Normality or subculture?

Here we go again. It seems that a single day cannot go past without vaping hitting some headlines somewhere in some form.  In this particular case, the ever inconsistent Beeb are the ones to publish an article in their online magazine.  It is a bit on the weird side.

DefinitionLet me start by saying that I personally look on vaping as part of normal everyday life.  I don’t think that it is a ‘subculture’, not in the manner that is put across in the article.

Sure, vapers are different from the perceived norms, but we don’t have any beliefs that differ that much from a ‘regular person’.  The only part of vaping that may be considered a subculture is our beliefs in the products benefits.  But a belief in a product doesn’t really classify us as a subculture either, so that puts us somewhere else entirely.  Thanks for that BBC.

Perceptions

Perceptions

California, a trendsetter. Really? I hadn’t noticed.  What struck me was the emphasis being placed on ‘cloud chasing’ as though that is the norm for vaping, which is complete bantha poo-doo I’m afraid.  In the UK at least, cloud-chasing is a very small part of the entire community.  There are some that love to blow big clouds, and there are a vast majority that really don’t care about the clouds.  Placing an emphasis on a small minority within a community only serves to put the following message across to the general public:

Cloud chasing is vaping, so most ‘regular’ people looking to switch won’t do it.

In other words, focussing on an extreme can only serve to put people off from switching.  Disgraceful.  Especially when you consider that the author is deliberately making a mock of the ‘lingo’.  Not a fan of that at all.

Vocab

Oh yes, vaping does have its own terms, but then so does IT, Football, Body Building and pretty much every other interest so they classify e-cigarettes as a ‘subculture’ just because we use unique terms and phrases. Quite.

Premises Magazines

Picking on the decor of vape shops, lounges and bars is a bit low.  No doubt the author ignored other similarly styled premises that offer different things, such as coffee or gaming perhaps?  Yet the focus is on the style, simply to try and separate vaping into a little pigeon hole all of its own.  How many other stores have magazines that the public can read?  Quite a few I’d imagine.  How many of those magazines have scantily clad women in them?  More than a few I suppose.

Just so you know, I’m not particularly fond of magazines like that that can be read in stores, but I understand that many are so it is a moot point.

Scientists

Ah yes, the section that annoyed me most about the article.  We do not smoke e-cigarettes.  The act of using the device to inhale vapor is called VAPING.  There is a huge difference between ‘smoking’ and ‘vaping’. Learn it journos.

Unfortunately, the author decides to pick on nicotine.  There has been, and continues to be plenty of information on nicotine.  Yes, nicotine isn’t exactly benign but the adverse effects are often over speculated, especially as evidence is suggesting that it can be beneficial for certain neurological conditions.

The idea of using the precautionary principle for e-cigs is frankly preposterous, the key ingredients have been studied for decades and recent studies are clearly stating that there is minimal harm from inhaling vapor. I would also suggest that by compiling all available evidence on the ingredients and e-cig use, a fairly accurate long-term projection could be made with regards to “future harms”.  Many vapers have been vaping for years, longest one I know of is 6 years but there is likely to be others that have been vaping longer.

Controls

I can’t really disagree too much with the flavouring statement, but I would postulate that if the flavourings posed any risks then they would surely be known by now.  Any flavourings that may cause harm, such as Diacetyl is quickly withdrawn and replaced.  Another moot point.  As for the ‘blowing up’, well let’s just say Darwinism and leave it at that shall we?

SideEffects

As a vaper, I do tend to drink about 2 litres of water a day, which is no more than I drank when I was a smoker.  Spending a few hours out in the streets would likely have the same effect as being in a vape lounge for a few hours.  Besides, the amount of nicotine in exhaled vapor is negligible and is unlikely to have any effect on bystanders.

Anecdotal

Once again, the stories we tell are being classified as ‘anecdotes’ which is truly insulting.  After all, we are real people and we are being readily dismissed.  Whilst a number of vapers made the switch to one day quit altogether, the vast majority don’t actually want to. It is all harm reduction.

Hostility

Hostile to tobacco companies, you could say that. Which does beg the question, why are so many in public health hostile towards vaping? Well we already know the answer to that, and it isn’t about tobacco or health.

You might think it’s nerdy and there are some vaping snobs who look down on other people who have just started, but you always get that.

Not sure I agree with that, if the interviewee actually said that or if the author made some “adjustments”.  When I joined the community, I found a truly welcoming environment with many long term vapers more than willing to share their knowledge.  Sure there are a few outliers, but you would get that in any community.  Mentioning that with the overall tone of this article makes it seem that vapers won’t help newcomers when that is simply not the case.

Yet another article that is sending mixed messages with very little balance trying to portray ‘cloud-chasing’ as the norm for vaping when that is simply not the case.  My “fear” is that many who read this will assume that cloud chasing is the norm and will most likely view vaping as a whole in a negative way.