Last year I stayed with my in-laws over the holidays. I had a nice time, but everyone put pressure on me to quit vaping. They didn't understand, treated it just like smoking, and to be honest, made me feel uncomfortable about something I love doing. That's when I knew I had to somehow show them how harmless it is.
Like most of my fellow vapers, I've had to explain what it is to so many people, family and friends alike. I know how stressful this can be, especially when people automatically think it is as bad as smoking. However, there is a way to do it which will transform your loved ones' opinion of vaping quickly and without all the drama.
From Smoke to Vape: My Journey to a Smoke-Free World
This is something I've realized over the last few years. Legislation to stop smokers from lighting up in public, as well as a complete shift in public opinion towards being anti-smoke, has demonized smoking. And to be honest, as an ex-smoker, I feel this is a good thing. The message is loud and clear – smoking kills.
But that's just where my problems with vaping around friends and family began.
When I was a smoker, any time I wanted to have a cigarette people would get on my case about it. They'd make disparaging comments and make me feel like an outcast. For the record, this is not the way to get someone to stop smoking. I resisted every attempt to take me away from being a pack a day man. The complaints only made me want to smoke more in defiance. Incidentally, I wasn't selfish about it. I knew then and know now that passive smoking kills, so wouldn't smoke around anyone. I'd go outside and light up.
This grew tiresome.
Especially in the winter. Stepping out into the cold every time I just wanted a quick smoke became a chore. Then one day I saw someone “smoking” indoors. It looked like smoke, and the “smoker” was definitely enjoying the experience. But there was no discernible smell. After enquiring about it I discovered the vaping community.
I've never looked back.
But my in-laws couldn't look forward. They couldn't see that what I was doing was any different from smoking. Smoke was still the enemy to them, and as far as they could tell I was letting others inhale my cancerous fumes.
That's when I made a concerted effort to get them onside.
A Holiday Miracle
We arrived a day before Christmas Eve. My in-laws are nice people, but this was the first time I'd be staying with them over the holidays, and was a little nervous about it. Their house, their rules. The day went fine, and after a great home cooked meal, I decided I felt like having a little vape.
It was freezing outside, but vaping was still pretty new to me, so I automatically went into “smoking mode”. I excused myself from the table, and then grabbed my jacket, my trusted Veppo Vault, and then headed outside.
I must have been standing in front of the house enjoying a few puffs for barely a minute before I heard the door open behind me.
It was my father-in-law. He stood for a moment eye-balling me, made some small talk, but I knew he was waiting to question what I was doing.
“What's that?”, he asked, barely concealing his apparent disgust.
“Oh, it's a vaporizer”, I replied, trying to be as cordial as possible.
That was when he said it: “I thought you'd given up smoking”.
And that's where I took the wrong approach. My back went up, and I immediately took the stance of a smoker. I wasn't rude – my wife would have killed me if I had been – but I didn't try to explain it. I just told him it wasn't smoking, and that I wasn't hurting anyone doing it. I liked what I liked.
Between then and Boxing Day, I had the same conversation with my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law. They all took an identical stance. It was still smoking. That it would kill me. That it wasn't fair on my wife or future kids etc.
And each time someone questioned it, the more defensive I became. The more defensive I was, the more it appeared that I was somehow admitting that I was in the wrong. That I had something to defend.
Then, a few days before we were due to leave, I realized that I had been taking the entirely wrong approach. I wasn't doing anything wrong. In fact, I had taken a very positive step in my life. Ever since I had taken to using my Veppo, I hadn't touched a cigarette. I didn't stink of smoke. I didn't have a smokers cough anymore. I felt great. Most importantly, I wasn't hurting anyone with passive smoke, which studies now show hangs around long after extinguishing a cigarette.
I knew then that I had to be more enthusiastic about vaping. I had to explain all of these positive aspects. And that's when I did it.
A Family Get Together
After another hearty meal, rather than excusing myself and going outside to have a vape to the continuing disgust of my in-laws, I pulled my Veppo from my pocket and sat it on the table in front of me.
I then unscrewed my Vault SS, and went into my pitch calm and collected. I explained how it worked, how there was a battery and that powered an atomizer which heated up e-liquid enough to produce vapor. I explained that it was the same as inhaling steam from a boiling kettle and that it didn't contain the carcinogens of a cigarette. Most importantly, and this might seem too obvious to fellow vapers out there, I showed that there was no tobacco, no flame, and therefore no smoke.
Immediately I started explaining that doctors now believe that vaporizers could save the lives of millions of smokers. That there is no passive smoking, so no one else gets hurt. And that it's the most successful way to remove smoking from your life.
I smiled once I had finished. And after a silence, my father-in-law said, and this is no word of a lie: “Technology is amazing”.
No one questioned me about vaping after that night. Any time there has been a family get-together since, no one has had a problem with it. And, my wife's cousin has started using Veppos and quit smoking since then, after my father-in-law recommended them as a great way to phase out tobacco.
Be Positive About Vaping
What I learned that holiday season is that there is a right and a wrong way to explain what vaping is, and why it is a massive step away from smoking. The key is to break down why vaping is different from smoking, how it works, and the fact that medical professionals are supportive of using vaporizers. Then relax, and enjoy the rest of your holidays!
Written by: Brian (last name withheld)
Have you ever had problems gaining acceptance from friends and family about vaping? How did you approach the subject? We'd love to hear your experiences, so please do leave your comments below.
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Veppo Vape Team
Gina King is the brand manager for Veppo, a family run brand offering select, tested, high quality vape pen vaporizers, e-liquid and e-cigars. Over the past 12 years, Veppo has provided more than 250,000 customers a friendly alternative to cigarettes.
Gina is a mother, writer, traveler and speaker and has been featured on HuffPost, Forbes, Elite Daily and more.