Let’s be honest, we all make mistakes. We've all bought vaping gear that turned out to be unsuitable. We've all bought e-liquid flavours that we thought we'd like but didn't. Most people have several e-cigarette tanks that didn't quite live up to the hype and several bottles of e-liquid in the cupboard that, in reality, will never be used. We've all been distracted and vaped our e-cigarette dry and inhaled a disgusting 'burnt cotton' flavour instead of the expected sweet strawberry. The important thing is that we learn from those mistakes, but can we really avoid them in the first place? These are all mistakes that even experienced vapers still make occasionally, myself included.
There are many “Top 5 mistakes new vapers make” (and similarly titled blogs) on the web already. But sadly a lot of them are just facsimiles of each other that don't offer anything new or offer any really good advice to new vapers. A lot of them feel very out of date, with information that is quite honestly closer to misinformation.
For example, this comment I've just read about choosing the right nicotine strength. “If you were only smoking 5 or 6 cigarettes a day, 12mg e-liquid will be a nicotine overload.” This could be an unhelpful comment - if you only picked up your e-cigarette 5 or 6 times a day to replace those times you were smoking, then 12mg e-liquid will probably be absolutely fine for you. Giving someone good advice on the subject of which nicotine level to use is far more complicated and needs a more nuanced answer than a lazy generalisation. Especially when we could be talking about whether you succeed or fail at quitting smoking.
With all that in mind here's my own alternative list of 'Common mistakes new vapers make.'
·Thinking that because you love the smell of your vape everyone else will too
·Arguing about vaping with drunk people
·Taking advice from strangers
·Being overly critical of smokers
·Vaping everywhere just because you can
Thinking that because you love the smell of your vape everyone else will too
The first thing you notice when you switch from smoking to vaping is how nasty 'smoking areas', dirty ashtrays and smokey houses smell to you now. It's easy to presume that nobody will dislike the smell of your Salted Caramel vapour wafting across the room but you would be mistaken. My partner will always tell me if she likes the smell of my vape, sometimes she does other times she doesn't. I try to be considerate with my e-liquid aroma choices and where and when I vape them, I suggest you do the same... it's just good manners.
Arguing about vaping with drunk people.
We've all been there. You are standing outside a pub and some random drunk person will come up to you and start telling you that you are killing yourself by 'smoking' chemicals. I can't emphasise this enough, while you might be very tempted to start giving this person the facts and standing your ground on behalf of all vapers, this is not the time or the place. They are drunk and they are trying to annoy you, they won't be open to listening to the facts. You are supposed to be out having a fun evening with your friends, so make sure it stays that way. How you react might depend how aggressive and how drunk they are. I usually have two different approaches, the first is to just shrug and ignore them (or shrug and go back inside.) The second is to say “my body, my choice” and just carry on vaping. Arguing with drunk people about vaping is something you can absolutely avoid. Don't let them drag you into it.
Taking advice from strangers
The irony is not lost on me with this one, but some of my biggest mistakes I made early on were because I listened to other people. I bought a line of e-liquids from a manufacturer on the recommendation of a whole bunch of people online. “Some of the best” “They are amazing e-liquids” they said. They tasted so bad to me I sent them back to the company because I thought there was something 'wrong' with them. Apparently, there wasn’t. I'm still not sure if the people who recommended them were 'friends' of the company, employees of the company in some capacity or if they really did enjoy them. But to me they were some of the worst flavours I'd ever tasted. I also have a little collection of vape tanks that were recommended by many, that haven't been used since the week I bought them. Can we avoid mistakes like these? It's not easy until we find friends (online or otherwise) who we know have similar tastes and similar vaping styles.
Being overly critical of smokers
I understand it and I might be slightly guilty myself at times, but it is a mistake. Not least because we were once smokers too. Smokers do not like being nagged and criticised any more than vapers. Show some compassion, some understanding and some empathy. We don't want our smoking friends to start avoiding us, they will no doubt be pleased for you that you've quit smoking at first but don't continually berate them because they aren't ready to make the switch to vaping just yet or you will soon start to annoy them. Tone it down a little and discuss vaping with them when they ask and when they are ready. Or you might stop getting invited to all the best parties!
Vaping everywhere just because you can
This is really just about considering others around you, just because your local pub allows vaping inside that doesn't mean you should be sitting in the corner like a human fog machine annoying the people that are trying to eat at the next table. The more considerate you are around people the more likely that we will be able to continue to vape in those places that allow it.
There will be times when that consideration isn't shown to you and you will be asked not to vape. I got a slap on the wrist for vaping in what can only be described as an open field with nobody around me. I thought I was being considerate vaping in that area and I certainly wasn't bothering anyone. I presumed that the 'no smoking anywhere on the property' rule was about littering the area with dog-ends and creating potential fire risks. But I was quite strongly informed that it applied to 'those electronic things too.' They seemed quite angry with me, which at the time I didn't really understand. My mistake was thinking that everybody is well informed and that they have the same sensible view on vaping as you and I. You will soon learn that this isn't always the case.
I'm still optimistic that things will change for the better. If we really want less people smoking and less people dying from smoking related illnesses, then allowing people to use e-cigarettes in places they cannot smoke is one of the ways to achieve that. It may take a while, but I feel we are moving in the right direction. There have been several UK hospitals that have made moves to allow vaping on their grounds. If we want to see more signs like the one above, then we must be both patient and considerate of others.
Be a good vaper.