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Is Smoking Cigarettes Really That Bad? Well, yea, but…

Smoking Cigarettes

It’s funny watching people who are so adamant against cigarette smoking. They have made it their lives work to stamp out smoking everywhere. You can no longer smoke any place that I could smoke back in the day. Not even in clubs or city streets can you smoke these days.

Now that they  (you know, the “anti-smoking people”) have essentially won the war on cigarettes they are now running around fuming about the explosion of the Big Bad eCigarette. They are making all kinds of noise out there yipping and yapping about how eCigarettes are just another way to SMOKE. It’s downright funny and sad at the same time. Mostly sad though because it is people like this that have forced so many of fellow Americans to live and work within the confines of what these lunatics want.

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Since I am an ex-smoker (newly) and someone who gets physically ill when I smell a real cigarette, I wondered what all the fuss was about when it came to being repulsed by an eCigarette. I mean, come on. I know what a cigarette is, and the eCigarette is not a cigarette. Oh sure, the word “cigarette” is in there, but with that little “e” that precedes it makes it a whole different animal altogether.

I find it amusing to see someone bounce off the walls when they see someone “vaping” in public. It happened to me just the other day. Here I was, enjoying my eCigarette while walking into the grocery store to pick up dinner. I forgot all about the fact that I was puffing on my eCig while standing in front of the customer service area of the store. There in front of me was a young woman, probably 22 or 23 years old, and she is staring at me. At first I thought maybe there was something on my face, hanging from my nose, something.(seriously)  But instead I learned that she was shocked, SHOCKED, to see someone SMOKING in the grocery store. She turned to face the woman behind the counter and said “He can’t DO THAT in here, can he?” and the polite woman behind the counter looked at me, noticed my eCigarette, then turned to face the young woman. “He’s not smoking. It’s an electric cigarette.” The young woman turned back to me and I simply smiled. Then the woman behind the counter deflated my positive feelings by adding, “You might not want to do that in here, okay?” and so rather than getting into a kerfuffle, I put it in my pocket. I guess this was an “almost-win, almost-win”. No, not really. I have to admit that when she told me to put the eCigarette away I felt a tinge of embarrassment. Then I immediately began rethinking the claims made by certain eCig companies about the “freedom to smoke anywhere”…

I’ve thought about all the anger these anti-smokers have and here’s what I’ve come up.

Cigarettes are disgustingIt’s true. You know its true. Hell, even if you still smoke you know its a disgusting. Cigarettes are especially disgusting if you are a non-smoker and still EVEN MORE  disgusting if you are an ex-smoker (like me) or anyone one who has gone more than a year without one. That year (your miles may vary) it is tough to see someone smoke and not get that urge to join them. It gets easier though, but it doesn’t make you sick to smell cigarette smoke, yet. You almost want to smell it. Then, it all changes.  After a certain amount of time the putrid smell is so off-putting that there has been many times walking through that same grocery store that I’ll pass a smoker with that god-awful lingering odor and actually gag. It’s not pretty. Sadly smokers just don’t realize how awful they smell, if they did I dare say they would at least shower and change their clothes before heading out. If for any reason I started to smoke real cigarettes again I would definitely learn to shower before going out where non-smokers will be.

It wasn’t always like this, was it?

In the 1970’s the freedom to smoke cigarettes was something I don’t think anyone under the ago of 30 could possibly understand today. Back then people smoked at their desk at work, in an airplane, in a restaurant, anywhere and everywhere, there were no restrictions, except maybe the maternity ward in a hospital, but in a hospital hallway or a hospital room it was fine. Honestly. I should know, I’ve smoked everywhere back then. Nobody seemed to mind. I dated a non-smoker for 5 years during the 70’s and she never once complained about the way I smelled. I smoked about a pack a day back then, and lived in Florida where winter is a day long, and yet I was never judged, talked to, looked at, or in any other way made to feel self-conscious about smoking. Looking back I wonder why people didn’t notice or  care. Maybe we were all a tad more tolerant back then. Although, years later I thought about that beautiful young girl I dated for 5 years, and how she was a non-smoker who never mentioned how bad I must of smelled because of my smoking. I’ve told stories since those years about how her and I would share cigarettes on those nights when we would stay home and drink wine and get all romantic. It never occurred to me that she might have been joining me in smoking because it disguised the smell. A few years after I quit I thought about that one day, and it hurt my heart to think that while there was nothing in my heart but never-ending love for her (to this very day) she must have felt that in order to “be with me” on those romantic evening she had to do something she didn’t want to do. Oh how I wish I could travel back in time and never start smoking at all, or at least not expose my only soul-mate to my awful habit.

