Perceptions of Vape Culture

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In the past, vape culture has been more associated with motorcycles and tattoos than it has with living a healthier life.

How did vape culture get defined like that? You have probably noticed it before, and perhaps thought that that’s kind of weird. Right?

In this post, we look at how vape has changed from this niche community and made it into the mainstream.

The Vapor Bro 

The masculine niche vape culture that dominated the scene in the early days still has a place in the scene today (although a bit smaller). Why is that? My theory is that it has to do with the initial objection to something new. Since vaping was weird, anyone that tried it was worried about getting made fun of. It’s hard to be the first one doing something, unless that person (or group of people) really own it. Who better to really OWN IT than people who ride motorcycles and have tats. 

It seems as though the only way for vape to take hold was to attach it to something no one could mess with. Hardcore masculinity.

So the masculinity stuck, and that’s how it was advertised.

More “hardcore” guys started vaping, and it became a cool thing to do. No one would mess with the guys outside the tattoo shop blowing clouds, and it grew the community. This made for better devices, more options and more people vaping. However the online community took aim. The internet concocted the term “vapor bro”. 

The term stuck, and it backfired.

The vapor bro aspect of the culture was and still is ridiculed online. The phrase “We get it you vape” was a backlash to hyper masculinity “owning it”a bit too much.

Unfortunately this masculine branding and online bashing has caused many people to refrain from trying vaporizers, women in particular. 

While vaping conventions and the vape culture are rooted in masculinity, what’s interesting is men are not more likely to be interested in vaping than women.

According to the California Smokers Cohort Survey, female smokers were 1.66 times more likely to try out vaping or be interested in vaping than male smokers.

What’s strange about the above findings is that, according to a survey conducted by Tobacco Control, men are around 1.27 times more likely to be exposed to vaping advertising than women.  

The tide is changing. 

The use of cigarettes by adults has never been lower. According to a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention now only 15% of the adult population of the United States smokes cigarettes.

Meanwhile, the vape industry is booming.

“Currently, available evidence indicates that electronic cigarettes are by far a less harmful alternative to smoking and significant health benefits are expected in smokers who switch from tobacco to electronic cigarettes,” said Dr. Farsalions of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center.

The Mainstream 

Even though vape started out as a small sub culture  of “vapor bros”, it’s now making its way into mainstream culture. How do I know this? It’s easy. They industry is booming, the cigarette industry is shrinking.

And frankly, I’ve never seen more regular people vaping. People like me that aren’t vapor bros.

One extremely influential reason vaping has gained wider acceptance is that there are now many celebrities who have publicly used vaporizers. We all remember Leonardo Dicaprio vaping at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Other celebrities who’ve been seen vaping include Vanessa Hudgens, Jack Black, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Robert Pattinson and many more. #Vapelife.

Celebs are having a huge effect on how people perceive vaping, and it’s changing vape culture.

Celebs Vaping

The mainstreaming of vape culture has certainly been a weird ride, but fortunately it’s happening. The door to a more regular vape culture and a more average consumer has been opened. 

As more cultural icons and leaders begin to grasp the overwhelming benefits of vaping, the negative stereotypes that were once rampant in the culture are slowly beginning to evaporate. The day is near where you can bust out your vape and when those individuals say, “We get it you vape,” they’ll mean it as a compliment, as a nod in the right direction.  

Have any thoughts about why vape has been perceived the way it has? Share this post or leave a comment in the comment section below.

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  • Reply July 10, 2016


    very nice Information about vape culture….Thanks for sharing such as informative post

  • Reply August 4, 2016

    Oliver Walsh

    I get smiles from people when I vape in public . I think that because they are happy that it is not a cigarette,so they are appreciative of me that they are not passive smoking.

  • Reply October 20, 2016


    I think it just comes down to this: People will always find ways to rip someone for something. For no other reason than they’re an asshole.

    Plus it’s ‘mainstream’ now so those assholes would rather die than associate themselves with something that lots of other people also like. To them, it represents social death.

    Bollocks to them. Vape on.

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