I have no idea how I missed this one - perhaps it's because I'm not a smoker - but I hadn't really been aware of e-cigarettes until my husband showed me an article he'd seen on the FDA's analysis of them.
The e-Surgeon General has not yet issued a warning that e-cigarettes can be e-hazardous to your very real health, but I'm sure that will be e-coming.
But first, the e-cig itself.
e-Cigarette manufacture Smoking Everywhere - is that a terrible thought or what - seems to have post position when you go to the google. According to their web site, an e-cigarette is:
...a non –flammable product that uses state of the art classy micro-electronic technology which provides smokers a real "smoking" experience without the fire, flame, tobacco, tar, carbon monoxide, ash, stub or smell found in real cigarettes.
Smoking Everywhere E-Cig offers smokers a tar-free way to enjoy smoking and the freedom to smoke most everywhere. The smokers still get their nicotine, but don’t get the side effects attributable to tar which contains real tobacco.
Gotta love that use of the word "classy" to define the technology underlying the e-cig. While I have certainly resorted to "world-class" on many descriptive occasions, I've never used "classy" in the B2B context. I will be looking for the opportunity, however. Perhaps someday I'll be able to describe a product I'm marketing as "world classy."
For now, classy e-cigarettes look like the real thing, more or less. They're lithium battery operated, and work by heating up a solution of nicotine in propylene glycol, which produces a mist that e-smokers ehale. The cigarette tip is an LED device that glows red, and the e-cig gives off fake e-smoke (that's supposedly neither first or second hand in terms of hazard). An e-cigarette costs $40-70, but that's pretty cheap if you consider how much a pack costs. (Not that I've looked recently, but $7 - 10 a pack sticks in my mind.) E-cigs come in flavors, the better to hook kids on them. (Way to go! Whatever happened to the chalky sugar "candy cigarettes", or the cardboard cylinders that blew talcum powder smoke?)
As for the claims of no side effects, I don't know whether Smoking Everywhere's product was on the FDA, but a lot of the e-cigs were implicated:
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday released an analysis of 19 varieties of electronic cigarettes that said half contained nitrosamines (the same carcinogen found in real cigarettes) and many contained diethylene glycol, the poisonous ingredient in antifreeze. Some that claimed to have no nicotine were found to have low levels of the drug. (Source of this para, and info on how they work and what they cost: LA Times.)
The Electronic Cigarette Association - you really didn't think they would be without a trade association, did you? - is countering the FDA report, of course:
“I’m a little shocked that the FDA would release a study that is so narrow in its scope and target a specific industry when there are a number of nicotine products on the market today not in the FDA’s crosshairs. Are they saying that those products and cigarettes themselves are safer to use,” said Matt Salmon, former Arizona Congressman and president of the ECA. “Our member companies have taken a responsible approach by ensuring that those who use their
products are well-informed about their products and to ensure that their products are not marketed or accessible to children.”
All I can say is a) where have we heard this before?; and b) why am I not surprised that a former congressman is in on this deal. (And I wrote this before knowing whether he's a R or a D. For the record, he's an R, but it certainly could have gone either way.)
We'll see how this turns out, but I'm guessing that e-cigarettes won't be any panacea to smoking-related problems. (Although if it gets rid of second hand smoke, that can't be a good thing. I do have to ask just what's in the fake smoke coming out of the e-cig. Do we really need more chemicals in the air?)
Still, if you're a smoker, it's hard not to see the attraction in being able to smoke and do so "healthily."
But there is, of course, something mighty weird about the e-cigarette.
On the other hand, wouldn't it be nice if they came up with e-exercise? Or an e-hot fudge sundae? The e-glass of chardonnay. All pleasure, no pain. Ah, something really classy to look forward to.
Meanwhile, I guess that e-cigarettes - like the real thing - can't be advertised on TV.
If they were, we surely would have been bombarded by ads resurrected from the Golden Age of Television Cigarette Advertising.
Take an e-puff, it's springtime.
Tweet for Philip Morris!
I'd walk a virtual mile for an e-Camel.
It is hard, however, to imagine the Marlboro man, riding the range, looking for a place to recharge his e-cigarette, isn't it?