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The Essential ​Vaping Glossary

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If you’re new to the world of e-cigarettes, you’ve probably been bombarded with a monolithic wave of new words and expressions related to the vaping universe. If you haven’t heard of these terms before, trying to parse the language may get a little overwhelming. We at EVCigarettes want to make the process of shopping for vape supplies and accessories as effortless and stress-free for as many people as possible; that’s why we’ve compiled this very helpful list of common vaping words and phrases to help you navigate the murky waters of vaping terminology. Feel free to refer back to this when confronted with confusing terms, whether found here or anywhere else in the world you may encounter them. This list will be revisited and updated by our staff as new and exciting technologies and trends are introduced to the vaping market, but if there’s any vocabulary not included that you think belongs in this list, please don’t hesitate to let us know and we’ll update the list accordingly.


18650 – The most common size of rechargeable batteries used in APVs.

26650 – A type of rechargeable battery used in APVs; they are larger than an 18650 and usually have a better mAh and amp limit, but devices that accept them are few and far between.

510 – The most common measurement of e-cigarettes, used to describe the type of threading and drip tip; most modern atomizers and APVs use 510 threading and drip tips.

808 – A relatively common measurement of e-cigarettes, used to describe the type of threading and drip tip.


Adjustable – Can be moved or altered for a desired fit, appearance, or setting; can refer to adjustable wattage, adjustable airflow, etc.

Advanced Personal Vaporizer (APV) – Can refer solely to the device powering the atomizer, such as the battery/box mod, or the entire setup itself. (See Mod)

Airholes – How air enters the atomizer. Can be a few as one or as many as 48+. (Also called Airslots, Air holes, Airflow)

Airflow – The passing of air through the atomizer. Low airflow means a high resistance draw, and vice versa.

Airflow Control (AFC) – How the airflow can be throttled, usually by rotating a ring to cover airslots, and by how much.

All Day Vape – Your favorite juice to vape all day -- might not be your top favorite flavor of all-time, but is something that you immediately reach for and stays consistently delicious throughout the day; also the name of EVCigarette's B&M storefront located in Jacksonville, FL.

Allen Key – Used to tighten and loosen screws with a hexagonal hole; usually included in the box with an atomizer using grub screws.

American Wire Gauge (AWG) – A universal measurement of the thickness of a particular wire.

Amperage – A measure of the flow of electricity through a circuit. Certain batteries can handle a higher amperage than others – if a battery cannot handle the amperage being drawn, it can have dangerous consequences. (See Thermal Runaway, Vent)

Atomizers - The component of the device with the wick and coil, whether it be the replacement atomizer head or the entirety of an RBA. Can also be used to refer to the whole device as well, not just the coil/wick component.

Atomizer Head – The component of clearomizers that need to be purchased according to the model of clearomizer and replaced periodically; modern manufacturers often provide atomizer heads with different resistances, heating elements, and coil types for a specific clearomizer modelOften referred to as the Coil Head.


Battery – Can refer to a vaporizer, such as a pen-style vape, or an actual rechargeable battery such as an 18650 (See Cell).

Brick & Mortar (B&M) – An e-cigarette store with a physical storefront where customers can come in and purchase e-cigarette supplies and accessories.

Boost  Electrical regulation that accepts incoming voltage and outputs a higher voltage, either on its own or as part of a buck/boost module.

Bore – The width of the inner diameter of a drip tip. A wide bore is necessary for atomizers with a large amount of airflow, but will still be restricted by the smallest diameter in the atomizer (i.e. adding a wide bore drip tip to an atomizer with a skinny chimney won’t necessarily create better airflow).

Bottom Dual Coil (BDC) – A type of atomizer head with two horizontal coils installed at the bottom of the chimney.

Bottom Vertical Coil (BVC) – A type of atomizer head with a vertical coil installed at the bottom of the chimney.

Bottom-Feed – Refers to airflow that hits the coil from the bottom, usually in an RBA.

Box Mod – A type of APV with a rectangular form factor and is often much more powerful than cig-a-likes or pen-style batteries; most commonly powered by 18650s or a built-in LiPo battery pack.

Buck – Electrical regulation that accepts incoming voltage and outputs a lower voltage, either on its own or as part of a buck/boost module.

Build – The coil(s) installed in an RBA.

