E-cig users lack of consideration is damaging their cause/ by sylvia kronstadt

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Registered: 03-14-2011
E-cig users lack of consideration is damaging their cause/ by sylvia kronstadt
Wed, 03-12-2014 - 5:32am

Vaping Imagery: From divine to disgusting in six months

Hey lady: Thanks for making us look so attractive.

    When I took the plunge into the study and personal use of e-cigarettes last August, the photographs of vaping and vaping gear were beautiful. They were stylish, hip, creative, sleek. This seemed like a dignified and delightful pastime that blended fashion, technology and sensual pleasure in a very compelling way.
    What the hell has happened? As I continue to monitor coverage of the e-cigarette issue, I never see this beauty any more. I don't see the refreshingly "clean" portrayals of this alternative to a "filthy habit."
    Almost overnight, the image of vaping has been dirtied up, and it's been done damned effectively. I'd like to blame the media, or some conspiracy of the Usual Suspects, but I can't do that honestly. We as vapers are the major contributors to this in-your-face blow-up of how vaping and vapers are viewed. We are fueling, in very graphic ways, many of the  prejudices and objections espoused by our opponents. WTF? Maybe we should clean up our acts and try not to look quite so grotesque. No wonder people want us out of sight!

This girl should be quarantined. She's obviously very ill. Is it nerve gas?

And this poor boy seems on the verge of puking his brains out. So am I.

     Vaping entered the public domain initially as a seemingly civilized phenomenon that conveyed the smoothness and elegance that tobacco cigarettes had represented back in the Cary Grant days. Now that we had been thoughtfully programmed to despise tobacco, e-cigarettes brought back sheen and savoir faire to the act of displaying our inhalations and exhalations to others. 
    In my initial e-cig research, just six months ago, I don't recall coming across a single photo that made me cringe. Indeed, everything about this new product was aesthetically pleasing.
    My, how things have changed. Current images of vaping look like one big steamy vomitorium, featuring people who either don't realize they're making a spectacle of themselves, or want to, or don't care that they are. This amuse bouche that was so recently depicted as classy and euphoric has become breathtakingly unsavory.

Do I seem bullish?

  It probably tastes better than it looks.

It probably looks more miserable than it is.

     It's not an appealing or interesting spectacle. It's just disheartening: A total turnoff. It reminds me of the moment in New York City decades ago when boomboxes suddenly seemed to be everywhere, aggressively imposing their thumping bass cacophony on everyone in town. (Actually, I liked it, even though the behavior was obnoxious. It's much more fun to walk down the sidewalk when you've got a good, stomping beat to propel you along). But in general, people were dismayed that here was yet another way in which their world was becoming more unruly and assaultive. To quote Dionne Warwick:

"If you see me walking down the street, and I start to cry, each time we meet, walk on by."

     And to quote Faith Hill, about "the slow and steady rush" in "Just Breathe":

"I can feel  you breathe. It's washing into me. And suddenly I'm melting into you."

      (People don't want to be melting into us, or to have our flavored breath melting into their atmosphere. Doesn't that seem reasonable?) 

    Or to throw in a little Pitbull ("Mami got an ass like a donkey, with a monkey, look like King Kong, welcome to the crib"):

"I know you want me. You know I want you. I know you want me. You know I want you."

    Or the Temptations, pleading for clouds in "Let it Rain":

"I'm a man and I got my pride. Give me rain or I'm gonna stay inside."

    It doesn't really look like pride, though, does it? It reveals someone who just wants to disappear into a haze of defeat, the poor guy.
    Seen from the perspective of those who have come to expect a smoke-free environment, vaping isn't just "air pollution." It's life pollution. It's a distraction, an annoyance, one more thing that many people feel requires an exertion of will to ignore or tolerate.
    It doesn't have to be that way.

Smoke signals: The message is, "To hell with what you think."

Hey! You! Get onto my cloud! You don't have any choice!

     I would like to offer a motto for your consideration:

"Friends don't let vaper-friends vape vaporously (in public)."

    Aren't we doing ourselves a disservice by turning this lovely indulgence into a brazen horror show, starring ourselves? 

Let's see how many people's personal space we can invade!

     Frankly, I think children blowing bubbles look more mature and sensible than many vapers do. Ditto for people chewing huge wads of gum or slurping Asian noodles. Screaming babies are annoying, but we realize they can't help it. We can. I would be more comfortable "pleasuring" myself in public (if I knew how -- I never figured it out) than to put on such a display of screw-you hedonism as we often see from vapers. 

Oh what a relief it is: One blow job after another.

The vanishing act: A lot of folks wish we'd all follow suit.       Let's face it: Vaping, like smoking, is a manifestation of oral fixation, which -- psychiatrically speaking -- is considered to be infantile. We're pacifying ourselves. We're basically sucking our thumbs. In at least some cases, we're putting our deep-seated neediness on display for all to see. 
    I'm not being judgmental here: I'm as orally fixated as they come, with a quite melodramatic history of eating disorders to prove it. I've got to have something (sometimes two or three things) going on with my mouth pretty much all the time. When I worked at the newspaper, I went through a mega-pack of gum each morning, and then switched to a big plastic bag filled with sliced carrots and apples. It was embarrassing -- quite gross to behold, I'm sure. But I couldn't sit there and do my cerebral work without the oral dynamic to fuel it.

