Etiquette Tips for Vaping in Public
by Cheryl Tulley
You’ve done it! You’ve given up the dangerous habit that’s been plaguing you for too long; you’ve quit smoking. At the very least, you’ve dramatically reduced the number of times in a day that you light up. This is no small feat and if you’re like many people, you did it by way of vaping – you got yourself to a vape shop, found the device that best suits you and, by doing so, gave your body the gift of beginning to heal.
Vaping is a brand-new concept. A pharmacist in Beijing, China named Hon Lik, was a heavy smoker who watched his father die from lung cancer. Mr. Lik made up his mind there had to be a better way, a safer way to satisfy his addiction to nicotine. So, he created one – his was not the only inventor of e-cigarettes, but his patent was the one that brought vaping into reality. And every vaper owes him a debt of gratitude. Vape shops didn’t exist at all before 2004 and didn’t arrive in North America until even later than that. This makes it a critical time for both the industry and for the community of vapers. Because it IS a community and every one of us is a member. How we behave – our vaping etiquette – will have a direct and powerful effect on whether vaping is banned (as it is currently in Australia) or whether it gains acceptance in society.
Vapers and vape shops face two challenges. One exists because of a false narrative that’s been created about electronic cigarettes and which is supported by governments, the Lung Association, and the Cancer Society as well as both the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries. (There is a documentary which does a fantastic job of providing the evidence for this. If you’re interested, you can rent it for 3 days for $3.49. Here’s a link to the website: https://abillionlives.vhx.tv )
The second challenge involves the non-vaping public. It’s ironic that the best thing about e-cigs – the way they effectively mimic the effects of smoking by producing something which looks remarkably like cigarette smoke – is what makes it so important that we ensure non-vapers know it’s NOT smoke and has nothing in common with it apart from its appearance. Those who don’t vape, and particularly those who have never smoked, are our best potential allies and how we behave when we use our e-cigs will determine whether they are open to learning that these devices are doing little (if any) harm to the air they breathe. Demonstrating good etiquette when we vape is key. So what IS good vaping etiquette?
ASK BEFORE YOU VAPE
For starters don’t assume that if you know how safe vaping is, everyone else will. Ask before you vape, unless you’re alone, in your own home or in a vape shop. People will appreciate that and you might be surprised at who gives you the okay. And if they say no, accept that gracefully.
BE MINDFUL OF WHERE THE VAPOR GOES
If you’ve got the go-ahead and you’re vaping around others, be mindful about where the vapor goes. No one is going to thank you if they get a blast a vapor directed at them.
VAPING AROUND CHILDREN IS A DEFINITE NO NO!
Don’t vape around children. Period!
DON’T VAPE WHERE YOU EAT
If you’re in a restaurant and want to vape, go outside. It isn’t just the vapor that’s at issue here. Even your fellow vapers aren’t likely going to want to smell that delicious-tasting juice while they’re eating.
WHEN NOT TO STEALTH VAPE
If your motive for stealth vaping is to hide the fact that you’re vaping, don’t do it. If you get caught you’ll almost certainly offend the people you’re trying to deceive. No one likes to be tricked. Do you? This kind of behaviour will go a long way in encouraging the non-vaping public to decide that e-cigarettes are not acceptable. If you really need to vape, find an unpopulated area and hold it in for as long as you can. When you exhale, you will see very little vapor.
Educating people about the facts is a great idea. But that doesn’t mean preaching. It means looking for natural openings to talk about it, when you feel your ‘audience’ is receptive to learning. And don’t lecture smokers about the virtues of e-cigs. Remember how you felt when you were one of them? If they ask, then absolutely. In fact, if you have a favourite vape shop, why not carry some of their business cards? By giving smokers a physical reminder, you’ll increase the odds that they’ll follow through and start on their own journey of quitting.
CLOUD CHASER WHEN APPROPRIATE
Don’t cloud-chase around others! If this is something you’re into, that’s great. But no one will thank you for filling the air with giant plumes of vapor. This is definitely a part of vaping that should only be enjoyed with fellow cloud-chasers or when you’re on your own.
VAPING IN PUBLIC/DESIGNATED SMOKING AREAS
If you have a vape device that makes big vapor and you’re out in public be conscious of your surroundings. Even if you are getting their second-hand smoke you should still be courteous of others as smokers may not want a huge cloud vapor floating their way either. That is, unless you have some really mouth-watering e-juice, you may just get those smokers interested. If you are walking down the street you may want to wait until there aren’t many people around you before you vape to be respectful of others around you that may not have a choice in the matter.
Because vaping is new the rules are not yet well-defined. Adopting a defiant attitude of “they haven’t said I can’t so I’m just going to vape anywhere and anytime I like” is going to do a lot of harm to a product that is already being misrepresented. Don’t play into the hands of the industries and governments who want to see vaping fail. By adopting these mostly common-sense etiquette rules, you’re helping an industry that is surely important to you. Because vaping is a game-changer and we are the pioneers, how we behave will have far-reaching effects; there is nothing to be gained and a lot to be lost if we create animosity in the community. Sure, it can be tempting to vape anywhere. After all, the amount of harm done to the earth and to other people is minimal at worst. But it’s just not a good idea. It’s up to us to let non-smokers (and smokers who don’t vape yet) know there’s nothing to fear. And it really is true that “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar”. What we do now matters. A lot. Educating others plays an important part. Good vaping etiquette plays another.