Don’t be a vapehole.
You know: the guy who blows humongous clouds in a movie theatre and then acts like he’s being ostracized when people tell him to knock it off. Nobody likes that guy.
That said, there is a lot of genuine disagreement on the issue of vaping etiquette: what places are OK to vape? When is cloud-chasing acceptable? Is it better to publicly vape to “normalize” it – and possibly attract some interest from smokers – or should we be showing the public that vapers are polite bunch and respect the wishes of others, however irrational they may be?
We’ve covered the key points in our e-cigarette etiquette guide (tl;dr: don’t be a dick), but there’s a big difference between staying on the right side of the fuzzy issue of etiquette and out-and-out asshole-ish vaping.
So what are the most irritating habits of the vapehole? What should considerate vapers avoid doing at all costs? Here are 10 annoying habits of the vapehole.
The “Vapehole” – How Big of an Issue Are They?
A “vapehole” is a vaping asshole. There will always be some vapeholes in the world – some people are inconsiderate assholes, some of them smoke, and some of those switch to vaping – but there is some understandable dispute about how common it really is.
E-Cigarette Direct (the Ashtray Blog) surveyed vapers about etiquette, and the findings can be simply summed up by saying that most vapers are very polite indeed. You’ll undoubtedly know this from looking around at your vaping friends or reading discussions of vaping etiquette online. Most vapers understand that people often don’t want to be exposed to anything that looks like smoke, and will happily confine their vaping to smoking areas.
However, the survey, Reddit anecdotes and our basic argument above shows that some people really are vapeholes. It might only be a small percentage of vapers, but they are around.
So, this post isn’t intended to address most vapers; think of it more as a catalogue of the behaviors of the stereotypical vapehole. This might not really capture what vapers are like in the real world, but it should serve as a handy list of things you should avoid doing in order to abide by the cardinal rule: don’t be a dick.
1 – Clouds, Clouds, Clouds
The most obvious, widely-repeated and undeniably vapehole-ish habit of them all is public cloud-chasing. If you feel the need to blow dense, billowing clouds of vapor when you’re at the bus stop, in a bar or pretty much anywhere in public that’s enclosed or crowded: you are the dictionary definition of a vapehole.
Any vaping would undoubtedly be enough to upset some people, but blowing massive, “look-at-me!” clouds is a pretty reliable way to make even very reasonable members of the public think twice about what they’re inhaling.
Standard vaping can be subtle and is easy to ignore; cloud chasing is obnoxious, intrusive and thoroughly pointless when you’re in public.
How not to be a vapehole: If you want to blow clouds, do it outside (and away from others) or in the comfort of your own home.
2 – Blowing Vapor in People’s Faces
Even if you aren’t cloud-chasing, blowing your vapor directly at somebody is a dick move. It’s not as annoying as blowing smoke in somebody’s face, admittedly, but it’s still unpleasant, and the only people who would do this – outside of joking situations with friends – are certifiable vapeholes.
The fact that second-hand vaping is almost certainly nothing to worry about does not make it OK to be careless with where your vapor goes. Even if you’re absent-mindedly blowing vapor and it just happens to go right at someone, your lack of self-awareness makes you a bit of a vapehole.
How not to be a vapehole: Blow your vapor down towards the ground, or simply pay attention to what’s around you before you exhale.
3 – Vaping Where You Probably Shouldn’t, Without Asking
Another typical vapehole attitude is “it’s not smoke, so I can vape wherever I want.” Yes, in the early days, one of the commonly-repeated selling points was “smoke anywhere,” but the reality is a lot more nuanced than that.
If you just assume you can vape somewhere unless you’re told otherwise, and if this assumption carries over into places like movie theatres, shopping malls, buses or subways and other people’s homes, you’re straying well into vapehole territory.
How not to be a vapehole: If you’re thinking of vaping somewhere where it isn’t explicitly allowed, just ask someone before you hit the fire button.
4 – Lecturing Smokers on Their “Filthy Habit” and Looking Down on Them
Making the switch to vaping is something to be proud of: you’ve substantially reduced the risk of your nicotine habit and probably reduced your addiction notably too. But that doesn’t mean you have to turn into an evangelist for vaping, and it doesn’t mean you’re inherently superior to smokers.
If you’re approached by a smoker and asked about vaping, answering their questions as best you can is a fantastic thing to do – you might just help to change someone’s life for the better – but if you go out of your way and approach them to ask why they haven’t switched to vaping, or if you look down on them for still smoking, you’re being a vapehole.
It’s much like converting to a religion: if it makes you happy, then that’s fantastic, but if you take to knocking on people’s doors to try to convert them or lecturing people about how they’re going to hell, you’re a jerk.
How not to be a vapehole: Answer questions, but don’t go evangelizing to try to get smokers to switch – they might not want to. And remember that you were a smoker too, so you aren’t somehow better than them now.
