A little while ago, Dick Puddlecote (see sidebar) held a little competition. It was the sort of competition which I like, since it required nothing more than entry. This sort of competition is also known as a ‘draw’. The prize was one of fifty ‘Puritane’ e-cigs. I was a lucky winner and subsequently received my prize. It arrived about a week ago.
Tonight, I tried it out.
For those readers unfamiliar with the Puritane e-cig, here is a pic:
The top cig is an ordinary king-size fag. As you can see, the puritane e-cig is far bigger than a normal cig, even a super-king one. These e-cigs are know as ‘cigalikes’ because their appearance. No wonder the Zealots are hysterical about them. They do actually look like cigs and on this one, the tip glows red. A fat lot of good that is when you yourself cannot see the damned tip when you use it. Is that one of the reasons that the Zealots are swooning over them? Perhaps children might thing that they are the real thing because the tip glows. Is that why Glantz et al say that they might appeal to ‘yoofs’ and be a ‘gateway’? Is it just because these particular cigalikes are thicker and longer and thus more appealing to childish minds? Why waste money on surveys of college students when you can just say that cigalikes look like bigger and better cigs? That is a good question because it illustrates how corrupt these surveys are. What the Glantz’s survey asked was whether a student had even take a puff from an e-cig in the last 30 days. Clearly, a small proportion would have, but, since these cigalikes can be bought at places which sell cigs, would it not have been more appropriate to ask if any student had actual bought a cigalike in the last 30 days? By such deviousness does the Tobacco Control Industry exert influence upon simple-minded politicians. Well, I mean those politicians who are in the pay of either Big Pharma or Big Tobacco or both – perhaps not so simple-minded.
The construction of the thing is interesting. It feels as though it is made of glass, but more likely a hard plastic. The surface is quite slippery – I have dropped it twice.
But, fair dos, it works in a very simple way. There are no buttons to press – just suck, as one would with a cig, and the tip glows and vapour is created and sucked through a small hole in the ‘filter’ end. This particular e-cig ( I am ‘smoking’ it at this moment) has a taste of caramel, for lack of another word. Tastes are very difficult to describe – what is the taste of a banana? What is the difference between the taste of a banana and that of an orange, if you disregard the texture of the fruit? To me, it has a taste of caramel, right?
The packet that it came in describes it as “REGULAR 16mg/g”. That strength of nicotine is not very high and perhaps explains the lack of ongoing effect. By that I mean that the effect of a puff is very short term. The taste is nice, but there is little on-going satisfaction. I suppose that you could say that it is like taking a swig of shandy as compared with taking a swig of Stella Artois. But the taste is indeed nice, and I can understand how e-cig devotees place a lot of emphasis on the variety of tastes available.
It produces a good amount of vapour. It cannot be denied. The vapour feels OK in your mouth.
Right. I have now put the e-cig away and lit a fag. Is there any difference? To be honest, not really. The taste is different, but the difference is subtle. I vaguely remember when my Dad first allowed me to taste beer. I did not like it! It tasted horribly bitter to me. I suppose that you could liken it also to the taste of red wine as compared with lemonade (soda, for our American friends, I suppose). There are subtle bitternesses in red wine which complement the sweetnesses, which tastes are attractive to adult palates. Further, the effect of taking a drag on a fag extends for quite a while. I feel no urge to repeat the action right away, which I did with the e-cig. It is not for me to say why that is so – at this moment. It might be that I am especially conscious of using the e-cig, rather than, as is normal, concentrating upon what I am writing, and, occasionally, having a puff between sentences. For is that not what we ‘PETS’ (People who Enjoy Tobacco) do?
It is an interesting thought to consider how we enjoy tobacco. I think that most of us would agree that hasty puffing on a fag outside a pub is not satisfactory, nor is engaging in smoking in an airport cage. It is better than nothing, but not conducive to contentment. I have long thought that the principle attraction of enjoying tobacco is its ability to reduce tension, which is much the same thing, to a degree, as inducing contentment, so far as that is possible in the individual circumstances. For example, one often sees people light up outside court rooms, and, in the case of funerals, outside churches. It is a matter of reducing the burden of pain and sadness and increasing the acceptance thereof. Perhaps that is why tobacco was such a solace for troops in WW1 and WW2. It doesn’t make you happy, but perhaps makes you less unhappy.
Is that thought useful in thinking about the plight of the the poorest people in our society? The Zealots wish to price them out of their chief solace in their circumstances. They want to drive them to drink and obesity. Have ASH not said that it would be a good thing is the poorest spent no money on tobacco and spent that money of Big Macs? Less contentment gained from tobacco equals more contentment gained from food. It is a well-known fact that the enjoyment of tobacco subdues appetite.
Note how I have generally avoided the use of the words ‘smoker’ and ‘smoking’ in the above. Those words have become moralistic. We need new words or phrases. A young, male district nurse trainee came to our house a couple of days ago. On that occasion, I just happen to have left trays of home-grown stuff lying about to dry out. It turned out, when I asked him, “Do you enjoy tobacco?” that he was a PET (Person who Enjoys Tobacco). He was very interested in my tobacco plant growing plots. I don’t know what words we might use, but I know for certain that them need to be different from the ASH et al words. What I want to do is to differentiate between the idea of ‘quitting’ smoking, which is a good word, and ‘enjoying tobacco’, which is a good phrase. People have a right to ‘enjoy tobacco’, and they also have the right to ‘quit’ if they wish to. They also have the right to ‘quit’ enjoying steak and chips, and cheese and onion. What is wrong is that The State should use its power to force people to desist from the pleasures, or even force them to indulge in these pleasures.
For if The State can take to itself the power to force people to desist from certain pleasures, it can also force people to engage in those pleasures. Have such practices occurred? I think so. For a start, school dinners are very ‘politically correct’. But more, and very peculiar, on my last visit to the local hospital, the only ‘soda’ drinks available were ‘diet’ drinks. You could buy ‘diet coke’ but not ‘coke’. How do these Zealots know what the thirty year effect of drinking such ‘diet’ drinks will be? They are chock-a-block with chemicals – probably thousands of them.
I must to bed. To finish, I must say that, if I was terrified that I might die at the age of 80 rather than 90, and if I was really worried about not being able to compete with Usain Bolt in the 100 metres dash, and if I was worried about the effects of enjoying my life, such as might remain, I might be tempted to join the “World Bank Appreciation Society”.