Meeting Vape Community Members
When I first began vaping, I felt a little like I was stuck on an island. While a few of my friends had started on a smoking cessation journey with me, it was really difficult to meet other vapers. I struggled for a long time to find others who were vaping. As a smoker, there was a strong sense of community, especially at my place of employment and college. Everyone went to the same smoking areas and would talk during breaks. It was very accepting, perhaps because we shared a feeling of condemnation by non-smokers around us.
When I first started vaping the sense of community wasn't as strong. I faced judgement from my friends who were still smokers, and I wasn't one hundred percent sure where I fit in. Yes, I had a few friends for support, and along the way I even helped one of my professors to stop smoking, but it was difficult. I had to find ways to meet other vape users and figure out where I fit in as I began my cessation story.
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While I'm from a college town, it's not your stereotypical "college town." There aren't many shops or stores within walking distance from campus, but if you're willing to drive twenty minutes you'll find yourself in the city. This is where I started looking for fellow vapers. I began by searching "vape friendly" and "near me" I soon had a list of bars and hangout spots that were welcoming vape users, even holding vaping events. Attending a few of these helped me to feel connected to a community again. I learned about others who had successfully quit smoking by using their e-cig, and about local vape shops. I even saw other students from my college there, and oddly enough, they felt the same way I did. They were disconnected and wanted to meet others who were using vaping as a means of smoking cessation. After sitting down and talking with people I found out that I wasn't as alone as I thought. There's people all over the world using vapes, and all of them have a story. While many of our stories are similar, we each are experiencing our own journey towards cessation.
Using social media was actually suggested to me by a friend of mine. I wasn't sure how well a group on Facebook would help, but it actually connected me to a lot of people who had questions just like I did. I learned a lot about battery safety, tips for how to take better care of my vape, and received recommendations for products. While joining various groups was a good way to start, I now rely on Breazy's Facebook page which keeps me up to date with Facebook Live feeds and vape discussion. For learning about new products in a quick constant feed, I follow Breazy on Twitter. The constant posts about e-juice flavors with direct links to purchase them, is perfect for me. The best part is that other people can comment on both Facebook and Twitter posts, which gives me feedback from others in the community as well. I never thought social media would be so influential on me as a vape user, but it's truly been a game changer.
There are also whole communities online dedicated to vaping, and they're filled with helpful vapers who know the ropes. A couple of the biggest and best include E-Cigarette Forum and Vaping Underground.
As a vape user it's easy to feel alone, but you don't have to. There are plenty of options to reach out and meet others who are vaping, whether it be active by going out and visiting different places, or simply joining a Facebook page. Everyone in the vaping community has story, and who knows, their cessation journey may be similar to yours. So get out there, get connected, and learn as much as you can. The path to smoking cessation doesn't have to be a lonely one, and having a supportive community can be key to continuing successful cessation.