Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The affective economy of vaping: a qualitative analysis of responses to an online questionnaire




E-cigarettes are believed to be less harmful than combustible tobacco. However, e-cigarettes have created divisions in public health: within and between academia, policy and practice. As e-cigarettes proliferate, and public health debates intensify, the best interests of those most at risk of smoking related illness can be lost in the furore. This article draws on 183 open-ended responses to a 2019–2020 questionnaire posted to various online vaping discussion forums to argue that emotion needs to become part of this discussion – particularly the emotional perspectives of vapers. The findings indicated that for many vapers, e-cigarettes are not just another potential harm reduction or alternative nicotine product. For many of the respondents, vaping is a social practice, but also more than this: an affective economy. In this economy, emotions do things, specifically they indicate the boundaries of a vaping community. This community is based on shared experiences of e-cigarettes creating positive new lifeworlds and changes to everyday life. However, it is also based on fears that these new lifeworlds are under threat. The aim of this article is to encourage more acknowledgment of this affective economy in the interests of reducing division and increasing reflexivity.

Acceptance Date Jun 29, 2021
Publication Date Jul 30, 2021
Journal Critical Public Health
Print ISSN 0958-1596
Publisher Routledge
Publisher URL