Safety Can Go Up in Smoke When You Vape or Smoke While Driving

If you’re one of the estimated 34.3 million adults in the U.S. who smoke cigarettes or one of the 10.8 million Americans who use e-cigarettes or “vapes,” you’ve probably done so behind the wheel at least once.

Vaping and smoking are dangerous distractions while driving Neblett, Beard and ArsenaultResearch shows that smoking or vaping while driving is surprisingly common and, although it isn’t illegal, it definitely isn’t safe.

Each year, distracted driving leads to accidents that injure approximately 400,000 people and kill an additional 3,000 or so, costing nearly $40 billion a year. And as far as driver distractions go, smoking is a doozy.

Like eating or texting, vaping or smoking diverts your focus and requires you to take your eyes off the road and at least one hand off of the steering wheel.

Think about it: when smoking a cigarette on the road, you may have to look around for your pack or lighter, light the cigarette and smoke it, then dispose of it safely. Vapes may need to be refilled, have their mouthpieces adjusted, or have their batteries recharged or changed. It doesn’t matter if these actions are completed quickly; even distractions of just a few seconds can have devastating consequences.

If you have to smoke or vape while driving, here are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of causing a crash:

  • Set up your smoke before you go. Your vape should be filled, charged, and ready to go—and traditional smokers should have their cigarettes lit—before you start driving.
  • Open your window. Clouds of smoke from your cigarette or vape can fill your car, obstructing your vision and increasing your risk of an accident.
  • Consider switching to a different vaping liquid. If you do vape with your windows up, be aware that some e-vape liquids leave a heavy residue on car windows that can reduce your visibility.