With the ban of cigarettes in DC’s indoor public places, along came the bastard child of the cancer stick: the electronic cigarette. It’s designed to deliver the experience of smoking without the adverse health effects usually associated with tobacco smoke.
An electrical device that simulates the act of tobacco smoking, bearing the physical sensation and appearance of inhaled tobacco smoke without its odor or health risks.
Hundreds of different flavor varieties are available. Some flavors resemble traditional cigarette types, such as regular tobacco and menthol, and some even claim to mimic specific cigarette brands, such as Marlboro or Camel. A wide variety of food flavors are also sold, from the traditional (vanilla, coffee, cola) to the more unusual (strawberry daiquiri, Boston cream pie).
An estimated 2.5 million people are now inhaling nicotine through a battery-operated device that heats liquid to make vapor, taking the fire, tar, and many other cancer-causing chemicals found in cigarettes out of smoking.
At first glance, these fake puffers look a little ridiculous. Think “non-alcoholic beer.” Yet e-cigarettes have grown up since a disposable cigarette alternative with a weak battery began appearing in convenience stores a few years ago. The rechargeable, next-generation device is sold in tobacco stores and has been said to help some smokers quit nicotine, saving them thousands of dollars (and their lives).
Can’t give up the love of puffing? Some DC clubs and restaurants offer some ways to side-step the smoking ban… kind of.