Build Deck – Found in RBAs, this is where the user-built coil is inserted into the positive and negative terminals.


Capacity – Refers to either the maximum amount of juice a tank can hold, or how long a rechargeable battery will last between charges.

Cartomizer – An early style of atomizer that held a long, high-ohm coil and cheap wicking inside a long chassis; these early devices were oftentimes designed to be non-refillable, but early vapers found ways around this.

Cell – Another word for a replaceable and rechargeable battery such as an 18650.

Ceramic – A material becoming increasingly prevalent in atomizer heads, often used for its nonconductive properties, extreme heat resistance, and chemically inert nature.

Charger – The component that attaches to and charges the battery. This may be a micro-USB cord, an eGo-style cable, or an external charger for larger battery cells.

Cig-a-like – Early styles of e-cigarettes that closely resemble real cigarettes.

Circuit Board – The circuitry regulating the output of the device. Also called the Chip, Chipset, Printed Circuit Board (PCB).

Chimney – The component of an atomizer directing air from the atomizer head to the mouthpiece, vapor travels through here; chimney coil is another name for a vertical coil.

Clapton – A thin strand of wire wrapped coaxially around a thicker strand. The result resembles guitar wire, hence the name.

Clearomizer – Any type of atomizer that accepts replacement atomizer heads; often made from plastic, metal, and glass.

Coil – A strand(s) of wire wrapped around a rod to create a spring-like structure that is then heated to vaporize oncoming e-liquid.

Coil Jig – Assists in wrapping coils. Also called Coil Winder.

Continuous – How large of an amp draw a battery can safely handle while being completely discharged without heating past 100°F; the continuous rating is the safest measurement and the one that should be followed, as it ensures complete safety in the event of accidental firing.

Cotton – The material most often used in atomizers as the wick. Usually 100% organic and free of any additives.

Cut-off – The automatic stop to the firing of an atomizer. Some devices have an auto-cut-off on a timer to prevent accidental firing.


Do-It-Yourself (DIY) – Can refer to homemade e-liquid or to user-built coils.

DNA – A high quality type of circuit board made by Evolv, comes in different versions according to wattage limit (DNA40, DNA200, etc.).

Diketones – Chemicals such as diacetyl and acetyl propionyl that are potentially found in e-liquid; while found in much lower concentrations than in cigarette smoke, these chemicals are the subject of much debate over the safety of e-liquid. Most, if not all, manufacturers have ceased adding these chemicals, but diketones can sometimes be found in flavorings and is naturally formed in minute amounts as e-liquid steeps and nicotine degrades.

Discharge – The act of releasing electricity from a battery, whether it be intentional in order to power a device, or accidental through a short circuit. How much a battery can discharge at one time is measured by its maximum amperage, how long it can maintain that discharge is measured by its mAh.

Disposable – Can be thrown away after use. All atomizer heads are disposable (if they are not rebuildable) as well as some types of cig-a-likes.

Delrin – A highly heat-resistant material used in drip tips and insulators.

Direct-To-Lung (DTL) – Drawing vapor from an atomizer straight into the lungs (i.e. like taking a deep breath). Best with high-wattage devices.

Draw – A puff of an e-cig -- can be described as “tight” or “loose” to describe the airflow.

Drip Cap – A fusion of a drip tip and top cap, most often found in RDAs and with a very wide bore.

Drip Tip – The often removable and replaceable mouthpiece on most types of atomizers. Drip tips come in a wide variety of materials such as stainless steel, glass, delrin, plastic, silicone, etc. They come in a variety of sizes, but the most common by far is 510.

Dry Hit – When the speed of juice absorption cannot keep up with the rate of vaporization or not enough juice is left to be vaporized, the coil will still continue to heat up; because there isn’t enough juice to cool the coil down through evaporation, the coil will burn the wicking and produce a very foul and nasty taste. Dry hits are easily reversed and avoidable in RDAs and RDTAs by adding more juice; in other RBAs, you may need to readjust your wick to ensure a steady flow of juice; in clearomizers, dry hits are rare, but can help identify when an atomizer head has reached the end of its lifespan.


E-liquid (E-juice) – The mixture of PG, VG, flavorings, and possibly nicotine that is vaporized and inhaled.

