September 29th, 2010

Deep Thoughts

The dude at my tabac mentioned the other day that in a few months electronic cigarettes are going to start becoming available at tabacs.

For those of you who don't know what these are, they are devices that allow you to smoke a plastic cigarette without inhaling or exhaling smoke. While not perfect yet, they are apparently improving all the time and will shortly perfectly replicate the smoking experience without smoke.

Now, this could be a great step forward for everyone, but only if people are rational about it. Give the average smoker the choice of a "natural" cigarette and having to go without while sitting in a bar on a cold night or during a long plane flight and he or she will choose the e-cigarette.

Because smoking is a habit as long as the e-cigarette does a good enough job at replication the majority of smokers would migrate over to them, which would be better for their health and, in theory, bother non smokers less.

The problem, I suspect, is that both the government and non smokers will fuck this up.

First off, the government will try to tax the shit out of them. That's a big mistake. If you want people to transition over to them, you need to make them more affordable than regular cigarettes.

Secondly, I don't think non-smokers are rational enough to accept them, even if it's in their best interests.

I suspect they will bitch and moan when people try to light these things up in bars, will still lecture people that nicotine is bad for them, find some ridiculous study that says it's bad for their kids, etc....

Even though if they just shut up and let us smoke e-cigarettes on planes and trains and bars and other public spaces they'd have to deal with less of the semi-mythical dangers of second hand smoke.

Maybe they'll prove me wrong and, for once, just shut the fuck up.

But, I doubt it. This is a group of people who think that walking up to people smoking and saying "you know that will kill you" will get people to spontaneously quit and have ignored multiple studies showing that warning labels on cigarettes actually encourage smoking.

If that happens, the average smoker will just say "fuck it" and stick with burning tobacco. If they shut the fuck up for a change they might accomplish something.

We'll see what happens. But, if I was a betting man, I'd wager the non-smokers will shoot themselves in the foot.