For experienced vapers, phrases like ‘carto’, ‘PG’ and ‘ADV’ are commonplace. But for someone newly initiated into the vaping world, these can be somewhat daunting and not a little confusing. So for all the recent converts out there, here’s a handy guide to some of the most widely used vaping terms. E-CIGARETTE Most (if not all) vapers will be aware of what electronic or e-cigarettes are – the name is self-evident – but many are not entirely sure how they work. Essentially, a small cartridge of e-liquid is turned to vapour using a heating element (the atomizer). The vapour is then inhaled in the same way as cigarette smoke. The heating element needs power to function, though, by means of a rechargeable battery. Therefore, e-cigarettes need charging at a mains socket periodically if you want to keep using them when you’re out and about. ATOMIZER This is the heating element in any electronic cigarette. It heats the e-liquid using a metal coil and a cotton wick, which soaks up the e-liquid and allows it to be heated. This only happens as and when you use the e-cigarette, so you don’t end up with a backlog of vapour waiting to be inhaled. CARTOMIZER/CARTO This is a design of e-cigarette in which the cartridge containing the e-liquid and the atomizing coil are combined. This is the most common design of e-cig, and simplifies the vaping process. CLEAROMIZER/CLEARO A cartomizer with a transparent cartridge, allowing you to see how much e-liquid you’ve got left. These are the best choice for new vapers, as they’re easy to use and monitor. They also help avoid the dreaded ‘dry puff’. DRY PUFF When an e-liquid cartridge has run out, the wick and coil have nothing to vaporise. Therefore, the next use of the e-cigarette will simply cause the wick to burn, producing an acrid taste and distinct lack of vapour. Luckily, some companies are now producing temperature-controlled e-cigarettes that prevent either the overheating of e-liquid or the burning of wicks, though these are still relatively expensive options. RDA This stands for ‘rebuildable dripping atomizer’, which harks back to the original design of e-cigarettes using standard atomizers. Many people, rather than buy a new atomizer or e-cigarette each time their e-liquid ran out, opted for a rebuildable design, allowing them to replace the coil and wick when needed. These styles often then had e-liquid dripped straight onto the coil rather than soaked up from a cartridge. E-LIQUID/E-JUICE E-liquid is how people refer to the solution that is used in e-cigarettes, with eliquid or e-juice being an alternative name. It is made up of five key ingredients: propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, nicotine, water and flavourings. You can buy e-liquids by the bottle to refill yourself, or already included as part of a disposable e-cigarette, though this latter option is more expensive. ADV This stands for ‘all day vape’ and is a way of referring to your favourite or most regular flavour of e-liquid: the one you would tend to smoke throughout the majority of the day. Generally ADVs are neutral flavours such as menthol, vanilla, fruit or tobacco-based, with more unusual tastes reserved for occasional use. NICOTINE CONTENT E-liquids come with variable nicotine content levels, ranging from around 24mg to a nicotine-free 0mg. The measurement simply means the amount of nicotine in milligrams per millilitre of solution. It can also be expressed as a percentage, with 24mg being 2.4%. The ability to choose how much nicotine you consume when you vape means that users can limit their intake, gradually reduce the amount to ‘wean’ themselves off it, or even continue vaping even when they no longer want or need nicotine at all. PG/VG These stand for the two main ingredients in e-liquid – propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine. PG is generally the primary ingredient, with most e-liquids containing either a 95/05 or a 75/25 PG/VG ratio. However, as some people have an intolerance of PG, there are now a wide range of VG-based e-liquids that reverse the ratio. Many people are concerned about what exactly PG and VG are, as they sound like chemicals. In fact, propylene glycol is a synthetic substance which is used as a solvent in some foods, perfumes and pharmaceuticals (usually to stop them from freezing) and is classed as ‘safe for food use’ – meaning you can consume it without issue. Vegetable glycerine is a natural product of plant oils such as coconut oil or palm oil, and again is totally safe for use.