Smoke or Smock?
It is a frustrating controversy that has rocked the vaping world for years. How do you pronounce SMOK®? There are the literalists who think it is pronounced “smock” because the “e” has been dropped in the spelling. And then there are the rationalists. They know that it is pronounced “smoke” because that pronunciation simply makes more sense. Which side are you on?
The Argument for “Smoke”
Vaping is an alternative to smoking. Smoke is a word that people outside of the art class and the British military use on the regular basis. One group that is especially likely to use the word smoke are smokers. Interestingly, this is also Smok’s target audience. In another example of fortunate happenstance, Smok’s devices emit a vapor that looks quite similar to smoke and is often infused with nicotine. Much like cigarette smoke. Smokers often enjoy this vapor as an alternative to their smoking habit. The FDA regulates the e-juice that fuels Smok's devices like they are a pack of smokes. Smoke is a much more common word than smock. There are over 2 billion hits on google versus 41 million for “smock”. The Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) is a powerful tool which allows you to investigate word frequency and use. Smoke has 27,000 results and smock clocks in at a meager 530. Would a company based in China be more familiar with a widely used word that appears constantly within their industry? Or are they fixated on Dick Blick’s selection of art supplies? Impossible to say. The Google N-gram tool compares the frequency of text strings found in texts written between 1800 and 2008, a year before Smok was founded. This chart and the Corpus demonstrate conclusively that no one actually says the word smock and anyone who does appears foolish.
Reddit’s Great Smok Debate
Redditors weighed in on this issue in 2016. The top rated comment: “I say smoke, because smock sounds dumb, I'm still gonna call it smoke. A smock is something you wear while painting.” One contributor claimed that one of the Chinese characters in Smok’s name translate into the verb “to smoke”
Don’t Mock the Case for Smock
The advent of vape mods with refillable tanks changed the vaping industry forever. Vapers were put in constant contact with e-juice bottles and oil stains on clothing increased exponentially. To protect their clothing, fastidious vapers began to don special smocks when filling their devices. As mods became more powerful and thirsty for juice, vapers eventually began to wear these smocks at all times. Much like the drab pantaloons worn by the Sans-culottes of the French revolutionary fame, vapers now identify themselves by this article of clothing and almost exclusively refer to themselves as “smockers”. Unfortunately, many smockers are unaware of the etymology of this word. They believe it is a blend of the words “smoke” and “mock”. Mock smoking is a novel and not inaccurate way to view smocking. Never mock a smocker by pronouncing Smok as smoke.
An Outsider’s Perspective
Those outside the vaping/smocking community often pronounce “Smok” as “smock” because of the short vowel rule. This is basic grammar. When there is a single vowel in a word between two consonants, it usually has a short vowel sound. It is unheard of for a company based outside of the US to have a name that is pronounced slightly different than it looks. No one pronounced Nutella “new-tell-uh” or Porsche “por-sha”.