My wife always said she would begin smoking again when she was 65 years old but, a couple of years ago, she jumped the gun (she's in her 50s, but that's all I can reveal). Despite her attempts to keep her old-turned-new habit a secret, I could smell the smoke rising off her.
This time, she couldn't seem to quit -- or didn't want to. So a friend of mine from out West -- where all new trends seem to develop first -- told me that she'd bought her husband what are now commonly called e-cigarettes, and he stopped smoking. Instead, he was doing what she called vaping. Kind of weird, I thought, but Christmas was coming so I brought my wife a "pack" of e-cigs. The reusable electronic packaging made them look exactly like a pack of cigarettes. The inhaler was battery-operated, and you could recharge it in your computer's USB port. Also, you could buy different flavored nicotine, screw-in tips that came in flavors like coconut and vanilla. Sold!
I gave it to my wife for Christmas, and at first she eschewed it (if I may use that word). But little by little, she began sucking down on those e-cigarettes with more and more frequency. She completely gave up buying real cigarettes and is now addicted to sucking down on e-cigarettes. Is this better? I think so, though no major studies have been done from what I gather. Yes, there is nicotine present, but none of the other bad stuff like tar. Reportedly, these e-cigarettes are less damaging, and they smell better.
And now they are ubiquitous. Nearly every bodega in NYC carries them, and they must carry a pretty big profit margin. One disposal e-cigarette costs about $9, more for the rechargeable ones.
Perhaps best of all, these e-cigarettes are good for party tricks. They look almost exactly like real cigarettes and you can fool your friends by "putting one out" on your face or placing it on their new couch after taking a drag.
No dirty ashtrays to clean, either, but I have a feeling if you suck them down as quickly as she does, there's not going to be much of an economic savings.
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