If you were on the vape-train early, you may remember one of the advantages sold alongside e-cigarettes was that you could vape indoors! That didn’t last long…
In all seriousness, vaping is much less offensive than smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes, and there have been studies that demonstrate the very low levels of particulate matter produced from electronic cigarettes are in line with background levels, which tells us that ‘passive vaping’ represents a tiny fraction of the threat posed by passive smoking. (1)
With that said, elements in the e-liquid can still affect those around you. So, if you want to avoid getting a few dirty looks and a bad reputation, here are some considerations to keep in mind when you vape indoors!
Check out the UK government's advice to inform the use of e-cigarettes in public places and workplaces for specific details on the legality of vaping indoors. (2)
HOW CAN YOU BE CONSIDERATE WITH YOUR E-CIGARETTE?
How does vaping impact those around you? Propylene glycol is hygroscopic - this means that it draws water to it. This is why using an electronic cigarette can dry out your throat, so it’s important to stay hydrated.
When you vape indoors, anyone in the area is going to be subject to the exhaled vapour, potentially drying out their throat, leading to dehydration and possibly a headache.
In the rare instance of someone with a propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine allergy, the exhaled e-cigarette aerosol could cause an allergic reaction - another good reason to be considerate about your vaping!
Any non-vapers may be under the impression that smoking and vaping both produce harmful second hand smoke, and while e-cigarettes are likely to cause only 5% of the damage done by tobacco smoke, according to the Royal College of Physicians (3), many people are not aware.
To avoid clashing, ask for permission to vape in their presence and this could give an opportunity to share some information with someone who isn’t ‘in the know.’ Regardless, if they still would prefer you not to vape around them, it is best to respect their wishes.
IS IT OK TO VAPE IN CROWDED AND CONFINED SPACES?
It’s challenging enough to dispel myths on a one-to-one basis, so imagine trying to explain the facts to a room full of people you don’t know, who just want to enjoy themselves. You aren’t going to have much luck, so vaping in a crowded or confined space is likely to lead to confrontation, being ejected from the premises, and - depending on the nature of the establishment - a fine.
The level of nicotine in exhaled e-cig vapour is obviously less than the nicotine in freshly produced e-cigarette vapour, but there is still potential for others to inhale nicotine.
This may not be a problem for non-smokers, but any ex-smokers or smokers that are trying to quit may be ‘triggered’ by even a small amount of nicotine. If for no-one else, then consider the quitters in the room and how the nicotine exposure from your vaping could negatively impact them.
IS IT OK TO VAPE AROUND SICK AND PREGNANT PERSONS?
We all know that hydration is particularly important when we are ill, so the potential for e-cigarette vapour to cause dehydration means you should be avoiding vaping around anyone who is feeling a bit sick.
Not all flavours are enjoyed by everyone, so consider that some of the flavours you enjoy may be detested by the person sitting next to you! A condition called hyperosmia can make certain smells cause nausea, and could even lead to migraines or allergies (4). A condition like this is not obvious, but can clearly cause a lot of discomfort: another reason to avoid subjecting others to your e-cigarette vapour.
In the same vein, pregnant women’s olfactory senses can be ‘heightened’ - while there is no specifically understood mechanism for this, there is much anecdotal evidence that some pregnant women can experience nausea, and even vomiting, from certain smells (5). Avoiding pregnant women when you’re vaping is the right thing to do.
Interestingly, the Royal College of Midwives recommend pregnant women should switch to vaping instead of smoking traditional cigarettes!
Living in the COVID-19 era means a lot of people are wearing masks, and paying attention to how close they are to each other, to reduce the risk of contracting or passing on the COVID virus. This relates back to e-cigarette vapour because exhaled vapour is visible, allowing people to see the aerosol that has just come from your lungs - as COVID is a respiratory illness, that e-cigarette aerosol could contain the COVID virus, if exhaled by someone with COVID.
