You’d think anyone with a brain in their head could tell the difference between vaping and smoking. For a start there’s the wording. The old adage there’s no smoke without fire is an adage because it’s true. You need fire to produce smoke. So when you light a cigarette the tobacco burns real fire, although it’s controlled enough by chemicals not to actually produce a real flame. You take a puff through the filter and inhale actual smoke into your lungs.
Vaping on the other hand is as its name suggests vapour. A coil is charged with electricity to heat e liquid which then produces a vapour which can be inhaled.
There are big differences between smoke and vapour. Smoke is a thick heavy substance that hangs in the air, but vapour is thin, light and disperses quickly. If you had to be in a room with someone smoking or someone vaping, I guarantee 100% of people would choose vaping because it’s a lot less intrusive.
So with such obvious differences, the mind boggles why councils, governments and institutions around the world class vaping the same as smoking and want to see the same stringent laws applied to both.
It took a recent court ruling in New York to spell out the obvious differences to law makers in the US.
The case came about when a vaper called Shawn Thomas was arrested for vaping on a subway platform. It’s illegal to vape in public places in New York under the city’s Smoke Free Air Act, which was amended at the end of 2013 to include e-cigarettes. I’m sure there isn’t a scientist alive that would say e cigarettes produce smoke, but still the amendment went through and vapour was classed as smoke and outlawed. But where the cops went wrong with Shawn Thomas is they arrested him under state law, where the amendment doesn’t apply.
So Shawn dutifully challenged the charge in court, and the judge had no choice but to agree that laws referring to smoking can’t be applied to vaping.
The judge stated:
“‘Smoking’ means the burning of a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe or any other matter or substance which contains tobacco. An electronic cigarette neither burns nor contains tobacco. Instead, the use of such a device, which is commonly referred to as ‘vaping,’ involves ‘the inhalation of vapourized e-cigarette liquid consisting of water, nicotine, a base of propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin and occasionally, flavouring.’ This does not fit within the definition of ‘smoking’ under the law.”
To every right minded person alive this statement has to be the most obvious thing ever said in a court of law, but in the crazy world of e cigarettes words like ‘truth’ and ‘common sense’ don’t apply.
So, the next move for New York to prevent any other wannabe Shawn Thomas’s making a mockery of their legal system will probably be to add the amendment that vaping is indeed smoking to their state law as well as their city law.
But why do these people insist on classing vapour as smoke when it’s quite obviously not?
Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association made a good point.
“There are a lot of people who simply do not like the sight of cigarette smoke, even if it’s not smoke and it’s not coming from a cigarette. There is an emotional reaction.”
This is a valid point and may be at the heart of the matter. In an age where health is uppermost in human consciousness, and cigarettes/tobacco have been in line with the devil in the western world, people just cannot handle a product that replicates smoking. It’s a case of not being able to see the wood for the trees as e cigarettes can actually help people to quit smoking.
But seeing people vape reminds them too much of tobacco and turns their stomach to the point they want to see it banned. Even though there are no proven negligible side effects to vaping in public.
So, as vapers it isn’t enough that we have big pharma and tobacco industries conspiring against us, we also have the irrational fears of law makers to content with.
The news in New York can be considered a breakthrough for common sense, but really it was just an administration error that I’m sure they’re keen to avoid happening again.
But we vapers know the truth and hopefully we’ll move through these dark times to a more enlightened age, where vaping is seen as a genuine way to rid ourselves of tobacco once and for all.
Until that time though, we’ll keep on vaping, happy at least we aren’t paying stupid money to line our lungs with tar.