For a long time, it seemed like we were making good progress. Smokers were ashamed to be puffing out cancer on strangers. Then along came vaping to change people’s behaviour and attitudes, and make my commute a living hell in the process.
Exposing others to regular cigarette smoke became taboo once doctors realised that it’s dangerous regardless of which side of the ciggy you’re on. Obviously, it’s also just plain rude, and it shouldn’t take a health scare to make people act like adults, but here we are.
And now, what was supposed to be the ‘safe’ alternative to cigarettes is now hospitalising people in the US, breathing new life into the debate. With all the bad press, vapers really need to be more careful about where they blow.
People are being diagnosed with crazy lung diseases and infections, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention puts the number of vape-related incidents at 215 cases. A lot of the questions about the sudden ‘epidemic’ remain unanswered for now, which is one of the many reasons to stop treating vaping like a hilarious meme – especially if it involves puffing on other people.
For real, if a cigarette smoker acted like some of you fools, they would have their ass handed to them. Your juul might have a vaguely pleasant scent, but that’s about the only thing you’ve got going for you – it’s still super gross to have someone’s nasty hot air blasting over you at 7am in the morning. And it’s definitely not a good time to introduce the sickly sweetness of artificial marshmallow into the lives of your fellow commuters.
Besides, we don’t really know much about how the vapour can affect bystanders. The hospital cases are mostly linked to inhalation of solvent oil, and most studies have found the emission of nicotine to be minimal. However, less risk is not no risk, as this study proved. And with unregulated DIY pens and liquids going around, you shouldn’t subject others to unknown side effects.
It must be noted at this point that, for the time being, vaping without a prescription is very much illegal in Australia if the liquid contains nicotine or CBD. And no-smoking area laws still apply – another obvious reason to avoid huffing it in public. Yes, that includes train stations, you nasty individuals.
The concerns about an emerging ‘black market’ have prompted a legalisation movement, which reckons that if vaping is legalised then it can be regulated better – as well as giving cigarette smokers a pathway out. And I guess that makes sense, but is no one considering the greater implications here? The public interest for those of us who don’t feel like being shrouded in strangers’ mouth-clouds all day?
Well, this could get very foggy indeed.