Even if you test regularly and know that you do not have COVID, you can still pass it on in the pre-symptomatic phase (6); so it is understandable that being around vapers could make those vulnerable to the virus uncomfortable, worried, or even aggressive.
SHOULD YOU ASK ABOUT VAPING RULES IF UNSURE?
There is a fairly easy rule to follow in the UK if you are ever unsure if you are allowed to vape in that location: if cigarettes are not allowed, then vaping is most likely not allowed, too.
That rule should keep you out of trouble, and while vaping does not present the same threat to public health that smoking cigarettes does, the public perception is still influenced by media ‘hit-pieces’ on e-cigarettes - this means you will be facing an uphill battle against those who aren’t aware of the facts.
In the US, there are some different rules, with anywhere that bans vapes having to do so specifically, such as in New Jersey where the state has banned e-cigarette use indoors.
If the rules aren’t obvious, you can always ask someone with authority in the establishment, and failing this, seeking out the nearest smoking area should keep you on the right side of everyone!
WHAT ABOUT STEALTH VAPING? WHEN IS STEALTH VAPING OKAY AND WHEN IS IT NOT?
Stealth vaping is a vaping technique that minimises, or completely eliminates, any visible exhaled vapour. It’s great for being inconspicuous, minimising the impact your vaping has on others, but shouldn’t be used to bypass the rules. By taking small, short puffs - closer to ‘sips’ - and holding the vapour in, there isn’t much to be seen when you exhale.
Stealth vaping is a technique that works better on lower powered devices because they produce less vapour, so the SMOKO VAPE POD and the SMOKO E-cigarette have your stealth adventures covered and are pretty inconspicuous, too!
Using stealth vaping while you are in an open space, but with a lot of people around - like a bus stop - should stop people from taking issue that you are vaping close to others.
If you are in the company of friends that don’t vape, they may appreciate you stealth vaping to minimise the impact your vaping has on them!
SHOULD YOU BE CONSIDERATE OF THE TYPE OF ESTABLISHMENT YOU ARE IN?
When it comes to vaping indoors, unless it’s explicitly allowed, you shouldn’t really do it, and breaking the rule may result in having a bad time: ejection from the venue, being banned, and possibly even a fine!
If you are going to be kept indoors for a significant amount of time with other people, consider having a form of nicotine replacement therapy ready to use if your cravings are causing discomfort.
Thinking more in the long term, e-cigarette vapour can still stain walls and ceilings, but this is going to be a lot slower than the rate at which tobacco smoke causes stains, and the stains should be easier to remove due to the nature of e-cigarette aerosol (7). This does mean that venues (and your friends) have another reason to ask people not to vape inside: more cleaning for them!
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN VAPING INDOORS - CONCLUSION
A single person vaping inside is unlikely to affect the indoor air quality, but multiple vapers in the same enclosed space may be a slightly different matter. Multiple vapers using their vapes in an enclosed space is likely to annoy any non-vapers, at the very least.
In this time with Covid-19, vaping indoors with individuals you don’t know, in the same vicinity, is likely to set people on edge. It could be considered disrespectful and inconsiderate, so failing to take others into consideration here could result in you alienating not just those around you, but vapers as a whole from the wider community.
Remember, you are representing vapers out there, not just yourself - showing consideration for others will be appreciated, and contribute to a better image of vapers in the general public!
If you are ready to trade in the tobacco cigs for an e-cigarette, be sure to check out the SMOKO Starter Kit deals and make the switch to the UK's premium e-cigarette today!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Written by Dan Overgage
Dan Overgage – is a former smoker of 10 years until he became a client of SMOKO E-Cigarettes. Dan started working with SMOKO 5 years ago after successfully quitting using our e-cigarettes and works across our Customer Service and heads up our content creation and research with a strong focus on all things quitting smoking. During his tenure with SMOKO, Dan has written countless blogs and consults with countless clients every day to help them to stay smoke-free.