time.

PEG400 - Polyethylene Glycol 400

A base liquid which provides the vapour created when using the electronic cigarette and in which the nicotine liquid and flavour concentrates are mixed.

PEG is a fully approved for pharmaceutical and food use and is used in a wide variety of products such as mouthwash, artificial tears, various foods and cosmetics etc.

The number 400 = the molecular weight.

In rare instances some people have been found to have sensitivity to PEG400, and where this is the case we would recommend switching to a PG or VG base.

For more detailed information clicking on the compound name will open the Wikipedia entry. PEG 400 is available from our Mixing Accessories product page here: Mixing Accessories

PG - Propylene Glycol

Another base liquid, often used instead of or blended with PEG 400.

For more detailed information clicking on the compound name will open the Wikipedia entry for Prolylene Glycol.

PG is a pharmaceutical and food grade product which is found in some yoghurts, soy sauces, mustard, ice-cream etc.

PG is available from our Mixing Accessories product page here: Mixing Accessories


A device with a large capacity for power storage measured in mAh (milli Amps per hour).

Some models of eCig battery offer dual functionality and will also operate as a powerbank, where stored power can be used to operate or to re-charge other devices such mobile phones, PDA's, eReaders, MP3/4 players etc.

PV - Personal Vapouriser

A term used to refer to the product commonly known as an electronic cigarette, e Cigarette or eCig.

Other names sometimes used are: Vape Pen, Vape Stick

Personal Vapouriser as a term is preferred by many because it avoids any mention or allusion to  being linked to cigarettes or smoking.

RDA - Rebuildable Dripping Atomiser

An atomiser device that is rebuildable, its coils and wicks made by hand and to which a true drip tip is fitted for vaping using the dripping method.

And RDA is a MOD device and is intended for use by advanced users only.

RTA - Rebuildable Tank Atomiser

An atomiser device similar to an RDA but with a tank that uses hand built coils and wicks but has storage capacity to hold eliquid so that its user can vape for longer periods than they would by dripping, or whilst out and about.

An RTA is a MOD device and is intended for use by advanced users only.


A Tank Atomiser works in the same way as a standard atomiser apart from the fact that it can only be used with a tank cartridge. Most often this was in first and second generation 3 part devices that used a separate atomiser and tank cartridge which were slotted together and attached to the battery.


As the name suggests, this is a tank which is filled with liquid which is delivered to the atomiser allowing the user to vape without mess. The tank can be re-filled many times. 

Tanks for our electronic cigarettes can be found by clicking here: Tanks 


An adaptor that accepts the USB port of a Charging Lead allowing the use of the domestic UK mains to re-charge a battery rather than taking up a USB port of a PC.


It is essential to use the correct type of USB/3PIN Adaptor supplied with your eCig starter kit or electronic cigarette supplier.
Never substitute those as supplied with other electronic devices such as mobile phones, PDA's, eReaders and tablets.  The adaptors supplied with such electronic devices are much more powerful and using them risks damage to eCig batteries and equipment and also present a significant fire risk.


This is a charging cable with a USB port to attach to your battery and then into the USB port of your pc.

WARNING: Use only the lead that was supplied with your battery or device. Other leads may not be suitable and use of them can present fire risk.

rather than your mains power, these are available for every model of electronic cigarette. More and more chargers are now fitted with USB connectors rather than mains plugs.

Often the adaptor required is supplied with the electronic cigarette kit, however if you require a spare or replacement you will find them in our store by clicking here: USB Adaptor


The term commonly used to describe the vapour produced that is by PV/ Electronic cigarette users who ‘vape’. whilst others who use tobacco products will smoke or be smoking with their ‘analogues’. A person who is no longer a smoker and instead is a Vaper.

Vape Pen/ Vape Stick

A term sometimes used which refers to an Electronic Cigarette because they are pen shaped and sized.


A term sometimes used which refers to Eliquid. Vape juice is the liquid used in an eCigarette to vape with.

VVegetable Glycerine

An alternative base liquid to PEG 400 or PG. Used mainly in the food industry it has a sweet taste and products such as baby soaps.

For more detailed information clicking on the compound name will open the Wikipedia entry.

VG is available from our Mixing Accessories product page here: Mixing Accessories


The material that is threaded through the centre of the coil and which carries and feeds by capiliary action elquid onto it. The wick is commonly made from organic cotton, or it can be steel mesh that has been heat treated, or made from other absorbant twisted fibres.


 Notes about Wikipedia hyperlinks

We have chosen to include throughout our text hyperlinks back to Wikipedia and use this as a source because it is the largest and most popular general reference work on the internet. It is free and accessible to everyone.

At the time of writing (April 2012) Wikipedia is available in 285 languages. 

For our purposes the pages to which we have included hyperlinks seem sufficient, although Wikipedia "makes no guarantee of the validity" of its content.

In seeking to ascertain the likelihood that the information to contained at Wikipedia, a Harvard Law textbook, Legal Research in a Nutshell (2011), cites Wikipedia as a "general source" that "can be a real boon" in "coming up to speed…” and, "while not authoritative, can provide basic facts as well as leads to more in-depth resources." (Cohen, Morris; Olson, Kent (2010). Legal Research in a Nutshell (10th ed.). St. Paul, MN: Thomson Reuters. pp. 32–34. ISBN 978-0-314-26408-4).


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