The High Road or The Middle Way? e-Cigs and Social Life

The High Road or The Middle Way?

How do you react to other peoples reaction to your e cig? I know that most vapists like myself want to shout from the rooftops: “I’ve found something I can enjoy and it’s not even harmful!” But no one can hear the last part. In fact I think it’s dangerous to make the claim that it isn’t harmful not because it is but because facts don’t always rule perception. Witness the hysteria and demonization surrounding weed, stirred up in the 30’s and still alive today. Health Canada restricts enthusiasts from making any claims regarding benefits. I haven’t seen anyone shut down for claiming there’s antifreeze in them though.

When I first started vaping I treated it like a cigarette (kept it out of sight)  in deference to the company around me, and I still do. But with the lack of odor or any side-stream dangers it can be easy to absent-mindedly pull it out of your pocket in the middle of a public place. Peoples reaction range from no interest to curiosity to outrage. At the sight of one some people start clearing their throat. I find that annoying!

I surveyed a bunch of articles regarding side-stream (second-hand) vapor and not surprisingly I found as many claims for as against. The con side points out that it’s not technically vapor, it’s aerosol.

Okay, let’s Google aerosol: a substance enclosed under pressure and able to be released as a fine spray, typically by means of a propellant gas. Well none of us are using gas and I really wouldn’t call it pressurized either. Let’s try another: a colloidal suspension of particles dispersed in air or gas. Okay, fair enough but does that actually clear anything up? Not in my opinion. Actually I think they prefer the word aerosol because it sounds dangerous. When I first read it’s not a vapor, it’s an aerosol I was worried. Aerosol conjures up images of hair spray and depleting ozone. Let’s be clear: e-cigs don’t do that.

The University of California San Francisco states in part:

One study of e-cigarettes was conducted to resemble a smoky bar: the researchers found that markers of nicotine in nonsmokers who sat nearby was similar for both cigarette smoke and e-cigarette aerosol exposure. Short-term exposure studies of e-cigarette use show a negative impact on lung function and bystanders absorb nicotine from passive exposure to e-cigarette aerosol, the authors report.

That’s pretty important stuff. Even if

The components of electronic cigarettes are at least as well understood as the chemicals that are generated by smoking, or indeed traffic fumes, if not more so. Crucially, the chemicals produced by electronic cigarettes are orders of magnitude less toxic than both tobacco smoking and traffic...Electronic Cigarette Association Agency

So from what I’ve seen, vaping is an exceptionally healthy alternative to smoking and the side-stream effects are minimal but if you sit in a closed room and vape with others present, they are being exposed to nicotine (which incidentally has no known health risks).

So while it might be tempting to argue your right to vape, technically the naysayers have a point. Probably the Middle Way of accepting what is (ignorance and all) and humbly asking forgiveness is best.

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