Still Singing the Cigarette Electric

a lit cigarette in an ashtray

Okay, it’s been a couple of weeks now with the new E-cigs that I’ve opted to smoke instead of the traditonal ones.

So far so content. I don’t miss the mess, ashes everywhere, dog ends to dispose of without getting a public littering fine; or the unsightliness, yellow: fingers, teeth, mustache and tongue. I also don’t miss the smell. It is a little socially off putting when you know you smell like a giant ashtray.

Now for the expense. So far, despite claims to contrary, I’m still spending roughly about the same amount for the damn electric cigarettes.

Why?

I’m not sure. The companies say that each cartridge (a cartridge is what carries the nicotine and the vapour inducing stuff that mimics smoke) equals X amount of cigarettes. I have two words for that claim.

Horse Pucky.

Now I am the first one to stand up and say that yes I am a heavy smoker. In a world where anything over five fags a day is heavy, I’m king at a daily consumption of fifteen plus. But that is not, I think, the problem.

I think the problem is, that unlike traditional smokes, the fake fag (cigarette in English slang parlance), is not a real ciggie. You don’t smoke the E-cig until you reach the dog end and then put it out, more often than not, relighting another one minutes after. No the problem is you don’t have to stop puffing at all.

If you don’t run out of battery (a problem that is becoming less so) or out of cartridge, you can keep on puffing. So even though it is better for you (a fact that the jury is still out on) you wind up “smoking” more than if you were smoking the traditional cigarette.

My only real ‘gripe’ is that the cartridges don’t seem to last as long as advertised. But as my daughter quite sagely pointed out, “You’ve always got it in your mouth.” Kind of sounds like an adult pacifier, doesn’t it.

Still I’m very proud of the fact that apart from nicotine I am not putting any other more harmful chemicals in my body. I won’t even mention the fact of no tar coating and clogging my lungs. I am also pleased that my car no longer resembles or smells like an ashtray on wheels. I don’t have to stand outside to smoke in nasty weather and I don’t have to buy the heavily overtaxed fags that the stores are flogging.

I do still like the ‘odd’ smoke of the traditional variety. There is something so relaxing about rolling a cigarette and lighting it, dragging in that first lungful of smoke and exhaling with a mental, “Ahhh.”

So even though I disagree with the E-cigs claims, I’ll stick to the new ‘space age’ science fiction fags for a while longer.

A photo of 117mm e-cigarette
A photo of 117mm e-cigarette (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Singing the Cigarette Electric

English: Electronic Cigarette
English: Electronic Cigarette (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am trying the new E cigarettes…again. For those of you who haven’t heard of them, I’ll give you a crash course in these electronic smokes.

As far back  as four years ago electronic cigarettes have been making the rounds. I remember vividly a Russian (well, he sounded Russian) cabdriver trying to sell me some from the boot of his car. Essentially a cigarette with no tar, no harmful chemicals (if you discount the nicotine, which we all know is bad for you) and no nasty smoke for non-smokers to bitch about.

E-cigs produce a vapour that you can inhale and exhale just like the real thing. You can also get them in different flavours. *Avoid the cinnamon like it was the plague, blecch!* Of course the big selling point is that you can smoke these babies anywhere. Although it is interesting to note that the “anywhere” e-cigs have a blue glowing tip instead of the red one, in case a non-smoker freaks out when you “light up” in you local pub.

Just like real cigarettes, there are loads of E-cigarettes to choose from. And believe me, friends and neighbours, you need to be careful which ones you try. Oh, they are not dangerous, but, they can be labour intensive and a downright pain in the Ass.

Of course the biggest pull for me is the fact that these things are about a third of the price you spend on a pack of smokes. Oh yeah, a big pull. But when you look at the downside, are they really worth it?

The downside is that some (not all, I hasten to add) of these fake cigs have about a five puff limit on each battery. You then have to plug the cigarette into a charger, either a usb charger or other more time consuming chargers. The time it takes to charge varies, but let me tell you, it is always a lot longer than the amount of time that you got smoke out of it.

I first tried these new fangled smokes two years ago. After a couple of months of dicking around with the damn things I went back to the real thing. But they have gotten better, improvements have been made. Although they are still a bit of a pain in the butt. They aren’t as bad as they used to be.

its hard keeping this one on one hand and the ...

