The “electronic cigarette” has quite a history not many people know about. It was invented in the 1920s and proved to be a commercial dead end until the year 2000. “E-cigarettes” were introduced to European and American markets in 2006/07, after the decades of anti-smoking measures and anti-tobacco rhetoric had borne fruit. With high tobacco taxes and increased denormalization of smoking, vaping became an object of commercial value.
Tobacco Control, notoriously pushing it’s pharmaceutically produced nicotine replacement aids and other smoking cessation medicine, as well as the anti-smokers in general, had not anticipated the electronic cigarette’s increase in popularity and their first reaction was to screech: “Vaping looks like smoking, ban it!” or “E-cigarettes should be available only in pharmacies and not be sold on the free market!” Other anti-smokers gradually grew ecstatic about the number of smokers having switched to sole “e-cigarette” use and consider the e-cigarette to be a smoking cessation aid.
Prevalence as well as regulation of vaping differ between countries. Consumption patterns and opinions differ, too. Some consumers are “dual users”, meaning they smoke and vape. A lot of smokers appear to be indifferent to vaping. Some vapers class themselves as non-smokers and suck up to the anti-smokers, whilst other vapers are aware that a kind of vaper, similar to smokers’ demonization, is coming their way and therefore fight alongside the smokers.
Here is what some of our authors think about vaping. What do our readers think?
A few years ago we took on a new client who wanted to sell e-cigs; the one here. I was the Account Manager for this client at the time and he gave me a free one to try out. I did give it a try for a while, but kept on smoking the cigars at the same time. I found that it tasted ok, but was no substitute for the real thing. My main gripe was that there was no end to it. When you smoke a cigar of cigarette, you light it, smoke it and then put it out. An e-cig goes on for as long as you keep smoking it, which takes away the satisfaction of finishing it, which in my opinion, is part of the experience. I did take the ecig on a couple of flights, but in the end, stopped bothering. I found that I would just rather not smoke than use the ecig.
Emily Wieja (Cambridge Citizens for Smokers’ Rights):
Vaping doesn’t appeal to me because nicotine by itself doesn’t do much for me. Years ago I tried chewing nicotine gum and it made me nauseous. I have always believed that there are other substances in tobacco which contribute to my feeling of well-being and which I really enjoy, even besides the tobacco smoke itself which is soothing. I do enjoy using Swedish snus, because it is real tobacco. I’ve tried vaping, though admittedly it was years ago when vape devices were still designed to look like cigarettes. I didn’t find it very satisfying. And nowadays most (not all!) vapers seem to be anti-smokers. By and large they are people who have bought into the lies about how terrible smoking is for you, and they never miss a chance to shit on tobacco smokers. The joke is on them though because vaping is on its way to being just as demonized as tobacco is.
I wouldn’t even dream of saying or doing anything to deprive people of what is an important part of their life, namely, vaping. And, yes, I’ve read enough of medical reports to know that vaping is essentially harmless for grown-ups. And I’ve read enough of alternative reports, cooked up by the usual suspects, lying through their teeth exactly the way they did about smoking. That’s good proof that vaping is OK, so the picture is clear. But, still, I simply don’t like vaping and vapes. Call it an instinct, excessive conservatism or anything you like – but I do have a foreboding that things may go wrong with that upgrade from natural product (tobacco leaves) to its artificial, concentrated form.
If anyone remembers, the world already has had a ghastly experience in a similar situation. A global convention has been conceived to eradicate opium, which at the time (1920-s or so) was a legal product. And the effort was successful, only thing is, the world has received a heroin epidemics instead. To an extent, due to certain attempts to wean people away from opium to a new product, which was marvelously ending opium addiction. Same product, new (concentrated) form of it. Do we ever learn?
Personally I prefer to smoke real cigarettes. But I think e-cigarettes are a wonderful invention. They’re a whole new way of smoking to add to cigarettes and pipes and cigars. And as such they are wonderfully subversive of Tobacco Control’s killjoy attempt to stamp out all forms of smoking. It must have come as a terrible shock to them to find a complete new form of smoking emerging, just when they thought they had smoking facing extinction. And I think these new e-cigarettes will develop and evolve in all sorts of unexpected and wonderful ways over the years to come. And of course this is already happening.
A few years ago I encountered vapers for the first time. At that time I said: “Vaping is like sex with a rubber doll, I prefer the real thing!” A few months later, I became more interested in the subject, and I looked at posts and videos from vapers. The statements I found there were almost all in the tone: “We are the good guys!”, “Smoking is shit!”, “Smokers stink, vapers do not!”, or “Vapers are the better people”. I already knew such know-it-alls; they were the proselytizing and above anything else elevating anti-smokers. I did not want to have anything to do with these people.
A few years later Jürgen Vollmer, a member of Netzwerk Rauchen and a good friend of mine, told me he had become a vaper. As a few days later the elevator in my block of flats was being serviced so I had to climb the stairs to the fifth floor and because I had to catch my breath on reaching the top, I thought I would give vaping a try. I was fortunate in that I found a vaping shop near mine whose owner provided flawless advice, answered any stupid question I had and who was not as arrogant as the people I saw in the videos or read in social networks. So I bought my vaping device and was immediately impressed with it. Since that day, I have not smoked a cigarette again, but I still like to be in the company of smokers although I do not have the desire to start smoking again.
The only drawback with vaping I find is that I no longer frequent the Czech Republic for cigarette shopping. On the other hand, I like the many different flavours available for e-cigarettes, as well as the possibility of experimenting with e.g. producing a lot or little steam. Also I like the many different vaping appliances, each of which has its own special advantages and disadvantages. And, yes, I give the vapers, who think they are the better people because they no longer smoke, a tongue-lashing.
Netzwerk Rauchen – paper on the “e-Cigarette” / Vaping (Extract), 2012:
“The ideological fanaticism [of professional Tobacco Control] has grown to the extent to even acts visually similar to tobacco smoking being classed as damnable. For some 20 years, Big Pharma and Tobacco Control have been very closely interconnected as they do not wish to tolerate disruptive and additional competition to their own nicotine replacement products on the market.
The “e-cigarette” is a valid alternative to pharmaceutically produced nicotine replacement merchandise and is at least as effective when it comes to individually desired reduction / cessation of tobacco smoking. And the e-cigarette does not have to pretend to be only a temporary smoking cessation aid. On the other hand, it cannot replace tobacco products, since enjoying tobacco means much more than just nicotine consumption, just as beer, wine, steak and cheese lovers are more than mere alcohol or calorie “junkies”.
As a prerequisite for cooperation [with vapers], however, potential cooperation partners must repudiate the anti-tobacco mentality and anti-smoking rhetoric.”