It’s a small gadget that has caused a lot of controversies and whereas the health authorities are still trying to work some legislation around it, meanwhile vaping is becoming an accepted alternative to smoking harmful cigarettes. You will see a solitary figure quietly creating a great head of steam at a bus stop, or joining the smokers in the outdoor lounge at your local pub.

There’s a lot of curiosity about the vaping trend, especially with the hundreds of different flavoured vaping ‘juices’ available to add interest to a few moments of quiet reflection. In Australia, each state is working on its own set of rules around the sale of vaporisers.  In New Zealand, the Ministry of Health has promised regulation and legislation in 2018. One universal rule is consistent; it is illegal to sell vaporisers to anyone under 18.

The problem is in the nicotine additive those that are trying to quit smoking want to be included in their vaping sessions. The nicotine is in liquid form and comes in varying strengths. The argument is in the lack of approved evidence around vaping nicotine and its effect on your health.

From those who have used vaping as a smoking cessation device, there is no argument. They say the savings they make in not buying tobacco, not sharing a second-hand smoke and personally smelling a whole lot sweeter has converted them.

A vaping device can look as simple as a fat biro pen, or be as elaborate as a dedicated connoisseur can afford. Prices start around $55.00 and can reach $170 or more, depending on the requirements and enthusiasm of the person vaping.

“Most people use around 30-50 mils of juice a week,” informs a local retailer. “That’s about $14-$20.00 worth, so you see the instant attraction for those choosing to vape instead of buying cigarettes or tobacco.”

The difference in price between vaporisers reflects the individual brands, the quality of the battery and the heating coils inside each gadget.

There are clubs and websites, magazines, vaping paraphernalia and yes even the T-shirt to buy for those who have joined a new clan.

Dual coil atomiser heads, DIY hardware, DIY flavour concentrates, filters and carry cases; the replacement parts, consumer items and fancy carry cases are all part of an incredibly busy new industry.

“Some people frown on vaping out of ignorance,” says our vaping retailer. “They assume the clouds of steam you breathe out are toxic, but they’re absolutely not.”  She tells a tale of her and her daughter vaping in the car and having to wind down the windows so they can see out. The amount of steam emitted, she says, is adjustable and contains no tars, arsenic or carbon emissions.

Vaping is not routinely accepted everywhere yet; just as people speaking on cell phones in public were considered show-offs 15 years ago, vaping has yet to become a socially acceptable norm.

“We tell people to be considerate about their vaping, to conform to the smoking protocol and step outside or use the smoking lounge in a bar.”

Users are typically introduced to vaping with the more simple mass-market products available, and according to our retailer, 95 per cent of them start vaping to help give up smoking tobacco.

“We’re not allowed to refer to them as smoking cessation devices, but we know the success rate from vaping is very high. We see these same people become regular customers and they will often tell us they’ve been able to give up smoking by turning to vaping.”

The argument about adding liquid nicotine to the vaping juice is where we wait for final government approval. Until official legislation is approved, vaping is to be considered a leisure activity, not an answer to giving up smoking.