The atmosphere has changed mightily over the last decade: Where air once hung thick and stale with smoke, there now hang signs outlawing anything that burns.
Even outdoors — in parks, at bus stops, and on sidewalks — traditional tobacco smoking is becoming less and less permissible. Rather than become social pariahs, driven to the street corner every time a nicotine craving hits, many are considering a popular alternative: the e-cigarette.
Here are five reasons to consider e-cigarettes now, regardless of when or how often you smoke.
1. It’s not smoking
A crucial distinction that sets this product apart from traditional tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarette users don’t smoke; they “vape.” Vaping is a process whereby electronically heated water vapor transports the prerequisite nicotine to the user via inhalation. It’s the same physical activity, puffing and inhaling, but with a totally different product.
There are more than a few perks to getting your nicotine fix from water vapor, and one of them is that there’s no smoke involved. A vapor bi-product means less waste (no non-biodegradable filters in the gutter), no stench, no additives (like tar, carcinogens, or chemicals), and no getting kicked out of your favorite haunts. Which leads us to …
2. It’s not illegal
As long as e-cigarette users behave themselves and show common courtesy in establishments where traditional smoking is already banned (pair a little polite education with your request to vape indoors, and you may be surprised by how positive your reception will be) e-cigarettes will remain a predominately legal way to get your fix long after smoke-y cigarettes have been widely prohibited.
The key here is patience and sharing. Many smokers know how it feels to be treated like an outcast for lighting up, but it’s important for vapers not to carry pent-up hostility around with them. Instead, find a manager or bartender and ask if anyone has ever used a vapor-based e-cigarette in their business.
If the answer is “no,” explain that it’s not smoke, has no lingering odor, and ask if they’d like to see. For many, experiencing vaping first-hand is a deal-maker.
In some venues — on certain airlines, in hospitals, and in schools — e-smoking has been preemptively banned. Think of this as a growing pain. Rather than deal with the complexities surrounding nuanced rules and distinctions between smoke and vapor, certain establishments have simply chosen to smother the issue until a later time.
They’re waiting to see where public opinion falls, and to follow someone else’s lead. Give it time and you’ll be vaping on your favorite airline again (though maybe vaping in certain places such as schools won’t ever be necessary).
3. They’re not as expensive
This is a no-brainer. While the up-front investment for electronic cigarettes is around $50, the cost to maintain a heavy, regular habit is dramatically lower.
People in lower income brackets tend to smoke more, and they are the same people being hit the hardest by the stunted economy. So it makes sense that vaping has serious potential for long-term mainstream popularity.
4. They’re not as dangerous
The risks involved in traditional tobacco smoking are numerous. From secondhand smoke, which fills the air with dangerous carcinogens and has been known to cause asthma and other life-threatening conditions, to direct consequences like cancer, emphysema, and heart disease — even to third-party risk factors like car accidents and house and forest fires — it’s really no wonder their use is steadily being constricted.
The thing is, those risk factors all exist because of the mode of delivery — the cigarette itself — not the nicotine, which is what every smoker ultimately craves. So, while some studies suggest that inhaling anything (including air) can be harmful to the lungs, it’s still a fact that vaping is a less dangerous way to get your nicotine fix … for you and for everyone around you.
5. They can help you quit
Finally, for casual smokers, or smokers looking to wean themselves from their daily habit, e-cigarettes provide nicotine, just like the patch or gum, but with an added bonus. Many smokers say it’s hard to quit because they’re addicted to the activity of smoking, not just the nicotine.
With e-cigarettes, you don’t have to sacrifice either one.