With Dunedin Vape Day #1 coming up fast, people are starting to wonder - what is all the fuss about?
As many of you may know by now, I head the marketing for Vapourium NZ.
That flashy new mod you got in our last big sale? You can thank me for that!
But that's not all I do and one big part of my job is organising Vapourium's attendance and contribution to Vape Days held up and down the country.
So, what is a "Vape Day"?
Since the beginning of vaping, there has always been someone else around who can build lower ohm coils, a prettier mod or bigger lungs.
But putting the competitive aspects aside for the moment, the biggest part of any Vape Day isn't the products or the vendors (although, they play their part well), it's the community.
Community, it's a word we use a lot at Vapourium. The vaping community is world-wide, and with the use of social media and vlogging platforms such as Twitch or YouTube it's not hard to find some one who is just as (or usually more so) into vaping as you are. But still, the question stands - what is all the fuss about?
Quitting smoking is one of the most difficult things I have accomplished, I would be lying if I said I never thought about taking it up again. Quitting smoking, for me, meant loosing that "me time" that is so essential in the life of any parent. It meant gaining back the weight I lost after having my daughter. But mostly, quitting smoking wrecked havoc on my social life. I couldn't go out with my smoking buddies at gigs because I would, without a doubt, steal a sneaky drag on someone's cigarette. I couldn't have people who smoked around my house anymore, even though they smoked outside the smell would linger in my house, on my couch and on my clothing. I know, I'm getting off topic but it all comes back around. Just bear with me.
I quit smoking (for the 6th time) shortly before I started working at Vapourium as a retail assistant in 2015, inspired by my closest friend at the time, a fellow parent and funnily enough the gentleman who has been mixing your e-liquids for the past 4 years. Not only did he introduce me into vaping, but my job at Vapourium gave me an insight into vaping that I don't think I would have discovered on my own.
The Community. Many of you will be members of Vape NZ, well I remember when it first began. 10,000 members later and Vape NZ is the biggest online community for vaping that New Zealand has to offer. It didn't take long for me to start posting, as a Vapourium employee and to share my love of building coils. I meant 100's of people through that page alone and I remember the FEAR of going to my first Vape Day in Tauranga, I would be meeting many of these people face to face! Not only that, but I would be running a coil building workshop! Teaching the people who had taught me so much about vaping, it's culture and it's community.
Was it as scary as I thought it would be? Yes. Yes, it was.
Almost everyone knew who I was, I would be setting up our stall and someone would come up from behind me and give me a massive hug! Did I know who any of these people were? No... Or yes? I knew them online, I knew them through late night discussions on the pros and cons of stainless steel wire, and the benefits of Max VG e-liquids. I took a deep breath and looked around. It wasn't just another expo, it wasn't just vendors flogging their wares and people fighting over who had the greatest lung capacity. They were friends, you know the ones I mean? The long distance ones, the one's you can forget about for a year until you see them next and it's like no time had passed. These people had supported each other through quitting smoking, finding the right vape, the right e-liquid. Many of them had gifted starter kits to people who couldn't afford to start vaping and met them for the first time on this day!
I could continue about the difference I have seen the vaping community make in New Zealand, but I'll finish now with this.
Yes, there are vaping competitions, prizes, free e-liquid coming out the waazooo!
But most importantly, Vape Day's give you a safe place to meet the people who have helped you in your journey to quit smoking. To sit down, share in conversation over a beer and put a face to a name. And while organising Dunedin Vape Day #1, this is the experience I want to enhance for everyone who attends.