My first assignment with a question of morals. In my mind it's clearly unhealthy, there are no medicinal benefits regardless how ex-smokers say they feel better from the transition. Ultimately they're replacing one substance with another. I have smoked tobacco in my past, why? Maybe social peer pressure and naivety, bad choices and lack of possible respect for myself but then at the end of the day you do only live once right. But there is no irresistible appeal for me to indeed try this, it just doesn't seem at all logical. It doesn't come from a herb or plant, instead it has active ingredients pour'd from giant industrial plastic containers that you would associate with a considerable number of toxic chemicals and you're suppose to inhale this?
So what would be the attraction to start vaping as a non-smoker? I've asked and spoken with 'vapers', the stores and continued to seek the question to myself and I nevertheless don't see it. It's a $10+ Billion dollar industry so there obviously is an attraction to a mass. It appears as more of a scene, highly glamourised social images, videos, established conventions and brightly open and well advertised stores in high streets. It doesn't have the class a cigar store would portray and it doesn't have the versatility of recreation and medicinal purpose of a marijuana dispensary. Yet they are in bloom and neon lit. Its a shame supermarkets feel its ok to cover the cigarette section but leave the e-cigarettes and vape accessories on show and neon lit too.
I've been inside one store. The test area seemed as if it was a place for a duo to get their fixes. I was surprised how much could their lungs take as they sold their well and truly making the most of their free samples. Filling their vape machine with the miniature polluting bottles, cotton wool and adjusting springs, If it wasn't legal it would just be like grabbing a needle and heating up a spoon. Maybe thats a harsh comparison but not really, a drug's a drug right. The staff were as technical as silicon valley and rightly so, however as I was told the industry is still unable to provide a extensive medical analysis, not just on short term but long term effects of vaping. They believe after 13 years they will be provided with enough information. Many users will say they don't feel a tightness in their chest since making the switch from cigarettes to vape. However, they understand it may cause a popcorn effect to the lungs. This is somehow ok with them.
If I smell it on the street or see a cloud of it drifting towards me, I cover my mouth and nose, its thickness and smell is gross. Having a box of liquids to photograph in my house overnight was bad enough, it ended up in the garage. How people think its ok to vape inside still baffles me too.
Photographing vape smoking and products should have the same laws and cigarette advertising but it doesn't, at least not on social media. I guess it's naive to imagine companies in this industry would not want to glorify it or make it out to be not cool as they want to sell it. But surely there must be some limits put in place. In the end it was a shame in some ways for me to feel like this. I enjoy product photography and the challenges it brings, plus I was genuinely pleased with the majority of images. However, in the end I withdrew myself and my images from the assignment. I wanted to show them here as I use this site for reference to various works I do, however with respect I have hidden the branding.