I’ll admit I have a habit of underestimating the usefulness of new technology. When everybody I knew got smartphones, I held out. If my wife hadn’t upgraded to the iPhone 5 and handed her old iPhone 4 to me, I’d still be using the Nokia flip phone. I was the same way with electronic cigarettes. Stubbornly clinging to my Marlboro Reds, not even bothering to read e-cig reviews before dismissing them out of hand. The idea of “smoking” (or vaping) water mist mixed with nicotine seemed…well, weird. People have been smoking for thousands of years. Everything else in my life might change due to the tech revolution, but this is one thing that will stay old-fashioned.
I know the exact day I was proven wrong. My friend and I were eating lunch at a deli, outside on the patio. We were having a leisurely time, me enjoying my ham and Swiss sandwich, when I suddenly felt like a cigarette. I asked my friend if he would like to step out to the street and light one up. He smiled and said, “No thanks. I’m fine.”
Then he pulled out an electronic cigarette from his pocket, inhaled from it, and exhaled the mist. No lighting up, he was just instantly vaping, thanks to an electronic atomizer (I had read enough e-cig reviews to know a little about the technology!). I looked at him, embarrassed. Around here, it’s illegal to smoke at a restaurant, even outside. For sure someone would come by and tell him to stop, right?
“I don’t think you can do that here,” I said, as politely as I could.
“This?” He said, gesturing to his electronic cigarette. “No this is fine. You just can’t smoke tobacco cigarettes. I mean, this is basically water. No one’s banning water.”
“Not yet, at least,” he added, before inhaling again.
Skeptical, I checked on my (very convenient) smartphone to see if he was right. Sure enough, most smoking bans don’t apply to e-cigarettes. As long as the owner of the establishment was fine with it (and he apparently was), my friend could use his electronic cigarette to his heart’s content. I checked out the ads and e-cig reviews next to the article online. E-cigs don’t have the toxins you get with typical cigarettes, which takes away the second-hand smoke issue.
When I got home I read through more e-cig reviews, picked a brand and nicotine level that seemed right, and ordered a starter pack. Using it felt different at first, but familiar at the same time. No tobacco, but the nicotine was right there. I could “smoke” in restaurants, in the house, and in public. Because the vapor was completely odorless, I no longer felt self-conscious about who was being affected around me.
In other words, electronic cigarettes gave me a freedom that I had forgotten I had even lost. It has completely changed the way I smoke, enough to give up my long-held belief that there was only one brand for me, and to cut down on regular cigarette smoking.
I’ll probably never stop resisting the relentless march of technology, but I’m in step with the electronic cigarette revolution.