Dear person who can’t stand the smell of my e-cig in this coffee shop,
First of all, I hear your concerns and respect your right to speak out about something that bothers you. However, I have a few things to say in response to your complaints.
After using my vape (e-cigarette) for over a year now, my body feels so much better than when I was smoking cigarettes. I can breathe! I can go up a flight of stairs without huffing for breath halfway. I can go for six months at a time without catching a nasty, lingering cough. My clothing doesn't reek of smoke all of the time and my car actually smells nice. So, though they are far from perfect, I am enjoying the changes that not smoking cigarettes has brought to my life.
I don’t sit around inhaling lungful after lungful of vape for seven minutes at a time, like I would a real cigarette, so the lingering aura from my habit certainly isn't hovering for extended periods of time. When I exhale, the vapor is gone within 10 seconds, along with the smell. Funny how just about 10 years ago people were still allowed to smoke actual cigarettes in some restaurants and I didn't see anyone walking out on their meal due to the smell coming from the smoking section. This was, in fact, the norm for decades and we all got along fine. I’m not saying it was a wonderful arrangement, but people dealt with it.
I understand that for a few moments during your meal you may have a sniff of my vape that you don’t care for, but I’m sure that it isn’t as horrible as you make it sound in your rant. Life is full of mild unpleasantries that we all must deal with on a daily basis, but we can choose to deal with them or let them torment us. Not to mention the smell that lingers on a person’s body after finishing a cigarette, even if it was outside, far outlasts a vape any day.
When I smoked cigarettes, I dealt with inconveniences due to my addiction. I would be forced to leave the company of my friends and family to go stand outdoors, like an outcast or lesser human, so that I could prevent myself from having a withdrawal meltdown. I would sit in freezing weather and torrential downpours so that people like you could enjoy your meals without the offensive and unhealthy fumes of my cigarettes. Not to mention all of the health problems that I caused myself. There was no compromise offered, I had to deal with it. And I did.
Now there is an option available to me that is far less harmful or offensive as cigarettes and, for now, I am allowed to enjoy the company of my friends and family indoors with the rest of society. No longer do I have to huddle under the awning of a building, trying to avoid the rain, nor do I have to freeze my fingers off trying to rush through a cigarette just so everyone else can be satisfied. At last I can feel like I am a part of society again, and not some evildoer who deserves to be sent out to the village gates to hide my atrocious acts.
Vaping isn’t perfect, but it is a compromise. I’m doing my part by not smoking cigarettes and releasing their known carcinogens to the atmosphere, while still dealing with my addiction. I am trying to improve my health, trying to not smell like cigarette smoke all the time, and get to spend time with my loved ones as well. My intent is not to make you uncomfortable. In fact my actions are not about you at all. So I must ask that you not make them about you and respectfully let me and my vape alone. I can be conscious not to blow my vapor in your direction, if you will be conscious not to send your judgment and complaints in mine.
Sarah Cannon is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Communications.