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Explaining E-Cigs to Your Skeptical Family and Friends

Posted by on February 25, 2014 . .

When you decide to try electronic cigarettes, you may have a few people raise some doubts about your decision.  They may wrinkle their brows when they see your e-cigarette, because they can’t grasp the value of such a device. They may wonder: Is it a step forward to quitting, or is it a crutch to complicate matters?

That’s why you’ve got to think about addressing specific questions and concerns. You don’t want people around you—which will likely be your friends and family members—sabotaging your new plan to quit smoking. Without some degree of their support, you might get tempted to return to smoking tobacco.

Depending on whom you’re talking to, you can use all kinds of tactics, including humor, if that works. Most of all, keep reminding yourself that giving up smoking tobacco is a major health improvement for you. Not inhaling cigarette smoke is a giant step to healthier lungs, prevention of cancer, and more. Don’t take this lightly—regardless of how other people react to your e-cigarette.

Your family member might say to you: “Don’t you think that you’ll get hooked on those? Isn’t that just another habit that will get a grip on you?” These types of comments will probably be the norm, because our society is just now debating the benefits of e-cigarettes. They’re still relatively new to all of us.

You can probably guess exactly how every person in your life will react to e-cigs. Do a little rehearsing on how you’ll discuss them intelligently, depending on how each conversation with other people will likely unfold.

Brace for Those Who Can’t Relate

Most people who’ve never smoked don’t understand quitting tobacco. Some may think that willpower is all that’s needed. Others might not understand any type of struggle to give up over-eating, tobacco, or a bad habit of any kind. Some people do seem to have the discipline of a Roman soldier. These judgmental types might perceive using e-cigs as trading one habit for another.

Here are some tips for dealing with your skeptics:

  • Avoid smoking e-cigs in front of overly critical people. This way, you won’t have to contend with their questions and concerns as much. Don’t put yourself in the position of having to explain every time you take an e-cig break. It’s okay to utilize e-cigs in your bedroom or outside the house.
  • Explain that you’re giving up the tobacco chemicals. Simply say to someone, “One traditional cigarette has over 4,000 chemicals. My first goal is to give up tobacco altogether. Electronic cigarettes will help me quit tobacco—which is a huge accomplishment.”
  • Tell them you’re breathing a vapor, not smoke. Tell others that they may smell your e-cigarette flavors slightly, but they are not inhaling second-hand smoke or chemicals.  
  • Share information about doctors endorsing e-cigs. Be sure to let your family members and friends know that some doctors’ organizations are supporting the transition to electronic cigarettes. That’s because doctors know it’s not realistic to expect smokers to quit instantly. E-cigs provide a way to transition to a new habit and break a long-standing addiction.  

If you explain that e-cigs will help you avoid tobacco chemicals and inhaling smoke that can hurt your lungs and other organs, your listener can visualize why you’re choosing e-cigs.  Help others see this picture clearly as you speak, so they’ll understand the benefits of e-cigs right away.  If they can picture what’s going on, they’ll be much more likely to stop asking questions—except to truly educate themselves about how e-cigs work.

Talk about Avoiding Harsh Chemicals

Practice the language you’ll use to explain this to others. For example, you might say, “Puffing a pack of cigarettes sends arsenic, carbon monoxide, mercury and other poisons into my lungs and my bloodstream. Smoking an e-cigarette means I get some flavorings and nicotine only.”

If you plan to dial back on nicotine, share this. Tell people, “My plan is to reduce my nicotine to a fraction of what I was getting via traditional cigarettes.”

What if someone gets very personal and accuses you of having a weakness? There are people, after all, who will challenge you to quit—even making light of your addiction to tobacco. How do you manage these situations?

Keep in mind that almost every person has some type of addiction or daily ritual they enjoy a lot. Don’t accept harsh judgment from others, because they are likely doing something they’ve grown strongly accustomed to. For example, plenty of people enjoy reading a print-version newspaper and drinking caffeinated coffee at the same time. They’d be very upset if someone told them to read the newspaper online and drink herbal tea instead.

Admit That Habits Die Hard

Speak honestly to critics by saying: “Most of us have some type of ritual we like, and we find it tough to give it up. I’ve always liked smoking, and I’m learning to let it go. It’s just like you giving up your passion for sodas or playing video games. Changing what we like isn’t easy, now is it?”

You don’t need to go into detail about e-cigs or how they work, unless you’re dealing with a sensitive individual who honestly cares about you and wants to know. For example, don’t get into the mechanics of how an e-cigarette is engineered with a critical person who loves to argue.

Do explain how an e-cigarette works to your spouse and children—or your closest friends. Take it apart and demonstrate the atomizer and how the vapor is created. Most likely, they’ll be very interested—if they care about your health. Make sure they understand that you’ve taken a huge step in giving up tobacco for the e-liquids you will vape via the e-cigarettes.

People tend to criticize anything they don’t fully understand, so do sit down with those closest to you to share basic information. Show them all of the component parts and how you manage every step of the process—including purchasing and mixing the e-liquids to your taste.

Otherwise, some people may feel somewhat confused and conflicted about supporting your new lifestyle with e-cigs. It’s tough to support something if you don’t have a clue about how it works.

“I had real trouble explaining e-cigarettes to my brother-in-law,” says a physician we’ll call Tim. “My brother-in-law is one of those people who read every scientific article he can get his hands on. So, he would argue with everything I had to say.”

Tim says he used humor to deflect criticism and hurtful comments from his brother-in-law. “To get him off my back, I simply told him I had decided to kick tobacco and live to 110. We have a night club in our town called the ‘Electric Cowboy.’ I started joking that I was the ‘Electric Cowboy’ with my e-cigarettes. But, long story short, my skeptical brother-in-law is now trying e-cigs, too.”  

 

 

 

REFERENCES

eHow: http://www.ehow.com/info_8264985_difference-between-cigarette-electronic-cigarette.html

The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-e-cigarettes-could-save-lives/2014/02/14/31bce704-8d18-11e3-98ab-fe5228217bd1_story.html

Trans World News: http://www.transworldnews.com/NewsStory.aspx?id=619569&cat=10

 

RESOURCES

Tobacco Analysis: http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2014/02/most-recent-data-from-uk-points-to.html

BuzzFeed: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rebeccataylormep/8-reasons-why-e-cigarettes-should-not-be-regulated-gjtd

Los Angeles Times: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/sep/09/science/la-sci-sn-electronic-cigarette-nicotine-patch-quitting-smoking-20130909

Last update: February 25, 2014
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