It’s not tobacco so anything goes, right? Not quite.
There are unspoken rules about how to behave when vaping in public, not to mention a growing shift towards legislation. Whether you’re brand new to vaping, or a seasoned cloud-chaser, we can all use some pointers on the proper etiquette. After all, it’s more than basic politeness, the way we behave now can have major impact further down the line.
Why does it matter?
Vaping is relatively new, and the more conspicuous elements, such as cloud chasing and sub ohm vaping have only become widespread over the past couple of years. Laws restricting vaping are starting to come out, and there’s the potential for it to be legislated as harshly as smoking. As individuals, we can help shift this in our favour by behaving responsibly and showing that not only is vaping different and healthier than smoking, it can also be accepted by the general public. But more than this, it’s about good manners. The advice below can be seen as basic decency, but it’s worth establishing a code of conduct to present vaping as a relatively harmless habit, rather than an obnoxious vice.
- Home – In the privacy of your own home, you set your own rules. Unlike tobacco it won’t stain fixtures and fittings and the smell doesn’t linger too long, so if you fancy an evening blowing clouds, feel free! If you have guests coming round, it’s only polite to air the room out before they arrive and make sure they’re ok with you vaping in front of them. Remember, plenty of people still don’t know exactly what vaping is or how it works, so set them at ease.
- Driving – The UK recently passed a law banning smoking in cars. This doesn’t apply to vaping yet, but serves as a warning. A car filled with thick vapour impairs visibility, making you a danger to everyone on the road. Another safety risk is the faint residue left on the windscreen when using high VG fluid. Overall, it’s recommended to avoid vaping while driving or as a passenger, but if you must stick to PG-based juice, and have a window open to help the mist escape.
- Outside – If you’re out hiking in the country with only sheep and the clear blue sky for company, then vape away! If however, you’re walking down a busy street or queuing for a taxi then you need to be aware of the people around you. That blueberry coffee blend might be the tastiest juice you’ve ever tried, but the general public doesn’t want to smell your second-hand vapour – it’s not a million miles away from being burped at. Be conscientious, consider taking a few steps so the wind doesn’t blow it into people
- Private business – Here’s where it gets tricky. If you’re at a cinema, or a gig, then it’s a no-no. Vapour hinders visibility, and if you’re in close proximity to people they could object to the smell. Shops, bars and clubs all vary, and largely depends on the rules of that country or state. If vaping isn’t banned then ask a member of staff. Even if you get the ok, be responsible about it. Blow your vapour away from people, or at the floor. Restaurants are an even more delicate matter. You need to make sure it’s acceptable not only to the staff, but also your fellow diners. It might prove easier to just step outside.
- Public Transport – Buses, trains and planes are all starting to crack down on vaping. If it’s not already banned, it’s likely that at least one person on-board will object to the second-hand vapour.
It’s not just places, we should also consider how we behave around other people. Here are some pointers.
- Children and pets – You wouldn’t smoke cigarettes around children, so don’t vape either. The key is to set a good example. The PG content in e-juice can have a negative impact on cats (and to a lesser degree, dogs) potentially leading to anaemia. Avoid vaping around pets, or switch to VG-based liquid. Most importantly, never leave your vaping equipment unattended around children or pets. Mods can become a fire hazard, and juice containing nicotine can be lethal.
- Non-smokers – If in doubt, ask. Most non-smokers won’t mind people vaping around them, but always check first. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and while studies have proven that second hand vapour is safe, not everyone knows this.
- Smokers – Don’t criticise smokers – most of us were in their position once. If they show interest, explain the benefits of vaping but be careful not to be condescending.
Vapers – Again, be respectful and don’t criticise their choices. Some people are content with cig-a-likes, while others prefer complex customised builds. We’re a community and should respect each other’s preferences. When it comes to testing other people’s kit, play safe and use your own drip tip or disposable drip tip covers.
Some vapers engage in ‘stealth vaping’, keeping their equipment hidden, and holding vapour in longer than usual, so it’s less visible when exhaled. This is problematic. If the aim is to deceive people then don’t do it – it’s likely you’ll get caught, and only serves to damage our reputation. However, if the aim is to remain low key in a place where vaping is acceptable, this is fine.
It comes down to basic manners. Studies have proven that there is no risk from second-hand vapour but many people don’t like to have it breathed on them. If possible, educate people but keep it brief, no one likes being preached at. Cloudchasing in public can be seen as impolite, so it’s best to do this in private.
Ultimately, all it takes is asking people if they mind.
And if they do, respect their wishes. This is a sensitive time for vapers all over the world, with many countries and states looking to enact restrictive laws. If we build a reputation for courtesy, it can only help.