Beginner Guide A-Z

EXhale’s Glossary of the Electronic Cigarette & Vape Related Terminology:

What is an Electronic Cigarette? What exactly is an atty? What's the difference between eliquids? What's Vape Juice? What's Oil? What is PG & VG? What is a MOD? What is MTL or DTL vaping?

You are embarking on a massive, all-important life change & all these questions are swimming around in your head as you step into a world where everyone seems to be speaking in a whole new language. It's no wonder you are struggling to decipher what it is you actually need.

Exhale understands that this all creates enormous anxiety and understands that you'll have questions. That's why we've put together our Beginners Guide A-Z, to provide you with simple explanations so that you'll no longer feel lost  in unfamiliar territory.


A term used to refer to a tobacco cigarette. 


The component part of an electronic cigarette that heats up to convert eliquid into a vapour. Essentially it is the coil head and contains the coil.

How an atomiser works:

A battery supplies power to heat an element (the coil) housed inside of the atomiser. A wicking material feeds eliquid to the coil.

The now heated coil, atomises the liquid which mixes with oxygen that is inhaled and which now passes over the coil producing an atomised vapour that is now inhaled.

  • In the earliest eCig devices  the atomiser and tank were separate parts, however nowadays the atomiser and tank are combined as one sealed unit known as a clearomiser. These devices are no longer disposable but instead use replaceable coils. This creates much less waste in the environment and is much more cost efficient. Regular coil changes ensure that your vape remains clean and flavourful.

There are many types of atomiser such a Clearomiser which might be single coiled as a BVC (Bottom Vertical Coil) or BDC (Bottom Dual Coil).

In MOD Atomisers you might come across an RDA (Rebuildable Dripping Atomiser) or RTA (Rebuildable Tank Atomiser).

Clearomisers & Atomiser devices can be purchased here: Atomisers

Replacement coils for many different devices are found here: Coils


This refers to the foundation of the eliquid into which the active ingredients for vaping are added (liquid nicotine & flavourings). Usually base is a blend of PG & VG. Occasionally a base may be PG or VG on its own.


A electronic cigarette which is not disposable uses an internal non-removable or a removable rechargeable lithium ion cell capable of being re-used many times over. 

Batteries offer different amounts of power storage which is measured in Milliamps per hour (mAh). A full re-charge of a standard 650mAh battery will take between 2-4 hours whereas a battery with 900, 1000 +++mAh may take 4-8 hours, or even longer, to recharge.

After receiving a full recharge, dependant on the mAh of the battery its condition, and any settings adjusted on the battery (feature dependent) the newly charged battery will provide the user with between 2-10+ hours of medium vape use.

    • The life of a full charge will depend on the mAh of battery, the user settings and, to some extent, the ambient temperature. The age and condition of the battery also has a bearing as lithium cells begin to lose ability to hold their charge as they age.

Battery technology has moved forward at a great pace and continued to do so. Since the earliest eCigs, there have been vast improvements to battery design, features & performance

The most advanced batteries are variable voltage (VV), variable wattage (VW) (or both) & now can additionally be temperature controlled (TC) . These different modes of use allow users to tailor the vape experience to their own individual preferences and to protect their coils (TC)

Some batteries can  be used in passthrough mode meaning that you can continue to vape whilst it is on charge.

Some batteries can be used additionally as power-banks - meaning that you can use the power stored in them to recharge other devices such as a mobile phone or iPod.

Re-charging methods

There are several different options for recharging an ecig battery (dependant on its design).

Most commonly batteries are recharged via a USB charging lead attached to the battery at one end whilst at the other it is connected to a power source. The USB plug on modern leads can be used to draw new power from a PC or, with an appropriate adaptor, from the domestic mains.

A battery can also be charged, again using a suitable adaptor & mindful of extra precautions, from the 12V port in a car. 

