Every year, the Oxford English Dictionary (kind of the final word on the English language) reveals their Word of the Year. The Word of the Year is a word the OED feels was important or significant that year. Most people don’t care abut the Word of the Year unless it’s something controversial, so in a highly predictable marketing move, the Word is typically controversial. Last year was the much decried “selfie”, and this year is the increasingly controversial word “vape”. Hopefully this means it’ll be added to my autocorrect soon, and I’ll stop posting about my cape.
The words chosen by the OED, which encompasses all dialects of the English language, reflect the nature of the culture at that time. Previous winners include the aforementioned selfie, refudiate (thank you Mrs. Palin), unfriend, and hypermiling, which is a reflection of soaring gas prices. So to say vape is joining an illustrious list might be an overstatement, but at least it’s on a list.
And of course, we can’t talk about the Word of the Year without including an official definition:
Vape, verb: Inhale and exhale the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.
Vape, noun: An electronic cigarette or similar device; an act of inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.
Also, just because it’s the Word of the Year doesn’t mean it’s going to be in the OED. But vape and vaping in the same sense as we use them have been around since 1983 according the dictionary. But it was only in the past five years or so that they’ve come to prominence.