Vaping: A Way to Quit Smoking or a Cultural Phenomenon?

I could be this guy about my vaping interest. I could spend countless hours investigating and researching the seemingly limitless amount of information available on the best mods (batteries), tanks, airflow settings, voltage/wattage settings, juice flavors, skins, and other components/variables ad infinitum. There’s also an entire lexicon around vape culture that requires its own study and memorization if I’m to become a true #vapegod. I could go full tilt into the craze.

But, I’m no #vapegod. And, I don’t want to be.

Why does the vape community exist?

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with being into the Vape Naysh, y’all. Quite the contrary, in fact. A sense of community and belonging helps to strengthen our interest in and dedication to an activity. On top of that, when we share common traits and interests with others, we learn more easily, quickly, and confidently than when learning alone. We’re also more likely to stay with a community or continue an activity when we can discuss and share information with an in-group. And vaping has quite the active, and varied, community these days – ranging from teens to the elderly.

There’s no denying vaping is a rapidly growing trend, if not an outright cultural phenomenon. As with any trend, however, there’s an entire spectrum of participants who approach it from their own points of comfort and ability. Some folks lean into their enthusiasm for experimenting with different technical aspects of mods and coils, perhaps even creating how-to guides on building those things for oneself. Others will buy (or otherwise receive) and review as many juices as they can get their hands on to help users streamline their own e-juice purchases.

vape community
There’s a benefit to being part of a community.

Back to basics

I don’t do any of that stuff. I just smoke the thing.

I have my preferences for juice, and I can tell a good vape from a crappy one. My vape passions, though, are minimizing the effects of my bad habit and mitigating the habitual use of a not-totally-innocent product. At least so far. This is not to say I abstain from learning about vape mods, voltage settings, or juice flavors altogether. If I knew nothing about what I was doing, I wouldn’t be doing myself any favors. I think my approach to the information is just different than those who get really into culture instead of intended purpose.

Sure, I’ll look up a couple reviews on an item before I invest in it, or I’ll watch a impassioned YouTuber detail the process of building their own coils (mostly because I like watching people be enthusiastic about whatever they’re into). I’ve read about “appropriate” variable voltage/variable wattage settings to find that “sweet spot” between flavor and air intake.

Beyond the threshold concepts I’ve learned so far from typical Google searches, as well as my experiences talking to local vape shop employees and friends of mine who happen also to vape, I struggle getting truly involved in the community aspect of vaping. I don’t follow the trend of it. I don’t use vaping as a social practice. I use it to quit smoking cigarettes. Or, at least, I’m still vaping at this point as a smoking cessation tool.

Maybe that will change the less I identify as a smoker (which I still do, actually), and the more time I spend really building my vape collection and knowledge. Maybe someday, I’ll be a competitive cloud chaser or perhaps I’ll have crafted a successful meme about vape culture. But, given that my mentality is still to classify myself as a smoker who vapes, I think for now I’m learning and retaining the right information for me.

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