I do not smoke.
I have several friends that think I’m crazy. Sure, they have some very good reasons to think so. I mean I have 5 cats for God’s sake. But, because I quit smoking way back in 1992 and took up vaping in 2011 they shake their heads in disbelief, like I’ve started smoking again after all these years of being “smoke free”. I vape. I do not smoke.
For all the effort I have made to see that they understand that smoking is smoking, and vaping is vaping, they just don’t get it. All they can see is my inhaling something and exhaling something that looks a lot like smoke.
This problem, seeing vaping as just another form of smoking, lies at the heart of all these anti-smoking people (zealots) who are constantly attacking eCigarettes. They stretch the slightest ill-conceived “studies” no matter how flawed the data, and run with it as it were the gospel. The latest, a Greek study showing a “temporary” restriction in the lungs after vaping an eCigarette for 10 minutes shows just how far these people will go in their attempts at banning eCigs.
“You know, even some pro-vaping people look at vaping as another form of smoking.”
Trying to convince someone that vaping is something entirely different than smoking is damn near impossible. However, if we are ever to be left alone to vape in peace we are going to have to try and convince them.
At first glance it’s easy to look at someone vaping and immediately think that person is smoking, especially if they are vaping a white eCig with a glowing red tip. Vapor from an eCigarette is nearly identical to smoke, to the naked eye anyway, and as the Vaper brings the eCigarette up to his or her lips, inhales the vapor, and then exhales that vapor disguised to look as much like smoke as possible, its easy to understand why the ill-informed might think the person is smoking. I’ll admit it, it does look like smoking, but that’s as far as it goes.
Perhaps one move that can be made by vendors and vapers is to reassess their battery and cartomizer designs so that it is actually easier to identify an eCigarette rather than emulate the cigarette right down to its color and feel. The design of Apollo eCigs, Halo Cigs and Blu Cigs, have the right idea; using black as the primary color, it helps those that might want to bitch you out for smoking realize that whatever the hell is in your mouth it is not a cigarette. For myself, I’ve taken to bringing my Johnson Creek Vea with me when I go out. As beautiful as I think this piece of hardware is there is no mistaking it as a cigarette. So far no one as ever bothered me while vaping the Vea as they have in the past when I went out in public with an eCigarette that looked a lot like a cigarette.
So what is “smoking” then?
A smoker is someone that burns tobacco, either in the form of a cigarette, or a cigar, or even a pipe and inhales the smoke. In order to get smoke you have to burn something, right? When someone puts a cigarette, cigar, or pipe in their mouth it’s usually followed by the use of lighter, and then using that lighter to start a controlled burn of the tobacco.
Consider; if you see someone in the process of using snuff, or chewing tobacco, you don’t consider him or her to be smoking, right? Smoking a cigarette, pipe, or cigar is a thousand times closer to chewing tobacco and snuff (am I spelling that right?) because it’s all tobacco.
Vaping, on the other hand, has nothing to do with tobacco. In fact, I would venture to say that if its nicotine that’s the excuse as to why people relate vaping and tobacco use then I submit to you that vaping is just as related to eating broccoli. Broccoli has nicotine, the same chemical makeup of nicotine that the tobacco plant has, so what’s the difference? If it were currently possible to produce enough nicotine by using dried broccoli instead of tobacco plants I wonder if people would still consider eCigarettes a tobacco product? Of course they would.
Also consider that there is a segment of the vaping community that sticks to zero-nicotine eJuice. Are they also using a ‘tobacco related’ product? Are they too ‘smoking’?
The entire argument that resulted in the FDA controlling the electronic cigarette in the same category as tobacco is a false one. Yet, people inside and outside the vaping community have allowed the FDA to continue to classify eCigarettes as ‘tobacco related’ products without a fight, despite the fact the burning tobacco has nothing to do with vaping.
It is wrong to allow perception to rule the day. No matter what the issue is, whether its electronic cigarettes or building a birdcage, the wrong perception should not dictate policy.
“You have the wrong idea” is a very common saying, it means that someone is likely to come to a wrong conclusion by deciding a matter on how they perceive it be, rather than what the reality is.
The wrong perception in the vaping community is widespread. If you agree with me that vaping has nothing to do with smoking, and that tobacco has very little to nothing to do with vaping, then we must find ways to convince the zealots. As long as they continue to make the connection visually they will always “get the wrong idea” about vaping.
I vape. I do not smoke.
Editor / Spinfuel eCig Magazine
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