Anyway…

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Today there are laws on the books that say if you smoke real cigarettes you can’t smoke them anywhere, even in your own home in some places (if that home is an apartment in a non-smoking building), which kind of makes it nearly impossible to smoke, or smoke much, doesn’t it? Yet, despite all the restrictions put in place to force you to stop smoking the government continues to tax the living hell out of them so they have revenues to spend on other things. As a matter of fact I quit smoking over one last tax increase on a pack of smokes. It went into effect and I looked at the cashier at the gas station and said “Enough. Fuck them. Let them tax somebody else.” And that was it. Never looked back. It wasn’t a health issue, I quite enjoyed smoking, it was a tax issue. I hate taxes because for the most part tax revenue is wasted or stolen. Anyway, most people look at a smoker today as if they are a character on “The Walking Dead” and having just seen a “walker” heading their way, they are all freaked out. Hell, even I look at people who have yet made the leap from real cigarettes to something safer or nothing at all like they are somehow lost in time. (And I avoid getting close to them.)

How did this happen?

If people didn’t care back in the good old days then sometime in the 80’s it had to finally sink in because boy-oh-boy was there ever some kind of “group think” thing that happened where we went from being a tolerant people to the kind of people that had come to despise cigarettes and everything they stood for. Things turned on a dime! It was okay to smoke one day and the next day you were a pariah. (After putting the  kibosh on smoking these lunatics went after more and more of the things that people enjoyed doing, like butter and trans fat, and coffee, and so on… many of which have had to reverse themselves because the science was wrong.) Remember those nosy people that forced you to switch from paper bags at the grocery store to plastic bags? These same people, and their children, are now attempting to switch you back to paper because they were wrong about plastic.

I suppose the year-after-year bombardment of negative advertising, the more often and more severe restrictions, including where people can and cannot light up, and the more acceptable levels of anger toward smokers that were tolerated (“He was smoking, I had to shoot him” … “Well, sure, we understand, he had it coming. Not Guilty.”) had changed our minds, rewired our brains towards equating smoking to ugliness in need of punishment. Makes me wonder what else we’re being trained to hate.

Smoking real cigarettes actually does lead to nasty things like cancer, heart disease, and early death for many people; there can be no denying that any longer.  I will grant you that some people seem immune to the effects of smoking. I’ve known people that smoked their whole lives and never felt a negative effect from it except the tens of thousands of dollars spent buying cigarettes, and that’s great for them, I guess, but for most of us it causes damage that will, in the end, cost us all billions in medical bills, lost labor, and lost time being alive.  There are real and “not-so-real” reasons to hate cigarettes and there are real reasons to feel bad for those that still smoke them. While I still believe in personal freedom, even more now than I did back in the seventies, I agree that you should have the right to smoke whatever you want, but the minute it begins to infringe on me and mine, well then, no, back up, get it out of my face. What are you, stupid? But we’ve taken it way too far, especially that crazy-ass mayor of New York, Mr. Bloomberg.

Today there are alternatives to all this death and disease being caused by smoking cigarettes. One of the best alternatives out there, for those that enjoy the act of smoking and/or find it relaxing, is to simply switch to the safer hi-tech alternative… the eCigarette. The 2-piece eCigarette of today is made up of a battery and a cartomizer. Today it’s easier to use an eCigarette than it is to use a real cigarette. (People in the “biz” call real cigarettes “analog” cigarettes by the way.) Seriously, grab a battery and screw on a cartomizer and start vaping. No fuss, no muss, and man-oh-man what flavor.

Vaping = taking a drag

Nobody “smokes” an eCigarette, they vape them. It’s not smoke coming from the thing, it’s water vapor infused with nicotine and flavoring. From tobacco flavor to cherry, vanilla, and even pina colada, your modern eCigarette is a much better product than a cigarette could ever hope to be.rnrnYet still they complain. They want to tax them, they want to regulate them, and they want to put them under FDA control, and now the government in Vermont, the only socialist state in the union, want to ban the Internet sales to and from Vermont. Yadda yadda yadda, everyday some new asshole tries to take another freedom away from full grown-ass people. I can’t express to you my vitriol toward those that want to force their own mores on us.rnrnThe truth is today’s eCigarettes are an enormous positive for mankind (no, seriously) and we should be declaring it one of the products of the decade, alongside Apple’s iPhone and iPad, instead of declaring it wrong or wrongheaded right out of the gate.rn

Peaceful. Loving. Enlightenment

What we need to do, those of us that enjoy our eCigarettes, is to help people that don’t understand eCigarettes, to show them that what they see is not “smoking”. There is no foul odor, no danger from secondhand smoke, and no reason to go off half-cocked by seeing someone enjoying an eCigarette.

