What is this? Another brain dump? Well, yes it is in fact another brain dump. You see, for once I actually went out and got a bit social with some folks for a friend’s birthday (21 again). Interesting side-note, the birthday girl is married to my boss, and most of this brain dump stems from his & hers opinions on smoking, the smoking ban and vaping. There’s also follow-up commentary from my last brain dump.
At last nights party, which I’m kind of still recovering from, there were a grand total of eight smokers. Eight, out of approximately sixty people (including kids). The birthday girl herself smokes, which I’m sure she does to annoy her husband (my boss), the wife of another colleague smokes (more of a social smoker than a regular smoker), the wife of a former colleague smokes (quite a heavy smoker in fact), one other lady was a regular smoker, my friend and his wife both smoke regularly, and the final smoker was in fact a dual user, but smokes more than she uses her vapouriser.
There were also three vapers at this party. Myself, and two other mid-20 somethings (possibly early thirty something). One of the other vapers was also a dual user, but in a slightly different way. She only smoked when she was “bored” with the flavour that was in her tank. So 13.33% of last nights gathering smoked, out of that 25% were sole vapers and a further 25% were dual users. Of course, this can’t really be interpreted as representative as most of the birthday girl’s friends, work colleagues and family (on the husband’s side) don’t smoke at all, never have and never will.
My boss is an anti-smoking type person, he isn’t particularly militant or virulent about it, he just says things like “I’d rather you didn’t” instead of “Don’t”, when the 2007 smoking ban came in he almost gleefully implemented it for the business, the Office was already “smokefree”, and all the vehicles except mine already had the “No Smoking” stickers. After the ban, every vehicle had the No Smoking signs. Though that didn’t actually stop me, if I was out on the road and couldn’t (or wouldn’t stop) I’d just light up.
I suspect that when the ban came in, my boss figured that if I couldn’t smoke in places where I once did than I might decide to “Q”. I guess that was also the thinking of the policy makers too (among other reasons such as “let’s exile those filthy smokers outside” and “let’s make them a target for militant non-smokers”). It didn’t work. I suspect most of my readers that smoke or vape (or do both, whatever takes your fancy) have similar stories.
My boss is now a co-owner of a local sports and social club, as well as the owner of the business I work for. Once the club opened “officially” I asked him what the policy was regarding vaping indoors. Here’s the thing, he doesn’t have any particular view on the subject of vaping in either direction. A complete neutral. He has seen how vaping has been of benefit to me and he was tempted to allow it inside the Club. His partner disagreed so vapers and smokers need to go outside if they want to vape or smoke.
Here’s where it gets interesting, my boss allows me to vape freely in the Office as long as it doesn’t bother any of the other staff. Which is fine as I’m in a separate office area anyway, so I can vape to my heart’s content. Which I don’t. I vape when I feel like it – that is one of the advantages of it for me, unlike when I smoked I kind of felt I needed a smoke at certain times.
So two places owned and operated by the same person have different policies on vaping indoors, and I agree with both of them.
In a more public environment such as the Club, why should vapers in general have any kind of special treatment? We know the arguments, the “it looks like smoking” and “it re-normalises smoking” and all that. Truth be told, it can look like smoking, up until the point where a vaper blows a large cloud, something that a smoker generally can’t do. This of course raise the “vape etiquette” argument – vapers should (in the eyes of the general public) have some courtesy in how they vape around other people, particularly non-smokers when in a public place like a bar or club.
In a more private environment such as the Office, where members of the general public aren’t usually found – employees are there because they have to be rather than a Club where people are there because they want to be – as long as it doesn’t bother the other employees, vapers should perhaps have some leniency. In my case, I’m allowed to and when giving that some thought I suspect that being allowed to vape in the Office, from the point of view of my boss, allows me to be more productive – i.e. no “lost time” taking breaks to have a smoke – by the way the “lost time” argument from my perspective is utter bollocks, sometimes you do just need to step away from your desk and have a break especially if you work in the IT industry, staring at screens all day is a royal pain in the arse.
Of course, every business is different which brings me to a comment on my last post:
For the record, when a survey went around work asking what people thought about vaping, and if it should be banned inside, I said no, I even used the propaganda and said people who wanted to quit smoking found ecigs useful and they should be encouraged. Clearly the majority were against it because vaping got banned but I was amazed to be chatting to a smoker in our usual spot in the cold and rain one day when she told me she had spoken against ecigs and was very pleased to see the no vaping signs had gone up next to the no smoking signs.
She said she didn’t see why people could vape at their desks when she couldn’t smoke, that, in her opinion, vapers were not vaping to quit smoking but vaping as as an alternative to smoking because they enjoyed it. How very dare they!!
Now of course, every business is different and in my opinion if the number of vapers is relatively small I do actually agree with the stand taken here, as weird as that may seem. Let’s face it, in any environment both smokers and vapers are often met with hostility and/or scorn because of our choice, being treated the same is in a way the non-smokers way of saying “fuck you” to both groups.
So here’s the crux of the matter, if smoking was not banned there would be zero need to implement bans on vaping. If the smoking ban were to be reversed tomorrow, and it was left up to the owners and proprietors I have a suspicion that many would still ban smoking and vaping mostly because “it’s always been this way”, my boss is one of them.
All I’d like to see really is the puritanical nannies fuck off, lift the bans on smoking and vaping – leave it up to the owners and proprietors to either allow the activity throughout, or in a dedicated indoor area, and those that do that will likely see an upturn in business as smokers and vapers get through their doors instead of banning both and forcing both groups outside – all that does is make the smokers & vapers vote with their wallets to find somewhere more hospitable to their needs.