E-Cigarettes are a disruptive technology, they provide a new, safer and cheaper alternative to smoking. Millions of people in the UK are now e-cig users and it has disrupted the status-quothat has previously provided the tobacco giant’s profits, big pharma’s NRT gravy-train and Government’s tax income.
It is not surprising that a technology that disrupts all of these powerful and influential vested interests would initially be viewed by them with some caution. What I find disgusting is that their caution appears to have progressed into full-frontal opposition – based on their own financial interests rather than the health of their fellow citizens.
The WHO state that tobacco kills nearly 6 million people each year, any actions by any organisations that effectively perpetuates this horrible loss of life, by resisting change, is libel of a moral crime on the scale of genocide.
E-Cigarettes – Part of Inevitable Change
It is generally unwise to predict the future, one of the futures greatest charms is its unpredictability. One change that is irresistible though is that cars will, at some point in the future, be powered by electricity rather than petrol or other fossil fuel. What makes this change inevitable is that fossil fuels are finite and will therefore run out and it will not be possible to grow enough bio-mass to produce bio-fuel in the quantities that we currently use fossil fuels, while maintaining food security to the ever increasing world population.
At this moment electricity is not the ideal power source for cars to use on long journeys and electric cars are currently too expensive for most people to have as a second around town vehicle, furthermore most electricity is still produced by burning fossil fuels at this point in time. As fossil fuels diminish electricity will be produced using more sustainable methods and cars will need to use that electricity because of the diminishing supply of petrol.
The internal combustion engine is today such a remarkably reliable and relatively efficient tool because decades of technical innovation has made it so – if this technological effort had been directed toward electric powered transport and given the same effort, finance and time, then the electric car would already be the normal standard.
You might be wondering what all of this has to do with electronic cigarettes – my point is that the change to electric cars is inevitable because fossil fuels will run out, the change to vaping instead of smoking is similarly inevitable because knowingly inhaling cigarette smoke with its associated carcinogenic and other detrimental health effects is also an unsustainable model.
From Cars to Books
Half of all UK book sales are now e-books. This change from the traditional bound paper publication has come about because e-books are often cheaper, they are certainly more convenient in most circumstances and they have the cache of being modern.
I love printed books, they are a real pleasure to hold, they smell fresh and wonderful and they hold the promise of wisdom and/or entertainment between their covers. A single book on a coffee table or a bookshelf in a room can convey impressions of worldliness and knowledge upon any visitor.
The appeal of books is akin to the attraction of tobacco cigarettes, packed as they are in their perfectly formed flip top boxes, sealed fresh inside cellophane. 20 cigarettes lined-up under their foil awaiting your pleasure are almost irresistible – the look, touch and aroma of a cigarette package is as inviting as a new book.
Printed books ‘work’ too, they are easily accessible and don’t even require being charged-up prior to use, tobacco cigarettes are also just as easy to use – there is no fuss, just light and suck. But still most of the books that I buy are e-books, I do like to be able to read in the dark and I do like to have the option to choose the text size. Most importantly, in common with MP3 music, e-books are downloadable – thus they are convenient to buy. They are part of the future, as inevitable as the electric car and the e-cigarette.
E-Cigarettes Versus Tobacco
It may seem a bit silly to list the advantages of e-cigs over their tobacco combusting evil twins, we all know that they are less dangerous to one’s health, cost far less, don’t produce ash, smell better and don’t inflict the dangers of passive smoking on others… but for e-cigs to completely replace the tobacco cigarette as the normal form of nicotine delivery they must also have other qualities.
Fags are certainly very easy to operate, you don’t need instructions on the box in order to use them, however if you had never seen one used by anybody before then their use and function would seem both obscure and ridiculous – ‘so you stick it in your mouth and set light to the other end so that you can inhale its foul tasting, noxious fumes – and they cost how much?’
For ecigs to replace tobacco they need to have appeal to the user, it is not sufficient to classify them as a list of things that makes them not like a fag. The quality and reliability of the product is paramount, if your ecig lets you down it is just far too easy to pick up a pack of fags to satisfy your nicotine requirement – cheap-rubbish ecigs have done more to damage the growth in use of ecigs than the combined efforts of Governments and Corporations.
For ecigs to become the standard form of nicotine delivery instead of tobacco they must be stylish enough to positively attract smokers to use them and they must be seen as something that is acceptable to use in society – especially in places where tobacco is not acceptable.
The wide range of flavours are an important constituent of the pleasure of vaping and it’s an appeal that is not offered by smoking. Anti-smoking groups that call for ecig flavours to be banned are severely missing the point. A dull, flavourless, committee designed, unappealing e-cigarette wished for by the misinformed do-gooders will utterly fail in the fight against smoking. E-Cigarettes must be functional, readily available, flavoursome, stylish and desirable in order to fulfil their promise of a smoke free society – they must offer perceived advantages in order to attract smokers away from their well-entrenched behaviour.