Last Updated on February 2, 2018 by Team Spinfuel

What’s In A Name – APV, Mod, eCig, or What?

Over the past year I’ve heard eCigarettes called many things, from Advanced Personal Vaporizer, or APV, Mod, eCigarette, eCig, Personal Vaporizer or PV. Which term do you use? Does it matter to you? It does to me and I’d like to share with you the reasons why.

Over the past 30 years or so our society has been inundated with the “evils of smoking”, to the point where there seems to be no one left that has a neutral attitude about tobacco smoking. You are either a non-smoker who detests everything about smoking, or you’re still a smoker. But even smokers feel think differently about smoking today and there is a whole of self-loathing going on. It is no longer acceptable to be a smoker. Period.

Where once in American and European society is was considered just dandy to smoke anywhere you pleased, including airplanes and tiny restaurants, today we’re close to banning smoking inside your own home. The anti-smoking crowd is practically hysterical over smoking in public. This “fear of smoking” has crossed over to vaping as well.

It is not unheard of to see people become angry at the sight of someone vaping, especially if the eCigarette resembles an analog cigarette. Even when the eCigarette looks nothing like an analog, people are still jumpy, anxious, and opinionated about it. How often have you experienced some non-smoker demanding that you stop vaping because it either smelled terrible (it doesn’t), it irritates them (only mentally), or it’s making them nauseous (a result of hypochondria)? I’ve experienced it plenty of times. So much so that I seldom vape in public anymore.

But on those rare occasions when I do vape when non-smokers are around and I am asked about my vaping and not insulted in the process, I hate saying the word “eCigarette” because it’s too similar to the word “cigarette”. As soon as you say “eCigarette” you get that look that says, “Whoa, cigarette smoke!” and they back away from you a couple of feet. Even if they mean well, even is they are still interested in what you have to say, the word cigarette makes them a little frightened that they are being exposed to second hand smoke.

I don’t enjoy being a social pariah, so like I said, I seldom vape in public or even at parties or other social situations. But it did get me to thinking that back in the beginning of the vaping revolution the revolutionaries chose a bad word to use. I’m certain that had eCigarette not been adopted as the chosen word to represent vaping that there would be considerably less hostility toward the act of vaping. I have no idea how much less, but it would be considerable.

I discussed this topic with every vaping buddy I have, with the intention of coming up with a new, definitive word to use instead of eCigarette. Yes, there are several words making the rounds but none of them seem to stick. We all have our favorites though, that’s for sure.


Tom McBride, a Spinfuel Staffer and the new editor for the Spinfuel Guide to Vaping, prefers the word “mod” or “mods” for plural. Ever since I’ve known him as a Vaper he has used that word everywhere. “Hey, what do you think of my new Mod?” or in response to a stranger inquiry, “It’s not a cigarette, it’s a mod.” Which generates a response like “What’s a mod?”. His answer? “A device that generate water vapor that looks like smoke and tastes like anything I want it to taste like”… That produces a confused look, but usually shuts them up.


Lisa likes the term “PV”, for “Personal Vaporizer”. When asked the same questions above she answers with the same aplomb; “It’s a PV”, and “A personal vaporizer that produces water vapor. It’s fun”. She actually gets more smiles than frowns by adding, “It’s fun”.


Julia has started using APV more and more lately. Advanced Personal Vaporizer seems awfully technological, but she seems to think that when someone hears it, someone that doesn’t vape or smoke, they seem taken aback, like they missed something somewhere. More often than not, she says the responses she gets are along the line of “It’s a what?” or “Say what?”, things to that effect. While APV is accurate, it sounds too technological to me as well.


Sadly, this is the term I used to use all the time. To me, they ARE eCigarettes. It is the term you will see in Spinfuel most of the time. Short for “electronic cigarette” it makes sense to use the term in front of, or for the sake of, other Vapers. “It’s an eCigarette Damnit!” Along the same line I suppose we could use the long version and call it the “electronic cigarette”, but to me that’s just admitting that it is a cigarette, and its not.

The Legal Definition of “Cigarette”

CIGARETTE : a slender roll of cut tobacco enclosed in paper and meant to be smoked; also : a similar roll of another substance (as marijuana)

See cigarette defined for English-language learners »
See cigarette defined for kids »
Variants of CIGARETTE
cig·a·rette also cig·a·ret

So, you see, it ain’t no cigarette.

Here to Stay

The eCigarette is not going anywhere. That genie has left the bottle and it’s not going to be stuffed back in. If the FDA bans vaping there will be a burgeoning black market for eCigarettes. They are, after all, a basic metal tube with a battery in it. Even without the sophisticated electronics in the ProVari, eVic, ZMAX, etc., even if Propylene Glycol were banned from human consumption and illegal to purchase without some long drawn out paperwork, vaping will continue with vegetable glycerin and a battery. So, we need to call it something…

Personally, I think we need to put some serious thinking into this, because it isn’t going anywhere. A decade down the road I believe the eCigarette market will be a 20 billion dollar industry and eventually, perhaps even within that decade, the acceptance of vaping will become a reality. I also think we might be able to gain acceptance sooner if there was a better name for it and one that everyone adopted and used 24/7.

I have no idea what they word should be; only that it should be something else.

And Finally…

While my family and my friends know what I do for a living, and they know that I am always researching or reviewing eLiquids, every day, they seem to have “adapted”. When we talk about it I use the word “vaping” a lot. There seems to be a very neutral reaction to the word “vaping” or “vape”. It sounds nothing like smoking and from what I have heard non-smokers do not conjure up the image of a cigarette when they hear the word. So maybe we need to work on ‘vaping’ somehow, and create a word for those devices that allow us the opportunity and the privilege to “vape”.

  1. A Vape Machine.
  2. A Vape-erer.
  3. A Vapey.
  4. A Vapeatzer.
  5. A Vapette.
  6. Hey, wait a minute… Vapette.
  7. Vapette?
  8. Vapette!
  9. “Hey, what is that?”
  10. “It’s a Vapette.”
  11. “Oh. Well. Carry one then…”
  12. Hmmm… maybe so…
  13. Thoughts anyone?