 

I suppose it’s a case of getting use to the things. I do know that they provide the same pleasant satisfying feeling I got when I smoked the real thing. They are more socially acceptable ( I don’t have to hand a sign around my neck with the word “Unclean” written on it) I also suppose that not being able to chain-smoke them is also a bonus.

Essentially I am getting the best of both worlds, I am smoking without really smoking and I am saving money. I do need to point out that the initial outlay can be a little pricey.

I do worry though. With the new electronic cigarettes, you have no need of a lighter or matches. That makes me a little uneasy. I keep thinking about the last few scenes in The Fifth Element. Our heroes have figured out how to operate the device that will save the world. One of the little boxes requires fire.

cigarette lighter
cigarette lighter (Photo credit: viZZZual.com)

Out of the five people in that room only one person had fire in the guise of one solitary match. So call me paranoid, but, I will still carry a lighter or a box of matches. I mean, just in case I need to save the world or anything.

Smoking

its hard keeping this one on one hand and the ...

I don’t expect many people to read this post. Smoking has become the new “bad” of this millennium. In this new age of the “Nanny” culture, it has become very popular to sneer at smoking and smokers in general. Smokers have, in effect, become the new social lepers.

I won’t lie, I’ve had a love affair with smoking since I was twelve years old. A few of my friends and I “passed-the-hat” and pooled our pennies together to buy a pack of Winstons. It was love at first inhale. I never had the typical first bad reaction to smoking that most of my friends suffered. It was the beginning of a life long  addiction that I would quit again and again, but still come back to.

Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s bad for me. I also know that it makes my clothes smell…and my hair, skin, etc. But nothing can calm me down or satisfy me faster than that quick puff (or drag) on a cigarette, cigar or pipe. Nicotine patches, or gum, or mints just don’t have the same affect. Oh it cures the nicotine craving all right. It just doesn’t touch the inhale/exhale exercise that also makes smoking so addictive.

I’ve tried electronic cigarettes and they come close, but as the saying goes, no cigar. I’m sure that one day someone will develop one that works as well as a cigarette. But I’m not holding my breath.

English: Electronic cigarette charger
English: Electronic cigarette charger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am just amazed, and a little shocked, to see how socially acceptable it has become to vilify and castigate smokers. I even had a colleague tell me in no uncertain terms that I was going to die a horrible death because I smoked. Nice. I’ll try to return the favour the next time I see them eating red meat. And no I’m not a vegetarian.

I hate to break it to people, but smoking isn’t the only thing in the world that kills people.   LIFE kills people. Like Katherine Hepburn said, “Of course life is hard, it kills you.” We are all going to die…of something. The human body is not built to last indefinitely. We all just choose our own brand of poison to push it towards it’s expiry date. Look at the facts. Everything is pretty much bad for us. Booze, most foods (at least the ones everyone likes), sun; well you get the point, I’m sure.

I’m just surprised at how hostile folks have become to smokers in general and how phobic they are. Yes lab rats have shown that second hand smoke can kill – and now it seems third hand smoke as well, what ever that is – and that several really bad things occur to major organs and arteries from the same first, second and third smoke inhalation.

So yes I know it’s bad for me. I also know it’s bad for folks around me. I don’t blow my smoke on other people and have never smoked around anyone who is phobic about it or has health related issues. Okay?

So I will be quitting again. But not for any of the above mentioned reasons. I’ll be quitting because it’s become too costly to continue for much longer. The British government has taxed tobacco so much, it’s become the smoking equivalent of caviar. This is all in aid of getting folks to quit. Kind of like killing the golden goose in my opinion. Smokers, like drinkers, put lots of tax dough-ray-me into the coffers of the government. Making it too expensive is cutting off a huge source of revenue.

Still the most annoying thing about the new “smokers are nasty” spiel is how really un-PC it is. How politically correct is it to tell someone they smell. Or to make nasty comments about their personal habits. So don’t be surprised if the next time I’m in town and having a smoke in the open air where my “nasty habit” will not invade your pristine lungs, if you give me a nasty look or comment I might just flick an ash in your eye.

You have been warned.

smokin' the pipe
smokin’ the pipe (Photo credit: leff)