Last Updated on December 1, 2017 by Team Spinfuel

I Vape. I do not Smoke. What’s So Hard To Understand?

I have several friends that used to think I was crazy. Sure, they had, and have, some very good reasons to think so. I mean I have 5 cats for God’s sake. But, because I quit smoking way back in 1992 and took up vaping in 2011 they shake their heads in disbelief, like I’ve started smoking again. For all the effort I have made to see that they understand that smoking is smoking, and vaping is vaping, they just don’t see it. All they can see is my inhaling something and exhaling something that looks a lot like smoke.

Even some pro-vaping people look at vaping as another form of smoking. Trying to convince someone that vaping is something entirely different than smoking is damn near impossible.

And you know, at first glance it’s easy to look at someone vaping and immediately think that person is smoking. Vapor from an eCigarette is nearly identical to smoke, to the naked eye anyway, and a Vaper does bring something up to their lips, inhales vapor, and then exhales vapor disguised as smoke. Hell, its not just “first glance”, it’s the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on ‘glance’. It does look like smoking, but its not

So what is “smoking” then?

All my life I’ve considered a smoker to be someone that burns tobacco, either in the form of a cigarette, or a cigar, or even a pipe. In order to get smoke you have to burn something. When someone puts a cigarette, cigar, or pipe in their mouth it’s usually followed by the use of lighter, and then using that lighter to start a controlled burn of the tobacco.

Am I missing something here? I mean, if you see someone in the process of using snuff, or chewing tobacco, you don’t consider them to be smoking, right? Although you do consider them to be using tobacco. Yet, smoking a cigarette, pipe, or cigar is a thousand times closer to chewing tobacco and snuff (am I spelling that right?) because it’s all tobacco.

Vaping, on the other hand, has nothing to do with tobacco. In fact, I would venture to say that if its nicotine that’s the excuse as to why people relate vaping and tobacco use then I submit that vaping is just as related to eating broccoli. Broccoli has nicotine, the same chemical makeup of nicotine that the tobacco plant has, so what’s the difference?

Then, there is that segment of the vaping community that sticks to zero-nicotine eJuice. Are they also using a ‘tobacco related’ product?

The entire argument that resulted in the FDA controlling the electronic cigarette in the same category as tobacco is a false one. Yet, people inside and outside the vaping community have allowed the FDA to continue to classify eCigarettes as ‘tobacco related’ despite the fact the tobacco has nothing to do with vaping


It is wrong to allow perception to rule the day. No matter what the issue is, whether its electronic cigarettes or building a birdcage, the wrong perception should not dictate policy.

Over Eighteen

I don’t know anyone who will say that eCigarettes should be allowed to be sold to people under 18. Everyone agrees that they shouldn’t be sold to minors. But why? Why shouldn’t minors have access to eCigarettes? Cannot a twelve year old walk into a Starbucks and buy a triple latte? Do you know how much caffeine is in a triple latte? 231MG! Yet, you don’t see any restrictions on the under 18 crowd.

So, if nicotine is no more harmful than caffeine does it not follow that since childred are allowed to buy coffee they should be allowed to consume nicotine. Again, Brocoli has nicotine in it, so do we ban kids from eating their broccoli? Do you know that there is such a thing called Broccoli cigarettes?

One of the main reasons against allowing kids access to eCigarettes is that it can lead to using real cigarettes. Now think about that for a minute. Think about the vaping community and how we love to collect different vaping hardware and accessories, trying our different eJuice flavors, experiment in making our own, things like that. Now think about some kid, say 16, getting into vaping, discovering all the cool things we’ve discovered about vaping, and then deciding to chuck it all in favor of picking up something that cost 5 times as much, is 1000 times more dangerous, and makes you smell like garbage. Do you really think this kid is going to find tobacco cigarettes sexy enough to ditch his eCigarettes? Not a chance.

So it all comes down to perception. And the perception here is wrong. Using tobacco, in any form, is not even closely related to vaping, it only appears that way. The perception is out of whack.

 Here’s why

Every person that thinks that I did something really stupid by taking up vaping is a coffee drinker. Some are heavy coffee drinkers. You know, the ones that have a “fresh pot” going all the time, night and day. None of my friends have strict diets, and all of them have been known to kick back with beer and pizza. They don’t have the healthy lifestyle they think they do. So hammering me over the fact that I enjoy eCigarettes is a bit confusing. In any case, I thought it might be a good idea to write about some concerns I have about what I think is ‘overreaching’ by others when they interfere with our right to enjoy the eCigarette.

