Attack Of The Vapers: Hey You! Get Out* of My Cloud!

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It’s been a while, good readers, since I posted the last AOTV. Now that you are all up on your jargon and lingo in the world of vaping, and since the world at large has had other topics about which to foam at the mouth, and since vaping has taken serious hold with more people blowing clouds that ever… it is time to talk a little about a little something I like to call etiquette.

Manners, people! That is right. We have all been taught them at some point, whether we actually absorbed the lessons, actively attempt to use them, or let them flow over us and pass on to continue in our unseemly gaucheness. So, what in the world have manners and etiquette to do with vaping? Well, I will happily tell you.

As vaping has become more prevalent in the populace and gained popularity with smokers and former smokers alike, the various apparatuses and paraphernalia of vaping can be seen far and wide. For example, this past holiday weekend, I visited Atlanta for the annual gathering of science fiction and fantasy aficionados, Dragon Con (http://www.dragoncon.org). It is always quite an interesting time to be had. People are so creative in their cosplay… but I mustn’t get distracted. I might talk about that another time. For the last couple of years, we have seen people with electronic cigarettes. In fact, last year, we saw a pipe rig that went with a Gandalf type costume. Very clever, and for the non-smoking indoor situations, it was just right. However, this year, it was a whole new ballgame (or quidditch match, or Parrises squares…). The vapers were everywhere. They even had a meeting on Thursday prior to the start of *Con. Everywhere we went, the vapers would find each other and compare rigs or discuss tanks or talk coils and dripping juices. It had become a new phenomenon of the *Con experience. Those that vape together, flock together… or something like that. It was actually quite pleasant to find oneself walking out of hotel lobbies and through crowds outside without reeking of smoke, but merely experiencing a bit of various vapor (and vaper) odors and added humidity. Not so bad, really.

Don’t get me wrong. There were still considerable amounts of traditional combustible tobacco in use (as well as other products, I’m sure, but I honestly tried to maintain plausible deniability on that score). All in all, though, the *Con seemed a good deal less smoky that last year. Perhaps, it was just my greater sensitivity to it. Point being, vapers were in greater number… as were their clouds. Great, rolling, fragrant clouds, marvelous to behold…

Not always so marvelous to walk through; which brings me to what started this whole particular train of thought. I am pro-vape. I’ve made no secret about it. Financially and health wise, I’ve done the research, and I still feel that it is the way to go for those that do not fancy pharmaceuticals or enjoy the ritual of smoking and have no active desire to quit but are not so fond of the hit in the wallet or the chronic cough. There are still the hysterics out there who are screaming that it is worse for you be vaping than smoking… Um, no. Read a medical journal, or have one read to you and translated, but that hyperbole it most definitely is NOT. There is currently no medical research that indicates that vaping is worse than smoking. Is it better than quitting all together? Probably not. In fact, I will say definitely not, if we talk in absolutes. Paying for the equipment and supplies of vaping is more expensive than not using anything (but still less than paying for cigarettes or patches and drugs). And, yes, it would be healthier all around to quit cold turkey. But conversely, in that case, no one should drink alcohol or eat bacon (Now, I’m gonna get hate mail, and yes I know “all things in moderation”). Truth is people enjoy their vices. People should be free to do so, within legal limits and without causing harm to others. And… I got off on a tangent again. Then again, not really… that is a pretty good segue back to my original point.

The fragrant clouds produced by vaping have been measured at considerably less carcinogen levels, less nicotinic particle levels (especially for people using zero nic juice), and less combustible toxicants than traditional combustible tobacco for both the vaper and the second-hand exposure. That doesn’t mean that it is ok to blow vapor straight into the face of the innocent bystander. There are still people who are very sensitive to the small amounts of residuals in the vapor, not to mention the liquid in which it the nicotine and flavors are suspended. It is not polite to indiscriminately puff away until the vapor is so thick you cannot see the person to whom you are speaking and said person can no longer breathe easily. Would you do that with a cigarette? No, or at least I hope not. That would be extremely rude, not to mention the disregard for your companion’s potential respiratory response (especially those sensitive to smells or allergic to smoke). The same can be said about vaping. While it may not be as noxious as smoke, non-vapers and non-smokers have the right to not be exposed unwillingly to something they have not chosen to do. In fact, many non-smokers choose activities and locations that are non-smoking to avoid breathing in air that may trigger anything from distaste to asthmatic arrest.

So, what am I getting at? If the vaping community does not want to be branded as a bunch of rude, entitled jerks who put public health at risk with their inconsiderate disregard for their fellow patrons and residents on the planet we call Earth, try to be a little more aware of the non-vapers around you. It is unnecessary to blow a huge cloud of vapor into the face of the person next to or in front of you (or heck, even behind you if you are walking). In crowded or unventilated areas, perhaps cloud chasing is not the best activity. You can show off your latest build and your dragon impressions when not in close quarters with non-vapers. Try an apology if you accidentally blow a cloud into someone’s face. Even in vape-friendly establishments (not including vapor bars or lounges specifically catering to vapers), be reasonable. Cloud chasing on a quad-coil until the room is blue and the servers are tripping over the spill mats behind the bar? Bad idea, and very poor etiquette likely to result in having vaping banned from the establishment in question. No one is trying to cramp your style, steal thunder, or rain on your parade if you are a vaper, but it is just good manners to be considerate of the non-vapers around you. A bit of polite consideration of others might prevent other organizations, institutions, and businesses from putting the kibosh on our choices to vape.

Thank you for your attention, and happy vaping y’all.

*My apologies to the Rolling Stones for the artistic license.

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