Social Question

glacial's avatar

People smoking e-cigarettes in restaurants - what do you think?

Asked by glacial (12010 points ) December 10th, 2013

A guy just “lit up” in the café I’m sitting in. I was instantly repulsed, even though I’m sure it’s legal and maybe even perfectly safe. What would your reaction be?

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48 Answers

Seek's avatar

Don’t hurt me none.

Seriously. I can’t smell it, there’s no second-hand smoke, it affects me in no way shape or form.

If I thought anything, it would be “How nice of that smoker to keep his nicotine consumption to himself”.

glacial's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Oh, I can smell it. It’s a little more like pipe smoke than cigarette smoke, but definitely noticeable.

Seek's avatar

Then they might be smoking out of a vaporizer, not an e-cig.

And that’s totally different, and while slightly better than actually smoking, it still shouldn’t be allowed indoors.

glacial's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I thought the e-cig worked on vaporization? I was basing my information on this article.

Seek's avatar

An e-cig is a type of vaporizer that doesn’t actually use plant material, and instead uses a (usually) odorless combination of chemicals.

A traditional vaporizer uses plant material, and you can smell the burn in cheaper models.

filmfann's avatar

Many years ago, I was in a store trying to replace a pair of camouflage pants I had worn to the threads. I tried on a new pair, and put my hand in the pocket, and found a note from some anonymous person asking me not to buy the pants, because the constant presence of camouflage clothing in everyday places gets people used to the presence of the military. I considered that thought, and didn’t buy the pants.

jca's avatar

I wouldn’t want to smell it and if it is legal, IMHO it should not be.

ucme's avatar
If the waitress said that to me I wouldn’t mind, I wouldn’t mind at all.

glacial's avatar

@ucme Boo! Must wait until I get home for video watching. I wouldn’t want to be rude, after all. ;)

ucme's avatar

Haha, everytime that ad comes on my daughter cringes.

downtide's avatar

I use an e-cig and I always ask the staff if they allow them before actually getting it out and vaping away. I wouldn’t use it in the middle of a meal though; aside from anything else it will spoil my appreciation of the food.

My partner reports that he can’t smell them at all unless he’s sitting right next to me, and even then, only when it’s a strong flavour like cinnamon. Some people find the clouds of vapour disconcerting but that can be minimised by using a liquid that doesn’t contain glycerine, and using a lower voltage setting on the battery.

Pachy's avatar

I very much appreciate @downtide‘s approach, but frankly, I’m a-gin it if it’s a non-smoking venue. Call me a grump, but I would be bothered by even the possibility of an aroma, as well as the sight of someone with a cig in his or her mouth during a meal.

I think the e-cigger should be required to step outside if he/she has to smoke, just like someone with a real cig. And as a looooongtime ex-smoker who broke the nasty habit cold turrkey and never went back, how sorry I am for any person who can’t make it through a single meal without nicotine.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Doesn’t bother me at all, I enjoy the pipe smell.

@filmfann Seriously? To me that is incredibly silly, but I’m pro-military.

glacial's avatar

@Pachyderm_In_The_Room “as well as the sight of someone with a cig in his or her mouth during a meal.”

Yeah, this is why I asked the question. My reaction to it was so visceral… then I had to take a moment to ask myself, “Is that a reasonable response?” And while I understand that it’s vapour and not smoke, and while I realize that harmful effects have not been shown, I still find it distasteful – not least for the reason @filmfann gave. We should be moving away from this, I feel.

But none of that matters now that it’s stinking up the joint. Whether or not it’s offensive in principle, the smell is not acceptable.

Juels's avatar

The true e-cigs don’t smell. My first inclination is to thank anyone using them over regular cigarettes. Doesn’t matter where we are, even outdoors, regular cigs stink. Couldn’t care less if they use e-cigs indoors. Go for it.

glacial's avatar

@Juels Yes, but the choice is not between “smoking normal cigarette indoors” and “smoking e-cig indoors” because smoking cigarettes indoors is illegal. So the choice is between “no smoking” and “smoking e-cig indoors”. My response is definitely not “Go for it”.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Completely harmless. Your reaction was one of conditioning.

glacial's avatar

@Dutchess_III If it smells bad, it’s not just about conditioning.

