One of the reasons why some people consider switching to e-cigarettes is because many cities and states have instituted public smoking bans. In some cases, these bans are so restrictive that it practically feels illegal to light up anywhere at all except in some cramped closet in your home. Since e-cigarettes don’t produce smoke, many people reason that they can use their e-cigarettes wherever they like. In fact, e-smoking is something of a gray area; in many places, e-cigarettes aren’t specifically covered by e-smoking bans. If you live in one of these places, you can theoretically use your e-cigarette in public without worrying about the repercussions. However, there are a few points you may want to consider first.
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Before you begin using your e-cigarette in public, you’ll want to check your local laws and stay abreast of any changes. Laws are changing frequently and the changes usually aren’t favorable to e-smokers. Some of the cities that have recently added — or are considering adding — e-cigarettes to their public smoking bans include Boston, Cohasset, Lee, Lenox and Stockbridge, MA, Indianapolis, IN and Salt Lake City, UT. Those are just the cities with e-cigarette bans that came up in a quick Web search, and I’m certain there are others. So you’re definitely going to want to keep an eye on what happens in your community.
Fear and Loathing
Non-smokers hate being exposed to tobacco smoke, and rightfully so; everyone knows how dangerous smoke is. Although smokers know this and choose to start smoking anyway, non-smokers have chosen not to smoke and that decision should be respected as well. That being said, there’s a bit of a tendency for non-smokers to fear cigarettes — or anything resembling them — so much that smokers end up feeling a bit like outsiders. Just about every smoker has experienced that feeling, and some electronic cigarette companies capitalize on it. Some even go so far as to encourage you to use your e-cigarette in public by including “member’s cards” with their products. The idea, apparently, is that you should simply break out your e-cigarette whenever you feel like it, and if someone has a problem with it, you’re supposed to hand them your card and say “hey, this isn’t smoking, so leave me alone.” Some e-smokers, bitter from years of persecution, have even gone so far as to be downright aggressive about their public vaping. I don’t think that’s the best way to go about things.
If you’ve decided to switch to e-cigarettes, you’ve hopefully done your research and decided based on the best available information that for you, it would be better to switch than to continue smoking tobacco cigarettes. However, anyone using e-cigarettes today is essentially an “early adopter.” We don’t actually know whether e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco cigarettes, and until we do, it’s hardly fair to subject people to second-hand vapor when they have made the decision not to smoke. Before you use your e-cigarette in public, speak to the non-smokers around you and ask if they’re alright with it. It’s the courteous thing to do and will save a lot of headaches in the long run. It may also help to turn the tide on the e-cigarette bans that residents of many areas may soon have to deal with.
[green_box]Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association is a group founded to unify e-smokers, provide updates on potential e-cigarette bans and provide information about who to contact when you want your voice to be heard.[/green_box]