Vaping in Public…Dealing with Confrontations.

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I can understand that some of us don’t want to be bothered while we are vaping. There are also those of us that are just shy or haven’t quite gotten over the hump and think that vaping is just another way of smoking. Some of us think that vaping in public will somehow hurt the “cause”. For the life of me I do not understand that line of thinking. My feeling is that if we hide or seem ashamed of what we are doing and let the government and the media and big pharma control the debate, there will be no “cause” left to hurt. For the public to truly understand they need to see it and get testimony from us first hand.

My previous blog presented a situation involving someone (John) who was vaping while walking through a mall. A lady (Jane) who was upset with him because she assumed that he was smoking confronted him and told him that smoking was not allowed in the mall. John was doing nothing wrong and made the choice to ignore this confrontation and moved on. That is a shame. I wish that he had taken a few minutes to explain to her what he was really doing. This type of encounter presents a golden opportunity to dispel all of the lies and misinformation about electronic cigarettes and convey the positive aspects of vaping. In the process it is quite possible that he could have converted a potential naysayer into an advocate that just might create a whole new group of advocates herself. And we need every advocate we can find.

I have had this type of confrontation myself and with very few exceptions I have had great success in turning the encounter into a transformation for the person who was upset. Many times I will find out that even if they don’t smoke themselves they know someone who does and would love to help that person to quit smoking. Take this advice for what it’s worth…the opinion of one man…here is an example of what I would do in a situation like this.

First of all I am going to assume that anyone who confronts me in this manner hates smoking and that they have no idea what vaping is really about. There is something else that this individual does not know…I hate smoking just as much, if not more, than they do. That is a huge advantage in turning a negative confrontation into a positive and even a sympathetic conversation. It’s a stunner and completely unexpected. Now no one wants to feel ignorant after making a false accusation and I do not want this individual to feel uncomfortable about his or her mistake. I want to let them know up-front that I am not an adversary…I am on their team and I want them on mine. I want to convey the message that I have had a lifelong struggle with smoking and great deal of experience in trying to quit and the best way I have found to accomplish that is Vaping.

Them: “Smoking is not allowed here”

Me: I am going to stop, look them in the eye, and give them a big smile and say:

“THANK GOD…I hate smoking! I used to smoke myself and it almost ruined my life…It also led to the miserable deaths of some of my closest friends and loved ones… I struggled for decades trying to quit with pills, nicotine gums, patches and anything else I could find… and nothing worked for me until I found this device… it was like a miracle and allowed me to finally quit smoking… for good… let me tell you that all of my doctors are very supportive of what I am doing… they tell me that had I not had the benefit of this device for the last two years that I would be dragging around an oxygen tank by now!”

Them: “But you are smoking right now!”

Me: “ I’m sorry, I have confused you… it is a common mistake and I can understand why you would come to that conclusion… this is called an electronic cigarette… a terrible name for sure because it gives a lot of people the impression that it is just another way to smoke when in fact it’s just the opposite… this is a tool to help people to QUIT smoking… what you are actually seeing is not smoke at all… it is vapor that is like what you would see coming off of a hot cup of coffee”.

Them: “But aren’t you still exposing people to dangerous chemicals?”

Me: “Great question…the short answer is no…the ingredients used in this devise are propylene glycol, a diluted solution of liquid nicotine and flavorings…when I activate the device the solution is heated and is converted into vapor…there is absolutely no smoke involved…it is very much like an asthma inhaler in that I push a button and the contents are released into my mouth…what you see when I exhale is the end result of the process in the form of a harmless glycol vapor after my body has absorbed and filtered it…any other residue that could be present at this stage is miniscule and would be measured in parts per BILLION if not TRILLION..while your concern is valid this is no more harmful than someone walking around here chewing nicotine gum or carrying a hot cup of coffee.

By now I have conveyed what I think is most important…

1-That I agree with their concerns and that vaping is a terrific way to solve the problem.

2-That the electronic cigarette is a tool for QUITTING tobacco smoking not PERPETUATING it.

3-That the vapor they are seeing is harmless.

At this point the conversation usually turns into a Q & A session and I am happy to share with them any information I am aware of about vaping. Before I leave I will give them my email and urge them to contact me if they have more questions. I have found that the Ecig Advanced and CASAA websites are the easiest places to send them for information and research.

Again this is just my way of dealing with a confrontation. It usually takes about five or ten minutes of my time but what better way is there to spend it? For the times that I run across folks that are resistant or leery of what I am saying there is still a silver lining…now they have a first hand experience with the positive aspects of vaping and the next time they see a ‘Vaper’ they might not be so quick to judge or bother them at all.

I would love to see how you deal with vaping in public. Different ideas on how we handle with these situations will help us all.

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  1. Brad says

    Fantastic blog! The ECA staff approve!

  2. chan says

    very cool post. great way to handle the situation

  3. dandelionwings says

    you, sir, are very eloquent!.

