While vaping becomes more and more common, especially in this country, the etiquette of vaping indoors is still very much in flux. Vaping in bars and restaurants is legal, but it’s up to the venue’s discretion (or whoever is on staff that night) whether or not you can do it. And what about in friends’ houses; should you vape indoors at a party or dinner party?
While manners in up until the early 20th Century were more rigid and black and white (often helpfully compiled in instructional books), the less formal 21st Century is freer, but (as this list points out) vaguer. And as many articles have argued, the rules when it comes to vaping indoors and in company can be very unclear.
Still, common sense and tact will go a long way. As one old etiquette book tells us, “True politeness is the language of a good heart”.
Here are some rules of thumb when it comes to vaping etiquette and vaping in company…
Vaping Indoors: Don’t forget to ask
While you and I might believe that vaping is far less smelly and objectionable than smoking, there are still people who object to the very idea of it. They might come around in time – smoking has a bad reputation and vaping often gets lumped in with it. So just be patient, ask, and if they say no, step outside. Public opinion about vaping is changing all the time, so you may not be vaping outside forever.
Watch Your Language
We would suggest that you never, ever say “smoke” when you mean “vape”. Smoking, rightfully, conjures images of burning, tobacco-laced weed, stubborn smoke that hangs in the air far longer than it should, smelly clothes and passive smoking.
It might help to tell people that numerous studies have found passive vaping to be much less harmful than passive smoking.
You could also (if you know the person well enough) ask if it’s okay to start, offering to stop if it bothers them: People often overestimate how it will smell and how long the vapour will linger. It might help to tell them that vaping has helped wean you off traditional cigarettes and that it’s helped thousands of smokers to ditch the habit.
Show them how it works – they might not even know that there’s no burning involved. They might also be pleasantly surprised at the flavours and smells, such as when a blueberry-tinged vapour emerges instead of thick grey smoke.
Watch the Context
Outdoors should be fine in some circumstances; especially if there’s wide open space and a good distance from the other person (we’d still recommend asking if you’re in close proximity). If you’re willing to brave the smoke, of course you can use smoking areas. Maybe one day vapers will be allowed to do so at their work desk, but extra paraphernalia is often seen as a distraction by employers, so until society is more accepting, we’d suggest holding off on desk-side vaping for now.
Before you vape, it’s worth taking just a moment to check in with those around you. Manners, patience and common sense are the most persuasive arguments in these situations.