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I was reading through some Facebook groups the other day and came across a post that bothered me. (The names I’m using are fictional but the story is real). John (a fellow Vaper) was shopping for gifts at a mall and was confronted by a lady (Jane) who came up to him and said, “you can’t smoke in the mall”. John said that he calmly told her that it is an e-cig and that it was ok for him to use ( they sell them at that mall ) and just continued walking. Jane in turn yelled in the direction of a security guard “guard this guy is smoking in the mall”. John had to spend 20 minutes sitting in the security office explaining it to the security guard before the mall manager finally came and told him he was free to go and keep vaping.

My sympathies could be with both of these people.

Let’s take a look at Jane’s actions first:
Maybe she is just a nosy, busy body, tattletale, butting in where she doesn’t belong…maybe she is like a lot of us and can’t stand the smell of smoke and doesn’t want to be exposed to it…or perhaps she has a loved one who had a horrible death due to smoking. Whatever the reason one thing is certain, she had no clue about what an electronic cigarette was. Apparently the security guard didn’t either. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that the vast majority of people are like Jane … they don’t know about vaping or what it is really about…Anti-smoking.

John reaction:
He has taken the time and effort to improve his life and those around him with vapor instead of smoke. He is harming no one. He is walking through a mall, minding his own business, when a distraught person confronts him because she assumes he is smoking. I think that it is likely that John could have defused this situation by spending a little more time educating Jane rather than simply walking away.

Here is what bothers me about this story. First of all Jane should have gone to the security guard instead of confronting the so-called “smoker”. Second, management of this mall is incompetent and caused this problem by not educating their security guards about electronic cigarettes. Had they done that the guard would never have had to bother John and in turn been able to educate the lady who was complaining. Third, we as vapers should expect questions if we are going to vape in public. It does look like we are smoking. Our community doesn’t have hundreds of billions of dollars and a fawning press to get our message out. Like it or not until vaping becomes main-stream it is going to be up to us to help educate everyone else. Stating your rights and simply walking away is not the answer. Jane saw what appeared to be smoke and the explanation she got was that it was an “eCig” and it was OK to use in the mall. Jane leaves this encounter with no real information with the idea that this device is just another “CIGARETTE” and one more thing to add to her hate list. And she will spread the word among people she knows.

I am a huge advocate of vaping and there are very few places I go without my PV. I want it to be seen everywhere by as many people as possible. I want people to ask me questions and I consider it a privilege to help someone if it will help them to quit smoking. The example in this blog illustrates a golden opportunity to enlighten the general public. The only cost is a little bit of time. The rewards are enormous.

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  1. Keyzy says

    I love it! Awesome post.

  2. Scott says

    Very well written and I completely agree.
    I generally bring a stack of vendor business cards with me when I go out, to go along with all answers I know I’ll be throwing out there, heh.

  3. Jennifer A. says

    I totally agree with you. It does upset me when vapers say the stealth vape in public, because it does do the vaping community any justice if we hide what we do. Hiding implies wrong doing.

    If we can educate the public, then maybe, we have a shot at beating the ANTZ in their smoking bans. If the public is unaware that ecigs aren’t like real cigarettes, then the ANTZ win. Just my humble opinion on the matter.

  4. tiffjamesnjj says

    honestly, i vape in the mall all the time, since there is a kiosk there and most people have seen it…
    now, when i vape in public i do not let the vapor plume from my mouth, not unless i am standing next to the e-ciggy kiosk….
    it’s such a double edged sword, i do hate when people assume that you are smoking, but what else could it be?
    i have not be confrunted yet, but i beileive that if it happens, you should calmly and NICELY explain to them what you are doing. DON’T be rude or expect them to understand….
    And yup, you’re right!!

  5. Jared says

    Great article.. And very typical example of what is going on everyday out in public. I am an anonymous vendor and truthfully am concerned every single day about how my customers, vapers new and advanced vapers are using their products in public. I am constantly reminding my customer that just because it’s not a cigarette does not mean you can use it anywhere you please, but the truth is that some do, without any regard of the people around them who are completely uneducated about e-cigs, sometimes when they are approached the do there best to explain what the product is and what it is not, BUT other times they get all entitled and pro e-cig and defensive about their vaping which IMHO is very bad for us and our e-cigs at this time. I cannot say how important it is right now to ASK establishments even malls, bar, clubs, office building, department store BEFORE you vape in these places to see if it is allowed. It is not up to you as a vaper to decide where you can vape in privately owned buildings,, it’s up to the management or the owner..if you get the OK then go for it! if you get the stink eye, and a NO then don’t do it.. I’m sure you can wait till your done with your shopping, or until you break time to have a vape.. Because when you assume that you can vape anywhere you want because it’s not smoke it very bad for the e-cig agenda.. and will only cause more drama as you can see outlined in the story above. Be polite, be cautious, and above all respect the public around you that chooses to breath only air and nothing else.. Yes of course I know it’s not smoke I know that.. you know that but the majority does not.. Counties and Cities across the nation are putting e-cigs into their smoking ordinances every week it seems.. and banning them in every place possible let’s not give another reason to ban e-cigs by using them in places where the establishment owners have not given their expressed permission to use them.

  6. slap_maxwell says

    This might be a good time for each of us to compose an e-mail or letter addressed to the management of the local malls in our respective areas discussing the usage of e-cigs, inquiring of their policies, and perhaps offering some information to help guide them to a policy where none are in place. It wouldn’t take much time to do, and if we don’t, then rest assured those who are against e-cigs *will.*

  7. Alex says

    I stealth vape to not worry about these problems, not cause’ i’m in the wrong, just cause’ I don’t like the hassle

  8. John says

    Nice article. I have yet to encounter anybody that has a problem with it, but I also stealth vape and just take a puff here and there. I’m ready for any “encounter” though!
    Man, Jane’s a B*****!!!!!