    Still, exhibiting our oral imperatives is not a very pleasant tableaux to be throwing in other people's faces. At least my carrot strips didn't swirl through the office, entering resentful nostrils, although my relentless chewing was probably irritating to many people. So don't look at me. I know that takes will power, but you can master it!
    Maybe we should just vape with vapers, vape alone, or vape with some subtlety and restraint. Unlike this:

Get a room, you two. Another room!

"Oh my god, don't let this end!"

"I'm not too bright, but I sure know how to blow. Watch me!"

"I'll hide, and you can seek. Isn't this fun?"

Remember not so long ago, when no one was doing this anymore?

   I don't want to represent myself as Miss Manners: an icon of propriety and etiquette. I am hopelessly immature. I blurt out whatever pops into my head, often using gratuitous profanity for shock value. I dress inappropriately, and don't give a shit what anyone thinks. I don't feel totally alive unless I'm creating some sort of commotion. I am The Misbehaver. 
    But that's when it's just me, and my image, and my reputation, that are at stake. When we as vapers misbehave, it hurts all of us. It damages what has quickly become a "cause." That's not cool.

Thank you for bringing such bubonic glamor into our midst.

"Let's get synchronized, so we can commandeer more attention."

    I have sensed an evolution from the enthusiastic discovery and embrace of e-cigarettes by vapers to a besieged victim mentality. Vapers are understandably concerned about the threat of over-regulation (I'm not worried about it -- nobody in authority has enough balls to do anything about anything), but their concern seems to have become angry, defensive and close-minded. A paranoid, bunker atmosphere has descended. "They're out to get us."

    Spinfuel magazine, which I respect and enjoy, reflects this extreme stance. 
    "If you pay any attention to news concerning electronic cigarettes then you know that every single day we are facing new attacks, bans, attempts to ban, taxes, attempts to tax, and so on and so forth from the federal level all the way down to the city and town level. You would think from all the negative exposure that vaping was a whole lot worse than heroin addiction or ‘vaping with friends’ has become the equivalent of being a member of some malicious, satanic cult," publisher John Manzione writes feverishly.

  Are vapers equated with members of a satanic cult? I don't think so.

    "These attacks against an activity that is virtually harmless, is maddening. Understanding the reasoning behind the attacks....do little to alleviate the anger we all harbor against such stupidity. It seems that no matter what we try to do, no matter what science reveals that supports our position, especially over nicotine, no one on the other side is listening to a word we’re saying," he continues. (Science reveals quite a bit that does not support their position as well.)
    "We should set aside ALL other concerns we have as voters and focus on one thing: the right to vape. We must vote against anyone in public office that does not support our right to vape. If we do not make this commitment to each other, today, we run the risk of losing it all."

Dudes: You're going overboard. Maybe a little reefer would ease the panic.

     Manzione characterizes efforts to regulate e-cigarettes as "evil" and "insane."
    "I can’t stress this enough, and it bears repeating over and over…
…If we do not stand together against the tyrants, the greedy, the corrupt, and the zealots, we will lose,"  he concludes. 
    Really, John. Please calm down. I fear that your own vested interest in this industry has given you a severe case of hysteria and tunnel vision. The concern is not evil or insane -- it's just common sense. Let's keep things in perspective, dear man. How can you possibly believe that vaping is the most important issue in America? God!

"Let's freak out all those tight-asses with a new Rainbow Coalition."

    Vapers have begun to behave like an oppressed minority that feels so terrifyingly beleaguered, it must rise up en masse and obliterate the "enemy" with belligerent fanaticism. Kill the doubters! Smash the sketptics! They are incited to stand up to The Man by defying norms, ridiculing the concerns of even the most reasonable commentators, and displaying their defiance in a flamboyant fashion. There have already been demonstrations, and I have little doubt that we'll soon have parades, over-the-top Miss Vape pageants and benefit concerts to "raise awareness and solidarity." Picketers -- instead of shouting "Hell no -- we won't go," will declare, "Don't gape -- we're gonna vape!" How rousing! How brave! A new militancy! Too bad we didn't get this organized around the invasion of Iraq.

A courageous "act of defiance."

    God! This is unnecessary and trivial. What's more, it's an insult to those who really are oppressed minorities. Slogans such as "I'm black and I'm proud," and "I'm queer, and I'm here," and "ACT UP" sprung forth from years, decades and centuries of suffering.

    Vapers are not an oppressed minority, and those who feel they deserve that designation need to review history and to relearn what actual physical and psychic brutality do to the human spirit.
    Those who truly were oppressed had the standing to spew fury ("by any means necessary"), wave guns and march through town, kissing like crazy in their rainbow tutus and bondage costumery.
    Vapers don't. We are a privileged subculture with a very minor crusade, relatively speaking (think of all the really important issues there are to be passionate about), and it seems to me that all we do is antagonize decent, reasonable people by filling their world with huge plumes of stuff that they don't wish to see, move through or breathe.