Juels's avatar

@glacial Either way, I think I was pretty clear that smoking e-cigs indoors is not a problem for me. I don’t know if smoking e-cigs indoors is legal, but in my opinion, it should be. I’ve been around people smoking the e-cigs and their brand did not have an odor.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s just water vapor. Unless I’m thinking of something else.

glacial's avatar

lol, I don’t know what to tell you, @Dutchess_III. I’m sitting here, and it stinks. If you do any research on e-cigs/vapourizers (I’ve now done a little), you’ll see that they come in “flavours”.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What does it smell like? Is it really bad? I guess I stand corrected. I didn’t know they came in “flavors.”

The story below has nothing to do with you @glacial. I’m not there so I have no idea how obnoxious it is. I was just reminded of the incident.

In the 70’s smoking in public places was allowed. They provided ashtrays. I was at K-State, in the commons with some other people watching a M*A*S*H rerun. I lit a cigarette. After I took a couple of hits this guy in front of me turned around and gave me the dirtiest look, and started waving his hand back and forth in front of his face.
I immediately stubbed my cigarette out, but he continued waving non-existent smoke away from his face for the rest of the show, about 15 more minutes.

glacial's avatar

@Dutchess_III Haha! That is obnoxious. I apologize on behalf of my people. ;)

This one smells like pipe smoke, as I mentioned above.

Lorna's avatar

We eat out every Saturday, and although I have to look twice at them, it doesn’t bother me. My daughter though, well, she hates it. She’ll shout ” Mom, look at the guy over there, you should call the cops”. One day she won’t do that anymore….I hope!

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL!! Hey! Well, I let your people go, anyway @glacial!

Seek's avatar

I’ll just throw it out there that it’s not illegal to smell bad, or to do things other people find unsavory (picking one’s nose comes to mind).

Smoking in restaurants is illegal because it affects the health of people who aren’t choosing to smoke. Not because it smells bad.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Well, it wouldn’t be ‘instantly repulsed.’ But, then again, I don’t get that way unless a person is saying something sexist or racist. I think it’s perfectly fine to smoke an e-cigarette.

josie's avatar

I gave e-cigarettes to my few friends who smoke last year at my Christmas party. That way they did not have to go outside in the cold. It was a big hit. Nobody else cared.

I think it is a great idea for restaurants and bars. Everybody has fun, and everybody is welcome. Isn’t that what we all want? Or not?

hearkat's avatar

I haven’t encountered this; and although the vapor and its flavors may be benign to the masses, it may still trigger allergic/asthmatic reactions in some folks with fragrance and flavor sensitivities, and may unpleasantly clash with the meals of other patrons.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

@filmfann I think that is a great point.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I would pretend that it does not bother me, but I would actually be pissed off that they are not smoking a real cigarette.

mrentropy's avatar

I wouldn’t care. The vapor dissipates quickly, doesn’t generally go very far. And if it’s scented, so what? So is perfume but I don’t see that being made illegal or people being forced to sit outside if they’re wearing perfume or cologne.

I think a lot of this boils down to: “I don’t understand this, I don’t like this, if I don’t like this nobody else should either, get rid of it.”

But, maybe next time I’m near someone wearing a scent I’ll start coughing and gagging and mention how awful they smell and how they’re ruining my life by being there.

mattbrowne's avatar

I think all smokers should quit or switch to e-cigs. Tolerating e-cigs inside building is a great incentive, therefore all non-smokers should tolerate it. The e-cig smell is negligible. Compare this to a standard smoker sitting next to you coming back from smoking outside. The disgusting smell is in the clothes and in the hair and on the skin.

josie's avatar

Sorry to return. But occasionally a question sticks with me, and it takes me a while to figure it out.
What I couldn’t forget about this question is your exclamation that you were instantly repulsed.
You don’t have to answer of course, but what is so repulsive about this?
And furthermore, it seems like a pretty slick solution to one of the ever increasing social friction points that seem to bother so many people.

I think it is sort of cool that the public smoking “problem” can be so neatly solved.
I really do not understand what it is that could reasonably be regarded as repulsive.

glacial's avatar

@josie Not at all – this is the point I found so interesting – it wasn’t that I thought about it and concluded “This is repulsive”, I had the reaction first, and then started thinking about it.

