Back when I was growing up my mom smoked a brand of cigarettes that had the advertising motto, “You’ve come a long way, baby!” These cigs were specifically marketed to women, and while it’s certainly true that the American women have come a long way, cigarettes and tobacco have not changed much in hundreds of years. The biggest change for smokers in our modern world is definitely the electronic cigarette.
I recently found it necessary to get a job working the night shift at a local convenience store, Allsup’s. If you ever roll through Texas or New Mexico, stop by and enjoy a world famous beef & bean burrito at New Mexico’s largest privately-owned corporation. Anyways, the other night I was looking at this magazine called Convenience Store Decisions, and the entire issue was devoted to the e-cig. According to this august journal, the e-cig is becoming one of the most profitable items for convenience stores to sell, and many Americans are trying or switching to electronic smokes. According to one of the articles, about 20% of US smokers have tried electronic cigarettes. What’s more, about 8% of new smokers, tried an electronic cigarette as their first smoke. Whereas we all snuck our first smoke between classes at junior high school (well I did anyways), these days it is likely that a young person will first experience the ol’ vitamin N in e-cig form.
So what does this mean for the pipe or cigar smoker? We smoke because we love tobacco, not (just) because we are addicted to nicotine. The majority of tobacco cigarette smokers smoke for the nicotine, plain and simple, and they foolishly inhale the chemical-laden smoke, too, whereas most luxury tobacco smokers do not inhale. So the e-cig is really only of use to the cigarette smoker who needs a dose of nicotine. Even if they did come out with an electronic pipe (actually I think I’ve seen one), most pipe smokers might buy one as a novelty but the lovely leaf will remain their main smoke. It is my hope that e-cigs will be proven healthier than traditional cigarettes, and that cigarette smoking will go out of vogue. Then, tobacco prices will drop and pipe smokers (and yah you cigar puffers too) will have much more variety at lower prices. But what I see happening is the damned gubmint will regulate the hell out of the e-cigs until both they and trad cigarettes, and by extension luxury tobacco, are all more expensive and socially unacceptable.
As for the e-cig itself, there are a huge variety and the smoker will definitely want to do some research before spending any hard-earned cash on one. I still smoke cigs, and have been wanting to quit, so I bought an NJOY brand disposable cigarette two days ago to try out. The packaging claims it has enough ‘tine for two packs of smokes, but I tool about 15-20 draws off it throughout a night shift, and the battery died in less than 24 hours. So I basically got three cigarettes worth for $8. Not cool. I would recommend a rechargeable cig if you are planning on seriously attempting to switch to the electronic smokes. Plus most seem to have proprietary chargers so you have to have the cable that came with it or you are out of luck and about $30. Until they are more standardized and convenient, I really don’t see the electronic cigarette edging out tobacco any time soon.