  4. Mike says

    Very nice! I for one only decline from vaping when sitting next to a cop at a stop light. I have been pulled over twice for questionable activity. I don’t care to deal with that again. Other than that I vape everywhere and anywhere. I would rather attract attention and explain what it is versus people just staring in disgust. Again very nice read!

  5. Page says

    I love this! I am also one that vapes proudly and loves it when someone asks about it. I hope to remember what you said here- very helpful.

  6. Shub says

    I have yet to have any confrontations in public. But it’s very important to remember that since it is still a relatively new thing… we are all ambassadors for vaping. As it is new, the things that happen now that affect just a few, can affect many in the future like a virus.

  7. slap_maxwell says

    Indeed, if I’m in public, I’m vaping regardless. If I’m on someone else’s property or a guest somewhere, I’ll ask first out of respect for the property rights of others. And like Mike, if I see Johnny Law close at hand while I’m trying to go to or from work, I drop my hand. I’ve been stopped myself too many times making me late!

  8. mongrel says

    I’m sorry, I just don’t care how you word it or how you rephrase it. What you’re talking about is being confrontational. It’s not just confrontational, it’s passive aggression. I just personally don’t have such a serious addiction to nicotine that I feel I need to be able to vape anywhere I’d like. I also don’t have such high confidence in the very limited research that I can tell anyone that vaping is totally harmless.

    It’s really great that you seem so caught up in educating people about vaping who really don’t need to be educated or really care about it. I personally would rather focus my efforts on educating the smokers out there. After all it’s the smokers who could benefit. Educating a non-smoker so I can vape where ever I want is simply a selfish thought process.

  9. Chad says

    I hope I’m that cool if anyone ever accuses me of smoking. It’s never happened to me. Some are curious. I don’t typically vape in a grocery store, but its on at Walmart. I used to work there and they won’t bother a customer for anything.

  10. Lisa Belle says

    All positive!!! Thank you for thinking this would be helpful to our community of vapers, without any doubt one of the friendliest, sensible, persuasive and encouraging documents I’ve read from another vaper! VAPE ON!!!

  11. Karla Lyle (MsV8PR) says

    Never had a public confrontation either. I think I would get defensive so hope it doesn’t happen.

  12. Donald Hammond says

    Great way to handle it.

  13. Johnathan Brown (Sepsis) says

    Great entry. i try to be as respectable as i can when confronted

  14. robovape says

    i don’t vape in public generally, but i don’t think it hurts the cause… obviously, people handling a confrontation poorly can hurt the cause, but that’s any cause ever…

  15. Michelle says


  16. hificat101 says

    Great post.

    I live across from a high school, and have a friend that comes to pick his son up every Tue. One particular day, his oldest son came with him, and the 3 of us were standing out by the curb chatting, and in my case vaping. This particular day, there was a police officer over by the entrance to the school, and when he saw me, it didn’t take him long to come over and ask what exactly I was doing. I spent at least 5 minutes explaining it to him in a friendly fashion, showing him how everything worked, and even showing him liquid bottles. I explained that this was something that was growing in popularity, and if he ever saw a kid doing it, or anyone for that matter, it wasn’t drug related at all. I even offered to come to the Borough Office, and do a presentation for all the police. I think the police officer felt really good about the interaction, and I know I did.

  17. Rob says

    have allot of people jump to conclusion that the ecig is a pipe,even cops think its a pipe

  18. Anthony says


  19. The Crooked One says

    Good Work !!! Educate 🙂

  20. saboinia says

    >:) i have my e ciggy and i politly inform whoever that it is not a REAL CIGGY AND I CAN SMOKE It HERE and they usually back off

  21. tiffjamesnjj says

    i love that response!!!
    for whatever reason i have forgot that agreeing with them can help the situation!
    and yes i agree with them, so not lying 🙂

  22. Anthony says


  23. saboinia says

    great info and i am glad that you posted it the info should help me next time i have 2 but heads over my ego not beeing a real ciggy

  24. Gorg the blacksmith says

    yeah, people always say “look, its smoke” and i get so frustrated

  25. Aydinn says

    I’ve never had a confrontation like this. I was once accused of smoking weed at a ball game. I just laughed and took another toot.

  26. Flux83 says

    I was confronted at theatre once, but it was during a movie so the only thing I was able to do is tell him that it was a inhaler. But I wish we did use another name the e cigarette.

  27. RCO67 says

    We have three choices when this situation occurs. Ignore the person, be combative or be informative. Obviously everyone will not perceptive to an education on vaping due to being embarassed of how little they really know about it. However, we can represent vapers in a positive light by taking the time to be armed with facts to present to the “offended” party. How we present those facts also determines whether or not we may be able to sway someone’s prejudice against ecigs

    Nice post!!!

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  29. Mike says

    Great post. Thank you very much!!!!

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