CNN had an interesting article on their site recently: E-Cigarettes that purport to solve the health and social issues of conventional cigarette smoking. I am intrigued for personal reasons. I’m quite allergic to tobacco smoke, so much so that I’m simply unable to be around smokers, even when they’re not smoking. The smoke permeates their clothes, hair and skin. I can even enter an elevator and tell you that a smoker has been on recently, not smoking in the elevator, just standing.

I have a sister I love dearly who has been a life long smoker and I struggle to visit her, even though she tries to be conscientious, only smoking outside and sticking her ciggie out the window when she drives. The problem is, this in fact makes most of the smoke blow back in on me and her kids.

Smokers and non-smokers appear to have different understandings of the physics of smoke. I thought smokers were daft when they didn’t understand their cloud of smoke was out to get me, attacking me, wafting my way. Then I learned that smokers and non-smokers have opposite ion charges, and  that smoke may actually be attracted to non-smokers in the area. I’m looking for links to this information.  Further,

Dr Felix Sulman, head of the Applied Pharmacology department at Jerusalem University, conducted experiments with positive and negative ions on a cross-section of people. (his subjects were two groups of men and women between twenty and sixty-five) When left for about an hour in a room that contained an overdose of positive ions they became irritable and fatigued. Yet the same people confined for the same period of time, in air containing an overdose of negative ions, showed a pattern of brainwaves that suggested increased alertness and relaxation. He tested their alertness and work capacity by various means. All of them scored significantly higher, during and immediately after, their exposure to increased levels of negative ions.

(In the interest of disclosure, I got the above quote from a site that would like to sell you a negative ion generator. I don’t endorse one or another; There are many. But unlike the touted health benefits of E-Cigarettes, there is a mountain findable, readable research behind NIG’s.)

Their statements, my questions/rants:

“Smoking Everywhere E-Cigarette Is a Much Healthier Option than Traditional Cigarette: Smoking Everywhere E-Cigarette has no tobacco, no tar, no real smoke and no other chemicals like traditional cigarette that can cause lung cancer. However, It looks like a real cigarette, feels like a real cigarette and tastes like a real cigarette, yet it isn’t a real cigarette… It is also cheaper and healthier than real cigarettes!!”

Yea! I agree that you may be onto a great improvement here. Lung cancer bad. Cheaper good. Healthier maybe. Could you use some of the space on your site currently taken up by pictures of sexy people smoking your product to tell me what it is made of?

“Our product is comparable to the nicotine patch except people still get the oral fixation, which they love,” explained Elicko Taieb, CEO of Smoking Everywhere.

So are you touting it as a smoking cessation product, like the patch? You make it to administer nicotine at several levels. Are they designed to be used in a step down process, matching the step down doses of the patch?

“Smoking Everywhere E-Cigarette has no tobacco, no tar, no real smoke and no other chemicals like traditional cigarette that can cause lung cancer. However, It looks like a real cigarette, feels like a real cigarette and tastes like a real cigarette, yet it isn’t a real cigarette… It is also cheaper and healthier than real cigarettes!!!”

I’m pinching myself; I’m with the FDA here: Where are your studies proving that inhaling pure liquid nicotine into one’s lungs is a good idea? And, let me add on here: How is the nicotine derived and manufactured? What safety standards are in place to prevent the smoker from sucking in the lithium in the battery that powers it?

“We at Smoking Everywhere, LLC consider the Smoking Everywhere E-Cigarette as a GREEN Product, as also known as Eco-Friendly, and we have the goal of helping to create a smoke free environment, by offering smoking cigarettes, without tobacco, tar, smoke and the other chemicals found in the traditional cigarettes, and here is how:

  • The Smoking Everywhere E-Cigarette produces vapor mist that looks like smoke, instead of real smoke, and there is no need for ashtrays, because there is no ash created from the Electronic Cigarette.
  • There is no cigarette buds to dispose, and therefore much less to recycle.”

Is there someone out there recycling cigarette butts? I never see that bin where I go…As someone who is allergic to cigarette smoke, I applaud the absence of smoke and ash. And eliminating the need for ashtrays? Sounds great. Close the ashtray factory.  And I agree that butts on the ground everywhere is one of my environmental pet peeves, especially since it is a serious danger to wildlife such as birds, who choke on butts.

But if you’re looking for a green label, I think you need to work harder here and compare the impact of your product from raw material through manufacture, transport, distribution, marketing, etc., as well as use by the consumer, to conventional tobacco products. Are the batteries and other components of eCigarettes recyclable? Do you use recycled materials in manufacture? Do your factories have some sort of green certification? What responsible steps have you taken to insure your offices and factories are minimizing their negative footprint? Is your product designed to lessen peoples’ overall consumption by stepping them down into not smoking, or are you hoping to replace cigarettes and attract new esmokers? Consumerism by its definition isn’t very green.

If you would disclose the materials the eCigarette is made of, you might win some green points by comparing the materials in your product to an equivalent amount of tobacco cigarettes. Problem is, outside of the chemicals and the nasty filter, a cigarette is biodegradable. You compare the monetary savings, and that is a great selling point. You could increase those savings if you market as a smoking cessation product.

Anybody want to weigh in? Comments are apparently not working at the moment. We’re on it; Hang in…

Join our Hippie Chick Diaries fanpage on facebook!