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January 29, 2015 | by Bryne Yancey

After a tiresome stretch of sputtering in the early 2010s, the United States economy is now, by the accounts of many, purring like a kitten. It’s easy to see why, too. Just look around the next time you’re walking around your neighborhood. There’s a new vape lounge on nearly every street corner. By the time you’re finished reading this column, several more vape lounges will probably have opened. Vape (short for vapor) lounges are the new self-serve yogurt shops—a desirable commodity for a previously untapped market. Much like those yogurt shops, and the boutique cupcake shops, internet cafes and record stores before them, the bubble will someday burst, but that doesn’t appear to be in the cards anytime soon.

The vaping industry, the vapeconomy, is booming. Marketed as a less harmful, less pungent alternative to smoking, vaping primarily involves use of an electronic device such as an e-cigarette—which looks like a cigarette, but from the future—or a longer apparatus that looks like a cross between a gel pen and a vuvuzela. Using these, uh, tools, vapers inhale vaporized liquid that’s usually infused with a small amount of nicotine (there are different levels, some heavy, some light, some nicotine-free), the addictive ingredient that exists in higher quantities in cigarettes, and some type of food grade flavoring that, as a user, makes your aura not only visible, but perhaps smelling of raspberries.

Vaping is harm reduction for smokers looking to either use less nicotine or wean themselves completely off of it. That’s great, because cigarettes are gross. They make your breath, clothes, and if they’re downwind that day, your friends smell terrible. There’s also the whole “they cause cancer” thing. But this isn’t about extolling the virtues of vaping as an alternative to smoking, or decrying vape pens as mouth fedoras as the joke goes. It’s about exercising common courtesy.

Please stop vaping at indoor punk shows. Seriously. Cut it out.

A big hook of vaping is that, because you’re exhaling a saccharine vapor and not cigarette smoke, you can vape anywhere, even at a basketball game or during a job interview. But just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Unless you live in the distant past or in Florida, indoor smoking at any public place is generally a big no-no. If you wouldn’t or couldn’t smoke a cigarette there, you shouldn’t vape there, either.

No matter the aroma of your vapor or the color of your energy, not everyone wants to be around it, especially in a space where, in theory, someone annoyed by your vaping can’t leave without giving up a good spot on the floor, and by proxy sacrificing their hard-earned money spent on a ticket. Vaping at a show is just as bad as stagediving feet first, or twisting a full can of PBR over your head and around the pit like you’re The Fest’s version of Petey Pablo; it reeks of a severe lack of self-awareness and a severe surplus of belligerent entitlement, and at a raucous punk show, safety and magnanimity of you and those around you ought to be paramount.

Vaping, much like smoking cigarettes, “doing” weed, chewing fingernails, or humping furniture, is a perfectly acceptable activity in which the privacy of your own home, or a private space with other consenting adults, is the venue. Not an actual venue where music is happening and strangers are trying to enjoy themselves and maybe forget for a few moments how cold and inconsiderate the outside world can truly be. Someone next to you may have been looking forward to that show for weeks, months, even years if it’s a band they’ve been following for a while but have never had the chance to see live. You don’t know. If you had the choice of potentially ruining someone’s day, or not ruining their day, wouldn’t you choose the latter?

Don’t do it.

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