ECF – Can refer to the E-Cigarette Forum or to any one of the many e-cigarette related Facebook groups.

ECR – Refers to the e-cigarette subreddit (reddit.com/r/electronic_cigarette). Lots of useful information posted daily.

eGo – A certain type of e-cigarette battery/clearomizer kit; first introduced by Kanger, it quickly became extremely popular due to its ease of use and affordability; also used to describe the type of threading and drip tip introduces with this platform and used most often with these types of beginner-oriented devices.

Ekowool – A type of silica wick.

Electronic Cigarette - a device containing a liquid that is vaporized and inhaled, used to simulate the experience of smoking tobacco. Also called E-cig.


Food & Drug Admin (FDA) – a federal agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services currently tasked with regulating e-cigarettes.

Firing – The act of powering the atomizer and vaporizing liquid.

Firing switch – The button that activates the circuit powering the atomizer.

Flavor Transportation – How well the flavor of a juice is tasted in a particular tank or device. Low flavor transportation means muted, dead flavor; high transportation means complex, nuanced flavor with rich with undertones and hidden deliciousness.

Flavorings – What makes e-liquid tasty. Same kinds of flavorings (sometimes even exactly the same flavorings) found in foods, drinks, candy, etc.

Fuse – A component that will break if the current flow is too large. Used to add degree of safety to unregulated mods.

Fused Clapton – A clapton coil with two strands in the core instead of one.


Genesis– An increasingly popular type of RTA; the e-liquid tank is located below the build deck rather than above, drawing juice upwards to the coil(s). When first introduced, these required stainless steel mesh wicking and coil installation was exceedingly cumbersome, but modern genesis tanks are designed to use standard cotton wicking and accept coils much like traditional RTAs. Also referred to as a Genny or Genesis Tank Atomizer (GTA).

Glassomizer – A clearomizer with a glass tank. Most modern clearomizers are technically glassomizers.

Grub Screw – Screws that require an Allen key to tighten and loosen.


Heating Element – the metal component which provides the resistance of the circuit and heats up to vaporize e-liquid; may be bent into a spring-like cylindrical shape and installed by hand, or as part of an atomizer head.

Heat Fins – Small protruding fins found most commonly on RBAs that help cool the device.

Hot Spot – When a coil heats up unevenly, producing harsh vapor and bad taste. Most common in DIY coils. Also called Hot Legs.

Hybrid – A mechanical mod lacking a positive pin. The atomizer connects to the battery by directly touching the positive pole. Can be a problem if an atomizer’s positive pin doesn’t protrude further than the threading; if the threading touches the battery’s positive pole, it creates a short circuit. Because of this, hybrid mechanical mods are for experienced vapers only.


ICR – A battery cell who’s defining chemical composition is comprised primarily of cobalt; these types of cells are safe to use, but are unstable compared to other types.

IMR - A battery cell who’s defining chemical composition is comprised primarily of manganese; these types of cells have a high discharge rate and a low average temperature, making them a great choice for vapers.

INR – A battery cell who’s defining chemical composition is comprised primarily of cobalt and manganese; combining the best of both elements, these cells have a high discharge rate as well as a large capacity, making them ideal for vapers.


Joule – A measure of energy; used in some devices in place of “wattage” in TC-mode to set how fast an atomizer will reach the maximum temperature.

Juice Well – The bottom of an RDA build deck where juice rests after being dripped into an RDA. Juice is drawn from here into the wick.


Kanthal – The most common form of heating element used in atomizers.


Leads – The ends of a coil that is installed in the positive and negative terminals. Also called Legs.

Li-Ion – A type of rechargeable battery that utilizes lithium and some other ionic element.

LiPo- A common type of Li-Ion rechargeable battery which has been incorporated into a polymer that can be morphed into any size (not limited to round battery cells, often found as solid rectangular pack).


Mechanical – any APV without any regulating circuitry that has its circuit completed by mechanically touching two things together (e.g. battery and switch). May come as a tube or as a box mod. Also called Mech Mod.

Milliamp Hour (mAh) – The overall capacity of a battery (bigger is better).

Milligram – refers to concentration of nicotine in juice; most commonly found in 0mg, 3mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18mg, and 24mg, though in-between amounts like 1.5mg and 9mg are becoming increasingly prevalent.