I would guess it’s that seeing someone puffing away in a restaurant is associated with all the things I dislike about smoking – the smell, the fact that it causes me to breathe in carcinogens I can’t avoid, the way it interacts with what I’m eating to make the meal less tasty, the gross aftersmell on people’s clothes and body, the residue on their fingers… I’ve known a lot of smokers (hasn’t everybody?) and I’ve tolerated a lot of rudeness from some of them over it (hasn’t everybody?), and I’ve been very glad to see public perception shift towards marginalizing smokers, and forcing them to distance their behaviour from those of us who don’t want to be forced to interact with it, which is how it used to be. It has been a tremendous relief to know that I can spend a day in a café working, rather than having to segregate myself because of someone else’s choices.

Anyway, I think that seeing the puffing called up all of the reactions it would have if it were a real cigarette – mainly the bodily anticipation of the smell. My mind knows it’s not a cigarette, but I physically anticipate the smell and all of the negative things I associate with it. It’s an interesting response, don’t you think? Having never thought about it, it was not what I expected, and I think it is safe to say that it surprises me as much as it surprises you.

Now that I am thinking about it, though, as I mentioned earlier, @filmfann‘s take on this is basically mine: I think that the ban on cigarettes in public places is working towards eliminating smoking from our culture (no, not in this generation, or the next, or the one after that, but eventually). Allowing these faux cigarettes works against this, I think, and so I think that it would be a shame if they were allowed, even if scentless. From reading the other responses on this question, it would seem that is a minority view – though perhaps that reflects regional differences. But it’s still what I think.

As a final point, this particular e-smoker was affecting those around him. I watched person after person move tables away from him. He would blow his e-smoke away from himself – so presumably, even he thought it was unpleasant to some extent. I’m not kidding: whenever a table opened beside him, he would project the e-smoke forcefully in that direction. When the tables immediately beside him were full, he would blow it up and against the wall to his left. He was deliberately making sure it didn’t hover around his table – so, he must recognize its inconvenience. These e-cigs may be “slick”, but they are not utterly without effect, as a lot of others have claimed above.

josie's avatar

@glacial Just as a side note, and then I am closing.

My buddies, when they used e cigs at my party, tended to move off to the side when they used them. Not because it bothered anybody, but because (they told me this) they simply were conditioned to feel that they were doing something unpleasant for others. Sort of like your restaurant e cig user.
As time has gone by when they come over, they have become less and less defensive.

glacial's avatar

@josie “simply were conditioned to feel that they were doing something unpleasant for others”

Yes, I can’t imagine how that can have happened… perplexing, really.

josie's avatar

Interesting questions and comments here. Just not very friendly

SABOTEUR's avatar

As an e-cigarette user, I see visibly vaping (inhaling vapor as opposed to smoke) in public places where smoking is not allowed as obnoxious behavior.

It says, “Look at me”!

Since no smoke is involved, vapers may inhale without exhaling.
The vapor quickly dissipates.
This is called stealth vaping.
In other words, the vaper (e-cigarette user) may choose to vape anywhere igcognito.

If no one sees anything that looks like smoke, there’s nothing to complain about.

So no one need know what the e-cigarette user is doing unless the user chooses to advertise what he’s doing.

There’s a time and place for everything.

glacial's avatar

@SABOTEUR Yeah, that’s smart. As long as it doesn’t smell, anyone watching would just think he was pensively chewing on a pen. What do you think about this guy blowing the “smoke” away from himself? Why do you think he did that? Could it be a holdover from his smoking days, such that the two of us were both reacting to the act based on our experiences with a cigarette that no longer exists? Or do “vapers” choose e-cigs that produce an unpleasant cloud, perhaps even not realizing there are other options?

SABOTEUR's avatar

E-cigs are effective for many users because they closely mimic the experience of smoking without subjecting the user to the harmful effects of inhaling chemically enhanced burning tobacco. The user may or may not choose to have nicotine added to the liquid they vape, but nicotine is just one of the things that is addictive about smoking.

There is a strong psychological addiction related to the ritual of smoking. Part of that ritual is seeing smoke. The huge amount of vapor some vapers prefer satisfies that psychological addiction.

But blowing huge plumes of vapor in a restaurant is simply a display of arrogance.

glacial's avatar

@SABOTEUR Interesting, thanks.

glacial's avatar

Interesting development!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@hearkat glancing through they had questions about whether the nicotine inhalers were safe. Well, the nicotine is what gets you addicted, but it’s the tar and other crap in real cigarettes that cause the physical illnesses and problems with second hand smoke. My Dr. gave me some fake smokes. They contain nicotine but not all of the other shit. I have yet to try them….

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