In this age of 150 W box mods and sub ohm tanks, it’s hard to vape without drawing attention to yourself. Most devices are capable of putting out some serious clouds, and that isn’t for everybody, or every situation. Do you really want to be blowing clouds in an intimate little café? Do you want to fog up your office and get noticed every time you want to have some nicotine? If you need to vape more discreetly, for whatever reason, you need stealth vaping.
But what is stealth vaping? How do you do it? And when is it an acceptable option from an etiquette standpoint? Here’s everything you need to know and six key tips for successful stealth vaping.
What is Stealth Vaping?
Stealth vaping is just a term for vaping without creating any (or at least much less) noticeable vapor. When you’re in a public place, stealth vaping means you can enjoy nicotine without anybody really noticing.
There are some e-liquids specifically designed for stealth vaping, but most of the time people don’t use these. Instead, you can learn some simple techniques with any type of e-cigarette and any e-liquid to vape without drawing too much attention to yourself.
6 Tips for Successful Stealth Vaping
So now we know what it is, how exactly do we go about stealth vaping? How do you turn a cloud-producing setup into one you can vape from without turning any heads?
1 – Use Higher-PG Juices
High-VG juices are all about the clouds. This is why for stealth vaping, more PG is actually a good thing. If you can get really high PG juices (like the 80% PG ones that used to be common in the cigalike days), then that’s really ideal for stealth vaping. However, 50/50 blends (like ours here at Black Note) are among the highest-PG options you’ll find most places, and they’ll definitely reduce your vapor production in comparison to a max-VG option.
2 – Choose Your Flavors Wisely
Many stealth vapers focus exclusively on the issue of the visible vapor. But that isn’t the only way your vaping could be detected. If you’re vaping a strong-smelling dessert e-juice or a particularly robust tobacco blend, the smell could stand out even if the vapor doesn’t. The best advice is to stick with something light or bright, like a citrusy fruit, menthol or a light cream e-juice.
3 – Turn the Power Down
If you have a regulated mod, you probably have the option of adjusting the power going to your atomizer. As you might expect, it’s better to keep this lower when you’re looking to stealth vape. No matter what other tips and techniques you incorporate, you can’t make vaping at 100 W particularly hard to detect.
4 – Choose a Device for Stealth Vaping
If you think you’ll be stealth vaping regularly, it might be worth getting a new setup to accommodate it. For example, even though most vapers don’t find vape pens as satisfying as mods, they have a clear advantage if stealth is a priority. They don’t produce anywhere near as much vapor, and they’re much easier to actually use without getting spotted. If you don’t want to go for a vape pen, though, even an ordinary tank with a higher-resistance coil and the airflow set low can be used quite effectively.
The bottom line is: don’t use a high-power mod with a rebuildable or sub ohm tank and you’ll be fine.
5 – Learn to Inhale for Stealth Vaping
The most important stealth vaping tips are about how you should inhale to minimize the amount of visible vapor you create.
The easiest technique for stealth vaping is to simply hold the vapor in your lungs for a few seconds before exhaling. The longer you hold it, the less visible the vapor will be when you exhale. This is so simple to do that there’s really nothing to learn: you just perform your usual direct-to-lung or mouth-to-lung inhale and hold the vapor for longer than usual.
You can maximize the effectiveness of this simple strategy by taking an extra deep inhale to dilute the vapor even further before exhaling. “Swallowing” after inhaling also reduces the amount of vapor you’ll produce, so you can do that if you prefer (or in addition to the extra inhale). Vapor is also less noticeable if you exhale through your nose rather than your mouth.
As long as you’re using appropriate equipment for stealth vaping, the vapor should be very close to invisible with these techniques.
6 – Hide the Vapor
There are a couple of more basic solutions too, though. These basically involve hiding the vapor behind something else. For instance, you can exhale directly down into your shirt, and although you’ll look a bit strange doing it, it will be difficult to tell what you’re doing unless you have a particularly cloudy setup. If you have a paper towel or napkin, you can inhale into that for the same effect.
Stealth Vaping and Etiquette
Now you know how to actually stealth vape, it’s worth talking about an issue that always arises in discussions of stealth vaping: when is it OK to do it? If an establishment doesn’t want you to vape, but you could stealth vape without being noticed, should you? What about if you’re technically allowed to vape but you just don’t want to draw attention to yourself?
There are no hard answers to these questions, and ultimately it’s down to your personal take on the issues. That said, there are some situations when stealth vaping really doesn’t seem worth the trouble. On a flight that doesn’t allow vaping, getting caught could land you with a fine or possibly even worse. Similarly, it should go without saying that if you’re being judged or are in a professional situation – for example, while you’re waiting to be called in for a job interview – stealth vaping is a really bad move.
In many other situations, though, stealth vaping is likely to be fine. For example, if you’re in a bar that doesn’t explicitly ban vaping, then you can probably stealth vape without issues. If you’re at work and you’re unlikely to be severely disciplined if you’re caught, stealth vaping might be worth it depending on how strong your cravings are and how long until you’d be able to take a vape break.
We have a more detailed discussion of vaping etiquette (including stealth vaping) in this post.
The Ethics of Stealth Vaping
Ethically, the issue isn’t too complex. The most difficult part is whether it’s OK to vape when you’re not technically allowed to, but when you could do it without being spotted. I’d personally say this isn’t really right – if explicitly told not to vape indoors, I’d just head outside – but you might think differently on that. There are valid points on both sides.
Other than that, the question is whether or not it’s right to expose people to second-hand vapor if they don’t want to inhale it. This would be a good point if second-hand vapor was dangerous, but so far there’s really no reason to think that’s true at all. Second-hand vapor usually doesn’t contain detectable levels of harmful chemicals, and it dissipates much quicker than cigarette smoke does. While we can’t be absolutely certain, it seems really unlikely second-hand vaping will be that bad at all, especially for someone not exposed regularly.
Although this is probably enough justification for budding stealth vapers, I’d probably make an exception if there were a lot of kids around. It’s true that stealth vaping will expose them to much less vapor compared to ordinary vaping (if any), and even ordinary vaping won’t harm them second-hand, but I can just see parents being much more likely to get annoyed if they catch you vaping around their kids. I wouldn’t take the risk, but this is down to personal preference and your specific situation.
Stealth Vaping is a Friend, but Don’t Overdo It!
Stealth vaping can be an invaluable ally when it comes to vaping in public, minimizing the discomfort non-smokers and non-vapers might feel around a cloudier vaper. As well as this, it can help you avoid the more senseless restrictions placed on vaping, or to help you avoid nicotine withdrawal while you’re at work.
The good news is that stealth vaping is simple and remarkably effective. The only challenge is working out when stealth vaping is and isn’t acceptable. While we’ve given you some things to think about, ultimately, how you use these techniques is down to you.