Riding public transportation is never a picnic, but some passengers on the Metro say the ride is nearly unbearable thanks to the sudden increase in ecig users. While tobacco use is banned on the Metro, passengers are free to use their electronic cigarettes both on the boarding platforms and during the commute. This week, travelers turned to local news affiliate ABC7 to find out why vaping was still allowed on the train.
Reporters took a ride on the Metro to find out what all the fuss was about and they found that some passengers were definitely frustrated by the lingering clouds of vapor. Local resident Davon Anderson said if smoking isn’t allowed on the Metro, vaping should be banned too. “If it’s nicotine based, then it should be treated like a regular cigarette, honestly.”
Other passengers complained that the ecigs were diffusing strong smells into the air that were altogether unpleasant in already cramped Metro cars. “It’s a different smell than cigarette smoke, but it’s still very potent, so I would think that they would ban ‘em just like they would cigarettes,” Dee Duncan said.
When reporters asked Metro officials why ecigs were allowed on the train, a spokesperson said they don’t make the rules, but only follow the laws in the jurisdictions where the train travels. The only way the Metro will ban ecig is if the city says they are not allowed.
Many of the passenger’s complaints boiled down to a total misunderstanding. Some people still believe vaping is no better than smoking and they fear secondhand smoke is harming them when they ride on a train car with someone using an ecig. Passenger Jamahl Mitchess said, “I just think people shouldn’t smoke ‘em – period, ‘cause they are no different than cigarettes.”
This just goes to prove that we still have a lot of work ahead of us to help people better understand the differences between cigarettes and electronic cigarettes. While cigarettes released thousands of carcinogens into the air, ecigs are tobacco-free and don’t utilize combustion. That means there is no secondhand smoke to put people at risk. In most cases, there is very little odor unless you are using a more advanced ecig. In that case, the odor will reflect the kind of eliquid that someone is vaping.
One passenger told ABC7 that ecigs were not a bother to her at all. “I don’t think they’re harmful to anybody and they smell good,” Angela Swoveland said.
This story brings up a good discussion for the ecig community. What can we do to help put nonsmokers at ease when we vape nearby?