Bans and restrictions are being put into place right and left. Articles come out daily about the potential health effects, and the dangers of children coming into contact with vapor. At this point it really seems as if one of the biggest hurdles that electronic cigarettes have is the name itself. The fact that the word “cigarette” is included automatically cues skepticism, doubt and defensiveness. Considering how tobacco cigarettes have affected our society it really is no wonder that this happens. Smoking really is dangerous, and the stigma that surrounds smoking is often summed up with the word “cigarette”. Vaporizers, vapor products, vapes, mods, PVs or whatever else we call them would almost certainly stand a better chance if they had a name of their own.
When they were first developed the name made perfect sense. E cigarettes were brand new products; due to the fact that they were just being introduced they needed a name that would help explain what they were. As they were electronic, and they were a replacement for cigarettes the term “electronic cigarette” took naturally. Everyone, including ourselves, took the name in stride. Fast forward to 2014 and the name is just not as fitting as it once was. The public at large understands what e cigarettes are. Sure your average Joe on the street may not be able to break down how they work or the difference between a drip tip and a clearomizer, but he will likely know what an e cig is. Three years ago this would not have been true. So with the passage of time and increases in awareness it is time for a change. We as a community need to settle on exactly what we call our devices, and the name should not include the word “cigarette”.
The shift would be a good one. It would further concrete the vapor community, building upon the identity and comradery that already exists. It would also allow for the products and the practice in general to be differentiated, even if but slightly, from smoking. The fact that people automatically think of cancer, emphysema, high blood pressure and the like is just plain bad for the vapor community. Yes, more research must be done. Yes, nicotine is an addictive substance. But neither of these facts makes it fair or even logical to lump vapor under the same umbrella as smoking. As a community we already call it vaping, and it is high time that the rest of the world took notice.
To make that happen we need to take the first step. When we talk about vapor to non-users we shouldn’t argue about subtle differences between vaping and smoking, we should highlight that they are completely different practices. Show them your “vaporizer”. Let them know how it works and how it has helped you. Focus on not using the word cigarette, and politely correct others in the debate when they use that verbiage. Don’t be pushy. Certainly don’t be rude. But don’t accept “No” for an answer. Changing public perception and acceptance can be just that easy. Obviously a switch in terminology will not stop the anti-vapor types. But it will plant a seed in the minds of many, and help to disassociate vapor products from the downsides of smoking that simply do not have anything to do with vaping.
So what do you call your device? If you still call it a cigarette, would you consider switching up verbiage? This is more than merely semantics. It is a better way to describe the devices that have changed the lives of so many people. It will afford us more leeway as vapers, and put the rest of the community on notice. It’s also a heck of a lot more accurate.