The ABCs of E Cigarettes


As with any new hobby or practice it is best to know the basics before you start. With e cigarettes there are so many terms and components it is easy to feel a little overwhelmed so below is a list of the most important ABCs of e cigarette usage.

A             Atomiser

The atomiser is the part of the e cigarette that heats up the e liquid and turns it into vapour

B             Battery

An e cigarette or personal vaporiser (PV) must be run by a battery, usually rechargeable

C             Cartridge / Cartomizer

The cartridge is the mouthpiece for the e cigarette which holds the e liquid in an internal reservoir whilst the cartomizer is an integrated cartridge and atomiser

D             Dripping

Dripping is the practice of adding e liquid to an atomiser; there’s no other filler material in this process as all you do is drip a few drops directly onto the bridge before vaping

E              E Liquid

E liquid is the liquid nicotine that gets vaporised when an e cigarette is used; e liquids come in different strengths and flavours

F              Filler

The filler is an absorbent material placed inside the cartridge in order to keep the e liquid inside and carry it to the atomiser at optimum speed

G             Goose Neck

The “goose neck” is a flexible extension that is available for most e cigarettes, keeping the hottest part of the instrument a little further from the user’s face

H             Heating Element (Filament)

The heating element is the most important part of the atomiser as it is a coil of wire that heats up and vaporises the liquid nicotine

I               IMR Battery

The IMR battery is a lithium ion manganese rechargeable battery that is used in most e cigarettes

J              Juice

Juice or e juice is another term for e liquid, the chemical combination that gets vaporised and provides the hit for an e cigarette user

K             Knock-offs

Knock-offs come in all shapes and size but there is no such thing as a bargain imitation; buy your e cigarettes and e liquids from trustworthy sources to stay safe because the electrics, chemicals and so on need professional knowledge, not car-boot variety knock-offs

L              Low Resistance (LR)

Being powered by electricity, e cigarettes will come with different measures of resistance. An atomiser or cartomizer that has a lower Ohm rating than standard pieces will produce vapour more quickly because its heating element will get hotter faster

M            Manual               

A manual e cigarette battery will have a button that a user will need to press in order to activate the heating element; though it is less like a traditional cigarette than an automatic battery piece, manual batteries are often preferred by those worried about leaking (where the e cig is overfilled with juice which leaks into the battery and damages the device)

N             Nicotine

Nicotine is a stimulant when taken in small amounts; introduced to Europe in 1559 it is a chemical isolated from tobacco and the sole purpose the e cigarette was developed – so people could get a nicotine fix without having to spark up and smoke tobacco

O             Ohm

An ohm is a unit of electrical resistance; the lower the ohm value means the lower the resistance is and low resistance means the atomiser can heat up faster

P             Propylene Glycol (PG)

PG is a colourless liquid base that is an ingredient commonly found in e liquid. It is mixed with the all-important liquid nicotine and the compound is heated, vaporised and inhaled. It is widely believed that PG produces less vapour than Vegetable Glycerin (VG) but provides more flavour

R             Resistance

The term resistance is used when talking about atomisers or cartomizers which come in low, standard or high resistance measures and affect the speed of heating

S              Starter Kit

An electronic cigarette starter kit contains all the basics an e cigarette user will need to get started. Generally composed of a battery, a USB charger and one or two cartomizers, the kits come in different variations with additions available

T              Throat Hit (TH)

The throat hit is the tingling sensation an e cigarette user experiences at the back of their throat when vaporising liquid nicotine; the sensation depends of the nicotine level

U             USB Pass-through

A USB pass-through is an empty battery with a wire and USB connected. It powers the e cigarette by running off a computer’s power

V             Vaping

Vaping is derived from “vaporising” and is the term commonly used to describe the action of using an electronic cigarette

W           Wick

The wick is the narrow piece of poly-fibre inside many atomisers that allows a more efficient delivery of e juice to the heating element

Though this is not the most comprehensive guide to e cigarettes it is a good place to start, giving you a basic knowledge of the associated jargon and some idea of what to look out for. Due to the complex technological nature of e cigarettes it is still best to ask an expert about e cigarette use and components.

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