Should you fight for your right to vape? Or should you abide by smoking bans that lump electronic cigarettes in with traditional tobacco ones? It can be a tough call, especially when many people see very little difference between old school smokes and e-cigs.
When in doubt, it’s probably best to pick your battles and follow the e-cig etiquette tips below.
Respect Those Around You
One of the main appeals of using e-cigs is that they are tobacco-free and do not give off a heavy, thick cloud of smelly smoke that hangs in the air and clings to hair, clothing and furniture. Instead, e-cigs create a vapor that is made to look like smoke. This gives users an experience similar to traditional smoking, but without all the chemicals from tobacco. The vapor from an e-cig does occasionally include a mild scent (special flavorings added to e-cigs can taste and smell like fruits, coffee, mint, etc.) but by design it dissipates quickly and leaves no cloudy haze behind.
That all said, many people still see very little difference between regular cigarettes and e-cigs. Just the sight of smoke-like vapor will be upsetting to some who fear they are being exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke. Smoking is a very divisive issue and many people fought hard to ban it from restaurants, offices, public transportation, shopping centers, etc. When they see someone using an e-cig they may feel the rules are being broken and their health put at risk.
In many cases, it is simpler to keep the peace and not use your e-cig or vaporizer in a public area. Frustrating, perhaps. But better than causing upset.
If you are in a public place and want to use your e-cig, it is wise to ask those around you or in management if it is OK with them. For example, if you are in a restaurant, before puffing ask your server what their policy is regarding e-cigs. Because e-cigs in some cases have been put in the same category as traditional cigarettes, many businesses and even communities have ban them from use. Rather than break a policy, law or upset those around you, it’s best to ask whether you are permitted to vape. After all, enjoying your e-cig is supposed to be relaxing, right? Getting a fine or yelled at is not worth it. In some cases it’s better to just excuse yourself and go outside to use your e-cig.
Sure, nobody likes a know-it-all. But there is room for education when it comes to e-cigs. First and foremost, if someone confused your vaping for traditional smoking, it can be helpful to explain the difference. Many people still have never seen an e-cig or vapor pen and do not realize they aren’t giving off real smoke. Nowadays, some vaporizing devices also are being made specifically for marijuana usage, so it is possible some people think you are using the drug when they spot you puffing. In cases where someone approaches you angrily about “smoking,” trying to educate them about e-cigs might only complicate matters and raise tensions. But if someone asks, let them know what you are doing and how e-cigs work. Direct them to a blog like this or suggest they go online to do more research and come to their own conclusions. Understanding is often the first step toward acceptance, and that’s no different in this case.
Don’t assume everyone realizes you aren’t smoking a tobacco cigarette.
Don’t use in public areas or around people without asking permission.
Don’t create huge plumes of smoke-like vapor when you are vaping in public. Be discreet and understand that while the vapor will quickly disappear, those around you might find it annoying or believe it to be harmful. Save your vapor cloud-making for home.
Don’t assume the law is on your side. Many local governments are banning the use of e-cigs just like they do traditional smokes. You might find these laws dumb, but they are still enforceable.
Don’t use e-cigs around children. If you want to avoid conflict and angry sneers, don’t puff your e-cig around kids. People are particularly concerned about secondhand smoke and children – and rightfully so – and often assume e-cigs are giving off dangerous tobacco smoke.
Don’t use in close, tight areas. E-cigs don’t put off stinky smoke, but their vapors do often have a mild, short-lived scent. This scent is typically from the flavorings, which means a vapor might smell and taste like cherry, vanilla, clove, coffee, etc. or whatever flavoring is added to the device. These smells are pleasant to most – and many of us buy expensive candles in these scents to freshen our homes – but not everyone is going to appreciate all the smells. For example, if you hate the smell of vanilla, you probably aren’t going to be too happy if the person beside you in the elevator starts vaping their vanilla-flavored e-cig.
With some simple concessions and basic manners, you can enjoy your e-cigs and not disturb others.