Another charging method available in some models is to be recharged via a dock. The dock is a stand into which the device is placed when not in use. Magnetic connections in the dock & on the bottom of the battery housing connect to allow trickle-charging of the battery, keeping it always topped up with power.

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

MOD battery

A MOD can have either a built in internal cell which would be recharged as described above, or it may have a separate lithium cells which dependant on the MOD's design, might be chargeable on board to be charged as described above, or that may need to be removed and charged externally using appropriate battery charger


Our standard battery range can be seen here: Battteries

Standard VV batteries here: VV Standard

MOD batteries, suitable for high power vaping can be seen here: MODs 

SATETY WARNING: To ensure safety and take proper care of their lithium ion batteries maximising their lifespan & 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

A coil type 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 mainly used in disposable "Cigalike" devices. This is a plastic mouthpiece which is pre-filled with e-liquid that has been saturated onto a wadding material such as a special foam or wool.

A coil is fitted inside which is fed from the wadding. Once dry or burnt-out the cartridge is unscrewed from the battery. Most commonly a cartridge cannot be refilled.


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. 

The latest models of clearomisers can be viewed in store here: Clearomisers


A lithium ion battery cell used for power & fitted inside a MOD battery.

MOD batteries can have built in re-chargeable battery cells or they may require separate cells which can either be recharged either on board (dependant on model features) or will be externally charged.


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


Earning them the name Cigalike because they have been designed to appeal to those smokers who want to vape with something that is "inconspiculous" and which for all intents and purposes looks like their familiar cigarette usually these are disposable e-cigarettes or are low end starter kit eCigarettes which often provide a first eCig experience.

Doing their best to look and feel like a cigarette batteries of these devices are most often white and the cartridge/mouthpiece coated in a paper or vinyl that is printed to look like it the filtered end of a cigarette.

The battery would have an LED in the tip that lit when in use lit was coloured red or orange in order to resemble the glowing tip of real cigarette. The LED colour was however quickly altered  to be either green or blue so that it was more easy to differentiate between a person who was actually smoking from one who is vaping, such a distinction being so necessary because smoking is banned in public spaces and at the time of writing, vaping is not.


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

Custom blended or off-the-shelf eliquids for cloud chasers have a high VG content as this will create the thick plumes of vapour (clouds) that are desired.

Such is the popularity of making large dense clouds, there are competitions held world-wide to become a World Champion Cloud Chaser!

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

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

Through the coil is threaded a wick, most often made from organic cotton. The wick feeds liquid to the coil in the correct quantity. Too little and the user experiences dry burn, too much and the coil cannot work efficiently and is unable to vapourise since it is flooded.

The coil heated using the power of the battery, atomises the eliquid fed by the wick which then mixes with oxygen during the inhale thus producing vapour.

Coils are made from different gauges (diameter) of wire which are formed into tightly would coils of different lengths (ie, the number of wraps in the coil).

The different gauge of the wire used and the length/number of wraps of the coil will give each one its resistance' which is measured in oHms.  It is important to know the resistance for optimal settings on the battery when using a variable voltage or variable wattage battery especially when one builds 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 having a single coil a device has a twin or second coil. With both coils being heated at the same time there is a larger surface area of liquid being vapourised, thus the user is able to produce more vapour to attain a bigger cloud and a much stronger chest/throat hit. The additional coil causes a larger drain on battery power shortening the power life between charges.

QUAD Coil - In an RDA or RTA device the design of a model is often enhanced by being able to be used in either dual or quad coil mode, thus there is space and connection posts for the user to attach two or four coils, as in the information for dual coil above, 4 coils further extends the coil surface area available again increasing vapour output. 

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

A Replacement coil is a small a sealed unit which is refitted into an atomiser to replace the coil that has been in use and is now 'spent'.

Early devices were made to be used for a short time only then disposed of once they had perished to be replaced with a new device. Generally sold in packs of 5, replacement coils are not only mch more environmentally sound, they are also much cheaper to replace.  

