Go Tell Your Meddling City Council: 'Vape' Is Word of the Year


Oxford Dictionary has declared "vape"—the verb used to describe smoking electronic cigarettes—as its word of the year. It added the word to its dictionary in August and charted a spike in the use of the term over the spring as it became a hot-button issue in cities:

Usage of vape peaked in April 2014—as the graph below indicates—around the time that the UK's first 'vape café' (The Vape Lab in Shoreditch, London) opened its doors, and protests were held in response to New York City banning indoor vaping. In the same month, the issue of vaping was debated by The Washington Post, the BBC, and the British newspaper The Telegraph, amongst others.

It could have been "bae" [shudder]

The word beat out "normcore" and "slacktivism," so we should all be grateful at the dodged bullets there. Reason should get part of the credit, yes? Reason writers have been beating the drum throughout 2014 (and earlier) about how local governments are overreacting to the rise of e-cigarettes, attempting to treat them exactly the same as traditional cigarettes even though the harms (especially to bystanders) are not the same and that it could serve as a useful tool to help people quit smoking traditional tobacco. Reason hosted one of those aforementioned protest events in New York City. Here's some recent Reason pieces:

"Smoking by Teenagers Continues to Fall As Vaping Continues to Rise"

"If It Tastes Good to Kids, Ban It"

"Study: E-Cigarettes Offer Far More Benefits Than Harms to Smokers and Bystanders"

"Jay Rockefeller's Vaping Vapors"

And many more pieces here.

And below from Reason TV, New Yorkers fight the city's ban on e-cigarettes in public places and bars:

NEXT: Can a question be hearsay?

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  1. I think you need a triggerwarning. There is some serious victim-blaming going on here.

    1. This vape apologia needs to stop!

      1. Vape culture is no joke.

    2. This whole article is Ableist = Oxford assumes that people saying “Vape” don’t have speech impediments, and are actually saying ‘Rape’. RAPE CONTINUES TO BE INTENTIONALLY UNDER-REPORTED EVEN AS A WORD

  2. The word beat out “normcore” and “slacktivism,”

    I’ve only heard the second word on rare (and obnoxious) occassions. This is the first time ‘normcore’ has ever passed my eyes. I have no bloody clue what it means or is a reference to.

    1. “Normcore is a unisex fashion trend characterized by unpretentious, average-looking clothing.”

      I thought that was just people who don’t care about fashion, not a trend. I guess it describes the way I typically dress (though I’d describe my clothing choices as utilitarian), but it seems like a silly thing to have a word for.

      1. Get your sock and sandal wearing norm-care appropriating ass out of my trend.

        1. It’s worse than that. This summer I wore Birkenstocks with socks a lot (I didn’t pay for them, I swear. And they are actually pretty comfortable.).

          1. Yeah, the shaming of sandals & socks is an American phenomenon that everyone else rightly shrugs their shoulders at.

      2. Thanks, that didn’t even come close to what my mind conjured up.

        The first thought had to do with processor cores (Because I’m an IT guy) then thought maybe it’s the pre-common core standards, and so on.

        1. For some reason, I was thinking it was some kind of new subgenre. Like hardcore, metalcore, grindcore etc.

          1. That was my first thought too. Something parallel to “nerdcore”, but about normal boring stuff. Which doesn’t seem very interesting or worthy of a new word.

        2. I had never heard of the word “normcore” before either. I assumed it was something dumb that education PhD’s had dreamt up to inflict on kids.

  3. Why is the word of the year always completely stupid? Wasn’t it “selfie” last year? At least “locavore” didn’t catch on.

    1. Well to be fair Mcdonalds sales are down.

    2. I keep misreading that comment as ‘lavacore’.

  4. Lets just roll with it dude.


    1. So much this.

  5. I flew Delta this week. They apparently feel vaping is smoking. Verboten.

    1. You could probably get away with it in the bathroom, though. Or just paint over the light on the end and probably no one would notice.

    2. Honest question here.

      Does the discharged water vapor carry any residual aroma?

      1. I’m sure there is some, but it’s hardly noticeable, if at all (at least to my diminished smoker’s sense of smell). And you can get it with various flavors or none at all.
        And I think that the vapor is mostly propylene glycol in most cases.

        1. Last time I flew I used unflavored liquid to stealth-vape on the flight. It’s got a faintly sweet taste and no odor that I could detect (with my mostly recovered former smoker’s sense of smell). There’s plenty of stronger flavors out there that do have some residual smell. It’s nothing compared to cigarette smoke though.

    3. And you’d think that airlines would want people to be able to get their nicotine fix. Airports without smoking areas are the stupidest thing in the world. Do they want people to be even more on edge and pissed off in the airport?

      1. The indoor smoking areas are pretty sad. I feel like I’m walking past a depressing museum exhibit or something. All it needs is a narrator. “And here we have an example of a mid-20th century office…”

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