  9. unclerj says

    Great article!

    And again I can see both sides of it. But the lady in question does seem to very closed minded and as you said, if she did not like what she thought she saw, she should have just called the guard to deal with it.

    But what about the owner of the Kiosk? Perhaps he should have made a point of educating the mall manager and asking him/her to educate the mall employees and the guards in particular?

    And our fellow vapor did us all proud.

  10. dahcwon says

    I vape just as if i was smoking so im stealth.

  11. Todd says

    I think that these situations are no fun indeed – but each and every time and little by little, it is us and those experiences that get the word spread. It sucks that someone has to go through that – but now “John” has been a part of the “movement” and now thanks to “Jane” another person is now more educated on something that they otherwise may not have been had the situation not happened.

  12. saboinia says

    i was sitting outside the local hospitol and happily vaping, and tthey are like you cant smoke here….im like tthis is not a ciggerette…………i am not smoking…..it is a fake ciggy…..i can smoke tthis

  13. robovape says

    sad that security doesn’t know what an ecig is when they sell them at the mall they work in… how observant can these guys be?

  14. John says

    As more time progresses and more people switch, more people will become more educated about personal vaporizers and aren’t going to such douche bag like

  15. MorrinB says

    Great article and a great reminder. Not everyone is aware of ecigs. I don’t vape in privately owned businesses without permission unless I have permission. I don’t want us vapers to get a bad rap for being rude and pushy, much like nonsmokers seem to be.

  16. Amanda says

    the husband never stays stealth

  17. Amanda says

    actually its like he TRYS to stand out

  18. mongrel says

    Well if John and Jane didn’t know about e-cigs, how can you say Mall management should somehow be enlightened enough to educate their security guards about e-cigs.

    I know people have very different views in the vaping world. Personally I have never yet vaped in a public place where I couldn’t smoke. I’ve gone a very long time knowing I would have to do without nicotine in certain places and vaping doesn’t change that.

    Now with that said I have not been vaping very long, and I’m not a person who is very often in “public places” where I can’t vape. But I’ll say when I find myself in a situation that I really want to vape in a no smoking area, I plan to first explain myself and ask permission. If I were John I’d have found a security guard, explained my e-cig and asked if it was ok if I vaped.

    Someday in the future when vaping becomes more common place I’m sure it will be easier. But for now, I’d rather duck outside and find a few smokers and maybe tell them about e-cigs rather than cause a confrontation. Eventually I may even try carrying a few minis with me and handing them out to smokers. IDK for me the front line in this war is getting people to quit smoking.

  19. robovape says

    it’s great that you and others i know are so committed to educating the public about vaping… i’ve told my coworkers that smoke about it and let them try my ecigs, but i really don’t vape in public much, i don’t like to be noticed, i don’t like talking to restaurant managers or mall cops or hostile strangers… curious strangers are fine, when i do vape in public, i still go outside, i end up there wherever it is with the rest of the smokers and vape, that’s a good place to meet people in public and talk about vaping for me…

  20. Johnathan Brown says

    I’m sure eventually i may get stopped by someone have to go through this, but regardless, I vape almost anywhere. I DEFINITELY do it in the mall, because there is a whiteclouds kiosk nearby.

  21. Pearl McLaughlin (moxie) says

    Great well written article. I just went to our local mall a few days ago, when I searched online and heard they had a kiosk! So I went to check out their goods. It was great to find a place that carried something other than deKang. He let me try their vanilla brew and the first words out of my mouth were, do they let you do that in here? lol. I’m just way too conditioned to be outside in the cold and rain. I don’t think I would have walked around smoking in the mall. I’ll wait until more of the results are published that the second hand vapor is safe for those around me. I have stood in movie lines and got comments of people smelling hot chocolate or is there a bakery near here? When I explain and show them what I am doing, they applaud me for quitting cigarettes and want to get one for their loved ones. You’re right explaining a little goes a long ways!

  22. Donald Hammond says

    Sounds to me like you said, Maybe she is just a nosy, busy body, tattletale, butting in where she doesn’t belong. LOL

  23. NicXvapor says

    I agree that “John” should have taken the time to explain what it was and educate “Jane”. I like that she approached him directly first though. I prefer that myself when I’m vaping in public, it’s an opportunity to spread knowledge and, unfortunately in this case, a missed one. The guards should be informed and educated about these things since it is permitted (in most places) and sold in the mall, but then again, that’s part of our job as vapers as well. Sold at that location or not, most of these customers would be new vapers and hesitant to use the device in public. There’s also the fact that so many of them look like cigarettes that it can be difficult to tell from a distance. This is another reason I don’t care for “stealth vaping” in public. If I’m doing nothing wrong then I have nothing to hide. If I’m trying to hide it then it just looks like I’m smoking and then the assumptions are more valid (not that I care for assumptions in the first place). This is one of several reasons I tend to carry a large, obnoxious looking APV in public. You don’t smoke from a tin and you don’t smoke from some strange looking, wand-like device. It gets people asking questions and the more open we are the faster we can spread the word.

  24. Anthony says

    I also stealth vape. Lol

  25. conqwest says

    i personally think the more we vape in public the more PR we’re making for ourselves. I vape at the local basketball court and i get alot of 18-20 year olds asking me what i do, alot of them say this will get them off cigarettes. so yeah vape on in public, even if there are a few glitches like the one in this story.

  26. ghostdogg79 says

    I vape everywhere…… E V E R Y W H E R E

  27. Chad says

    John handled this wrong, but that doesn’t change the fact that Jane was a nosy bitch. lol

  28. imtheboss says

    Great and entertaining read!

  29. imtheboss says


  30. Mike says

    Very insightful. Keep writing these, I read them.

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