Cigarettes are part of our culture. They aren’t new. In fact, they appear to have had antecedents in Mexico and Central America around the 9th century in the form of reeds and smoking tubes. Members of my family smoke and when we moved to North Carolina, I remember attending ninth grade at the high school and students saying they were going out in the smoking area.
We all know someone who smokes. Hollywood is filled with A-listers who smoke: Lucille Ball, Drew Barrymore, Jessica Alba, Brad Pitt, Jack Nicholson, Kate Moss and more. Even my hero, Jon Bon Jovi, who picked up the habit in 1994 while bored on a movie set.
Smoking has changed, eliminating the option for seating and rooms in the “smoking or non-smoking section”. The smoke seems to be the nemesis of the habit. Those who don’t smoke complain about the smell, the second hand smoke, the littered cigarette butts and ashtrays where cigarettes have been put to rest.
Gaining popularity is the electronic cigarette. By 2011, one in five adult smokers had tried electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes. These battery-powered devices often look like real cigarettes, mimicking the white cylinder tube, brown filter, right down to the red-glowing tip.
Electronic cigarettes contain water and liquid nicotine. When the battery heats of the nicotine, it creates a vapor that is inhaled, resulting in a sensation of smoke in the mouth and lungs without really smoking.
Ecigs were introduced into the US market in 2007, but they’ve been around for much longer. Back in 1963, Herbert A. Gilbert patented “a smokeless non-tobacco cigarette”. His devices “replaced burning tobacco and paper with heated, moist flavored air”. Four years later, several companies were interested in manufacturing the device but it faded from its publicity soon after.
While stars like Jenny McCarthy are advocates for electronic cigarettes, perhaps they are more mainstream and more than just a glimmer of Hollywood. Electronic cigarettes annual cost is about one-third the cost of tobacco based products.
For those tired of smelling like an ashtray and puffing down tobacco smoke, electronic cigarettes are a viable option. They offer the sensation of smoking without the smell, need for a lighter and waste and a most cost-effective alternative to the traditional tobacco cigarette.