The word—which can be used as both a noun and a verb—references an electronic cigarette, which has grown to a multi-million dollar industry within the last several years. Oxford Dictionaries’ research found that use of the word has more than doubled since 2013.
“Its linguistic productivity is evident in the development of a vaping lexicon,” reads an Oxford Dictionaries’ blog post. The post goes on to explain:
Vape pen and vape shop appear most frequently, with related coinages including e-juice (the liquid that is converted to vapour in the process of vaping an e-cigarette), carto (short for cartomizer, a disposable cartridge in which e-juice is converted into vapour), vaporium (a place where e-cigarettes may be vaped or in which vaping equipment can be purchased), and even the retronym tobacco cigarette which serves to distinguish traditional cigarettes from the electronic devices.