Dangerous? The Truth About Nicotine And eCigs

Nicotine has been scientifically evaluated and found to be no more harmful than caffeine, unless you’re pregnant. Both caffeine and nicotine are addictive, yes, but nicotine has been found to be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. (

In addition, nicotine is created naturally in the body, and is found in certain plants and vegetables. My point is nicotine is not a synthetic poison, that it has a bad rap that comes from being a primary agent in cigarettes and cigars and other forms of tobacco. Nicotine causes you to feel less stress, less anxiety, and, in my case at least, suppresses my appetite. I’ve lost 25 pounds since taking up vaping, not enough (yet) but it’s a start. A don’t want to guide this piece into the benefits of nicotine, but there ARE benefits.

The Truth (so far) about eCigarettes

There seems to be a panic in some people about the sudden attention to eCigarettes this year. Many people and many companies are responsible for this uptick in attention and sales, (Spinfuel has played a part in this by calling 2012 the “Year of the eCigarette” back in January, and determining that eCigs would hit “critical mass” in 2012. We were right on both). This panic is so fraught with false information, AstroTurf Protesting by militant anti-smoking organizations, and both private citizens and organized government, and just plain old wrong-headed types that are always against change or against things they don’t like.

Most of all the attacks on the eCigarettes come from people in power, from small town selectmen and mayors, governors, and senators and congressman (both local and federal), who believe they know better than you do about what is good for you and what is bad for you. They want to make sure you’re living right (what they think is right), even if it strips you of any decision in your own affairs. In other words; the Nanny-State. It’s here folks, and if we allow it to continue it’s going to get worse.

Just look at Mayor Bloomberg and his ‘large sugared soft drinks’ ban and his audacious hypocrite bullshit in which, just this morning, he stands along side of a Dunkin Donuts to name today “Donut Day” or some such crap. Check out this news report; . I call this unmitigated gall. Of course Bloomberg sees nothing wrong here. This guy is the perfect example of a true socialist in a progressive-republican disguise. Personally, Bloomberg’s actions to take away personal freedoms in the name of “we know best” disgusts me

Even in Australia

Australia, the entire country mind you, has banned the sale of eCigarettes; (by the way, the opinion of Nick Broughall is spot on). This remark by Health Minister Nicola Roxon, “This looks like another insidious, manipulative attempt to hook people on smoking,” drives me batshit crazy.

Since when is this crap the business of ANY government? And what happened to Australia being “Americans on Steroids” country (meaning that Australians are to epitome of tough, freedom-loving people that wouldn’t think of allowing anyone to tell them what to do.) We Americans, dating back to the 70’s and 80’s, wouldn’t stand for such interference in our lives that we live with today.

Back In the USA

All these towns, cities, states, as well as the feds, attempting to put bans on eCigarettes while allowing the sale of REAL cigarettes to continue unabated is just mindboggling. On the one hand you have these attempts to take control away from you because they know better than you, and on the other hand you have these same politicians depending on tax revenues that tobacco users send to the government. Only a true polictian can balance these two diametrically opposing views at the same time and not even realize they’re doing it.

Yesterday two very important scientists at the “American Council On Science And Health”, Dr Elizabeth Whelan and Gilbert Ross published an open letter to the FDA urging the FDA to reverse its stance on eCigarettes. The information contained therein is timely, truthful, and reasonable. Read it here,

Despite the serious lack of evidence that vaping is harmful the bans continue and people that choose to vape are directly affected.

An Unspoken Truth

There are people like myself, a lot of them, that “vape” because we enjoy it. Many, if not most, people that use eCigarettes have no intention of quitting unless the governments’ are able to tax the hell out of them so that they cost the same as real cigarettes. I originally quit smoking because of the taxes on them and if eCigarettes are taxed the same way I’ll stop vaping as well, or find a way to launch an underground ‘vaping communtiy’ much like the speakeasys back during the prohibition days.

I’m not at all concerned about nicotine because nicotine is no worse than caffeine. I’m not the only ex-smoker with more than a few years between vaping and their last cigarette who have taken up vaping because they; A) We missed the pleasures of smoking, and B) We missed the pleasures of smoking…

There were plenty of things I disliked about smoking real cigarettes during the years that I smoked. I wasn’t exactly enamored by the smell, or smoker’s breath, or how it made my clothes smell, the price, and the health risks. But there was one overwhelming reason I liked to smoke cigarettes… I enjoyed the process of smoking. The pull on the cigarette, the intake of the smoke, that tiny hit on the back of the throat, and the exhaling of thick warm smoke as it exited between my lips and through my nose. I was what people called a “French smoker” (?) in that I inhaled into my mouth and nose at the same time, and then exhaled through both. I enjoyed that way of smoking a lot.

