One man’s journey through the promise and peril of e-cigarettes.
In 2015, my now-and-then smoking habit had crept up to two or three cigarettes per day, and a lot more when I was drinking. After one tobacco-laden weekend resulted in a full week of phlegm and coughing, I felt like I had to do something. I was working in Times Square at the time. From the window outside my cubicle, I was face to face with video billboard playing the painfully hip new commercial from the e-cigarette company Juul. Turns out: marketing works. Before I knew it, I’d ordered one for myself and fallen in love at first hit. Everything about the e-cigarette seemed, and felt, better than my old cancer sticks. The smell, the cost, the surprisingly strong amount of nicotine it delivered per hit. At the same social events where I once belched noxious, girlfriend-repelling, shirt-stinking tobacco fumes, I was now puffing crème brûlée-scented fog clouds.
E-cigarettes have been around since 2003 and we still don’t know much about their health effects or safety. But, as we’ve pulled the flavored smoke from our Juuls and similar vaporizers, we’ve blindly assumed one thing: they have to be a better idea than smoking cigarettes.
Cigarettes might be the least controversial enemies of your health. They cause cancer, emphysema, heart disease, even impotence. While saturated fat and alcohol still have their supporters, nobody is rushing to cigarettes’ defense.