It Looks Like Smoking, The Boon And The Bane
Electronic cigarettes continue to suffer a bit of an identity crisis around the world despite much of the research into them continuing to find that they do what most people believe that they do — offer nicotine without all the damage of smoking. The crisis comes almost entirely from their relationship with the very thing most people are hoping e-cigs will be able to replace: cigarettes.
It’s very difficult for individuals that have built up an absolute hatred for cigarettes to let that hatred subside for even a moment. Smoking to them is destructive, despicable, and deadly. And yet, it continues to prevail as one of the most popular recreational drugs on the planet alongside caffeine and alcohol.
So electronic cigarettes come along. They offer almost none of the deadliness or destruction but almost all of the rituals and benefits. Experts are feuding over the specifics,but the short of it seems to be that by excluding smoke, electronic cigarettes exclude around 99% of the damage normally associated with nicotine use. Some even believe that a lifetime of e-cig use is less harmful than 2 months of smoking.
So why is it so hard for some to accept electronic cigarettes as an alternative to smoking? Well, it looks like smoking. And actually, that’s just what some experts say make it a successful alternative. Gums, lozenges, therapeutic exercises, drugs, and even quitting cold turkey carry a host of different rituals and fail to replace even the most innocuous parts of smoking. The simple act of stepping outside, putting your hand to your month, and inhaling is such an ingrained ritual for smokers that it is hard to successfully quit even if you are the type that can get over the pharmacological addiction part of the problem.
So the same thing about electronic cigarettes — that they look and feel like smoking — is what makes them successful for smokers and vile to public health groups at the same time. One actually wonders what the state of a budding electronic cigarette industry might be like if cigarettes had never existed.
This has created an interesting divide in the industry between companies working to make their products as identical to conventional cigarettes as possible and those looking to make their e-cigs as distinct from tobacco cigarettes as possible.
More on that soon.