Why the vaping industry needs to be welcoming for all smokers
Hi everyone, as the year starts to draw to a close I'd really like to reflect on a few things I've been thinking about lately. Something that has come as bit of a shock to me is the realisation that some people are being put off from trying vaping because of bad experiences, a perceived 'image' of what vaping is or simply that they didn't know that vaping was for them. And not because of inaccurate scare stories in the media or misinformation they've heard from friends, but because of elements of the vaping industry and community itself!
I think this is deeply worrying for several reasons. It's worrying because I don't want to think people would rather continue to smoke because they either feel that they aren't accepted, encouraged or supported by the industry that is supposed to be helping them. In this blog I'm going to attempt to reassure you that it doesn't matter if you are 18 or 80, no matter who you are or what age you are, if you are currently smoking, then vaping is for you.
Many of us have probably has less than acceptable experiences in vape shops. There has been a huge growth in the last few years across the whole industry and now many of our local high streets will have at least one vape shop, if not two or more. I think they are absolutely essential as places for advice and as a first stop for smokers to drop in and pick up their first e-cigarette. When I first switched to vaping I was lucky and wandered in to a local shop that was very helpful and also stocked a range of devices that covered many different types and prices. Sadly I've spoken to others who's experiences are not as good.
I should say now, before getting too negative, there are many shops, both in your towns and online, that provide exceptionally good service and advice to smokers and I have nothing but admiration for the people that own and work in those businesses. However it's not always the case.
To take just one example, I was speaking to one of my neighbours back in the summer. She's around 60 and had smoked all her life. We got chatting about vaping and how long I'd not had a cigarette for. I asked if she'd ever thought about trying vaping and what she told me made me very sad and angry. She had been to a shop in our area twice, the first time she was ignored completely by the staff who were too busy chatting and vaping to ask her if she needed any help. The second time she plucked up the courage to approach the counter and to cut a long story short was sold a 'starter kit' that was totally unsuitable. They didn't show her how to set it up or offer advice on anything. She told me she tried it a couple of times but didn't really work. To cut a long story short, I gave her a simple 'stick' type device, showed her how to use it, gave her some e-liquids and she's been using that for the last few months. For her, vaping was too complicated and too confusing and the shop did nothing to help with that perception and because she felt unwelcome in that shop, she never went back. It's a sad story and one I don't think is all that unusual.
Does the vaping industry have an image problem?There's a suggestion that says that some people are even being marginalised by the industry. If you look at vaping through the lens of social media and certain promotional material from vaping companies you may be forgiven for thinking that vaping just isn't for you. When I spend time in my local vape shop, the one thing I notice more than anything is the type of people that come in. The vast majority of them are just like me. Middle aged, ex-smokers who have regular jobs and regular lives. Too often it seems vaping is promoted as a 'life-style choice' for people in their 20's. This particular stereotype of a 'vaper' is often being pushed via marketing, and isn't always helpful when it comes to making vaping an attractive option to everyone. If it's actually putting people off or alienating large sections of people who are still smoking, then I can't help but see it as a negative thing.
Despite of how it might appear sometimes, vaping is not a fashion for the young and trendy, vaping is for all smokers who want to make a positive change in their lives. I'd like to see vaping promoted as mainstream, not a trendy sub-culture and I'd like to see more social media promotions targeted at smokers rather than people who are already vaping.
Over the last year I've got the feeling that the mass conversion rates of smokers to vapers is starting to slow down and maybe flat-line to a point where we aren't convincing smokers to switch over in the numbers we were. Promoting 'vaping culture' as some kind of extreme sport is not going to help. Vaping is not edgy, it's a brilliant and simple tool to help all smokers switch to a much less dangerous way of getting the nicotine they need.
The philosophy at My Vape Box is to always offer devices, liquids and support for those people looking to stop smoking. No matter how much our business grows and where vaping might go in the future, we will not forget about, or ignore, the people that need the most help, encouragement and support. The whole team are here to help you make the positive change in your lives that quitting smoking has done for us.
Simon - My Vape Bog