The next time you’re on a train or a plane and you look across the aisle and think you’re seeing people smoking in violation of the rules, take a second look. The suspected culprits may actually be ‘vaping’ rather than smoking; in other words, enjoying electronic cigarettes, a cigarette without cigarette smoke despite deceptive appearances.
At first you may be tempted to think, "Well, it looks like smoke to me, and they shouldn’t be doing that in here!" Take a moment to relax, however, and sniff the air. Do you smell smoke? Sniff again. Do you smell anything at all out of the ordinary? Occasionally, depending upon what mixture is being used in E Cigarettes, you may catch a faint scent of orange or peppermint, but never will you find the scent of burning tobacco despite the fact that the person appears to be smoking.
How can that be? And just what is that stuff that looks like smoke but which seems to immediately disappear into the air without a trace left behind? Well, the electronic cigarette is a new technology that’s been developed and designed to help smokers who either cannot quit smoking with other approaches or who wish to continue feeling the enjoyment they receive from smoking without disturbing the people around them. Basically, the vapour that you see being exhaled is very little different from the water vapour you see escaping from the spout of a teapot or the breath of a companion on a cold day. Fans of this new style of 'smoking' actually prefer to be called 'vapers', since they are simply producing and exhaling an innocent vapour rather than smoke.
That vapour is composed almost entirely of the harmless mixture produced by theatrical fog machines, a blend of water mist and propylene glycol, a food additive that has long been declared as perfectly safe for human consumption. The vapour inhaled by vapers has almost none of the chemicals that are thought to be harmful in traditional cigarettes, although some users of this product, mainly smokers who have given up traditional forms of smoking, will choose cartridges for their E Cigarettes that include some nicotine. In most cases, the amount of nicotine involved will be far less than in their more traditional counterparts, and virtually none remains in the vapour exhaled by the user.
Some electronic cigarette users will switch over to their new form of smoking for the long term, taking comfort in the fact that their novel pastime doesn’t bother those around them and is almost certainly far less harmful than inhaling the concentrated smoke and chemical mixture given off by burning tobacco. Some people, however, may simply want to use the electronic cigarette as a helpful step in the process as they quit smoking, finding it far more effective and pleasant than the nicotine gums and patches that are on the market.
Part of the reason people have enjoyed smoking tobacco for so many centuries is that every time they take a puff of smoke and inhale it, they feel a little perk of pleasure, or happiness, or satisfaction of some kind coming to them from the nicotine. It is the nicotine in tobacco that has made it the most popular form of leaf to smoke throughout many cultures, and E Cigarettes can provide as much or as little nicotine as one desires, while producing none at all from their deceptively glowing ends. The little cartridges hidden in the filter end are completely adjustable in that respect.
This easy adjustability allows those who wish to do so to cut down on their nicotine levels a little bit at a time while still enjoying the feeling that they are smoking and thereby avoid the feelings of deprivation that many experience while quitting the habit, even if they have gums or patches to help during the process. And for those with no desire to actually quit smoking but who are concerned about the reports of multiple carcinogens in traditional tobacco smoke, they can take pleasure in knowing that none of these are produced by this electronic counterpart to what vapers now like to refer to as 'analogue cigarettes'.
So, when you see someone apparently smoking in a no-smoking zone in the future, take that second look before harrumphing to yourself and looking around for someone to complain to. The person in question may be puffing nothing more questionable than a harmless water vapour mixture into the air, despite any and all appearances to the contrary.