Milliliter – A measurement of volume; common sizes are 5mL, 10mL, 15mL, 30mL, 45mL, 60mL, 120mL, etc.

Mod – Short for “modification”, refers to any type of non-pen-style APV (e.g. box mod, mechanical mod, unregulated mod, etc.).

Mode – Refers to the different modes of an APV (e.g. VW, TC, Bypass, etc.).

Mouth-to-Lung (MTL) – Drawing vapor from an atomizer into the mouth before inhaling it into the lungs (i.e. like puffing on a cigarette or cigar).Suitable for low-wattage devices, unsatisfactory with higher power devices.


Negative – the end that provides the flow of electrons in a complete circuit / the bottom (flat) end of a battery.

Negative Post – The post or terminal in an RBA’s build deck that accepts the flow of electricity after it has reached the coil.

Nichrome – a unique alloy used as a heating element; lower resistance and faster heat-up time than kanthal.

Nickel (Ni200) – A heating element first used as nonresistance leads, then used as the first temperature control compatible material, becoming more popular as temperature control became more prevalent.

Nicotine - a colorless or yellowish oily liquid that is the chief active constituent of e-liquid. Officially deemed highly addictive.

Nonresistance – used to describe materials with little to no electrical resistance, such as Ni200; some early RBAs required non-resistance leads to extend the length of the coil in order to reach oddly placed terminals.


OLED – The most common type of self-lighting display screen found in APVs.

Ohm (Ω) – A measure of the electrical resistance of a particular length of material. Used with voltage to calculate wattage and amperage.

Ohm meter – A device that measures the resistance of an atomizer. Most often comes with a threaded port for inserting atomizers, though a standard ohm meter with positive and negative wires, found at any hardware store, will suffice by touching the atomizer’s threading and positive pin with the negative and positive leads respectively.


Parallel – The wiring of two or more batteries that connects them side-by-side (each pole leads to the end of the circuit) rather than serially (each pole leads to the pole of the next battery). This effectively multiples the overall amp limit and mAh by the number of batteries connected, making them very safe for novices.

Pass-through – The ability of a device to charge while actively being used to vape.

PEEK – A type of heat-resistant material used as electrical insulation in atomizers.

Polarity – The difference between the negative and positive poles of a battery; if a battery is inserted the incorrect way, the reverse polarity can be dangerous, especially in mechanical mods. Most regulated mods have some sort of detection or prevention for reverse polarity.

Positive – The end that accepts the flow of electrons in a complete circuit / the top (button) end of a battery.

Positive Pin – the component found in the middle of the 510 connector of an APV or atomizer that connects the atomizer to the battery. Absent in hybrid mods.

Positive Post – The post or terminal, most often in an RBA, supplying electricity to the coil.

Propylene Glycol (PG) – One of the four necessary ingredients in e-liquid. It is often what the flavorings used in the juice come suspended in, so it’s found in essentially all e-liquid. It is also used in ventilation systems as a natural antibiotic as well as in inhalers as the primary carrier of medication. PG is relatively thin, produces relatively small clouds and adds a degree of throat hit.

Pulse – How large of an amp draw a battery can handle for a specific amount of time; this number is usually much larger than the continuous rating, but can vary wildly from source to source, depending on the timeframe being used (e.g. 60A @ 30sec, 120A @ 5sec, etc.). It’s much safer to rely solely on a battery’s continuous rating – if a battery is accidentally left firing a resistance it can barely handle (in a pocket, purse, car, etc.), it can lead to venting.


Rayon – A wicking material used in rebuilding, used as an alternative to cotton.

Rebuilding – The act of wrapping a coil by hand (or purchasing a premade coil), inserting wicking material, and installing it into an RBA; considered a hobby by most who take part, there are many different types of wires, coils and building styles to try.

Rebuildable Atomizer (RBA) - Any atomizer in which the physical coil and wick can be uninstalled and replaced with a fresh set. An RBA will always have at least one positive and negative post to respectively introduce and accept the flow of electricity. Most replacement atomizer heads are not rebuildable (unless you want to try really hard), though some clearomizers have a rebuildable version of the head.

Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer (RDA) – An atomizer with an open internal chamber holding the coil build and terminals; airflow is usually from holes punched into the sides of the external cover, but can sometimes bottom-feed or top-feed airflow. RDAs are renowned for their exceptional flavor and vapor production. RDAs have no real juice storage space aside from the juice well; they rely on a fresh supply of juice being dripped into the chamber periodically. Can be prone to leaking, as there’s nothing holding the juice in the well in place. Also called Drippers.

Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizer (RDTA) – A hybrid between an RDA and an RTA, these devices feature a build deck similar to an RDA, usually with direct airflow hitting the coils from the sides and wicks that hang freely, with a free-standing tank that drips onto the build deck or supplies juice to the wicks.

Rebuildable Tank Atomizer (RTA) – An atomizer with a tank for holding juice, a build deck (usually with bottom-feed airflow), and wicking ports. The coil is installed in the terminals and the wicks are placed in the ports. The tank is then installed on top and the wicking ports draw juice from the bottom of the tank upwards to the coil.

Regulated – Any vaporizer that has some sort of digital throttling mechanism for the voltage supplied to the atomizer, such as a circuit board or a kick, is at least semi-regulated; a device is only fully regulated when the power output can be selected from the achievable range, manually applied, and subsequently followed until changed by the user. (See Variable Voltage, Variable Wattage)

Resistance – A measure of the reduction in amperage a certain number of volts undergoes when completing a circuit.

Reverse Polarity – Refers to when a battery cell is inserted the opposite way, reversing the intended flow of electricity. Most regulated devices have protections against this, but in unregulated devices, this can be dangerous, potentially leading to a hard short. (See Short Circuit)

Ribbon – A type of wire that is flat as opposed to round.


Series - The wiring of two or more batteries that connects them serially (each pole leads to the pole of the next battery) rather than side-by-side (each pole leads to the end of the circuit); this effectively multiples the overall voltage by the number of batteries connected, but the amp limit remains the same -- even though 2x the voltage means 2x the amp draw -- making them relatively unsafe and only for experienced vapers.

Short Circuit – When a circuit is rerouted to go directly back into the battery; this sort of circuit has very, very little resistance, which creates an infinitely large amp draw, more than any battery can handle, and can be very dangerous. Also called a hard short. (See Thermal Runaway, Vent)

Silica – A type of wicking first used in early clearomizers; became essentially obsolete with the rise of cotton.

Squonk – A type of APV and atomizer, usually an RDA, that has a bottle of juice built into the mod. This bottle is squeezed to send juice straight up into the RDA. Requires a special type of positive pin, some RDAs come with this.

Stacking – The act of placing battery cells pole-to-pole in order to jimmy-rig a device with additional voltage. Has all the same pitfalls of series wiring, with an extra degree of danger. EXPERIENCED VAPERS ONLY

Stainless Steel – A very, very common material (as I’m sure you know) that’s used not only in the construction of most, if not all, devices, but also as a type of heating element. It comes in different grades (e.g. 316, 316L, 304, etc.) that perform virtually identically.

Starter Kit – A bundle of products that include an atomizer, battery, and charger; essentially everything you need to start vaping (besides the juice).

Steeping – The act of strategically aging e-liquid via airing out the bottle, carefully heating the juice, or even just letting it sit in a dark, cool place for a while. This can drastically change the flavor of the juice for the better, subduing harsh notes and bringing out subtle ones. If you don’t like a juice at first taste, try steeping it for a while, the change may very well win you over.

Sub-Ohm – Any resistance less than 1.0Ω. Early atomizers were made at very high resistances, as high as 3.0Ω, but as modern APVs become more advanced , sub-ohm devices are quickly becoming the norm.


Tailpiping – Puffing on an atomizer without a drip tip.

Tank – Can refer to an atomizer with a space for storing juice before it’s sent to the atomizer head, or can refer to the actual storage space itself.

Temperature Control (TC) – The limiting of a coil’s maximum temperature via detection of the coil’s change in resistance as it heats up; nickel (Ni200), titanium (Ti), and stainless steel (SS316, SS316L, etc.) are the primary heating elements used for TC, as they have changes in resistance large enough to measure.

Temperature Coefficient of Resistance (TCR) – A measurement of a material’s change in resistance as it is heated; this measurement is preinstalled in TC devices for most commonly used materials, such as Ni200 and Ti. Some devices have a TCR mode, allowing you to add the TCR of almost any unsupported material, such as nichrome, and use that heating element in TC.