We need to change their minds, mend their malleable brains, repair their dark hearts and educate them that the eCigarette is a fun, delicious stress reliever and yes, a nice nicotine delivery system. After all, caffeine and nicotine share about the same level of danger (not at all in most cases), and people need to understand that nicotine does NOT cause cancer any more than caffeine does.

We need to do it in a fraction of the time it took the powers that be to turn us all into bigoted anti-smokers, because if we don’t the Big Tobacco industry, along with the government egged on by people with too much time on their hands, will make sure that this thing that looks like smoking is something that needs to be banned. Again, look at Vermont. I’m not kidding, people are already trying to take the eCigarette, a safe product, off the market simply because it looks like smoking. Unbelievable.

South Beach Smoke has the right idea. In each starter kit from South Beach they include a sturdy plastic card that describes what the eCigarette is NOT, so that when a person is enjoying their ‘vaping’ they can whip out the card when someone approaches them with a “you can’t do that here” crap. It’s a start, but we need more.

Smoking IS an ugly habit. There are PLENTY of things wrong with smoking. But there is nothing wrong with vaping an eCigarette. Nicotine is no worse than caffeine so why are people allowed to love their cup of coffee for that caffeine fix yet are not allowed to love their eCigarette for their nicotine fix? Why does the word ‘Nicotine’ sound so wrong? Because it’s associated with real cigarettes, that”s why. I wonder though; how many anti-smokers out there know that Nicotine is also found in potato’s, tomatoes, and even cauliflower? But you don’t see people running around trying to get French fries pulled off the market. No, wait… I mean tomatoes, yea, tomatoes. And who here would refuse anyone their cup a coffee despite the fact that caffeine can be addictive? Or how about mint? Did you know mint is addictive? Mint Juleps anyone?

So many years of negative press over the dangers of smoking, the evil nicotine found in cigarettes, and so forth, have made the truth seem like a lie. Yes, cigarettes kill, nicotine doesn’t. Yes, cigarettes are terrible, but an eCigarette is a safe and delicious and a delight. Why is that not being shouted across the globe?rn

Vape everywhere. Desensitize the citizens?

Bring out your favorite eCigarette wherever you go and make people see you. Let them see that the light at the end of the eCigarette stick is not on fire, that the smoke is really water vapor, and the flavors are oh-so-much better than the tobacco plant and are harmless. Tell them about the eCigarette, let them try one. Show them that card in your wallet and help them realize there is nothing to get upset about.

The eCigarette is a marvelous invention and a device I will continue to use for as long as it is legal, and afterwards if we are stupid enough to let the ignorant win, again. It is up to us to see that it remain legal, that it remain free from tobacco-like taxes, and that it is NOT a curse, not something evil… the eCigarette is today’s tool of choice for those wanting to relax in a safe manner that is somewhat akin to yesteryear’s smoking. Tell your people to spread the word. Oh and just one more thing; I’ve asked several of the CEO’s of eCigarette companies about their demographic. Who are they aiming the eCigarette toward? Their response, every single time I ask, is that they are aiming the product at SMOKERS. Not children, not the non-smoker. In fact, I’ve heard these same CEO’s that if you are already an ex-smoker you don’t need the eCigarette. If you’ve never smoked then the eCigarette is not for you. That’s quite a statement. I’m not sure that if I were an owner of an eCigarette brand that I might not want to go after ex-smokers and non-smokers because of the benefits of nicotine. There is evidence, scientific evidence, that nicotine focuses the mind, especially in the elderly. It helps relaxes people because the nicotine heads toward the dopamine centers of the brain.

If you can market to non-coffee drinkers by talking up the effects of coffee on alertness, which is the caffeine, and Red Bull can market the alertness of caffeine in its product, then why can’t you market the eCigarette as a product that keeps you alert, focuses the mind, and helps release dopamine in the brain? Well yea, sure, it’s the word NICOTINE. Still, I might start a campaign on the positive effects of nicotine and how my eCigarette is a very effective drug delivery system.

In the end though, vaping is not smoking and the eCigarette is not a cigarette. So, ya know, chill.

Tom McBride

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About The Author

All original content is written and produced for our readers by the Spinfuel Staff. The writing staff includes Julia Hartley-Barnes, Keira Hartley-Barnes, Tom McBride, Jason Little, Melanie Hendrix, and Dave Foster. Spinfuel also publishes guest contributors on occasion. All original content is protected by US copyright laws.

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