The freedom to vape. Most readers of my humble internet presence are well aware e-cigarettes bear much less harm than smoking. There are even some preliminary studies to show no harmful chemicals in any meaningful levels to harm bystanders. But, does that give us the right to whip out our e-cigarettes and vaping up a storm wherever and whenever we damn well please?
Where “Smoke Anywhere” Began
First off, I’ll admit, this article is going to be heavily laced with my own opinion. You may or may not agree, but it’s my take on the subject. What brought this notion up?
It’s been one that I’ve thought about before, but what egged it on was some infomercial for some off-brand e-cigarettes. Naturally one of the things they hit on heavily is the idea that you can use their product in places you can’t smoke.
Being a company of unknown repute, they included airplanes in the example. Anyone who’s at all followed the industry in the last couple years know that’s a great way to get tazed by an Air Marshal.
From there I got an image in my head of some jackass puffing away in some completely inappropriate place like a funeral or something. But then I had to ask myself, ok where is the line?
Advocate vs. Inconsiderate
I’ve raised the question before about how openly people vape in public. The results varied from people who limit themselves to smoking areas to other individuals who used their e-cigarette as a sort of advocacy billboard to get people to ask about their devices.
I can see the point. I tend to fall somewhere in the middle myself. But where is the difference between wanting to engage people and being a self-entitled pill?
Before smoking bans were widespread over health concerns, there were still places you didn’t smoke. Maybe it was due to health concerns, but generally it was for reasons of politeness. Sometimes you just didn’t smoke somewhere because it was considered rude.
Sure, part of that is because cigarettes stink. But I still think there are situations in which the vapor can be a distraction. Seeing a plume of vapor, especially if you use something designed to belt out the clouds can in fact detract from others’ experiences at the event.
I’m thinking of places like classrooms or theaters. Church. Does anyone vape in church? It just seems that there are some scenarios where not vaping is a courtesy.
Business Owners’ Prerogative
One place where I think it should be A-OK to vape like a steam train is bars. Smoking and drinking were just made for one another. A bar just isn’t the same if you have unlimited visibility.
Some areas have short-sighted bans that include e-cigarettes, so vaping in the bar is disallowed as a matter of law. Yet, there are other bars where it’s legal, yet the proprietors forbid vaping (often cited fears of sneaky smokers trying to smoke real cigarettes on the sly.)
As a vaper I don’t like the notion, but it’s ok. As a business owner, that’s their call to make. As customers it’s our call to go elsewhere. The story is simple as that. Yet I see people getting all tied up over establishments that forbid vaping.
And here’s the part where I’m sure I’ll get a few comments. We do not have a right to vape.
Sense of Entitlement
This is the part that gets me. It seems that some people feel it is their God-given right to vape where they want, when they want. I’ve covered countless stories of people getting bounced out of places for vaping.
Many times it is the vaper who got wronged, like the man who got his season pass pulled for a while for vaping at a stadium. And the old lady who got 86ed from a bingo hall after being assured she could use her e-cigarette in the establishment. These aren’t the people I’m talking about.
I’m talking about people who get told not to vape somewhere and then throw some kind of fit. Like the woman who went to the media after the mall asked her to stop vaping.
Even if something is not explicitly denied by law, private establishments are still free to have their own rules. If you disagree, take your business elsewhere. It’s not hard, folks.
I know you’re not smoking, and that it’s not killing people around you, but that still doesn’t mean you are completely free to engage in it in any manner you see fit. Singing Psy songs loudly off-key is also not illegal, but chances are pretty good it would get you tossed out of the nearest 5-star restaurant.
I’d like to think the mall lady is distinctly in the minority here, and she probably is. But in some ways I tend to blame the sellers that use the smoke anywhere selling point. I think that sort of sets people up to think they are bullet proof or something.
Then again, “you might be able to use this product in certain establishments if you are polite and request permission from the manager first” is a really horrible tagline, isn’t it?