Terminal – Where the leads of a user-built coil are inserted in the positive and negative posts of an RBA’s build deck, usually secured with a screw of some kind. May be holes in the posts (postholes), a bar that clamps down, or just screws that the lead is wrapped around and secured to.

Thermal Runaway – When a battery is discharged much faster than its amp limit can handle, almost always via short circuit, resulting in a catastrophic failure due to uncontrolled chemical reactions inside the battery. It always begins with venting, often resulting in the bursting of the battery, sometimes quite violently, and can be accompanied by sparks and flames. This is the worst possible scenario and is very unlikely to happen under normal, safe circumstances, even when the battery is being pushed past its amperage rating through normal vaping (though doing so could quickly lead to venting); the one way to prevent thermal runaway is to safeguard against short circuits, primarily by ensuring that your atomizer reads the correct resistance every time and your batteries are in pristine condition with no exposed metal or nicks in the plastic wrap.

Threading – How the atomizer attaches to the vaporizer; comes in a variety of sizes, the most common being 510.

Throat Hit – The feeling of vapor as it fits the back of the throat; juices high in PG will have a heavy throat hit, juices high in VG have little to no throat hit.

Titanium – A type of heating element material used with temperature control devices.

Top Cap – Found most often in RDAs, this is the top piece that is removable, usually in order to drip juice onto the coils. Can possibly be one piece with the external sleeve, the drip tip, or both.

Top Coil – Found in early clearomizers, these types of heads are installed nearest to the mouthpiece with long wicks extending downwards into the tank. These types of clearomizers are often prone to spitback and dry hits due to how the atomizer is positioned.

Top-Feed – Refers to airflow that hits the coil from the top, usually in an RBA; less prone to leaking than other types of airflow

Top-Fill – The mechanism that allows the refilling of a tank from the top as opposed to removing the base from the tank in order to refill it.


Voop – The act of vaping whilst on the toilet. Don’t act like you haven’t done it, too…

Variable Voltage (VV) – Any device with an adjustable voltage output; technically, every VW device is VV.

Variable Wattage (VW) – Any device with an adjustable wattage. In a bold move, the concept of VW has been patented by Evolv, creator of the arguably original VW device.

Vape – Can refer to an APV or the actual use of an e-cigarette (e.g. “Hey, pass me your vape; I forgot mine at home and haven’t vaped all day.”)

Vaper (that’s you!) – Any person who uses an e-cigarette on a regular basis. Can be grouped according to primary vaping interests (cloud-chasers, flavor-fienders, collectors, clone soldier, etc.).

Vaper’s Tongue – When a juice loses its initial flavor after vaping it for too long; easily remedied by switching to a different flavor for a while.

Vapor– The steam produced when e-liquid is vaporized; when exhaled, usually a 9:1 mixture of water vapor and vaporized e-liquid.

Vapor Production – How much vapor is produced.

Vegetable Glycerin (VG) – One of the four primary ingredients in e-liquid; VG is found in many different types of foods and drinks; VG is relatively thick, slightly sweet, very smooth, and produces large, thick vapor.

Vent – The rapid rise in temperature and subsequent release of hot gases and acids when a battery is pushed past its stress limit. Venting in itself is not an explosive process: batteries are designed to make venting as safe as it can possibly be. Precautions are taken against this, as most (if not all) devices have some sort of venting system, whether it be via holes or a valve, to help prevent gases from building up inside the mod and being explosively expelled. You can prevent venting from ever occurring by ensuring your battery can always handle the amperage being drawn (use battery’s continuous amp rating), as well as looking out for any potential short circuits.

Vertical Coil – A coil positioned vertically as opposed to horizontally, common in modern atomizer heads. Will usually have the wick positioned around the coil instead of inside it, allowing air to pass through.

Voltage – A measure of the electromotive force output at a certain time; can have a simple output through a direct circuit or can be adjusted with a chipset or buck/boost module.


Wattage – The calculated measure of the electrical force created through the interaction of resistance and voltage.

Wick – The material used to absorb juice before it’s vaporized by the coil. Used to be only silica (used mostly in atomizer heads), now organic cotton, rayon and ceramic are much more common.


Yihi – A type of high quality circuit board used many in Joyetech products.

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