Now that I am a somewhat experienced vaper, I take my paraphernalia with me almost everywhere. But just last week, I needed to take a trip to St. Louis on business. Upon checking into the hotel, I was asked to sign a document that stated that I was not going to smoke in the room. In the fine print, there was a penalty clause. If I was caught smoking, then I would be liable for a $250 cleaning fee. So, I had a decision to make. Would I vape in my room or not?
Now, I am not a heavy vaper. About a month ago, I had taken a trip into Washington, DC. I stayed in a hotel during that trip, too, but I was not asked to sign any such document. I did vape in my room, and no one was the wiser. But in St. Louis, they wanted to charge me $250 if I “smoke” in my room. But vaping is not smoking, right? Well, in the eyes of hotel management and a great portion of the general public, the two are essentially the same.
After arriving into my room, I used my cell phone to call the front desk. I asked the manager specifically about vaping. Although I could tell that they young man really had no idea what I was talking about, he did state that the highly sensitive smoking detectors could easily identify any kind of odd chemicals or vapor in the air. He went on to state that in some cases, smokers have even set off the fire alarms by accident, forcing the entire hotel to vacate into the streets.
Now this may simply be hotel propaganda, a form of psychological terrorism to get me to avoid vaping. But I was convinced. Although I am reasonably sure that I could vape without setting off any smoke alarms, I wasn’t as certain that the smell of the burning e-juice wouldn’t linger in the room. Did I really want to spend another $250 for the simple privilege of vaping in an already over-priced hotel room? And even more importantly, the client was picking up the tab for the room. If I was caught vaping, the client would be the person who was immediately notified. Not me.
I didn’t want to risk it. Yes, legally, I suppose I could have vaped in my room. But until the public perception of vaping changes, I felt it safer to abide by the hotel’s somewhat illegal guidelines. After all, “perception is everything.” Like it or not, we all have to play by the rules if we want to change the public perception of vaping in the long term.
Courtesy of Al.com