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It is truly staggering, the pace at which the popularity of E cigarettes has grown. In Europe alone, there are over 2 million regular users of E cigarettes. They buy their cigarettes off the internet, at specialty stores and off independent salesmen. Its an industry that refuses to back off and is growing alarmingly fast.But is it accepted by society? Has the skepticism of health organizations rubbed off on the non-believers? There are still so many questions surrounding the general etiquette related to E cigarettes. Those who dont know what E cigarettes are become downright suspicious about the entire concept; others staunchly believe vaping in public places should be outlawed just as smoking has been.The ambiguous societal laws surrounding E cigarette consumption are illustrated in this anecdote:
In late 2012, a public transit passenger travelling from Preston to London through the M6 became an unbeknownst terrorist threat after taking out his E cigarette. He decided to light up his E cigarette while sitting near the back of the bus. Passengers noticed smoke blowing out of his bag and believed they saw him pouring some sort of liquid into it (presumably a refill of E juice). They alerted the bus driver, who immediately notified the police in an emergency call. Within minutes, armed police and guards had swarmed over, closing off nearly 3 miles of the motorway. One of the busiest highways in the U.K was inaccessible to millions of travelers for nearly 10 hours. Why? Because of an E cigarette.Why is it that his innocent little E cigarette was mistaken for some sort of bomb? Would the same have happened had he been at a theatre? Are there rules attached to E cigarette consumption? It seems that the ubiquity of E cigarettes confuses us about the appropriateness of smoking. We are confused about the different stigma attached to E cigarettes.
If you were outdoors with friends or coworkers, you would likely check with them before lighting up a regular cigarette. Follow the same rules with your E cigarettes; ask people around you politely if they are okay with your vaping. Seeking permission will make you more comfortable even when you are indoors and it will give you the opportunity to explain what you're doing to those around you.If you avoid exposing your children to cigarette smoke, avoid vaping around them. Despite the absence of second hand smoke, the concept of smoking is often appealing to growing children and adolescents. To them, it is the item you are puffing on that is interesting; they may not recognize that you are actually trying to make a healthier choice. Most primary and secondary schools in North America ban vaping on their premises so as to ensure that they dont blur the lines between acceptable smoking and harmful smoking.Smoking in most restaurants is an absolute prohibition in all of the developed and a lot of the developing world. Restaurants that do allow smoking usually have designated areas. You'll find that in traditional no smoking zones, no exceptions will be made for E cigarette smokers. Public perception surrounding E cigarettes is not much different than that of their tobacco-based counterparts.Restaurant staff in upscale places around London and New York have actually been known to deny customers service if they insist on whipping out an E cigarette at the table. Its a discomfiting experience for other diners, regardless of how harmful the smoke is.When dining out with others, make sure you have a talk with a staff member about whether or not E cigarettes are acceptable to them. The waiters and manager may never have dealt with such a situation before, in which case it is in your best interest to convince them of the harmlessness of vaping. If you dont get away with it, treat your E cigarette the way you would a regular one, take it outside.
The E cigarette industry is becoming more lucrative by the minute, and nobody is further up in line to benefit from it than big governments. By 2015, there will be over $2 billion circulating within the E cigarette industry. That is a massive amount of money, and it is already being controlled by the biggest market players. In the global E cigarette industry, nearly 90% of the market belongs to the 3 biggest manufacturers.The rest is unevenly distributed between smaller companies and independent salesmen. In the next five years, it will be near impossible for a new business to survive in the market. Thus, given that E cigarette prices account for only 20% Value added tax as compared to the 70% of regular cigarettes, smokers are more inclined to save money on E cigarettes. In return, it is only a matter of time before governments swoop in on the opportunity and raise taxes.
Law and Order
European lobbyists and tobacco manufacturers have really taken a stand against the E-cigarette industry in the last 5 years. They argue that E-cigarettes should be categorized as medication along with other nicotine based items, such as patches and gum. This classification would immediately retract the sales of E cigarettes because they would need official examination and licensing before qualifying for legal sale.The process could potentially take years and would provide tobacco companies the time to compensate for the sales they've lost to E cigarettes. As of 2014, the UK government has ruled that E cigarettes will be classified as medication by 2016, a safety measure that the rest of Europe may or may not follow on.
Are you a vapist if you smoke E cigarettes? Do you tell people about the E juice in your cigarette? Do you ask for a smoke juice refill when you visit your local dispenser? Are the rules surrounding vapor etiquette called vepiquette? The obstacles we face in society are, more often than not, seeded in the language we use. Its likely that terms like vaping and drip tip are detrimental to the case for E cigarettes. Its important to think about the words you use when describing your habit. It may be the defining difference between what is accepted and what isnt.
E cigarettes are the smoke without fire. But this seems to be an empty generalization; there are a lot of fires left to put out, for manufacturers and government lobbyists, tobacco scientists and anti-smoking activists. The list goes on and so does the battle. You can stay out of the line of fire if you learn to incorporate your vaping habit seamlessly into your social behavior.