Did you know? According to NSW Health (2015),
The use of electronic cigarettes, whether they contain nicotine or not, is not against the law under the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 (NSW).
As such, it is not against this law to use them in indoor and outdoor public places where it is against the law to smoke. (http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/tobacco/Factsheets/e-cigs-are-they-legal.pdf)
Naturally, this means that you can vape in public places where you once could not smoke (yay!). The question, however, is:
Does this mean you should do it at every opportunity?
Smoking has been around for decades, along with the campaign to end it in public places for the sake of public health. The stigma attached to people who inhale from something then exhale a plume of smoke is still very real, and very apparent. As vapers, we ultimately want to create an environment where everyone understands that our lifestyle choices will not affect the health of bystanders, and that we have taken the steps to distance ourselves from the harms of conventional smoking. Vaping at every opportunity, simply because you legally can, does not exactly help us with this.
Let me put it this way - unless you have properly educated those around you that what you're breathing out is basically harmless water vapour, even if they know that it's not traditional cigarette smoke, it's still easy for them to mistake it for something that is harmful or repulsive to them. And people have a right to avoid things that they feel are harmful to them.
We b*tch about how people try to force their views and beliefs on us without fully trying to understand our positions, but it's true to say the same of the obverse - people shouldn't have to be forced to tolerate our vaping in their vicinity if they don't want to. The fact that it's legal to do it in public places doesn't mean that you should at every opportunity. Making a big show of blowing out plumes of vapour in an indoor venue where you're not traditionally allowed to smoke just makes you look like a bit of a conceited show-off, and, unfortunately, doesn't help our case for pushing vaping into mainstream acceptance.
Also, remember this:
[Current NSW vape laws do] not prevent individual establishments and workplaces from developing their own policies to ban patrons and staff using electronic cigarettes on their premises (http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/tobacco/Factsheets/e-cigs-are-they-legal.pdf)
If you are asked not to vape on their premises, or are asked to leave, please be respectful and don't kick up a fuss. It is in their right to do so. Until we have successfully educated the uninformed about what vaping actually is, this is unfortunately something we will have to put up with.
At the end of the day, it's like all other things we do, really. We can be free to do what we do as long as it doesn't harm anyone else, but we need to be considerate of the people around us as well. Not everyone who sees it will be able to recognise it for what it is, so it's our job to make sure we keep misunderstandings to a low, and educate people where we can.
Vape responsible, vape considerate. Super simple stuff.