I was notoriously judgmental of vapers. Can I still do it?

I was notoriously judgmental of vapers. Can I still do it?

Dear JaneI live in Alabama, and while it’s medically legal here, I get nervous about smoking outside (And I don’t want to smoke inside.) I know vape pens are an option, but I’ve always had such an aversion to vape culture. I worry that if I start vaping, people will feel like I’ve stooped to a lower level and judge me for doing something I’ve always been openly resistant to. Am I crazy? —Hashton Kushner   __________________________________________________________________

Dear Hashton, 

I get it. I never wanted to be one of those people who vaped. They look like a bunch of fools, I thought. (To be honest, sometimes I still do.)

Unfortunately, I too live in a state where marijuana is not fully legal, and smoking just isn’t the best way to use cannabis here. So here I am, hitting my vape pen every few minutes and still thinking other vapers are the ones who look absurd.

But here’s the thing. What’s actually cool is being confident in the choices you make for yourself. And not being a flagrant idiot who gets into trouble just cause they were trying to look cool. 

I’ve noticed that the people I tend to judge are not actually just people who vape, but the people I assume to be vaping for the cool factor. I’m not proud of my tendency to assume, nor does it really matter what I think, but the point is this:

If vaping is something you want for yourself and if consuming in this way is safest, healthiest, and most beneficial to you, not only is that what matters most, but that’s also what shows your admirable character. Far more than anxiously smoking a joint cause you don’t think you should vape.

And regarding those who know you and your “aversion to vape culture,” friends and family have no business holding you to your previous ways of thinking. If they want to understand where you’re coming from, they can ask. And if you do in fact make the choice that is good for you, you will be able to explain to them how it is a good choice for you. 

Now, if you’re like me, the other factor here is that you just can’t beat a good joint. There’s nothing like sitting back on the deck, smoking a blunt, and shooting the shit. Something about the smell and the feel of it between my fingers. It’s easy to get lost in the moment and I love to sit back and let my mind wander. 

If you haven’t tried yet, it feels important that I tell you: vaping just isn’t the same. 

But until the rest of the country gets its shit together, stick to the pen and visit your friends in California or Colorado or Rhode Island, or, you get the point. And know that I, and many other stoners, feel your pain.