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A Little Courtesy Could Go a Long Way

There's a lot of anger directed against public e-cigarette users, as anyone can easily see by browsing the comments appended to an article on the subject. Non-vapers attending city council hearings on proposed bans sometimes complain bitterly about headaches and sore throats, and whether these ailments are psychosomatic or genuine, people think they are real, and that they are produced by e-cig vapor rather than their angry fantasies.

What can the ordinary e-cig user, the "vaper on the street" (or banished from the street in a worst case scenario), do to ameliorate the anger many feel toward the product? A little courtesy could go a long way. Using your electronic cigarette modestly and politely could begin to bring us back from the edge in this yelling match we seem to be having.

Many of us remember a fun advertisement from the early days of e-cigs that trumpeted the rejoinder: "Relax, it's a ****ing... [e-cigarette]". That was cute, but a trifle aggressive. The advert ended with the vaper's elderly assailant trying out the e-cig in question in the droll final frames. It may have been cute, but perhaps we should have realized that a "chip-on-the-shoulder" attitude would be a more likely response to the interaction the ad depicted. We could be reaping the unfortunate rewards of that chip on the shoulder.

So what can a vaper do to turn this attitude around? Try courtesy. Don't blow vapor in people's faces. They think it's smoke, and it makes them angry. Here are some concrete steps:

1. When you vape in public (where the morals nannies still allow you to do so), stand a bit away from others, and discharge the vapor away from bystanders. Remember when you still smoked and would direct the smoke upward if having a conversation with a non-smoker? Well, you can do that with vapor too.

2. Observe the ban informally, even where it's not the law. Put away your e-cig or PV when you're near a school entrance or the like. Be dramatic about it; people need to notice your courteous concern for their misguided fears.

3. If you must use cigalikes, keep them at home, and get a personal vaporizer for public use, something that no one could mistake for a cigarette. OK, maybe you need something that reminds you of a cigarette in order to stay off cigarettes. But use them at home (and remember that some of them are sold by the same people who sold you disease and lies a few decades ago). For public use, get a PV or mod, perhaps something in a bright color.

4. When discussing electronic cigarettes with people who don't use them, choose modesty and moderation over feisty aggressiveness. It's a more effective persuasion strategy. Above all, remember that e-cigarettes came on the scene just as the movement to ban public cigarette smoking was cresting. And vaping a cigalike really does look like smoking. It's not all that difficult to understand why some non-smokers are nettled.

A bit of understanding and courtesy could make the difference in keeping your right to your vapor, to your successful quit attempt, to your life!