As necessary evils go, vaping is one of the worst. It may have saved thousands of lives by helping smokers put down their cigarettes – and for that we should applaud the invention – but it has also ushered in a new movement of social smokers; and brought about a culture of no-consequences puffing.
Vaping has seen rise to a new generation of bull-headed, tech-obsessed young smokers — clamouring to buy increasingly ridiculous flavours and outlandishly large vaping devices. It has plagued our high streets with scores of terribly named ‘juice’ shops (Vaping Bad? Darth Vaper? Planet of the Vapes?!) and seen a thick fruity fug descend on Britain.
And yet we can’t be mad. Although the scientific jury may still be out, most signs point towards vaping being less detrimental to your health than smoking — so it looks like it’s here to stay. Even Debrett’s, the 250-year-old etiquette authority, has outlined a set of rules around the practice. So what should a modern man know about vaping?
For smoke’s sake, keep your flavours simple
Everyone hates the smell of cigarette smoke; even smokers. But that doesn’t mean you have to swing to the other olfactory extreme once you switch to vaping. Agreed; we’d rather walk into a cloud of bubblegum-flavoured fog on the street than the fumes of a Marlboro Light — but try not to get too silly with your flavours.
Here are just a few flavours of ‘vape juice’ you can currently smoke, if you so wished. Berry Blast — so far, so ordinary. Melon Twist — probably a better cocktail. Elderflower and Garden Mint — surprisingly sophisticated. Twister Lollies — that’s more like it. Jagerbomb — here we go. Doritos — we’re not joking. Purple Rain — that’s a Prince song, not a flavour. Milk — just, why?
It’s not a fashion accessory, so keep your device small
Think bigger is better? You go ahead and carry on puffing on your foot-long vape, then. But we’ll let you in on a secret; you’re the balding middle-aged man in the bright red sports car. Nothing says ‘overcompensation’ like a huge vape device, or one with a juice tank the size of a small microwave.
Keep your device small, compact and conservatively coloured. You don’t need a brightly hued, garish or expensive device, it doesn’t need to have any bells and whistles (that includes actual bells and whistles) and it certainly doesn’t need to be forged from 24-carat gold. Oh yes, they exist.
Avoid confined spaces — and ask permission if you’re not sure
You’re all set — armed with an understated device and unobtrusive flavour. So now it’s time to get down to smoke-blowing business. But, before you fire up and get ready to practice your smoke rings, take stock of your surroundings.
Unlike in the US, Britain currently has no legislation against vaping — but that doesn’t mean that the space or property owner can’t impose restrictions of their own. If in doubt, ask for permission. And avoid puffing away in conspicuous places; the supermarket, the cinema, on a plane, during a consultation with your GP, at your great-grandmother’s funeral. All this should go without saying, not least because it means removing your all-important face mask, but you get the idea.
Don’t try to hide your smoke clouds — but equally don’t blow them in people’s faces
Admittedly, we’re not sure what mechanics and gadgetry make vape devices do what they do — but whatever tech is in there makes an ungodly amount of smoke. Seriously, some of the clouds that billow forth from these things border on the cumulus. And that means that, if you’re vaping, we all know you’re vaping.
So — and this is an important one — don’t try to hide it when you’re puffing away. If you’re embarrassed by your vape, kick the habit altogether. But there’s nothing more infuriating than watching someone surreptitiously sucking on a vape tucked down their sleeve, or ducking away for a quick drag. The smoke signal’s up, my friends, so if you want to vape, vape proudly — because we all know you’re doing it anyway.
Don’t start vaping if you didn’t smoke before
Possibly the most irksome, irritating vapers are those who didn’t smoke before. Why on earth people decide to start vaping — rather than turning to it as a way to quit smoking, is beyond us — and it should be beyond you too. So, if you’ve found yourself implausibly tempted into a juice shop, or fancying your chances at blowing vape trick patterns (there are actual video tutorials for such things — we despair), put down the vape device and walk away my friend.