Vape etiquette – it comes down to basic manners.

nosmokingI’m hardly the first to blog about vaping etiquette, however recently there has been a growing shift towards vape related legislation, globally. The most critical of vape bans affecting those of us who live in the United States and Canada. These new vape bans have once again brought vaping etiquette to the forefront as we all try to figure out how to be responsible vapers while fighting the good fight. 

A bit of back story on recent politics 

I can ONLY truly speak to my environment, living in Montreal, Canada. Here the government has spent a lot of time and money demonizing vaping. What was once considered new and interesting a few years go is not being seen as any different than smoking, by non-vapers, and even sometimes considered worse.

Unfortunately here in Quebec we still have one of the highest numbers of smokers ages 16 and up and many of them either can’t, due to bylaws, or are simply not willing to vape because of negative societal sentiment.

I won’t get into all the recent regulations and bans and politics now. I will save that for another post I am writing on Bill S-5 (the vape killer). We are facing difficult times ahead, and it’s affecting how we vape day to day.

So where does etiquette come in?

At my desk 2012

I remember when I first started vaping roughly 7 years ago how new and exciting it was. Finally I had found a way to ACTUALLY stop smoking and satisfy my cravings all at once. let’s face it – we, vapers, all made a choice to quit for health reasons but there is no denying that beyond the medical risks there are many satisfying qualities to smoking. And, with a vape you get the best of both worlds.

In the beginning I would pretty much vape everywhere. At my desk. On the bus. Restaurants. Bars. Around my kids. In the car. It really didn’t matter. Granted, the “old school” vape produced way less cloud and was much easier to conceal. I wasn’t creating an entire weather systems above my head a work.

Most people were super interested when they saw my “electronic cigarette”. They asked all kinds of questions. “How does it work?, “Is expensive”, “Does it really help”, “what is eJuice”, etc. I found myself giving pseudo vape classes everywhere I went and converted many a smoker to a vaper.

I was proud of myself and the “work” I was doing spreading the good word and for the most part it was received fairly well. I remember when co-workers would say things like “Man you’re work area smells so nice. What is that?”. I would fill the air with scents of pastry, candy, fruit and more. Once in a while someone would mention it bugged them, so I would stop or vape in the hall or outside. No biggy.

But, vapes got bigger. Clouds got bigger. Scents intensified. Things were changing quick – in walks vape etiquette!

This is nothing new really. As vapers we’ve always been cautions and most of us, I would hope, respectful of others. The rules have not really changed. The difference is now we NEED to be more aware of how our vaping is impacting others and the rules that now govern it.

Vape etiquette 101 – no different than any etiquette really!

Lets’s take a look a few situations:

  • Home – it’s your house, you own it. You can pretty much vape anywhere you choose. If you live with other people and it bugs them find a room or space where you can vape comfortably without affecting others. In my situation my wife really hates when I drip around her. She ABSOLUTELY does not like the giant clouds – I get, it is ridiculous. So I use my mouth to lung device when I’m around her. If I feel like dripping I head to my office in the basement and blow HUMONGOUS clouds all night long 🙂 If you’re a renter, make sure you landlord is ok with it. In some municipalities, like here in Montreal, vaping is considered smoking and they can fine or evict you for vaping on their premises.
  • Driving – similar to home, it’s your car, do what you want. But, be careful! Big clouds can impair driving if you can’t see anything – I’ve done that by accident before, it’s not fun. Also, in some municipalities there are bylaws preventing vaping while driving or vaping while you have anyone in the vehicle under 16, like here in Quebec.
  • Work – this is a tough one! It all really depends where you work. Some small companies and hip startups don’t care, but if their office building has a no vape policy you are out of luck. Most offices today do not allow vaping anywhere inside, you need to vape in designated areas outside like smokers. If you work from home like me, you’re living the life!
  • Bars and restaurants – in Quebec this is a no go! It is considered smoking and you can be fined up $3,000 dollars. You cannot vape on patios outside either, you have to move to the sidewalk and be at least 9 metres from the entrance. However, when I was in California a few months ago you could vape in most bars. So know your local bylaws. That being said, I would consider choosing your vape and tank wisely. Cloud chasing in most establishments is still pretty taboo, unless it is a vape bar.
  • Schools, daycares and public parks – not in Quebec! Same rules apply as any city building, you have to be 9 metres from the property. Some parks have signs prohibiting vaping as well.
  • Public transportation – uhm, that’s a BIG FAT NO!
  • Private businesses – always ask first. Some businesses don’t mind and as long as no one complains about it. In certain circumstances they could not allow it even if they wanted to because the building they are in prohibits it. If you do get the go ahead be mindful of others, just like in bars and restaurants. There is no need to start a cloud comp in the middle of clothing store of blow Os in somebodies face.
  • Outside on the street – this one is tricky. I’ve heard that in some cities it is prohibited to vape on city streets just as it is to smoke. At the moment there are no issues in Montreal, but I’m conscious of my clouds. If I have my dripper on me I try not to vape on crowded streets, at a bus stop, waiting in line, or waiting for a light to turn green at a crowded corner. I try to stealth vape or wait. Typically when I’m on the go I’m bringing smaller devices with me that produce very little cloud.
  • Children and pets – I’ve heard many different opinions on this. If you’re around your kids and your pets and you don’t mind vaping near them, then go for it. There is no evidence that second hand vape is harmful. Personally, I vape around my kids. It does not bug them or me. If you are with other people or in someone else’s house, always ask first.
  • Social gatherings – if you’re at a private party or event make sure you know the rules. Ask if people mind. Get a feel for the vibe. Are there smokers around? Are there others vapers? If not, find a quiet corner or go outside.

At the end of the day it comes down to common courtesy. Always be mindful of others before you decide to start vaping. People appreciate being asked first, there’s no need to create a situation or draw negative attention to yourself. And remember when you vape you are representing all vapers! What people see and how they judge you in that situation will affect how they see other vapers in the future and how they feel about vaping in general.

Now more than ever we need to set a good example. Let’s not give non-vapers any more reasons to see vaping as a negative. Our actions, our words and how we represent the community will be a HUGE factor in how society and governments define and manage vaping as we move forward.

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