5 – Being a Vape Snob
“Oh what’s that? An eGo? That sucks, you should try rebuilding and using a mech! I have a quad, Clapton-coil 0.01 ohm build sitting on an authentic Caravela – it’s the only way to vape.”
If you’ve ever said anything like that, you’re a vapehole of the “vape snob” variety.
Guess what? Not everyone wants to use a mech! Not everyone wants to rebuild! Some people are more than happy vaping with an eGo and a basic clearomizer or even a cigalike, and the fact that you’ve gone full hobbyist with your vaping doesn’t mean you’re somehow better than them.
How not to be a vapehole: Let people enjoy vaping their way and don’t feel the need to stick your nose in and tell them they’re somehow doing it “wrong.”
6 – Constant Stealth Vaping
Although we’ve already identified public cloud-chasing as pretty much the key behavior of the vapehole, there is another side to the story.
“Stealth” vaping can be a pretty good solution to the problem of vaping in public in some situations: if you’re technically allowed to vape somewhere but don’t want to draw too much attention to yourself, then stealth vaping is a great compromise.
However, the vapehole takes this to mean stealth vaping really does allow you to vape anywhere. Although undoubtedly jerkish behavior, the problems mainly come when you’re eventually caught out, vaping in an inappropriate place – like a grocery store or on a bus – and it becomes clear that you’ve just flat-out ignored social decorum or even explicit requests not to vape.
How not to be a vapehole: Restrict stealth vaping to situations where you’re allowed to vape but don’t want to draw attention to it.
7 – Telling People Concerned About Passive Vaping to “Educate Yourself”
This is a vapehole’s response to criticism of vapehole-like behavior. Yes, passive vaping isn’t really anything to worry about. Yes, if people were more informed about the issue they wouldn’t think it was. But if somebody expresses concern that you’re vaping in public or asks you to stop, if you respond with an arrogant attitude and treat them like morons for being concerned, you’re just entrenching your vapehole status even further.
How not to be a vapehole: Treat people with respect, and either (preferably) vape somewhere else or politely explain that passive vaping is very unlikely to pose a risk, especially for people not living with a vaper.
8 – Dismissing Complaints About the Smell with “I Think it Tastes Nice”
Much like the point above, dismissing a complaint about the smell of your vapor with an “oh, well, I think it tastes really nice” is another vapehole-ish way to respond. This is a little more understandable than the previous point – after all, you might not like the smell of someone’s food or their perfume, but that doesn’t mean they’re rude for eating or wearing it.
However, the same point pretty much carries over: if someone doesn’t like the smell, it’s more polite to keep it away from them as much as possible than to just tell them to get over it.
Additionally, the fact is that juices which taste nice don’t always leave a nice smell in the room. There are a couple of chocolate juices that I love the taste of when vaping them, but that leave an off smell in the room. I vape them when I’m alone or with someone tolerant, but I wouldn’t take them around to a friend’s house. Doing that and then brushing off complaints with a “well I like it” would be a vapehole thing to do.
How not to be a vapehole: There’s no need to bend over backwards for people, but be considerate – e.g. blowing your vapor away from people – in public and avoid taking a juice around to a buddy’s house if it leaves an off room note.
9 – Vaping When People Are Eating
Again, we know vaping is generally pleasant to smell, but most people would rather avoid getting periodic wafts of vanilla custard, strawberries and cream or whatever you’re vaping when they’re trying to eat. If you’re always vaping when people are eating – and again, much more so if you brush off complaints as if they don’t matter – then you’re being a vapehole.
How not to be a vapehole: Wait until people are done eating before you vape – or just go into another room if you really need to vape right away.
10 – Vaping Where There are a Lot of Kids
This issue is far from clear-cut – in the Ashtray Blog poll, a third said it’s never OK to vape around kids, while just over 60 percent said it’s OK in some situations and locations – but vaping around kids without consideration would be a classic vapehole move. If you’re in a vape store, out on the street or in a bar and some kids come in or walk by, there’s no need to worry about it, but if you’re somewhere full of kids – like a playground, or when you're picking your kids up from school – then vaping indiscriminately would make you a vapehole.
How not to be a vapehole: Don’t vape in places where there are a lot of children, and generally be considerate of the kids around you when you’re in public.
Conclusion – Drop the Entitlement
The common theme tying these stereotypical vapehole behaviors together is a sense of entitlement. Although most vapers agree that vaping shouldn’t be treated the same as smoking, and in that sense we do have some type of right to behave however we see fit, the crucial thing is that not everyone agrees. Just because you shouldn’t technically have to stop vaping somewhere or worry about making other people feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean that you should ignore other people’s feelings and act like an entitled douche.
Thankfully, most vapers are polite, but if you’ve taken to some of these vapehole behaviors, it might be worth thinking about how you’re making other people feel. It may (arguably) hurt the cause and tarnish the community’s reputation, but while that’s important, the most crucial thing is behaving courteously to the people you encounter on a day-to-day basis. They may be wrong to be concerned, but you should still be as nice as you can, regardless.