Be sure to always have a few cards with you!"
A call to arms! Well, not really, but now that I have your attention, I would like to talk about being an advocate for electronic cigarettes and our culture. As vapers, we feel a special bond with others who carry an ecig. We come together to share stories and laughs, knowing the vaper across from you has been through many of the same struggles. What about those on the outside looking in? How do they view us? Are we a secretive cult with wacky gadgets that emit fog? Are we hooligans fumbling around with cool techie devices? No! We are vapers and we should be proud. Remember, however, you are also a teacher (don't worry, I'll explain). When we started vaping, most of us turned to the internet to look for information. Most of us were bombarded with, PG and VG, PCCs and attys. How overwhelming was this at first? We stepped into a new realm of technology and most of us embraced it. Our aforementioned friends on the outside are not given this. The voice of the electronic cigarette industry starts with you. Countless times we are asked "What is that?" or "Why are you smoking in here?" Some of us are even chastised for "still smoking". Do not be turned off by this. When a stranger approaches us, we must remember that we may be the first experience or contact that someone has with an ecig. First impressions are everything! As vapers, we should be willing to explain what an ecig is; why we use the ecig or how we came to find it. What we exhale is vapor, not smoke. Taking the five to ten minutes out of your day to educate someone will go far for our industry and our culture. So what can you do? There are many groups advocating for smoke free alternatives, including Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives (CASAA) and Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association (TVECA). They offer many printable documents, including business cards, that have great information to give to people with questions about ecigs. As you V4Lers know, we carry cards that have the tagline "This is not a cigarette", which can be a great ice breaker if you happen to approach someone who may be unsure of what you are using. Just remember everyone, as a culture and family, we must remember that to shed positive light on vaping, we are the first line of vaping advocates. Vape on!