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Vape Etiquette 101

I remember back in 2010 when I noticed a "No Smoking, No Vaping" sign as I was walking into a Taco Bell in Dallas, TX. At first, I was excited that a big corporation was already familiar with the term "vaping." Sure, now it's been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, but back then it was still a rare occurrence to hear that word outside of vape forums or shops. My excitement was quickly stifled as my buddy exclaimed, "What? That's total bull$&@%! It's not smoking, it's just vapor."

I paused for a moment and thought, "He's right. This isn't fair." I had started vaping to get off disgusting cigarettes and I had been all but promised that I could use my e-cig anywhere. But then I realized something interesting. Something profound (at the time.) I would never think of lighting up an analog cigarette in the middle of Taco Bell, so why is this such a big deal? I'm there to eat, not to vape. I had vaped in the car on the drive over, and I vaped on the walk from the car to the door of the restaurant. Did I really need to vape inside? Could I not go 15 minutes without taking a puff from my mod?

As my buddy continued to complain about this seemingly devastating setback, I put my mod in my pocket and walked in. We ate lunch, we left, and then we vaped like fiends for the duration of the drive home. Once we both had food in front of us, we both forgot that we weren't allowed to do something neither of us had likely even considered doing before we were told that we couldn't.

I'm sure some of you have seen the videos of people blowing clouds at Walmart or have heard people claim, "They won't let you vape at such-and-such place and I will never go back!" Is there a reasonable etiquette that vapers should follow? What should these guidelines look like? Below my lame meme here, I will discuss my personal etiquette for vaping.



1. Can't Smoke There, Don't Vape There

The "Taco Bell Incident" aside, I have nearly always gone by this motto. As a smoker, I smoked cigarettes in bars, clubs, and outdoors. The only exception I made when switching to vaping was that I vaped inside my home. As smoking started to become banned inside restaurants, I never even attempted to vape inside one. As with a lot of smokers, I smoked a lot more when I was having drinks at a bar or club. Since smoking has mostly been banned there, too, I always politely ask a bartender if I can vape there. Most of the time the answer is "yes," which brings me to my next point.

2. Be Courteous, Be Considerate

So, I've been given the go-ahead to vape by the bartender. Does this mean I sit at the bar and blow clouds so thick and dense that patrons can't find the bartender in all the fog? Of course, not. Courtesy and consideration of those around me is now of the utmost importance. Since all of my drinking buddies are also vapers, we will typically find a table in a corner or away from the bulk of the crowd to vape. People who don't smoke or vape don't want vapor blown in their face all night. 

You may be thinking to yourself, "But there has been no evidence of harm from second-hand vapor?" This might be true, but does that mean it's appropriate to fog everyone out just because there's no proof it's dangerous? Being considerate of those around you when you vape is very important because you, as a vaper, represent all vapers as a whole. This brings me to my last point.

3. Represent the Culture

Most vapers are ex-smokers who have made the switch. I am one of those people. When I am vaping in a public place (park, bar, vape shop, etc.) I try to always keep in mind that I am essentially an ambassador for vaping culture. You never know when a curious smoker is going to see you vaping. If they approach you with a few questions--perhaps interested in making the switch themselves--it doesn't make a great first impression to vaping to blow a cloud in their face.

Represent vaping in a way that generates positive curiosity and appeal. If a smoker tells you they smoke 2-3 cigarettes a day, maybe don't suggest they buy a $500 authentic mech mod and RDA setup as their first device. Listen to potential vapers and do your best to guide them in the right direction. And always consider my first two points. Don't let someone's first impression of vaping be that guy or gal blowing clouds in the grocery store.

In Conclusion

After my fateful "No Vaping" experience at Taco Bell, I never once declared, "DAMN YOU, TACO BELL! I SHANT RETURN!" For one, I could never go without my delicious Cheesy Gordita Crunch, and second, I respect their policy. People want to eat lunch without having to shoo away clouds to find their bean burrito. If I am a guest in their establishment, I will happily respect their rules.


Thank you for reading! What is your opinion on this post? Do you agree, or have you established your own person guidelines for vaping? Comment below and let us know!

Comments (2)

Samantha - Jan 07, 2015

I love this article, well written and funny too with lots of valid points. It is being courteous to people around you to not fog everyone out. The vaping culture is still something that people are skeptical about, making them mad isn’t going to help our cause to show them that it is a much safer alternative to smoking cigarettes

Kelli Bennett - Jan 07, 2015

i don’t agree at all. Following the principles you laid out in places where you have permission is the answer to vaping anywhere. Be courteous. Be discreet. You’re talking about a 15 min trip inside Taco Bell about 2-3 hours at the mall? Will you be shunned back outside in the cold when you can discreetly vape a few away from crowds? Smoking is banned because it hurts others, it stinks, and it produces waste that’s hard to clean up and dispose of. All things that seriously infringe on others. Vaping bothering some ppl is more like excessive perfume or smacking gum loudly. It’ll be a slight bother to some. Most won’t care. People who do mind are misinformed by the recent media campaigns. Not their fault. If someone says something or just looks curious, I’m happy for the opening to dispel some myths. There are fundamental differences between vaping and smoking. We don’t have much of a movement if we all ban ourselves. I’ve vaped wherever I want for more than 3 yrs and how many times have I been asked to stop? Once. Because I wasn’t paying attention as I walked in the door and blew a cloud right in the manager’s face. Turns out they had no such policy. He erroneously coupled vaping with smoking because I was rude about it. You won’t bother people if people don’t notice you. It’s about vaping courteously and with common courtesy that applies to lots of different behaviors some find bothersome. Yet, we don’t expect every bothersome behavior to be banned unless it’s taken to extremes. As smokers we all get accustomed to being second class citizens shunned outside while we get disapproving looks from passerby. But we quit smoking. We’re not hurting or inconveniencing anyone. Grouping vaping with smoking hurts the vape movement. Acquiescing to people’s fears is bad for the movement. Vape courteously and use common sense. If you’re too close to others to spray perfume without getting it on other people, you’re probably to close to vape courteously. Yes, we can all wait a few minutes. But I’m not going to wait hours and cause myself discomfort when I can simply take a step back and vape a few. Indoor vaping is a fundamental reason why smokers even try it. No longer being kicked outside, disrupting activities to grab a smoke, or missing out on things because you needed a smoke. None of the harm or inconveniences of smoking apply to vaping which is a fundamental and crucial difference. I’m no longer a second class citizen, and I will not be treated or behave like one.

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