Let us begin with a simple statement. The term 'smoking', by definition, means setting light to tobacco and breathing in the smoke. It is that simple. If I have no lit tobacco, I cannot possibly be smoking. So I am, by definition, a non-smoker. Does anyone disagree with that statement?
It appears that there are a few who cannot make this simple distinction. For their benefit, I shall make an even simpler statement; “A non-smoker is someone who does not smoke!” A non-smoker may drink alcohol, but is still a non-smoker. A non-smoker may drink coffee, but is still a non-smoker. A non-smoker who dines on pate de fois gras is still a non-smoker. A non-smoker may have the worst social manners in the world, but is still a non-smoker. Remember that a non-smoker is a person who does not smoke. So I am a non-smoker.
So, may I ask, why is it that, if I choose to inhale nicotine from an electronic device, I am suddenly seen by some as a smoker? I readily admit to being a nicotine user, although I disagree with those who call me a nicotine addict, since I dispute their view that a liking for something of which they disapprove is to be considered an addiction. But I am not a smoker, for I don't use lit tobacco. So I am a non-smoker.
As a non-smoker, I can legally not smoke just about anywhere. I can legally not smoke at home, I can legally not smoke in my car, I can legally not smoke in any public place. Compare this with smokers, who can not smoke legally in public places covered by the ban on smoking as defined by the Health Act of 2006. Note that there is a difference between “legally not smoking”, and “not smoking legally” in these statements. So, as one can see, there is a crucial legal difference between not smoking and smoking, as well as a common-sense difference as defined above. I therefore make another simple statement; “Smokers smoke but non-smokers do not smoke!” So I am a non-smoker.
As a non-smoker, I can ride a bicycle and become a cyclist, or drive a car and become a motorist, or board a bus, train, ship or plane and become a passenger. I can go on holiday and become a tourist, or a holidaymaker; take up field sports and become an athlete, and so on, and so forth. The only thing that would ever make me a smoker would be the act of smoking, and I don't do that, for I am a non-smoker.
As such, when I want a nicotine 'lift' I reach not for tobacco, but for my electronic device, which delivers the nicotine in the form of a mist, or vapour, so I describe my actions as 'vaping'. To my friends and family, and to most of my acquaintances, I am a 'vaper'. But I do not smoke. I am simply a non-smoker who vapes. Unfortunately, my electronic device is often called an electronic cigarette or, in diminutive form, an e-cig, since the earliest such devices resembled a 'real' or 'analogue' cigarette (one containing tobacco). My more modern device looks rather more like a writing implement, so I think of it as a 'vapen'. However, the term e-cig has come into common usage, which in some ways is unfortunate because it leads people who have difficulty with the concepts of smoker and non-smoker, or smoking and not smoking, to confuse it with analogue cigarettes. For these types, another simple statement may help; “Cigarettes are used for smoking, e-cigs are used for vaping.” Furthermore, vaping is not smoking, only smoking is smoking. And I am still a non-smoker.
As a non-smoker, I am a citizen, a responsible adult, a husband, a parent, a grandparent, an uncle, a pensioner, a taxpayer and a voter. As a vaper, I am in addition a commentator, a blogger, a troublemaker, a rabble rouser, a fighter against injustice and a general pain in the arse. But I am still not a smoker. Treat me as one and I shall become the stuff of nightmares!