When buying replacement coils - choose with care

Though they look similar in appearance to one another, replacement coils are device specific, and must therefore, be chosen with care.

Some devices offer different coil options; such as having having different resistances for those who wish to use VV and VW to their best abilities or, there are coils which use different metals or types of wire such as those made specifically for TC settings and so on.

Regular replacement of the coil is essential

No matter the device, it is important that you do not skimp or cut corners with coil replacement. Since coils are relatively inexpensive and it is vital to your continuing success to ensure that your vaping gear is always operating at its best one should not look to make economies in this area. 

Why should you change a coil? When should you change a coil?

To help answer these questions we should look at what happens to the coil and wick during its useful life.

The wick is constantly feeding liquid to the coil. As the coil & the wick immediately surrounding it is repeatedly heated and having oxygen drawn across it the wicking material will become sticky with liquid residues.

  • Batteries that are used set to high wattages or voltages mean that in use coils become extra heated. This causes the wicking to become sticky more quickly, and therefore, their life-span is shortened & coils must be changed sooner

As eliquid is heated, layers of reside build up on the coil. Repeatedly heated these layers will harden and become carbonised.

  • Think of how, with each boiling, a kettle's element accumulates chalk build up in a hard water area. Now with layers of chalk the power & heat of the element must pass through this hardened, thickening chalk layer. Do do this is must work harder to heat the water to bring it to boiling point. 

The coil becoming covered in carbonised liquids from daily vaping means that the battery must send power to the coil for longer periods in order for there to be enough heat to penetrate outward and to atomise the liquid. Not only does this drain the battery more quickly, but a very badly encrusted coil will fail to atomise the liquid fed to it during the inhale. This means that vapour production is stunted. An amount of liquid will not be atomised and so will sit in a pool around the coil and wick becoming sticky where it is adding to the problem. 

As the coil and wick struggle, with the carbonised and sticky residues the flavour of your vape will become tainted, you will no longer be enjoying the flavour profile of your liquid at its purest.

This is all normal degradation and it happens slowly over a period of time. It happens with all eCigs no matter the size, model or style and is why all need to be maintained regularly with daily cleaning and with regular replacement parts.

When your coil needs to be replaced it very likely still operational. Although you are still able to vape with it and it is barely noticeable on a day to day basis the residue build up will be negatively affecting the flavour, taste and the impact of the vape. You will however notice how must your enjoyment has degraded when you  fit a new coil and suddenly your vape tastes amazing!

So, with all this degradation in mind, when should you change a coil?

Well, there is no definitive answer to this because every one of us vapes differently.

A coil that is vaped hotter by having battery settings with higher than normal voltage or wattage will need to be changes sooner than one vaped at standard voltage/wattage output (for the resisitence of the coil in use) 

A user with a high VG content liquid, will find that the coil is carbonised and the wick stickier sooner.

A user doing both those things will use a coil up sooner again.

A user who vapes often, will change a coil more often than a light user..

Experience & your usage of your device and your favoured settings and liquids will over a period of time tell you when you need to change your coil, but on average you should change the coil after about 15-30 days of use.

Coil Burn out

If you take our advice to replace the coil regularly it will most likely still be operational when you make the coil change. However, very occasionally the unit will fail and therefore replacement of the coil may be forced 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. Here, the term 'burnt out', describes when the constantly reheated wire has become so brittle and thin that it has broken. This can occur easily if your device is sharply knocked or is dropped or, it will simply just occur.  A seasoned vaper will have learned to take this in his or her stride and accepts that these odd failures are normal and do happen from time to time.

  • With the brittle & thin wire coil broken the electrical circuit needed for the device to work is interrupted. 


Concentrated flavourings used to add flavour e-liquids. Concentrates do not contain nicotine.

Concentrate flavours were designed for those who like to ‘custom brew’ or custom blend their own eliquid, however, they can also be used by those wishing to make the flavour impact of premixed e-liquid flavours more powerful or to make them into a cocktail blend. 


