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Smokes on a Plane


Have you ever been at function and wanted to smoke a cigarette? When you get up from your seat you realize, out of the hundred plus people in the room, you are the only person who is smoking. Now you feel shame as you step outside. You feel nervous as you sway back and forth, praying no one catches you in the act.

In the past when you felt nervous, lighting a cigarette was the acceptable action. Now, it’s grabbing your phone, pretending to read an important subject, while lighting your cigarette. You light up, and after you take your first drag, a mother and young child walk by ... they both glare like you are shooting heroin in public. You look down to extinguish the cigarette noticing there are no ashtrays and not one solitary butt on the ground. You flick the butt as hard as you can away from the scene, yet the wind catches it, and now it is burning on the hood of a stranger’s car. As you run up to grab the burning butt, said stranger walks out and wonders why you are leaning over the hood of their late model sedan. Embarrassment ensues as you walk back into function smelling as if you have been in a smoke-filled bar for hours.

If you are one of the proud smokers who “don’t give a damn” what society deems appropriate, let me be the first to salute you and say congrats. If you are like me—an ungraceful, self-conscience, anxiety-fueled wreck—I have your solution: the eCigarette.

What is an eCigarette?

Well, if you are looking for an extremely scientific definition then I suggest you start Googling. The easiest definition is it is an inhaler of sorts. The eCig vaporizes a liquid solution, which is propylene glycol, and/or vegetable glycerin, and/or polyethylene glycol 400 mixed with concentrated flavors, into an aerosol mist. Some liquid solutions include nicotine, some do not. When you take a drag from the eCig the liquid is pulled through the atomizer (heating coil) to the user's mouth. The heating coil is powered by a battery. The liquid is then formed into a vapor; the smoker inhales, triggering the eCig’s tip to glow a certain color, and exhales a mist simulating smoke. That is the my easy definition for the eCig, so for all the super smart people who are getting ready to write an email to tell me I left out the square root of such-in-such, save your energy! Some eCigs are disposable, others are rechargeable and come in kits. A starter kit usually includes a battery, a charger (USB port, car charger), a cartridge, and atomizer. You buy replacement cartridges when your eCig essentially quits working. Most disposable eCigs, along with replacement cartridges, are the equivalent of two packs of cigarettes give or take.

The market is now flooded with eCigarettes, which has turned into a multi-billion-with-a-B-dollar business. Each brand is unique and claims to be better than their competitor. I am not going to call out any of these brands, just tell you what I look for in an eCig.

—First off, size does matter (queue giggling please). Some of the eCigs are huge; I don’t want to feel like I am sucking on a PVC pipe. I like a smaller eCig that looks like a regular king-size cigarette.

—Next, is what the industry refers to as a “pull and throat hit.” I know the terms are a bit creepy, but it is a matter of the sensation you get when you take a drag off an eCig. That is, does that vapor feel like a drag off its tobacco counterpart?

—Of course taste will be the determining factor on which brand is your perfect fit. They each have a distinct smell, but it is so underwhelming that I doubt that will affect which brand you choose.

—Last but not least is the brand image. What does this product say about me? Some are marketed towards women, with their skinny pink casing and the jeweled tip that displays a purple glow when you take a drag. I tour many trade shows throughout the year and was introduced to mossy oak camouflage eCigs, celebrity-endorsed eCigs, and even eCigars. They all come in a variety of lengths, widths, colors, and packaging. I know that one customer told me how it was important that her eCig had a red glow when she took a drag, because the other colors were not realistic. Different eCig brands come in a variety of flavors, regular and menthol, peach, cappuccino, and strawberry … the flavors seem endless.

Ten bucks is the normal retail on a disposable eCigarette. Starter kit prices vary depending on the brand and what the kit provides (number of refill cartridges, variety of chargers), but usually they start at the 20-dollar range. If you are interested in this type of product, I am pretty sure you will find something that you will enjoy.

eCigs benefit people who want to quit smoking or people who still want to get nicotine but don’t want the tar, chemicals, smell etc… A study from Boston University School of Public Health in 2010 shows that eCigs were found to be "much safer" than traditional tobacco ones and had a level of toxicity similar to existing nicotine replacements. As always, most doctors and government organizations say the best avenue is abstinence from nicotine. The message of abstinence is great until you run into the knocked up fifteen-year old at prom. Clearly, people smoke, and let us remember that tobacco is still legal, but smoking ban legislation is on the rise.

In my humble opinion the eCigarette will never replace the good ol’ filtered cigarette. What the eCig will do is be an add-on for the normal smoker who either wants the freedom to smoke in a public place or to make their non-smoking friends and family feel more comfortable with their habit. As much as I love to light up while having a beer, I don’t smoke in my house or car. Cigarette smoke really hangs out no matter how many times you Febreeze; if you don’t believe me, call up the hotel that sent me a fine for smoking in a non-smoking room. eCigs are dandy substitutes for calming those nicotine cravings in an anti-smoking environment, like at my in-laws house in my husband’s Star Wars themed childhood bedroom, where I am hiding with bottle of expired wine I found…or at an airport.


by Holly Kruep