Epicdev, a Web Design and Development Company, is comprised of young professionals in the IT and design industry. Working online more often than not, we enjoy swapping ideas amongst each other, commenting on new apps, software, gaming solutions, recommending new products and of course, debating new technological advances. Our newest topic in the office is the E-Cigg, the vapour alternative to smoking. It is such a hot topic because one of us is a “traditional” smoker while the E-Cigg is used by our Systems Developer, Dylan.
Traditional Tobacco and its Tribulations
Tobacco companies are lawfully restricted in their advertising and are now required to mark their products with warnings. Nicotine is described as a para sympathomimetic alkaloid, which means it mimics the parasympathetic nervous system. To explain this, the parasympathetic nervous system takes us out of the flight or fight mode, it relaxes us, calms us, and promotes a feeling of safety and comfort.
By reading about the negative impact smoking has on your health, a reaction is triggered in the subconscious brain. There is a feeling of unease, guilt, worry etc. The response any person has to a negative stimulus is to rectify it, to regain that sense of equilibrium – a smoker achieves this by having a cigarette. Therefore in effect, by warning a smoker on his box of cigarettes that he should not smoke, he is being encouraged to light his next cigarette.
Twisp: The Desolation of Smog?
Aimed to make the smoker more socially acceptable, the Twisp (a manufacturing brand of the E-Cigg, short for Electronic Cigarette) delivers nicotine to the user with zero smoke.
The Twisp works with a battery which is stimulated by a flow sensor, which is activated when the user inhales from the device. The battery then works to heat up the contents of the E-Cigg (the contents being a cartridge filled with water, flavouring, propylene glycol and nicotine), turning it into vapour. The Twisp uses absolutely no Tobacco, which eliminates the harmful smoke and all the carcinogenic chemicals (43 known carcinogenic chemicals) as well as the tar. It also contains propylene glycol, which is deemed safe for use by the FDA. Not only is the use of the Twisp drastically healthier, but it comes with a built in safety feature, turning itself off for a period should the inhaler attempt to inhale in excess of 15 times in a minute.
…So Why Do People Still Smoke? (cough cough)
Many smokers feel that the taste is too different, although there are many variations that claim to have very similar tastes; this remains an argument in circulation during this debate. The E-Cigg may be much harsher on the throat to begin with; even a seasoned smoker may find themselves coughing again like they did after their very first cigarette. This can be rather alarming; however Dylan assures us that this is solely due to the potency of nicotine. The E-Cigg can deliver a far more potent dose of nicotine (this is level is controlled by the smoker) which is abrasive on the throat. This can apparently also be overcome with time.
There are also more practical arguments, like for example charging this device, for anyone like myself, who battles to remember to charge a cell phone, having to remember to either have the device charged or take a charger with when I leave the house can be an annoying loose-end to always have to consider.
E-Cigg: Evolution or Simple a Reinvention of The Wheel?
Economically, the E-Cigg is a far better investment. While cigarettes are more enticing to those on a budget, the expense of acquiring the E-cigg is really only big once off with a small monthly/weekly refill expense that amounts to far less than cigarettes.
As with anything, there are positive attributes and negative points to consider. Dylan has gone from smoking up to a 30 cigarettes a day for many years, to zero, with the assistance of his Twisp E-cigg. For me however, a very casual smoker, cigarettes are still viable as smoking is really more of an occasional social pleasure I dabble in and the health risks, while they are still note-worthy, are less critical due to infrequency of my habit. However, with an E-Cigg, I may increase my habit because of its justifications, and the risk of severe nicotine addiction becomes more likely.
Subjectively and Respectfully I Conclude That…
…There is no doubt that this advancement in technology, however simplistic, plays a very valuable role in the shift from traditional cigarettes to a healthier and happier society. Is this necessarily the answer for everyone? Perhaps it should be viewed as a useful platform for heavy smokers to either cut down, or quit their habit rather than a new culture on its own.
Fortunately this topic can be left for each person to resolve in their own life. For now Dylan and I can at least agree on one thing for certain, traditional smokers are still the toughest folk out there. No one can brave the extreme elements like a true dedicated smoker banished to the outdoors. Whether it means standing in the blistering cold or sweltering heat, a smoker will do so without complaint for the duration of a cigarette, and with a little luck, a cup of coffee!