Using the term “vaping”

I just got off the phone with someone from Chicago City Hall. I had called to discuss Chicago’s new e-cig ordinance on vaping inside. When I told the guy I worked for a vaping company, it took him a second to process, so I then said “e-cigarette company.” This garnered the response “oh vaaaping, ha ha”. Ok, that’s fine. I understand “vaping” isn’t a word the general public is familiar with. Now I don’t fault the gentleman working for City Hall at all. It’s not his job to know all the terminology of every industry.

But this really got me thinking. I remember when I sat in on the first City Council hearing regarding e-cigs and the Clean Air Act. One of the witnesses supporting the ban kept using the word “vaping”, which is great, because that’s what it is. The only problem was that she pronounced it “vah-ping” like the ‘ah’ in ‘laugh’. This made all the vapers chuckle. While I would like to commend her on trying to use the right terminology, she ended up negating her credibility. She has obviously never been around vapers or heard the word pronounced correctly. And it wasn’t a one time mistake. She kept pronouncing it wrong throughout her testimony.

While e-cigarettes have become WAY more popular than before, there are still tons of people who aren’t in the know. We use the term “vaping” all over the office. Vapers active on social media also heavily use the term. But as long as we’ve all been using it and have become familiar with it, we need to remember that not everyone hears it on a daily basis.

I’m curious to know your experiences with the term. Do you use it regularly? Do you say ‘vape’ around your family, friends, co-workers? How about people who you are explaining ecigs too?

2 thoughts on “Using the term “vaping”

  1. I’ve found in general that only people that use e-cigs or know someone else close to them that does seem to be familiar with the term “vaping.” This of course isn’t always the case but it seems to me to be this way more often than not. Even the sales clerk at your local corner store or gas station that sells some kind of electronic cigarette will often look at you funny if you use the term. While I think this is pretty normal, I’m disappointed that the term “vaping” didn’t catch on with the media from the very beginning, because it seems that the general alternative to using the term “vaping” is to use the phrase “smoking e-cigarettes.” To me this is unfortunate because the word “smoking” is a misnomer, since there is no smoke produced at all. It’s unfortunate because just including the word “smoking” in reference to any activity carries such a negative connotation and social stigma, when in fact, “smoking” is exactly what the e-cig industry is aiming to eliminate. The fact that vaping looks and feels so real is it’s greatest asset and biggest downfall. Vaping feels so realistic for smokers that are trying to quit that it seems to be the first ever effective smoking cessation treatment. (Even if the FDA does not approve it as such, we all know that’s what it’s really for.) But because it looks so realistic the uninformed public just sees smokers still “smoking” something. After all, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck, right? It’s unfortunate how many people still do not realize that it produces harmless water vapor, and that there is not smoke involved at all. It seems to me that until the e-cig industry is able to label this product as what it really is, a smoking cessation device, most of the general public who are not tobacco users that are desperate to break a life threatening addiction will not approve, and will continue to view it as “smoking e-cigarettes” rather than “vaping.”

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