Do You Mind if I Vape?

One way to fight for your e-cig rights:  Be polite

A century or so ago, the playwright Oscar Wilde asked his friend Sarah Barnhardt, “Do you mind if I smoke?”  The actress replied, ”I don't care if you burn.”No Smoking Allowed

Barnhardt's caustic response became famous partly because it was funny, partly because both she and Wilde were famous and partly because it was unexpected.

Wilde and other smokers who lighted their cigarettes in the decades before smoking became banished in most public places didn't anticipate negative responses to their polite inquiry.  The phrase, “Do you mind if I smoke?” was just a casual nicety on par with questions such as “Do you mind if I sit down?” or “Do you mind if I ask you a question?”

Today, the query, “Do you mind if I smoke?” might elicit a retort far stronger and more aggressive than Barnhardt's answer.  Indeed, most smokers don't even bother to ask the question.  Big fat NO SMOKING! signs are posted everywhere — playgrounds, schools, beaches, parks, restaurants, bars, buses, taxicabs, planes, subways, office buildings, retail stores and some private homes.

Polite, conscientious smokers are no better treated than rude insensitive ones.  So, if you're among the former, you may have given up on manners.  You've been made to feel like society's lowest outcasts, so what's the point of trying to be considerate?  You don't need to learn how to curtsy if you're never going to see the queen.  So why should you learn — or remember — proper smoking etiquette if you can't smoke anywhere?

Electronic cigarettes.

E-cigarettes, which are allowed in more public places than traditional tobacco cigarettes, provide a valid reason for a return to good manners.  If you want to continue to enjoy the freedom to use Premium Vapes or other electronic cigarettes, make it a habit to ask, “Do you mind if I vape?”

Why should you be polite?  Why show courtesy toward the people who have shunned you for the past two decades, who have forced you into back alleys along with rats and derelicts whenever you felt the urge to smoke?  Shouldn't you just take advantage of your right to take a drag on your electronic cigarettes at your desk and in bars and restaurants?  Why ask for permission when vaping is a right?

Because the right might get taken away.  When anti-smoking laws were drafted, they didn't include references to electronic cigarettes.  But some cities have already amended their no-smoking laws to include electronic cigarettes and others may follow.

There are two key ways to protect your right to use electronic cigarettes indoors:  One is to follow the news regarding local, state and federal regulations regarding electronic cigarettes and to voice your demands for the retention of e-cigarette rights.

If you type “electronic cigarette laws” into a Google, Yahoo or Bing search, you'll find a lot of information, including petitions to sign.  You can also search specifically for your state or city.  You can write to the appropriate lawmakers and show up at city council meetings and argue against any legal restrictions on the use of e-cigarettes.

The second method is to kill such legislation with kindness.

Demonstrate your conscientious by asking co-workers  and bar and restaurant patrons if they mind if you vape.  If they express concerns, tell them that electronic cigarettes do not create second hand smoke and, if asked, point them to relevant research on the subject.  If you still get no for an answer,  move to another part of the office or establishment and try again.

It doesn't take much effort to ask, “Do you mind if I vape?” and the rewards — continued freedom to use electronic cigarettes — are more than worth showing a bit of deference toward others.

You may not think the anti-smoking folks are worth proper etiquette.  And if you've been shunned and shabbily treated because you smoke, you have a right to feel this way.  But if you want to preserve your vaping rights, be polite.