Ok, let’s hear ’em. Comments section awaits your sage insight below.
keyzygirlsecigvapeblog(05/22/13 - 12:41 pm)
I agree. I do vape in a few places I would never smoke like the grocery store,but Im sneaky and I dont draw attention. I did vape pre op and post op when I had surgery but I tried to be sneaky,LOL! I do not think its our right to be rude. If Im asked not to vape, I dont or I leave. Its all about the entitled attitude and being offended and defensive. The more vapers that pull that crap the more people who will be against us. Always be considerate of others when vaping.
Hilary C.(05/22/13 - 12:59 pm)
I so agree! So far I’ve been lucky in restaurants and such as nobody seems to mind. But yes, with a lot of places….especially Church of all things…discretion is warranted. Even in restaurants, if I’m seated near children, I don’t vape. Reason being is I’ve already tried to explain it to my Grandchildren to no avail, so I figure if they don’t get it, I don’t want to expose children I don’t even know. I hold my PV in the grocery stores, etc. and sometimes I get a vape or two in if the aisle is empty, etc. Again, no issues. I even vaped my way through a hospital stay once trying to be so ever discreet until the Nurses said “no problem” :-). What it comes down to again is discretion, common sense, and courtesy.
Lori(05/22/13 - 1:20 pm)
When we called in our reservation at Texas Roadhouse Restaurant we asked if it was ok to use an ecig there… they had no problem. Another time, we went to the Chinese buffet and we were told no, so I didn’t indulge. Simple as that, just be polite and remember they have the right to refuse service.
Steve K(05/22/13 - 1:22 pm)
Interesting responses everyone (I say as I sneak a vape in a training class while everyone’s at lunch) :)
Tug(05/22/13 - 7:57 pm)
Stealth it. As experienced vapers we should know how to vary our clouds, this is part of the fun. I have 100%pg high-nic menthol (inoffensive odour to the max) just for this purpose.
Pat S.(05/23/13 - 11:15 am)
Our local smoking bans are so longstanding and entrenched that I think it would give someone a heart attack if you pulled out something that looks like smoking in an indoor public place.I just don’t do it. A stealth vape in the ladies’ room is a different story. Can and do if I’m stuck somewhere. I do, however vape in homes, including my own, where smoking is not done – with permission, of course. I always get permission. Non-smoking friends and family are supportive. Also, when out of doors I don’t really try to get away from non-smokers and vapers as I was doing with cigarettes.
I think people should be able to vape in more places than they can smoke, but since smoking is illegal in so many places, I can really see how it might be hard for the help to make the distinction between an Njoy and a cigarette, for instance, at least from a distance. I can understand if establishments don’t want that hassle.I’m sure my mini ego/evod combo looks like a drug delivery device to the uninitiated, too. I do agree about the bars. Bars should be allowed to let people vape away if they want to.
Errol(05/23/13 - 7:21 pm)
Well thought out article Steve. It’s my hope that as more people become aware of what e-cigs really are the barriers will slowly fall.
afrazier5(05/24/13 - 9:55 am)
Thanks for this Steve – this is exactly how I feel. IMHO, vaping ‘anywhere’ you damn well please does nothing but hurt what us advocates are trying to do. Frankly, if you cannot go 30 mins or an hour without vaping while in a store, movie, etc then there are bigger addiction problems that should be addressed.
Steve K(05/24/13 - 9:57 am)
Thanks, I’m kind of surprised that nobody is disagreeing on the subject :)
Rick M(05/24/13 - 3:37 pm)
Funny you write this right after me reading through a book about the Rat Pack where in every single picture they all had a cig in their hand, indoors, outdoors, on a plane (hell, I remember smoking on planes and in stores… that was the norm).
So I disagree with you because it is rediculous how we have become such outcasts.
Then again I agree with you on the point of common courtesy. If a store owner does not allow me to wear a blue shirt in his establishment it is his right to say so and I will respect that. (As rediculous as that is)