2013 was the year of the “Selfie,” with the word being forever immortalized as not only an official entry in the Oxford English Dictionary but also as their 2013 Word of the Year. While selfies are in no shortage a year after being added to the official lexicon, 2014 welcomes a new word to the bunch. 2014 is the year of “Vaping.”
The Oxford English Dictionary is officially recognizing “vaping” as the word of the year for 2014. As a verb, the word “vape” means “to inhale and exhale the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device,” according to the entry, which had been added in August of this year. It can also be used as a noun in lieu of “an electronic cigarette or similar device.”
As a word, vaping is much more commonplace now than it ever has been in the past simply because as a practice, it’s gaining popularity that even the anti-smoking camp seems unable to trample. Electronic cigarettes, among the consumers using them, are seen as a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes, or “analogs” as the vaping community tends to call them. However, their use and distribution is still a hotly contested issue. The Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, is looking to regulate the devices more similarly to how current tobacco products are currently regulated, including labeling ingredients and prohibiting sales to anyone under the age of 18. More extreme opponents seek to ban electronic cigarettes altogether, despite claims from “vapers,” or people that use electronic cigarettes, that the practice has helped them quit smoking.
However, the heart of the debate still circles around several key points of contention, such as whether or not the devices are a viable smoking cessation tool, whether they are as safe as proponents claim them to be, and the availability of flavors that seem to cater to children, such as cotton candy, watermelon and chocolate. Until these topics are thoroughly investigated by the FDA, the practice of vaping will continue to be mired in controversy and fought with equal vitriol on both sides of the issue.
“Vaping” was not alone on the list of buzzworthy words making the list. Nearly making the top spot were also the words “bae,” used as a “term of endearment for one’s romantic partner,” as well as “slacktivism,” defined as “actions performed via the internet in support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement.”
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