The process of smoking is something I never forgot about during all the years that followed. I certainly didn’t pine for a cigarette though, but I missed it. People could smoke around me and I didn’t much care. My wife smoked up until a year ago, 19 years living as a non-smoker with a smoker under the same roof and I never cheated, never snuck out to grab a smoke. It just didn’t matter to me.

Then it all changed last year when my brother attempted to quit smoking by way of an eCigarette. He offered to let me try it, so I did. It was delicious, but most of all, the physical, tactile feeling of inhaling and exhaling smoke was pretty damned attractive to me. It was like hooking up with an ex-girlfriend.

Before I commited myself to take up vaping I researched eCigarettes for safety concerns and found no evidence that eCigarettes were dangerous. In fact, what I found was the quite the opposite. I made certain decisions about which eCigarettes I’d consider and which one I would not consider, but for the most part, the eCigarette looked too good to be true. But it was, in fact, true.

“Too Good To Be True… But It Is ”

We have all grown up hearing, that if something looks too good to be true, it usually is. It is ingrained in us to be overly suspicious of anything that looks too good to be true. Most things that look to good to be true ARE too good to be true, but eCigarettes is not among them. If you can live with the non-lethal addiction to nicotine (or simply use zero nicotine eCigs as my wife did) than the eCigarette is as safe as the American Council on Science and Health says they are.

No Intention To Quit

Most Vapers have no plans to stop vaping any time soon. Why should they? Vaping is much less costly than real cigarettes, they taste better, they do no harm, and we enjoy them to no end. So why quit?

 Harassing the Vaper

The real reason some people harass a Vaper is because it looks like cigarette smoking. Because of that I think some brands of eCigs should reassess their battery and cartomizer designs so that it is actually easier to identify an eCigarette rather than emulate the cigarette right down to its color and feel. I think that’s a mistake. The design of Apollo eCigs and Blu Cigs, and a few others, using black as the primary color, help those that might want to bitch you out for smoking realize that whatever the hell is in your mouth it is not a cigarette. This is the better option over designing something that looks exactly like a cigarette.

Enjoyment Means Something

I vape because I enjoy it immensely.

  • No one should have the right to verbally abuse me about it.
  • No one should have the right to ban something that causes no harm.
  • No one should have the right to take something away from another.

We used to understand and accept such radical ideas, but somehow the events of 911 have made so many people afraid. By banning eCigarettes, or large soft drinks, and a myriad of other things, people are trying to get control back because if anything, the events of 911 stripped away every bit of the illusion of control from every one of us. But these asinine attempts to regain that control by making other people stop doing things they enjoy doing, (and that do not cause others harm) like isn’t the way to go about it. Realizing that “control” isn’t real, that life changes on a dime when you least expect it, will set you free and get you off my back.

If you vape, continue to vape.

Don’t allow others to take that away from you. Ban together with other vaping friends and walk the mall, letting others know you won’t be bullied. Teach them the facts, but most of all, desensitize them to eCigarettes.

If you vape for pleasure and not just to feed your addiction, let us know in the comments. If, like me, you have no intention of stopping let us know that too.

One last thing and then you can go

If you do nothing about the future of eCigarettes you’re going to wind up helping these control freaks take them away from you. Stand up to the hysteria that seems to be getting worse, not by violence or protest, but by teaching and desensitizing those around you. Get involved with your favorite eCig websites (like this one). Find other eCig users on forums, like our new one that opened just today. Discuss ideas on how to wrestle control back to you, ways to convince others of the harmlessness of eCigs, and convince them that interfering in your life is NOT a substitute for regaining control in their lives.

If you’re old enough to remember the 70’s and 80’s think about how people were so much more tolerant then they are today. Remember smoking real cigarettes on airplanes, in the grocery store, in the mall, in restaurants, and remember how NO ONE ever said anything to you. No one harassed you back then because as long as it wasn’t them, it wasn’t any of their business. A simple concept, but one lost on an entire generation of Fraidy Cats.

We need those days back, and they can come back, if you and me stand together in peaceful, light-hearted ways and show those that stand against us that they are not endowed with the right to tell others what they can do.

Enjoy your next eCig break and while you’re thinking about this article you just read, remember that it starts with the action of a single person. That could be you. Today we regain control of our freedom to choose to use eCigarettes. Tomorrow? You never know, we may be able to chase the ‘progressives’ back down the rabbit hold for another 50 years. We may be able to live together with tolerance being the way of the land, as it was before. But we must be together on this, and we mustn’t allow fear to win the day.


John Manzione

Editor / Spinfuel eCig Magazine

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