California State University East Bay

‘Vape’ named word of the year

November 29, 2014

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‘Vape’ named word of the year

Photo | Pete Widders

Photo | Pete Widders

Photo | Pete Widders

As a thick cloud of scented smoke settled over America,  Oxford Dictionaries announced their word of the year for 2014, “Vape.”

The dictionary definition of vape is to “inhale and exhale the vapour [sic] produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.” An electronic cigarette, or vaporizer, is made of a battery heating element and liquid nicotine solution cartridge which vapers call “juice.” When activated by a push button, the battery powers the heating element that heats the solution to a boil. Vapors are emitted from the boiling solution, which the user then inhales.

“Vaping is blowing up so much,” said Glenn Ramones, an employee at Vapor One, a vape lounge in Walnut Creek. “People are just trying to get into it and quit smoking. It’s a healthier alternative.”

Personal Vaporizers are an extension of the electronic cigarette. Today, vaporizers use similar technology as electronic cigarettes but can be modified in a variety of ways. Juices are sold in a variety of strengths and flavors.

Vapor One opened in June 2013. Employee Kelby Taylor says at their annual Vape Meet, roughly 300 people come to their shop to socialize and enjoy food and drinks. They have over 130 juice flavors to sample on hand. Customer Michael Nash said his favorite flavor is “Cereal Killa” which tastes like Fruity Pebbles.

Cyrus Malekzadeh, an account manager at Apollo Electronic Cigarette in Concord, says they were incredibly excited that vape was recognized as the word of the year. “I thought that was really cool that this vapor culture is out there a little more. I thought it was really awesome that people are recognizing what’s going on with vaping,” said Malekzadeh.

Vaping has become a culture that has distanced itself from the smoking label. Malekzadeh said, “I hate the word cigarette, so I don’t even call them electronic cigarettes, I call them vaping devices or personal vaporizers.”

The popularity of e-cigarettes in America showed a steady increase with market sales of $20 million in 2008 to an estimated $1.7 billion in 2014, according to financial research company Streets Authority. Fortune reports that sales are expected to grow nearly 24 percent annually until 2018. Meanwhile, traditional cigarette sales have dropped nearly 30 percent since 2004.

The long-term effects of vaping are unknown. It is a newer technology and studies on its health risks are currently being conducted. An advantage of vaping over traditional cigarettes is that vaping lacks the tobacco and carcinogens that cigarettes contain. These carcinogens include arsenic and vinyl chloride. Also, there is no second-hand smoke with vaping.

However vaping isn’t entirely safe. An article in New York Times from April 2014 reports that lab studies have shown a toxicity in the vapor from electronic cigarettes. Scientists found a change in cells exposed to vapor that is similar to that found when exposed to tobacco smoke. These changes are often associated with cancer.

E-cigarettes are regulated for purchase the same way as traditional cigarettes and customers must be at least 18 years-old. Vaping indoors is prohibited in many places including San Francisco. Vaping is also prohibited in downtown Walnut Creek and Concord. Health groups like the American Lung Association are urging the FDA to develop more defined regulations for electronic cigarettes by April 2015.

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