In recent years a new, controversial trend has emerged: vaping. For those of you that do not know exactly what vaping is, it is when somebody inhales the vapor created from an electronic cigarette. These electronic cigarettes come in many shapes and forms and the vapor is created from a juice that the device vaporizes. The juices come in many different flavors, chemical combinations, and nicotine levels. Vaping is also considered to be safer than smoking cigarettes. Vape juice contains less or none of the many harmful chemicals that are in cigarettes according to the American Heart Association.
So why does a stigma against vaping exist? If I was to walk down the street with some friends and I were to pull out a cigarette and start smoking it they would probably not saying anything. The extent of what they would say would be a comment about it being bad for me. However, if I was to pull out a vape and start smoking it they would immediately make comments about it and probably poke fun of me. A stigma and negative stereotype has emerged against vape users.
If I had to infer why this is, I would say it is because of the type of people that were originally associated with using the different smoking methods. When one thinks of someone smoking a cigarette, you probably imagine a family member who does or a tough guy. Neither of these people are someone you would make fun of to their face. However, consider that vaping is a product that gained popularity partly because of its ability to be used inside. This association with people who are more inclined to stay inside like office jockeys or gamers naturally makes someone more inclined to make fun of them.
If I said, "Think of someone that vapes," you probably imagined a douchey guy with an OBEY hat on and wearing mostly black with tattoos and piercings (not that there is anything wrong with looking like that, but there is negative stigma associated with this style). I bet you don't think of Leonardo Dicaprio.
More people use nicotine products than most people realize and making fun of people for trying to use the healthier alternative is not helping anybody. Imagine if an obese person was switching from eating potato chips all day to a meat and cheese heavy diet. Sure the new diet is not exactly the best thing for you, but it is a whole lot better than the alternative.
Of course not smoking anything is the healthiest option. Putting anything other than clean air into your lungs can cause issues. All I am saying is that people need to stop stigmatizing against people that vape. According to the IEC, "The overwhelming consensus is that second-hand vapor is not only safer, but some believe that it is even, for all intents and purposes, nonexistent. Varying studies have come up with different benchmarks to analyze vapor, but still most continue to confirm that the aerosol emitted in the action of vaping is not particularly harmful." Studies are saying that the secondhand effect is minimal if it even exists.
People who vape can be recovering cigarette smokers or recreational users. People from all walks of life vape and it is time for people to stop stigmatizing and stereotyping. Vaping does not automatically make you a douche, but making fun of someone who vapes does make you one.