OPINION: A comment for campus vapers

Photo by Augustine Ng.

Ryerson, we need to have a conversation about vaping.

No, it’s not that lecture about how vaping is bad for your health–I’m not here to police your body. In the grand scheme of things, vaping is definitely not the worst thing you could be doing right now.

In fact, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine published a report saying e-cigarettes and vapes are “likely to be far less harmful than conventional cigarettes.”

This refers to those select few people who choose to vape in public without regard for the people around them. I don’t know how many times I’ve walked down Gould or Yonge Street and had a giant cloud of vape smoke blown directly in my face. If you haven’t been unfortunate enough to experience this, let me explain.

Vape smoke is substantially denser than the smoke from a cigarette. I’ve grown up around smokers my whole life, second-hand smoke from cigarettes I can deal with. But, when a cloud of vape smoke comes my way, it’s so thick I end up hacking. Depending on what’s in the vape or e-cigarette, the smell can be awful as well.

That’s before even getting into the science of it. Just because vapes are better for you than cigarettes doesn’t make them healthy. That same report confirmed that vapes emit “potentially toxic substances.”

The report goes into much more detail, but it found that vapes do increase the amount of nicotine and chemicals in the surrounding air. In other words, second-hand smoke from vapes isn’t quite as bad as cigarettes, but it’s still not great. Since vapes haven’t been around for centuries, there’s also no consensus as to the long-term effects of vaping.

Even with the health risks, vaping still appears to be safer than smoking. So, if you’re okay with that, then go for it. But don’t assume that everyone around you is okay with the potential long-term damage. Take a step outside your own head and realize that the people behind you on the sidewalk did not choose to vape.

I want to be clear that this isn’t directed at everyone who vapes. The vast majority of vapers are respectful enough to at least direct their smoke away from you, or even step to the side before taking a hit, and I appreciate that. In fact, a lot of people who vape choose not to do it in public at all. But the few inconsiderate ones are giving the rest a bad name.

Ask anyone what they think of people who vape, and you’ll get a laugh or a groan. People love to hate people who vape. From what I can tell, inconsiderate vapers are almost single handedly causing this negative image.

People tend to pay better attention to things that annoy them, so unfortunately, the face that springs to mind when I think of vaping is that jerk I’m stuck behind while walking through campus.

Please, if you tend to vape on campus or in public without caring about the people around you, be more considerate. You’re ruining it for everyone.

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