There has been something of a change in attitude towards vapers in the last year or so. We’ve gone from being seen as essentially harmless enthusiasts that, in the words of one famous internet meme, “look like shit wizards playing tiny flutes”, to being seen as arrogant, evangelical loudmouths matched only in obnoxiousness by the most vocal of Crossfit devotees and vegans.
But why has this happened? On paper, vaping should be a total non-issue; a healthier, cheaper, more pleasant alternative to cigarettes. Sadly, however, many of the prevalent negative attitudes towards the vaping community are well deserved, all thanks to a small minority of dunces who need a lesson in basic vaping etiquette.
This simple guide has been put together to help those without any notions of common courtesy learn how to vape without pissing off everyone within a 20 metre radius, and hopefully start to repair the reputation they have built for our whole community.
Lesson #1: Just Because You Can, It Doesn’t Mean You Should
In the UK and the US we’re lucky enough to be legally exempt from the smoking ban, but it is worth noting that this is a privilege, not a right. The decision to allow vaping in pubs, clubs and other venues ultimately falls down to the management, and with the way some vapers behave, it’s easy to see why many places have begun banning vaping indoors.
I’ve walked into pubs in London that look like the darkest depths of Mordor on account of a small number of cloud chasers who insist on hotboxing the place like a teenage pothead’s bedroom.
Sure, vaping may be far healthier than smoking and does not present the same risks to passive inhalers as cigarettes do, but that doesn’t mean that other people want to sit for hours breathing in your ecig vapour, no matter how delicious your mix might be.
I’m not saying that you should stop vaping inside – as an Englishman, I can’t even begin to describe the relief I feel when I realise I don’t have to brave the rain everytime I need a nicotine fix. However, when you find a pub/bar/whatever that allows you to vape indoors, it should be cherised and respected, not abused until the manager feels compelled to take the privilege away. If you want to vape inside, make it discreet and respectful of others – there’s no reason to blast off a sub-ohm monster every 20 seconds.
Lesson #2: Be Mindful of How Your Ecig Affects Others
This lesson deserves its own section based purely on the amount of people I’ve personally seen vaping in ludicrously inappropriate places. It shouldn’t have to be pointed out that when you go to somewhere like the cinema, the theatre or a gig, you probably shouldn’t vape, or at least nip off to the toilet or out of everyone’s eyeline.
Possibly the worst offenders can be found at gigs. People trying to film the show on iPads and phones used to be the bane of the gig-going shortarses’ life, but now a new enemy has presented itself: the mosh-pit-cloud-chaser.
Even outside of these more egregious examples, it is worth being aware of how your vaping habits affect others in pretty much every public space. Remember, ecig vapour is much more visible and dense than cigarette smoke, and while it is nowhere near as damaging, people around you still won’t want to have vast, billowing clouds blown in their face whilst they’re waiting for a bus or something.
Just taking a couple of steps away from a crowd, or being mindful of where you exhale your vapour can make a big difference and avoid rubbing people up the wrong way.
Lesson #3: You Are Not in Charge of Other People’s Lungs
This is the simplest lessons to understand, but one of the hardest for soapbox vapers to actually act on:
Some people like smoking, want to continue smoking and want to smoke without being lectured about vaping by you.
Yes, smokers are aware of the health implications. Yes, they’re aware that their breath smells. Yes, thanks very much, they know that their skin is greying and their eyes are starting to develop a yellow hue.
No, they don’t want to quit just yet.
I know that it can be tempting to try and convert smoker friends, and there’s nothing wrong with talking about vaping to smokers and showing them what all the fuss is about, but by lecturing smokers and making constant digs at their vice, all you’re going to do is alienate them.
Let other people do with their lungs what they will, just worry about yours.
Lesson #4: You Are Not a Slave to Nicotine
I doubt there’s a vaper among us who hasn’t broken a rule or two when it comes to vaping. Whether it’s sneaking off to the workplace toilets for a quick voop, or stealth vaping in a pub, we’re probably all guilty of a minor infraction or two.
However, there are certain scenarios in which you just shouldn’t vape, such as on planes, trains and other places where a particularly sensitive fire alarm could inconvenience a whole bunch of people. You’d have thought this was common sense, but there’s always one or two idiots who couldn’t engage their brain before vaping.
Lesson #5: An Ecig Is Not a Status Symbol
It shouldn’t matter whether you’re vaping a modest eGo pen or sub-ohm monster that wouldn’t look out of place in a campy 60s sci-fi film. At the end of the day, most vapers just want to make a positive change in their lives and move away from smoking cigarettes.
Yet, for a certain breed of vapers, ecigarettes have become status symbols, much akin to gear heads and their cars. There’s nothing wrong with taking vaping and your ecigarette seriously, nor is there anything wrong with building super powerful ecigs. After all, without DIY modders, we probably wouldn’t have so many great mass-manufactured mods today and so it is this culture of innovation and invention which keeps making ecigs better, generation after generation
However, no matter how powerful or niche a vaper’s mod might be, there’s no excuse for the kind of snobbery some people throw around on the internet and even in real life at vape fairs. There’s a million reasons why someone might not want to move on from a basic starter kit, chief among them money. So, while I actively encourage vapers to upgrade their ecigs for a better experience, feeling ashamed of the ecig they have should not be a motivating factor.