Tired of Being Told You Shouldn't Vape? Here's How To Handle It.
“Those things are dangerous!”
If you vape, you may have heard this once or twice recently. The recent news headlines from the USA seem to have spread like wildfire, and many are quick to assume that vaping is a cause for concern. If you vape, you may even feel a little uncomfortable when such comments are made.
If you’ve managed to escape said headlines, check out this blog post to find out more.
Here’s our handy guide on what you should do when someone challenges your vaping habits.
1. Understand Their Intention; They May Just Be Worried
If a friend or family member is telling you that your vape kit is dangerous, they likely believe two things: first, that they are helping you in some way, and second, that they are the first person to tell you this.
This person may believe that you are in danger. They’ve seen a headline on the way to work, made a mental note that vaping is dangerous (likely without taking the time to dig into the matter) and, upon seeing you puffing away, have made a mental link between the two; this then leads to a comment.
Did you know that 44% of adults in the UK use social media to read the news? People who read the news in this form are also less likely to remember the original source of the information. It’s easier than ever to digest potentially misleading or scaremongering news through various platforms; in fact, it’s thought that a large portion of health news shared on Facebook is not scientifically credible. These types of stories do particularly well as they play on emotions like fear, disgust and surprise - sound familiar?
It’s totally understandable why people fall victim to these kinds of headlines. It’s perfectly human to react quickly and brashly to frightening news. A famous example of this: on October the 30th, 1938, an American radio station aired an adaptation of the ‘War of the Worlds’ novel live on air; to add an extra layer of realism, the story was presented as a series of emergency bulletins, interrupting normal broadcasting. One revealed that a metal capsule had landed in New Jersey, and aliens with death ray guns were starting their invasion.
What the radio station couldn’t prepare for was the mass hysteria that followed. Police began showing up by the dozens and thousands of listeners began calling the police or news networks to confirm whether this was actually happening. There were scattered reports of people fleeing their homes in terror.
The takeaway here is this: fear can induce unusual and irrational reactions in people. Try not to make them feel bad about it!
2. Know the Facts
“Knowledge is power.”
Being informed is important. Knowing your left from your right makes life a lot easier.
This study found that people find friends, family and neighbours to be the most trustworthy sources of information, with newspapers, radio and television falling behind. People learn from people - and you’ll find more often than not that people are open to learning from you, too.
Chris, a member of the team here at ET, recently had an experience that lines up nicely with this.
“My older sister saw a headline recently and asked me if I knew more. She was worried that this was the start of an epidemic of illnesses related to vaping. After I explained the situation and the misleading information that was out there, she seemed immediately relieved and any hint of concern was gone. It only took 30 seconds of my time, too.”
Often, people want to feel reassured; they want to know that things aren’t as bad as they think. Naturally, it isn’t okay to lie, but when it comes to vaping there really is no cause for concern. In the UK, there has never been a genuine report of a serious side effect directly linked to vaping (not including allergic reactions and other extraneous factors) and the regulations that are in place are there to ensure the safety of consumers.
Here are some quickfire facts to bolster your knowledge:
- No one in the UK has died despite the ‘vaping epidemic’ in the USA
- Public Health England say vaping is at least 95% less harmful than tobacco smoking
- Nicotine is addictive, but not considered harmful (nothing is harmless, though!). It's a relatively benign stimulant that has similar effects to caffeine.
- E-cigarette vapour is not harmful to bystanders (but second-hand smoke is)
3. Know When to Drop It
This is key in any argument, but particularly in those where another is questioning your behaviours or choices.
Chances are if you’re reading this, you have smoked cigarettes at some point in your life. Research has shown that e-cigarettes are typically used by those who want to quit smoking - exactly who they’re intended for. This is a positive change; if you have successfully quit smoking by vaping, or have even attempted so, you truly deserve a pat on the back.
It can be difficult when people choose to challenge your lifestyle choices, especially if you are only trying to improve yourself by making them. That said, many still feel qualified to judge. Why is that?
Social psychology suggests that the ‘them vs us’ group mentality can have a lot to do with why people are perfectly happy to challenge your choices. This is the idea that, when you adopt a hobby, make a lifestyle choice, support a particular political party or cheer on your favourite football team, you slide towards being a member of that ‘group’. It doesn’t tend to matter whether you feel you belong to that community - others are quick to assume that you do.
The further something is from the ‘norm’ in society, the more likely it is to be met with contempt. Is smoking a norm? Perhaps not now, but there was a time where 82% of adult men in the UK smoked. Old habits often die hard!
The takeaway point here? Some dislike something purely because they do not, or are unwilling, to understand it. If someone on the street says you shouldn’t be vaping, sometimes it’s best to simply get on with your day.
The media is a powerful force and misleading headlines can easily impact people’s thinking. We hope this guide helps you navigate the waters of what can be a somewhat sensitive topic. Be understanding, be knowledgeable - and know when your words are falling on deaf ears!