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Water Vapor Cigarettes Changing Office Smoking Etiquette

By Raymond Polidori

Friday August 22, 2014
Water vapor cigarettes are changing the smoking habits of office workers

The most influential of technological advances always seem to change the world around them, and it appears that water vapor cigarettes are no different. When we mean change the world, we really go beyond the actual use of the product, because a truly innovative device will change culture and commonly held ideas of how people should behave too.

Water vapor cigarettes have already created a category of their own and a multi-billion dollar industry has sprouted up in that place in a little over five years, showing just how popular the technology of these “fake cigarettes” is.

With so many people making the switch to the water vapor cigarette, we were bound to see new questions about “vaping” and the etiquette of vaping. If the e-cigarette  is creating a break from the norms in place, it’s important to realize what those norms are to begin with.

Smoking a traditional or “analogue” cigarette was completely normal and accepted for a very long time, back when negative tobacco effects were unheard of. It was so normal, that nobody gave it a second thought to light up indoors, around people (including children), in meetings, or really wherever it pleased them.

All you need to do is watch an episode of Mad Men to realize how accepting society was of smoking back then. For those of us too young to remember that era, watching that show makes us realize how different the norms of smoking are now.

smoking etiquetteThat’s not to say there isn’t good reason that smoking etiquette had to change. Once people understood the immense health risks of smoking and the numerous unhealthy tobacco effects they started taking steps to protect themselves against that dangerous smoke that was in the air, just about everywhere.

It took decades of progress, but now the very idea of lighting up a cigarette in a business meeting, or anywhere indoors for that fact, is beyond bizarre. It is simply unacceptable to society, in the strongest possible terms.

The visceral negative reactions that many people have when someone lights up a cigarette is obvious, but take it one step further and do it indoors and you will see people, for lack of a better term, flip out. It is really engrained in society at this point – smoke is meant to be outdoors and as far away from everyone else as possible.

When you throw  water vapor cigarettes into the mix, things get confusing and they get that way real fast. Its true that the public is much more aware of these devices now, but it is also true that people often have a limited idea of what they are all too often misinformed, some thinking they are sort of just fake cigarettes.

Recently there has been a lot of discussion about water vapor cigarettes, also known as electronic cigarettes, and where they should be allowed or restricted. An article by Mary Moore addressed that, while focusing more specifically on how these devices fit into the workplace. It seems like the rules need to be written for this category, because using the old limits of cigarettes, and the tobacco effects that come along with them, won’t always work.

From employment lawyers to labor departments, the consensus seems to be that people are weary of allowing workers to use their water vapor cigarette indoors. It may not be fair, because we all want to live in a world where vaping is accepted, but it is the reality right now. Even though we get to enjoy vaping away on our devices here at the ECCR offices, we know that others aren’t so fortunate.

Here are some basic tips for vapor etiquette in the office:

–          Be considerate, first and foremost. Respect that people may not see vaping the way you do right now, and that this is their space too.

–          Inform others what it is. When you are on the way outside for a vape break, you may get some questions thrown at you. Take this as the perfect opportunity to inform your co-workers about water vapor cigarettes and put their mind at ease. This is your chance to place a positive light on the subject.

–          Show them how it works. If a co-worker shows a lot of interest, offer to show them how it works. You may even want to have some no-nicotine cartridges to offer them a puff. That way they can take a “guilt-free” indulgence into something they find intriguing. Now they will really know what it is like!

–          Make them understand its importance.  Your personal story of how water vapor cigarettes helped change your life will humanize it for them. Put it on par with gum or the patch and they will understand why you need those breaks with your “fake cigarette.”

We think the etiquette for vaping is bound to change as people become more knowledgeable and accepting of these new devices. In the meantime, the tips listed above can give you and the people in your office a step in the right direction.

Be patient, yet persistent, and we’ll get to live in that world where vapor and water vapor cigarettes are accepted and endorsed by society as a whole, not just us that use them.




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