Vaping in public


Kelsie Campbell

When should it be okay to smoke in public?

Cigarettes, vapes, e-cigs, cigars and pipes are all forms of smoking tobacco, or more specifically, smoking the chemical nicotine.

While smoking is an active pastime of a larger majority of the world than many may realize, I know it is not always understood how others may feel who do not smoke as often or at all. Secondhand smoke, no matter if it’s traditional or electronic, is a danger.

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines smoking as “the act of inhaling and exhaling the fumes of burning plant material.” In reference to the plant ‘tobacco,’ Britannica defines it as containing “nicotine, an alkaloid that is addictive and can have both stimulating and tranquilizing psychoactive effects.”

Most e-cigarettes and other such devices eliminate tobacco and simply refine nicotine in their “juice” or liquid that is vaporized and then inhaled. The American Cancer Society’s website explains that “E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, but many of them contain nicotine, which comes from tobacco. Because of this, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies them as ‘tobacco products.’”

But we’re not here to discuss what smoking is, nor who should smoke what, but rather…when should it be okay to smoke in public? Wait, we already know this answer. You should never smoke inside a public place unless specifically designated to do so in a smoking area.

You should also never smoke in crowded outdoor spaces or anywhere near other people. It can even be rude to smoke in a deserted area, should someone pass by the smell would linger on their skin and in their clothes.

Often, I will come upon a situation where people are visible if not verbally upset at a group of people vaping in a public space. This leads me to question if vaping really is secondhand smoke.

In an article published on Thorax titled “Secondhand nicotine vaping at home and respiratory symptoms in young adults,” I sought the answer.

Their objective with their research was to “investigate whether exposure to secondhand nicotine vape exposure is associated with adverse respiratory health symptoms among young adults.”

Their results were that the overall “prevalence of secondhand nicotine vaping” increased alongside the numbers for the “prevalence of wheeze, bronchitic symptoms and shortness of breath” respectively, during the study period.

The conclusion of the study was stated as “secondhand nicotine vape exposure was associated with increased risk of bronchitic symptoms and shortness of breath among young adults.”

So, what am I trying to express? While many people do not consider electronic vaping as ‘smoking’ specifically, any of the younger generations of those who take up the consumption of tobacco or nicotine more often will not realize that vaping is the same thing as traditional cigarettes.

Therefore, smoking, be it traditional or electronic, is not okay to do in any of the situations mentioned before. Secondhand smoke can be very harmful in all forms of smoking, especially to those who are compromised for any reason.

For those of the population who do smoke, I strongly urge you to consider your environment before deciding to engage in the act of smoking.