Thursday, January 3, 2013

Should people use e-cigarettes in public?


The only way we'll get "the masses" to understand just how different e-cigarettes are from traditional cigarettes is for them to experience them up close and personal. Otherwise, all they have are pictures, which can't possibly convey how the vapor is non-irritating and basically odorless in an open setting where smoke may still bother them (ie., bar, restaurant, mall, park, pool, office.)

If you think of the fact that 99% of the support for laws against second hand smoke were passed based solely on the fact that people find it annoying (rather than any real proof of health risks,) it's the lack of annoyance factors that will "sell" e-cigarettes to non-smokers more than anything else. The only way to convince them that e-cigarette vapor won't annoy them is for them to actually experience it, because pictures and video just seem to show "smoking."

Our biggest weapon against the ANTZ is an educated and experienced public. If they don't see and experience them being used around them first-hand, all they have to base their opinion on is images of people doing something that sure looks like smoking and hearing the ANTZ telling them how bad e-cigs are. How e-cigs smell (or rather, don't smell) is their greatest asset. People don't really care about our health, they care about not being annoyed (even if they claim they are also worried about their health.)

So we must convince people, without a doubt, that the smell won't bother them. Then when some ANTZ says on the news or to a legislator, "E-cigarettes are the same as smoking and should be banned where smoking is banned" it's not just us knowing that it's a complete lie. The only way to do this is to get out in public and show them.

However, CASAA recommends that vapers still respect the rules set by private businesses. While it can't hurt to try or ask, the general rule of thumb is "their house, their rules." You wouldn't ignore or be rude to a friend who asks you not to vape in their car or home, so we should respect the property rights of bars, restaurants, stores, hospitals, etc. That doesn't mean you shouldn't attempt to educate them and maybe even make the extra effort to get the rules changed, through polite discussion with those who actually have the power to change the rules. (Meaning, don't be a jerk to the poor nurse or server who doesn't make the rules.) Also, a few municipalities and states have banned the use of e-cigarettes where smoking is prohibited, so know the law in your area.

Don't be afraid to use your e-cigarette where people can see you, ask questions and learn about them first-hand. If you don't, pretty soon there may no longer even be an option.

This blog is Kristin's personal views and opinions and does not represent the views or policies of CASAA.


  1. Good point Kristin,

    Isn't it good public health strategy to demonstrate healthier alternatives?
    And isn't it criminal not to?

  2. I have a tube mod e-cig (Silver Bullet with a MAP tank). I was in a restaurant once and the waitress told me I was not allowed to use that inside. I looked at her and asked, "Are you telling me people are not allowed to use their asthma medication in your restaurant?!?" her eyes got wide, she got flustered, and apologized. I continued vaping in peace for the rest of the meal. I did not say I was asthmatic, nor did I say I was taking asthma medication. I just asked a simple question and allowed her to assume.

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    2. HAHA! Good One. Isn't it funny how people can so easily change their minds all because of how the mind works? :)

      However I have to agree that this is a sneaky tactic that could have bad outcome later and doesn't increase public awareness.

  3. ^^WOW! Have never thought of that.. pretty sneaky, sis. However, while this is a great way to "get away with it", it doesn't really increase the public's awareness.

  4. Yeah, pretending your e-cig is something else doesn't much help the "cause!" ;)

  5. I have been using my e-cig around all my family and their family and nobody has said anything against it. Some are ex-smokers, some are anti-smokers.
    I wonder if I could pull the medication thing about colitis. It would be true. I was working down to 0mg until I had a bad flare up. Now I'm trying to increase my nicotine so I don't die early. (It was hard getting doctors to answer that question without them thinking I meant smoking. Once I clarified they agreed it could help.)

  6. I'm a CASAA regional rep and I was wondering, in this blog you say, " That doesn't mean you shouldn't attempt to educate them and maybe even make the extra effort to get the rules changed, through polite discussion with those who actually have the power to change the rules." I'm confused as to what "rules" you are talking about changing? Vaping in public or no smoking areas? Or something else? Please elaborate.

    1. Rules set by management or owners of businesses.

      For instance, for a bar/restaurant, comply with their "no e-cig" rule, but ask to speak with the head manager or owner. To get a better idea of their objections to e-cigarettes, ask them first why they have a rule against them, so you can give them the most relevant facts to counter the objection.

