E-cigs and vaping are increasing in popularity around the world, as smokers of traditional tobacco cigarettes are making the transition as a way to either quit smoking altogether or to minimize the negative effects of second hand smoke on those that they come in close contact with each and every day. Unfortunately, the public-at-large still often gets confused, and even annoyed, when someone pulls out an e-cig in a restaurant or nightclub. This is very understandable since an e-cig looks just like a regular cigarette. The vapor even looks like traditional cigarette smoke to the average non-smoker. So, perhaps we should take these people’s feelings into consideration and follow some simple rules of e-cig etiquette.
Emily Post never included a chapter on vaping, so we have to use a bit of common sense when pulling out our e-devices in public. While “technically”, we are allowed to vape in public spaces, we should probably ask first before we do so. Unless there is a sign posted in the public establishment that clearly states, “Electronic Cigarettes Prohibited”, it would be polite to simply ask those around you or the manager of the business if they would be offended by your e-cig. You might be surprised to learn that may people will be very supportive of your switch from tobacco to safer vaping. Asking first will also relieve you of those potentially uncomfortable interactions and confrontations by others mistaking your vaping device for a real cigarette.
When asking those around you for “permission”, essentially, to use your vaping device, always be respectful. Many people have very strong opinions about smoking, so be prepared for a potentially aggressive conversation. Responding defensively will only make matters worse. Try respectfully educating these non-smokers that e-cigs are simply flavored water, that you are perhaps trying to quit smoking, and that the “fumes” are really just water vapor or steam. Still, we should all try to keep our use of e-cigarettes to a minimum in public spaces. Otherwise, we might begin to see a rash of new laws being passed, outlawing vaping altogether.
We can always begin the education process with our closest friends and family members, those people that we tend to spend time with in these public venues. There is power in numbers, and perhaps they can help you in the future should difficult conversations with strangers arise. Start by perhaps showing them exactly how your vaping devices work. Explain that the “smoke” is essentially only nicotine flavored steam. Talk about the many delicious optional flavors and even tobacco eliquid flavors that are available on the market. The best e liquid flavors make everything better. And most importantly, tell them how healthy and energetic you now feel after having kicked the tobacco habit once and for all.
All people, even perfect strangers, want to be supportive of one another, especially if we are making positive changes in our lives that also affect the health of everyone else around us. Give them the chance to show this love and support by being calm, patient, and understanding during the education process. Who knows? Maybe these perfect strangers can spread the word to their own smoking friends and family members, introducing them to the wonderful world of vaping.