A stand into which a battery device is placed when not in use. Magnetic connections in the dock and on the base of the battery housing connect to allow 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. 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 when the vaper inhales direct to the lung rather than 'parking' the inhaled vapour in the mouth temporarily as in MTL vaping.

DTL requires a wide bore drip tip, and open airflow to accommodate the inhale direct to the lungs.


This is the final product which is the base combined with flavourings & liquid nicotine (or can be without nicotine)

The base used is usually a blend of PG or VG. 

Flavourings can be artificial or naturally derived - but are always food & pharmaceutical graded.

Liquid nicotine is added in different quantities to make the resultant elquid to a specific MG strength.

Bottles of eliquid containing nicotine 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 containing nicotine can be no larger than 10ml in capacity and that liquid no stronger than 20mg/ml of nicotine.

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

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


The Giantomiser was a large capacity “tank” cartridge used in the EXhale Kyngo eCig device which is no longer sold. Attachments in the Giantomiser range were also compatible with EXhale eGO CE5 and AmeGo starter kits, also now discontinued.


A pouch bag made of a sturdy & thick fire-proof material into which are placed/enclosed your charging eCiig/lithium batteries. Use of the LiPo Guard Safety Charging Bag reduces risk in the case of malfunction or fault

Exhale advises ALL e-cig users to adopt safe charging procedures and advocates use of a LiPo Guard Charging Bag.


The original MOD battery, this is a battery housing, most often in the early days without built in micro-circuitry, however this has changed and now intelligent microcircuitry is standard even in MODs.

A mechanical mod can be designed to accept cells which are removed from the device for recharging or as an alternative, some can be charged on board. As the MOD battery progressed, many now have a built in cell for onboard charging. Some MODS are designed to accept  different kinds of cells some offer the ability to charge in a specially designed dock.

MOD batteries are much more powerful than the standard eGo type lithium ion batteries supplied with most of the off the shelf 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. Since the TPD came into force this is capped in the UK to a maximum of 20mg per ml. Most eliquids are now offered at maximum as an 18mg.


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

However, in the world of vaping this term is 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 intended for use by 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 user inhaled to the mouth before being inhaled onward to the lung. 


The chemical compound of tobacco to which smokers have become addicted. As vapers we obtain nicotine through vaping with eliquid that contains nicotine.  


Eliquid containing nicotine as an ingredient.  See ELIQUID


A battery which has a feature known as passthrough can safely be vaped for continuous use whilst also going through its recharging cycle.The battery being re-charged is attached to a PC or electrical socket via the Charging Lead supplied as part of the original kit. Most often passthrough capability is attractive to office workers or those who are sat a computer for long periods of time.

For safety, users should use only leads that are supplied with their kits even if other leads have the same connections.


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.


This is a base liquid most often blended with VG (Vegetable Glycerine).

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


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.


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

The name Personal Vapouriser is preferred by many because it avoids any mention or allusion to being linked to cigarettes or smoking.


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.


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, a tank  is filled with eliquid which is then delivered to the atomiser. A tank can be re-filled many times. Rather than being a separate component in a modern device the tank is integral to the atomiser/clearomiser & is most often glass tubed allowing clear sight of liquid levels as well as preventing staining or tainting of eliquid.


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.

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.

More and more, charging leads are now fitted with USB connectors rather than with mains plugs.

Adaptors can be found in the accessories section of our store located 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.


A term sometimes used to refer to an Electronic Cigarette because they are pen shaped and sized and it avoids using the word "cigarette" when talking about or describing the device (electronic cigarette, eCig)


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


Most often used together with PG, VG is also used alone as a base to an eliquid

VG is used widely in the food & pharmaceutical industries and has a sweet taste. It is used in products such as baby soaps.


The material that is threaded through the centre of the coil and which carries and feeds by capillary action eliquid 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 absorbent twisted fibres.