      Kindly explain how e-cigs work, show them your device, let them smell the vapor, tell them how allowing vapers could easily bring back some of the smoker business they may have lost since smoking bans were put in place and/or offer to provide them with documentation (CASAA has a few handouts, plus the "No Smoking/Vaping Allowed" restaurant door stickers) to support that e-cigarettes are not only NOT a significant risk to other patrons, won't cause smokers to light up, is not annoying or irritating to most people and could increase their business. Vapers, like smokers, tend to be loyal patrons to those who accommodate them! :)

      For a work setting that has banned e-cigs, much the same can be done, except you can argue that it makes more sense for you to be at your desk working rather than going out for a 15 minute "vape break," so productivity increases. start with management and visit the human resources department, as well. Businesses can be encouraged to offer indoor vaping to smokers as an incentive to get them to switch and 1) increase productivity 2) lower health costs. Offering a carrot is better than the "stick" of banning smokers off the grounds that isn't actually helping people improve their health at all. CASAA is actually working on a document for people to give to employers that makes many of these arguments. As soon as it is completed, we will post it on our site and let people know about it! :)

      (This blog is Kristin's personal views and opinions and does not represent the views or policies of CASAA.)

  7. While I am an advocate of e-cigs, which is a misnomer and we should change the term to "personal vaporizers" IMHO, I must point out a few flaws of this blog.

    -Not all ejuices produce an "odorless" vapor. I was recently allowed to vape in my office and some co-workers that have become familiarized with PV's, due to me educating them (and converting a few). They, along with other folks, have noticed that some vapors have a smell that is likened to the ejuice flavor.

    -There have been documented and proven studies that second-hand smoke is harmful. Look for yourself.

    -Lastly, there are people that are going to be annoyed no matter what you do. It is just in some folks nature to be annoyed (like my crotchety next door neighbor that bitches about everything).

    I do agree with most of your blog and the "consideration factor" goes a long way in the acceptance of PV's with those that are uneducated in the ways of vaping. "Their house, their rules." PV's will never be banned. Now that big tobacco and the pharmaceutical companies have found there is money to be made in this industry, it is only a matter of time before we see Marlboro or Newport ejuices produced by the tobacco companies that manufacture the cigarettes themselves. Same goes for the pharmo companies that will soon be producing ejuices. It is only a matter of time before these industries put their line of ejuices on the shelves of WalMart, Target or wherever tobacco products, or cessation products are sold.

    1. Thank you for your comment! :)

      I have to ask you to please show me one "documented and proven" study that public second-hand smoke caused a disease or death for even one real person, that also eliminated all other environmental and genetic possibilities. Trust me, I've looked, as have many real scientists and none can be found. They are all conjecture, estimates based on numbers rather than actual cases or tentative theory and completely unproven. If you want to say cigarette smoking can make people's eyes water, maybe trigger an asthma attack, make people sneeze and annoy people well, we don't need any studies to show that, do we? But as far as second-hand smoke causing cancers or heart disease form public exposure, there are just as many studies SOLIDLY disproving those claims as there are studies that have to massage the numbers to "prove" them. It's just that the ANTZ have been able to quash any studies disproving their outrageous second-hand smoking claims in order to further their agenda to demonize smokers. When you lift the veil, the studies that "prove" that brief or even long-term exposure to second-hand smoke in open, public areas (<---key specific here) causes disease or death are all a bunch of hogwash.

      As far as "odorless," you should note that I did not make that claim. I said "basically odorless." This was meant in comparison to the smell of cigarette smoke and it's annoyance/disgust factor. People are far less likely to be annoyed by the faint smell of e-cigarette flavors, especially those that smell pleasantly of mint, spice, fruit or coffee. The smell does not linger nearly as long nor settle into clothing, skin, hair and furniture as cigarette smoke. I think most people would not be put off by it and that is the point?

      PV or e-cigarette - no matter what you call it, it makes no difference to the ANTZ. But most smokers who first try them want something that looks, tastes and feels as much like their cigarettes. Calling them "PVs" or "ENDS" or anything non-cigarette related just confuses smokers and puts them off, IMO. Once we get them converted, call them whatever you please! ;)

      And I agree with you - some people are just crochety and nothing makes them happy. Not much we can do about them! :)

      (This blog is Kristin's personal views and opinions and does not represent the views or policies of CASAA.)

    2. Hi, jlew from ECF here,

      Any "documented and proven" study/result(s) that "second-hand smoke" is harmful are hard for the average person to find but they are there and studies have been done:
      Setting the Record Straight: Secondhand Smoke is a Preventable Health Risk

      I have not found anything that disputed the CDC or EPA Claims but the study from CSA disputes anything against E-Cig Vapor -

      The statistics, though they may be conjecture or theory, are there in black and white. One of these are the well known fact that second-hand drastically increases chance of (and even causes) ear infections in children. More information:

      I also believe that smoke of any kind can lower the immunity to other pathogens/organisms because by smoking or receiving second-hand smoke, you are in effect, damaging the receptors and areas of the body that help fight off infection and disease. I have noticed that when I smoked, I got sick often. Since using an E-Cig, I have not. In fact, right now my wife just got over and my child contracted some form of flu-bug while I am not even showing/experiencing a single symptom of it (and have never had a flu shot in my life).

