To Vape or Not to Vape
Earlier today I was visiting with my cousin (she started vaping just a few months back) and the discussion turned to where can you vape and where can’t you vape. In most all of Central Florida there are no vape bans/laws yet…it’s still (rightfully) up to the business proprietor or property owner as to whether you can vape somewhere or not. Things may be different where you are. But much like passing gas, just because you can doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
Look, I’m no Vape Etiquette Master; and I’m certainly not some fount of Vaping Rules that one should follow — but sometimes all it takes is basic common sense and a little courtesy. One of my rowdier vaping buddies, Rick, usually has a healthy bit of both — but not always; especially after a few vodka-based beverages….
Last week we were at a small neighborhood dive kinda bar having a couple drinks when I asked the bartender if it was OK to vape in the place. “I’d prefer it if you don’t,” the guy said. “If you want to do that, you can go out to the patio around back. With our crowd, it’s just easier that way.”
Looking around the place, I got the gist of what he was saying. There was a pool table smack dab in the middle of the floor, some electronic dart machines against the wall near the front door and an assortment of hard-scrabble types scattered about the place. So after coming back in from the patio from grabbing a quick vape, Rick asked “Where’d you go?”
“Out back to grab a vape.”
“Out back? Screw that,” he said and grabbed his SB and worked up a huge cloud of vapor. There were some murmurs and gibbering at the sight of this cloud heading toward the pool table, and some guy in a leather jacket broke out a pack of Marlboros and lit one up. “Hey, you can’t smoke here,” the bartender said as discreetly as possible.
“Yeah? WTF is that, then?” he snarled more than asked, pointing at Rick’s vapor cloud. Soon, someone else grabbed a pack of smokes and lit up. After another protestation from the bartender, a small fight broke out and a glass of draft whizzed by my head. I knew two things…Rick was gonna enjoy this, and I wasn’t. So I carefully eased out to the patio and hopped the fence, went back around front, and got into the Slapmobile to wait. Just as I heard a siren blaring from around the corner, Rick came out laughing — his shirt torn and carrying glasses of vodka and coke in both hands — and jumped into the car. I calmly pulled out as two cruisers pulled in….
I see the question of when to vape or not to vape posted a lot; personally, I never vape in a restaurant when others at tables around me are still eating; and never without first asking about the establishment’s policy. I know we like to tell people that vapor doesn’t have an odor or aroma, but most of the nicquid I’ve ever vaped does. It may not smell like cigarettes, but it’s like people who blare their car stereos far too loudly that you can hear a block away– what makes them think I wanna hear what they’re playing?
Basically, it all comes down to some common sense and respect. There’s nothing wrong with asking permission of your hosts to do something…whether those hosts are your friends at their house, a business owner or club manager at their places of business, whatever. If I’m a guest, I usually ask if it’s OK before doing something that in some way impacts others — or else I’ll step outside with the smokers.
Since vapers are an overwhelming minority in this country, it follows that the majority of people don’t know from Shinola about it or us. And the characterizations they make about vaping and those who do it are made by first impressions. I’m not above doing a couple of stealth toots at the grocery if no one else is around; but I’d likely not brazenly blow a huge cloud of vapor while asking the store manager where the Nutella is. I’ve done my share of stealth toots in the cinema and made sure to exhale slowly so no one knew. Is it against the law? Probably not, but it will likely color people’s perception of vapers in a manner we may not like.
Most of the theme parks here in Central Florida don’t mind vaping except in queues, and I have no problem with that. If I’m outside on public property, I’m vapein’ like a chimney if I wanna. In a long queue somewhere for tickets or to get in someplace? I’ll ask the people around me if they mind. If I’m in a taxi, I’ll ask the cabbie if he or she minds. But all that’s just me.
And if you’re gonna just whip it out and vape away regardless? Just make sure you’re not in the same dive bar I was in last week.