What’s the Deal With Vaping?
Smoking is really gross. This is a fact we’ve known for years. Old movie stars might have looked really cool doing it, but for the most part smoking creates smelly weathered looking people with yellow fingers and crappy lungs. Not to mention the fact that it takes the lives of people we care about.
Some smokers do come to their senses and try quitting, only to return to it a month or two later. Nicotine cravings are a powerful thing. So what do these people do to finally beat the habit?
Enter: the electronic cigarette
For our purposes, we’ll call them vapor pens. They also go by vape or e-cig. According to the Daily Mail, the pen uses a combination of juices to produce the steam. Usually it’s a mix of propylene glycol, an ingredient in non-toxic antifreeze as well as a food preservative; and vegetable glycerin, a synthetic sweetener. The pens are made up of 5 parts – the housing, the tip that is sucked on, the battery, an atomizer that heats the liquid, and the tank for the e-juice.
This invention has been taking the world by storm, with versions of these pens being sold in big box stores and gas stations and in their very own specialty shops. Vapor pen stores are popping up like Starbucks all over, and it’s not hard to see why.
You see, there are certain people who buy into the culture around these pens who are really into themselves and their pens. Some may call it a hobby – I call it an obsession. These people are the worst. Most of them are that special kind of hipster you want to throw off a tall building. Very “cool” people. “Too cool,” some would say.
So what’s up with this “vape life”? Who are these people that live and die by their robo-pacifiers? Are they actually effective for people who are trying to quit smoking? Is the vape pen here to stay?
First, let’s talk about the people that use the pens.
Two Kinds of Vapers
I like to think there are two groups of people who vape. The first group is made up of people who are actively trying to quit smoking. These people are taking proper steps to kick a very horrible habit, and I applaud them for it. Quitting smoking is hard to do, and any way to quit is great.
That doesn’t mean they don’t look dumb doing it, which is why they are somewhat lumped in with the second group who vapes.
The second group is made up of #vapelifers. These people are actually the worst.
You know who I’m talking about. These are the people who set up their own conventions for their toys. They customize their instruments to make theirs the coolest. They have stupid online vape forum names and spike their hair.
Now you might be thinking:
“Wait, guy on the internet! I’ve been to VapeCon, and not all those people are bad!”
There are exceptions to the rule. And you are wrong.
These people, above all, are tech junkies. Tech junkies aren’t bad people. They’re usually the good kind of nerd. They like to tinker and make their gadgets even cooler. That’s fine! Have at it!
The amount of customization that goes into some of these pens is mind boggling. The customizable pens are known as PVs, or personal vaporizers, which are also called mods. There are pens that have been modified to look steampunk, which makes the user look like Tesla’s hipster nephew. There are ones made to look like old Atari controllers, which are actually pretty cool looking. Much cooler than the person inhaling from the pen. The worst ones are the ones with a plastic moustache near the tip. Did I mention these people are the worst?
Vape life has also proven to be pretty costly. One vaper claims to have spent an astounding $4,000 in one year on his arsenal of electronic cigarettes. I can think of 100 things that I would rather do with $4,000 than spending it on looking ridiculous. I can do that for free!
Another aspect to vape life is the prominence of vape tricks. Vape tricks are, essentially, inhaling and exhaling the vapor with flair. So not only are you forced to watch these hipsters blowing an insane amount of white vapor, but now you get to see them poorly make smoke rings and get high fives from their vape bros. So cool, bruh! You’re the most talented guy in the bar! Oh, you’re single? Imagine that…
Using lofty language like “technology meets elegance,” the e-cig industry markets itself very aggressively and to great success. According to The Verge, the vapor pens that are sold at big box stores, such as NJOY and Blu, use an adversarial bend to their advertising. They market their product as a way to “fight back” against the man. These companies have advertisements on television and in print media. The TV spots mark the first time nicotine products have been marketed that way in 40 years. This a bit troublesome, in my opinion.
These ads are impressionable. The millennial generation (of which I am a part) is always looking for the next way to be super cool and trendy. Any chance to get Vine famous or gain some more followers on SnapChat or Twitter is optimal. Gotta get those re-vines and retweets, am I right?
So they buy these pens to look cool. Most of the juices contain nicotine, which is the reason the pens work so well to help habitual smokers beat their habit. The young people then get hooked on their vapor pens, which gets them hooked on nicotine in the process. It’s a backdoor to regular cigarettes, much like clove cigarettes or flavored cigars. All in all, big tobacco wins. And that’s not good.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, I’m not a fan of vaping. Frankly, I think it makes the user look like a dope. That being said, I do have friends that have successfully beaten their smoking habit with these pens. Those people are rock stars. But I can’t get behind vape life. I don’t like the typical vaper. They can keep their dedicated vaping playlists and e-juice.
Vape culture and vaping in general is very popular and very well financed, so it’s unfortunately here to stay. Simply put, I’m not thrilled. It’s just another avenue for smoking products to be marketed on a large scale to a very large and receptive audience. If you’re looking to inhale vapor, just go to a hookah lounge.
So take your glass Jacuzzi vape parties and cram ‘em. I’ll take a hard pass on vape life, vape culture, vaping, vapers, and all of the advertising that comes with it.