      Although I do agree with the "in open, public areas" idea. I have all to often said that in a large, open, and well ventilated area, there is just no way smoke is going to do much (if any) damage at all.
      This reasoning can also be applied if you look at the CO Theory in heating.
      It takes so many ppm (parts per million) to even be considered a danger and a CO (Carbon Monoxide) detector can not detect minute amounts in the air of the average home if there is a lower than required amount to set off a meter.

      The CO is still there but is so low due to "Area PPM" that no one will be affected.

      Therefore, my theory is that years ago in (example: McDonalds), they used to have ashtrays and people smoked but it was such a large area and so few smokers at a time, that you could only smell it. You were not medically affected in any way other than scent.
      Again this can be applied in areas that use ventilation to keep the air clean of airborne pathogens: Hospitals are one of these areas -- you can essentially be in the same room of a coughing TB patient and not contract TB because of the steps used to "Ventilate" and "Clean the air" in such areas.

      I also must agree that the device name is moot -- PV or e-cigarette makes no difference to the ANTZ -- And, to call it something like Personal Vaporizer could have "Medical Implications" that could trigger more flak from the FDA and Medical arena.

      I personally like the name E-Cigarette because that is exactly what it is - and "Electronic (alternative to) Cigarette" and since this is the "Technological Era", E-Cig is more than appropriate. If these were new and meant for exactly the same as they are now but the originator called/marketed it as a "Personal Vaporizer", how many people do you think would understand that they are for replacing cigarettes?
      Most people would think "Vaporizer = Medicine" and would not go for it. If it was called that, I am pretty sure I would have not bought one until I found out much later what it really was.

      Face it, in order for anything to be believed in this world, unless the person is of a very weak mind to begin with, it generally takes a "Slap in the face" (so to speak) to get them to understand common sense concepts.

      I use my E-Cig in public, although I am vigilant of the rules in most places (especially in "Official" buildings) and I do get some strange looks but I also get a lot of "What is that?" and then have the opportunity to "Show and Tell", which is quite fun. :)

    3. JLew,

      Have you read "Velvet Glove, Iron Fist" by Christopher Snowdon or "Smoke Screens: The Truth About Tobacco" by Richard White? I strongly recommend that you do so before believing that there is any evidence about second-hand smoke which scientifically supports the public use bans that we now see being extended to smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes. They may support ear infections, I don't know, but they certainly do NOT support claims that SHS of any kind causes heart disease and cancer in bystanders.

      And actually READ the studies the CDC uses to support it's claims. For example, the citations for lung cancer and heart disease comes from a Surgeon General's Report (a known ANTZ). That report was based on past Surgeon General Reports and most of the studies cited were of the study of non-smoking spouses of smokers and there is a rampant use of qualifying words such as "could," "may," "might," "seem," "reasonably," etc. Also note who funded those studies. Read the Surgeon General Reports, read the studies used as sources and then read the books I recommended.

      The "science" behind public second-hand smoke causing cancer or heart disease aren't anymore "proof" (even taken altogether) as are e-cigarette studies that showed "potential harm" because of leaky cartridges, low nicotine delivery or short-term airway resistance. But if they get enough studies like those and then the Surgeon General puts out a report with those studies in the footnotes stating that e-cigarettes are a risk to bystanders, people will believe the Surgeon General report. Then, for many years after, people will use that report as citations in their own studies and facts lists on web sites. Next thing you know, e-cigarettes are a "proven" hazard because "it's all there in black and white."

      Trust me - up until 2 years ago and before I looked at what they call "evidence" and read the opinions of people who could explain how what the ANTZ call "scientific proof" I believed second-hand smoke was a far greater danger than it really is. Based on my research, I have come to understand that public tobacco smoke isn't anymore a danger of cancer or heart disease than e-cigarette vapor. Since my duties with CASAA are focused on smoke-free education, I just don't bring that point up much. But it is the main reason you won't see me throwing the smokers under the bus just to promote e-cigarettes - I've seen the facts. The ANTZ lied about second-hand smoke and now they are lying about e-cigarettes and smoke-free tobacco products. That's why it's so easy for them - they've been doing this for 30 years! There is no "black and white" as we understand it. It was a bunch of purple, pink, blue, green and yellow that was pulled together into a couple of reports and sold to us as black and white. Since no one actually reads the "evidence" that was pulled together (just as people read articles in the media and not the actual studies) they just trust that all of those impressive citations listed at the end of the report or web page really do support what the report concludes. But you have to read it all yourself to understand that this is the case. That's what finally did it for me. Knowing how the ANTZ twist things about e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, is it really any stretch of the imagination to believe that they did the same for second-hand smoke to further their prohibitionist agenda? It's just that this time, we have the internet and more of us are watching, researching on our own and learning the truth. We don't just take what they say as gospel anymore. At least I don't.

