Whether you have already made the switch to electronic cigarettes, or you are weighing trying one out, you may already wonder about vaping at work. Is it allowed? Will it bother people? What is the right etiquette? There aren’t many indoor vaping laws, so it is still a norm that is in flux. Yet this has to be a major question on the mind of any ecig user or potential ecig user. I know when I made the switch I wondered if I could in fact vape anywhere I wanted to because it wasn’t smoke.
Besides which, after all, smokers have gotten used to being boxed out of their space where they could smoke. If you watch the show Mad Men, you know how part and parcel smoking was with the work environment. Smoking at work was the norm for a very long time. Of course eventually the truth came out about how terrible smoking is for people around smokers, not just themselves. The understanding we gained about second hand smoke made it much simpler to strike it from the workplace. Except for Big Tobacco, as evidenced by RJ Reynolds only outlawing smoking in the work place last year.
But vaping at work is different. Vapor is different than smoke, that much we know. It doesn’t have the same stench that drives non-smokers crazy. It doesn’t linger in the air in the same way. It doesn’t sting your eyes like smoke does. You just aren’t burning any carbons, so the entire experience is different. All that being true, it is also a new technology that isn’t fully understood. Especially by non-smokers. And doubly so for those reading all those ecig myths that remain out there. We wrote a while ago about vaping etiquette with ecigs in the office, but here’s a more direct guide for the dos and don’ts of vaping at work.
The Don’ts of Vaping at Work
Don’t be inconsiderate of others. Yes, vaping at work should seem like a given to a lot of us. No, it isn’t to everyone else. While vapor doesn’t have the same effect of smoke, and in most places there still aren’t any indoor vaping laws, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be sensitive.
Many people have such a strong stigma against smoking, that they will be instantly turned off by seeing something that may “look” so similar. You have to be ready for this and try to first be considerate of other people before you even think about vaping at work.
Don’t mess around with your eliquid in the office. This ties into the last point in a way, because it is all about respecting others. Eliquid has gotten a bad rap in some circles, and those that don’t understand it won’t want to see it just hanging there on your desk. Consider using at cartridge-based ecig for vaping at work so you don’t have to mess with it at all. If you are dedicated to using refillable eliquid, just make sure you are all set for the day, or refill outside the office.
Don’t get offended if people make negative comments. Even if there aren’t any indoor vaping laws, some people may think there is. Or they may hope there will be laws enacted. They may have read bad press or just have a slanted view on electronic cigarettes that is based on myths instead of the facts. Be ready for this and have some thick skin. Learn to laugh it off, and you’ll leave yourself open to the opportunity of adding more to the conversation down the road.
The Dos of Vaping at Work
Do know what your company’s policy is on vaping at work. If there aren’t any indoor vaping laws where you live, then the responsibility falls to that of company you work for to enact any rules.
We all have office rules that we have to live by. Some of them are actual written rules, while others are just understood norms or what is often called company culture. Make sure you understand where your company stands, certainly before you try vaping at work.
Do go outside to vape, at least at first. This might be something you do in conjunction with the above “do.” It may be a good idea at first to just do your vaping at work outside the actual office. This can both show you respect your co-workers and can ease them into the thoughts of vapor. Maybe they’ll stop and have a chat with you about it, and realize how they aren’t affected just by being around vapor.
Do your best to educate others. This should only happen when the opportunity presents itself. It’s not like you should be pushing your vaping down anyone’s throat. It’s easy, especially when you first start vaping and are excited, to get carried away spreading the word. For a lot of us, it was a monumental moment when we found electronic cigarettes and understood their vast potential to change our lives. In a measured way, look for opportunities to teach others about vapor in a non-threatening way. The more they know about vapor and how much ecigs have helped you personally, the more they may be flexible with the idea of vaping at work.
That isn’t something you should necessarily expect out of people, but be open to the idea. Vaping at work can be tricky, but more than anything it can be a sensitive issue. We don’t think it will always stay that way, but for the time being it is still best to tread lightly as vapor makes its way into the mainstream.