Vaping is also “gross in its own way,” wrote H.K. Choi in GQ’s “A Gentlemen’s Guide to Vaping”:
“It doesn’t matter who you are — pursing your lips around a plastic tube that atomizes nicotine-infused propylene glycol into vapor reads as slightly douché. It’s always going to be a facsimile, and a vapist will always feel a bit like a poseur.”
I appreciate that for some people it’s the best way to consume medical marijuana (or quit smoking cigarettes — although it’s often a permanent replacement rather than a transitional tool). Whoopi Goldberg, on this site, declared her love for her vape pen, which she named “Sippy” for the sips she takes. Whoopi has a legit medical need and keeps her vaping mostly to herself, so what’s the harm?
For her, not much. But without a medical or therapeutic impetus, vaping seems hollow. It removes the experience from the experience. People have been smoking cannabis and tobacco for thousands of years, maintaining a visceral, primal connection with something that grows naturally. Sucking on a machine puts up a wall between you and the thing you’re supposedly committed to consuming.
When I smoke good pot, I appreciate all the botanical care that was poured into that product. The aroma and flavor of the flower and its smoke is part of the ritual, as essential to the experience for me as the psychoactive effects of THC. The act of prepping a handsome glass pipe, grinding the bud, and carefully loading the bowl makes me consider what I’m doing. Whipping out a mechanical straw from my pocket and sucking on it for a few minutes before stashing it again does not.
Do I feel the same irritation toward people who eat cannabis instead of smoking it? I don’t, but it’s because it’s not a pale version of something else. It’s simply the act of eating something.
There’s no typical vaper in my mind — except perhaps a person who is prone to following trends and forever-looking for a new community of trendy folks to join. Truly, the reason “vape” got the Oxford nod is because it now crosses class, race and gender lines.
It’s hard for me to put my finger on why I find vaping so mindless. Maybe it’s an emotional response to something I’ve tried several times but just don’t get, like super-hoppy IPAs or multiplayer gaming. I realize there are infinitely better things to be fired up about in this world. Whether it’s an e-cigarette or a one-use hash oil pen, vaping is likely not going anywhere. The aforementioned GQ article on vaping etiquette pegged the number of regular vapers at 6 million and counting.
That’s fine. Just don’t expect me to give you an understanding nod or break out in a grin next time I see you slip an electronic pacifier into your mouth. I don’t think you’re dumb. Hell, I don’t even know you. But I know vaping.