      (This blog is Kristin's personal views and opinions and does not represent the views or policies of CASAA.)

  8. An excellent column/viewpoints. Every ANTZ who I've talked to had no problem with e-cigs for the reasons stated here, and the same goes for use in most public places. See my E Cig Werks blog at for more.

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  10. Heres a thought. If any diner dosen't allow vaping then kindly ask them to keep thier coffee pots and buffett table warmers under control. And be a little more careful when removing the dome. It's vaopr just the same>

  11. Sorry... 15 minutes of sitting behind a guy vaping in a barber shop was all I could take before I got up and left the establishment. I know it's "harmless," but it definitely wasn't odorless, it was annoying, and it gives off a poker parlor vibe that's off-putting and doesn't jibe with many family locations.

    If I was a patron or business owner and a guy brought a bottle of Febreze in and periodically sprayed it into the air, I don't care if it smelled like roses or the soft summer breeze or was odorless, I would ask him to stop.

    1. And it would be perfectly reasonable to let him or the owner know the smell was bothering you and ask him to stop - or you could leave as you did. Not all vapor smells the same, though. Most are completely odorless unless you are right up on top of them. But you wouldn't even know what some vapor smells like if he hadn't been using it around you and that is the point. At least you know it smells nothing like cigarette smoke, as some people like to claim. It may bother a minority of people, but the majority I have shown mine to have no problem with it at all. And it probably wasn't any more annoying than if the guy had been awash with strong cologne - something that has caused me to get up and move away from people, too. But that "poker parlor vibe" is your own prejudice against smoking - not the e-cigarette. You won't find a lot of e-cigarettes in poker parlors. ;) There is nothing inherently "wrong" about e-cigarettes being seen in family locations anymore than there is with beer and wine being seen served at Chuck E. Cheese. I'd rather kids see the good example of an adult vaping a smoke-free device inside than smoking a cigarette outside the front door. ;)

  12. Hi Kristin, nice post!

    My name is Garrett Miller and I work for 1World Online, a public opinion research startup based in San Jose, CA.

    We are planning a poll to run on our website/mobile app, asking if people believe e-cigarettes should be subject to existing smoking bans, and would like to feature an excerpt from your blog in support of the "no" side.

    We will provide full attribution to you as the author and will post a hotlink to your blog from our own website and app.

    Please let me know if you are interested, or if you have any more questions regarding our service. In the meantime, feel free to explore our site,


    Garrett Miller,
    Content Editor
    1World Online, Inc.

    1. Hi Garrett,

      It would probably be alright for you to quote me, but can you please tell me what you plan to use as the whole excerpt before publishing?


  13. I have asthma and am allergic to cigarette smoke, as well as a dozen other things. I have been recently going through a bad asthma episode. The other day, I found my husband using an e-cigarette much to his embarrassment. I need to know if this e-cig vapor could be contributing to my asthma.

    1. We are not aware of e-cigarette vapor contributing to asthma symptoms. Anecdotally, my sister-in-law has asthma but still smoked. When she switched to using electronic cigarettes, her asthma actually improved. I also know of many people who are bothered by cigarette smoke but e-cigarette vapor does not affect them. E-cigarette vapor dissipates quickly and does not contain the solid particulates and irritating chemicals found in cigarette smoke. It is possible that the propylene glycol or the flavorings in e-cigarette vapor could be an mild irritant to some particularly sensitive people, though.

      Fall is known as a bad season for allergies and asthma. Is it possible that is causing your bad episode?

  14. I just got threatened to be kicked out of a BREWERY last night for my e-cig! If I hadn't been with lovely friends and had a couple beers, I was prepared to go for it and get make a point. Have done everything I can to slam them on Topix, Yelp, their own FB page, etc. What a dumb ass this owner is! Smoking and drinking go hand in hand! Good way to LOOSE customers, jerk-off!!!

  15. E cigarettes are the best way to get kick this deadly habit.I have been vaping for year and i must i am very glad after having e cig. I bought e cigarettes from No Tar UK.


  16. Best approach, i think e-cigarettes are very beneficial with compare to original cigarette.E-cigarettes are money saving and not bad for the health of smoker.i think original cigarettes are effected on your health.I think this is important information for every one.My suggestion is that every smoker should use e-cigarette.Thanks for sharing this information.