The Allure of Vaping


This post was originally published on my blog on January 14th, 2015.

Flickr photo by Jonny Williams via Creative Commons license

The last few weeks I have been mildly obsessed with vaping. I haven’t smoked a cigarette in over twenty years, and frankly I find it disgusting. I have to turn my head away when smokers in front of my office building exhale. And I have only had exposure with one person who vapes. I’ve done no research on vaping, other than having read Times articles about how you can potentially die if the nicotine liquid touches your skin. So I don’t understand why all of a sudden I want to take up the practice.

Maybe I just want to get high, to escape tedium. I can only drink so much coffee before my heart starts racing; I minimize my sugar consumption; I don’t drink often, and when I do I don’t consume a lot. And I don’t do any other drugs, although someone with whom I have spoken about my desire to vape suggests I just smoke pot instead. Other mind-altering activities: orgasm, dance, a good movie or TV show.

I’m a Pisces with a prominent Neptune – both are prone to escapism and yearn for transcendence – yet I need to be “on” much of the time. Full-time office job, parenting, making meals, tending to the responsibilities of being a homeowner. I’d love to just do nothing but cook, dance and watch movies, but I haven’t figured out a way to get paid to do either of those things. (Or rather, I don’t feel called to be a chef or a dance teacher or a film critic.)

So assuming I just want to take up some additional mind-altering practice or substance to help me get through, why vaping? It’s not associated with the horrible smell of cigarettes; it’s a nicotine-delivery system without the cancer-causing elements of tobacco (as far as I know); I can do it in public; it’s legal; it’s convenient.

It’s also addictive and expensive. And I’m already compulsive by nature. Not in an OCD way, but let’s just say I’ve had my share of process addictions. I’m probably better off not adding another negative-habit-forming routine to my life.

Which means I just have to be with what is.