Let's Talk About Vaping Etiquette
To vape or not to vape, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous restrictions, Or to take a stand against a sea of misinformation and by opposing it?
Vaping is invariably lumped with “tobacco-free” initiatives in the eyes of the law and rules governing public use vary greatly by location. Posted policies that expressly declare that vaping is prohibited are becoming more common but often such signage is lacking.
As a result of this ambiguity, the life of a vaper is fraught with potential conflict. Always keep in mind that there are still plenty of people who wrongly assume vapor clouds are equivalent to cigarette smoke. Indoor smoking has been banned in many states for over a decade and in these areas you can expect people to become quite alarmed if you start throwing clouds in a public setting. Uncouth behavior harms the rights and interests of vapers in the long term. The best policy is to abide by basic rules of etiquette.
Most people don’t know much about vaping. Unless cloud chasing, it is a discrete activity that is most often confined to cars, closed offices, outdoor smoking areas and the comfort of one’s own home. Another factor is that plenty of people will have no idea what you are vaping and may be suspicious. THC and nicotine are the usual suspects. Vaped vitamins, CBD oil and nic free e-juices are not on most non-vaper’s radar.
This will inevitably change as time goes on, but for now, try to be understanding of the general public ignorance over vape devices. As a general rule, vaping is going to get lumped in with smoking. It can be frustrating, but you should always ask before vaping in an area that doesn’t allow smoking, even if vaping is not mentioned specifically. If there is no one to ask, just refrain altogether.
Around non-vapers and non-smokers
Etiquette and personal responsibility come into play when you are surrounded by people who don’t smoke or vape. This is the majority of the population, and our freedom is largely dependent on our ability to operate within societal norms. There are still many areas where restaurant and business owners can make their own rules about vaping. There is no faster way to get vaping banned than to generate complaints from the other customers. If you are in an area where vaping ordinances do not exist or it is not banned by law, please keep abide by these simple rules.
Don’t blow vapor in anyone’s face
Let us start with obvious rule first. Defiantly blowing clouds into the faces of others isn’t an "alpha move". Yes, there is a movie trope where the domineering boss blows cigar smoke in the face of his underlings, but keep in mind that in the real world people take their personal space very seriously. Make sure that they are not going to get assaulted with your scented vapor cloud, which is probably stronger smelling than you realize. As good as the puff may have tasted on the way in, it is not going to smell nearly as pleasant on the way out. Many people are sensitive to fragrances so avoid this boorish behavior.
Don’t be stealthy a cretin
Only a select few want to be branded a buffoon. You know who is not taken seriously? People who sneak off to the bathroom every 45 minutes and leave a faint haze that smells like dessert when they depart. You know who else is not taken seriously? The person blowing puffs of vapor through the neck hole in their shirt. If vaping is not allowed somewhere, then don’t vape there, no matter how sneaky you think you can be. The temptation is obvious but if vaping is prohibited then don't do it.
Perform mod maintenance at home
Don’t risk ruining someone’s car seat or sofa by swapping coils. Emergency maintenance should be performed in a bathroom or above a utility sink. Oil staining is real and unlikely to be appreciated. Leave no margin for error, spilling or e-juice transfer to fabrics. Stand outside with a paper towel if necessary.
Fill tanks carefully and out of harm’s way
The same rules apply to this as apply to mod maintenance: make sure there is no possibility of spilling and perform this task in an area free from fabrics or furnishings that could potentially be damaged or require cleanup. A bathroom sink is logical last resort and wash your hands of any residual e-juice when done.
Ask before vaping indoors or at an event
Lots of places are fine with the occasional vapor cloud, but you should never assume that. You may also want to avoid tobacco-flavored e-Juices while vaping in public, since they can easily confuse people into thinking you’re somehow really smoking tobacco.
If someone is curious about your mod, or vaping in general, then by all means, share your knowledge. Don’t, however, go out of your way to preach to people who you know smoke (or who don’t consume nicotine at all). Let them come to you.
In the company of friends
Vaping etiquette isn’t all about how to coexist with people who don’t smoke or vape. There are some basic niceties that you should observe around other vapers, as well. Remember, just because someone vapes doesn’t mean they enjoy the same flavors or techniques that you do. The vaper is a diverse creature.
No one wants 2nd hand vapor blown in their face
There are better ways to exert dominance in a group dynamic than blowing huge plumes of vapor into someone's face. Staring contests, arm wrestling, soccer friendlies, and leaping competitions all come to mind. Even if cloud throwing was an Olympic event and you were the anchor of the gold medal team, it would not be acceptable to practice by blowing clouds into people's faces. Most vapers understand not to exhale a cloud of vapor into a non-vaper’s face, but many don’t extend this same courtesy to people who vape themselves.
Devices leak, tanks spill, oil gets on hands, hands are wiped on expensive furniture and vapers get banished to the patio. Don't drop your guard or become careless because you are in a vaping friendly location. Take every precaution to make sure that you leave not a trace of e-juice behind. Ask before disassembling your mod to replace the coil. Have a paper towel handy when you fill your tank. Wash your hands promptly if there is any spillage. If you are with a group of fellow vapers, follow the owners lead and inquire about the preferred method and location for tank filling. One slip-up or a leaky tank can lead to a lot of problems.
Perform Scheduled Device Maintenance at Home
The world is not a vaper's workbench. Swapping coils can get messy. Cleaning tanks can be a chore. Do it at home and in a vaping emergency make sure you get permission before disassembling your device on their new coffee table.
Don’t use someone’s device without asking
This seems like it should be obvious, but you may be surprised. Always ask before using someone else’s device. Most people are more than willing to share their mod or their flavors if you ask nicely, but just grabbing at what you want is a great way to get fired as a friend.
Vapers take plenty of heat from the rest of the world, judgement doesn’t need to come from inside the community as well. There’s no need to humiliate someone because they don’t understand how the fanciest mods work, don’t vape the highest nicotine levels, or maybe don’t even vape all that often. This kind of behavior is by no means exclusive to the vaping community, but it is always unwelcome.
There is no right way to vape and there are countless ways to enjoy vaping. Just because someone owns an e-cigarette or has been known to vape before, don’t assume that they want a cloud of vapor swirling about in their living room. Always ask before vaping in someone else’s home or in their car.
You may be ecstatic about your new device but make sure that you clearly explain the performance of your device before you share. This includes wattage and nicotine level. With the advent of nic salts, there is a tremendous range of e-juice potency. The guy huffing enormous clouds of 3mg/ml e-juice should be forewarned before using your high nic pod system. Your friend using a disposable e-cigarette should have the power of your 220w beast clearly explained before she pulls the trigger.
Most vaping etiquette boils down to common sense. Just respect other people’s space and ask if you’re ever uncertain. You’ll find most people are much more understanding than you may have thought.