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.