Friday, 16 September 2011

All smoke and no fire

That's probably how you would choose to describe our country's politicians. But then, that's also what the new age cigarette is about. Its called the e-cigarette. But the smoke has been replaced by nicotine vapour! Talk of being in the e-era. First we had this e-mail thing take over the world by storm many years back. Then came many other of those "e-things" that have transformed our existence painfully into a virtual one and the latest to join the bandwagon now being the "e-cigarette". Reading about it in the daily one morning and imagining how one would look while inhaling puff from a device gave me a funny feeling. Sounded more like the vapor inhaler I was given post surgery to help ease my breathing problem, except that the vapor I inhaled was made of a liquid we are all too familiar with - water. With the new thing in town now, the joke about the cigarette being a thing with fire on one end and a fool on the other will have to go through a makeover. And then the saying "there's no smoke without fire" will have to be read as "there's no vapour without nicotine solution". The statement has lost its punch with the fire element gone, literally. And you'll have to carry about with you a battery adapter/charger to charge the cigarette-like looking device. 


Smoking has been banned in public places. Yet oft I found myself waving off smoke billowing from some "not so friendly neighbourhood"(read bus stand or maybe even a public building) and staring stone-cold at the perpetrator who then inched away hesitantly. Sometimes I have even had to approach some to let them know that they are actually violating a law post which, I had to be at the receiving end of cold stares. I haven't noticed much of these signages educating people about the ban in any of the deemed public areas. It's not too difficult to understand why. News is that soon these battery-powered devices will be stationed in theatres, airports, etc to allow people to smoke LEGALLY in public places! Huh! Which other country in the world has such law and administration that first bans an activity calling it illegal and then makes provisions for its citizens to "legally" pursue the very same activity in full public view?? No prizes for guessing this one.

The debate in favor of the e-cig is that it will help folks kick the habit and that it is less carcinogenic. Nothing can be further from the truth. The market is already abuzz with competition among brands to lure in customers with interesting flavors such as cooling menthol and fruity strawberry. For those who cannot live without letting off some smoke, their family/friends can look forward to a little less annoying time with the suffocating smoke, that's all there is to the e-cigarette story. For now, let them stop smoking and start vapourising.

Statutory warning: Cigarette smoking is injurious to health, be it "e" or otherwise.


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