If you’re new to vaping, there’s a good chance that you’ve spent a bit of time reading about your new pursuit – and there’s an equally good chance that you’ve felt more than a bit overwhelmed by all of the new terms and jargon you’ve seen. How are you supposed to make sense of what you’re reading if every other word seems completely unfamiliar to you?
This is your comprehensive vape juice glossary. In it, we’re going to define all of the vape juice-related jargon that you’ve seen when you’ve read about vaping online. When you’re done reading, you’re going to have a much better idea of what the terms mean – and that’ll help you to have a much better experience each time you shop for e-liquid.
All-Day Vape (ADV)
An all-day vape is an e-liquid that, in the user’s opinion, is so perfectly balanced that it’s appropriate for constant use throughout the day. For some people, an all-day vape is a neutral e-liquid, such as a plan menthol flavor. Others prefer e-liquids that balance sweet and sour notes. What is or isn’t an all-day vape is purely subjective.
Analog is the slang term that the members of the vaping community use to describe a tobacco cigarette. People who prefer tobacco vape juices often refer to their favorite flavors as “analog replacements.”
Coil gunk is the dark residue that forms on a vape coil after extended use. The residue primarily comes from added sweeteners such as sucralose, but other flavoring agents can cause coil gunk as well. When the layer of residue becomes very thick, the coil produces an unpleasant burnt flavor.
At that point, it’s necessary to replace the coil. With heavily sweetened vape juice, coil gunk can form in as little as a day or two.
DIY – short for “do it yourself” – refers to home-made e-liquid in vaping terminology. Vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, nicotine and food-grade flavorings are all readily available to the public in most places, so some vapers make their own vape juice from scratch. Some people do it to save money, and others do it because they enjoy the challenge of creating their own flavors.
A dry hit is the incredibly harsh, burnt flavor that results if you try to vape when your device’s tank or pod is out of vape juice. To avoid dry hits, you should always refill your device as soon as you notice that the level of e-liquid is low.
DTL and MTL – short for “direct to lung” and “mouth to lung” – are the two different inhaling styles that you can use when vaping. New vapers often prefer the MTL inhaling style, which mimics the act of smoking as closely as possible. People often switch to the DTL inhaling style as they gain experience, though, because that’s the way to produce the biggest possible clouds.
Freebase nicotine is the form of nicotine that’s most commonly used in vape juice and in other nicotine replacement products. Although nicotine is a salt in its natural state, the process of extracting nicotine from tobacco – which usually involves the use of an alkaline solvent such as ammonia – converts the nicotine into a free base.
In e-liquids with high nicotine strengths, freebase nicotine can be somewhat harsh on the throat. For that reason, most freebase e-liquids have lower nicotine strengths.
Nicotine salt is the form of nicotine that’s most commonly used in disposable vapes and pre-filled vape pods, and it’s also available in bottled form for refillable pod systems. Nicotine salt vape juice is created by adding a mild acid to a standard e-liquid.
The acid converts the freebase nicotine back to its original salt form. It also lowers the alkalinity of the nicotine, which reduces its harshness. Because nicotine salt vape juice is smoother than freebase nicotine e-liquid and less likely to cause throat irritation, it’s usually sold at higher nicotine strengths.
Throat hit refers to the mild sensation of irritation that you feel in your throat when you inhale nicotine. Because a cigarette creates a fairly strong throat hit, many smokers equate that feeling with satisfaction and want to feel something similar when they switch to vaping.
Generally, the best way to feel a strong throat hit when vaping is by using a device that has tight airflow characteristics and is filled with a high strength vape juice.
Tobacco-Free Nicotine (TFN)
Tobacco-free nicotine (TFN) is a form of nicotine that’s synthesized in a laboratory instead of being extracted from tobacco leaves. Also referred to as synthetic nicotine, TFN represents the fruition of the independent vaping industry’s desire to completely separate itself from the tobacco industry.
TFN is available in both freebase and nicotine salt forms. From a usage standpoint, it feels the same as tobacco-derived nicotine. Most people also agree that it tastes the same. Although it’s true that TFN may have a slightly higher purity than tobacco-derived nicotine, true pharmaceutical-grade nicotine is already over 99-percent pure.
Vaper’s tongue is a temporary condition that some vapers experience after changing e-liquid flavors constantly or using a single strongly flavored vape juice for a long time. When vaper’s tongue sets in, vape juice seems to suddenly lose its flavor.
Vaper’s tongue is a temporary condition that’s usually resolved within a few hours or days by switching to a different e-liquid flavor and continuing to use that one flavor for a while.
VG/PG ratio refers to an e-liquid’s ratio of vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. Because the nicotine and flavors in vape juice are extremely concentrated in their original forms, they need to be diluted before they can be safely consumed.
Vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol are used to dilute the nicotine and flavors to the correct strengths, and those two substances are actually the vast majority of what’s in any bottle of vape juice. Vegetable glycerin is thicker than propylene glycol, which is why experienced vapers are concerned about the VG/PG ratios of e-liquids.
A vape juice with a higher VG/PG ratio will generate bigger clouds, but it may not work well in a small vaping device such as a pod system.