The Haunting Problem With e-Cigarettes: Someone, Somewhere Might Enjoy Them
Thanks to Science and Progress--about which I'm mildly heartened, having read about the invention of e-cigarettes--it seems that it is now possible to have all the joy of smoking without the risk.
Now, for years I've wondered: Why can't we invent something like this? People love smoking, so why not take that as a given and try to invent a cigarette that doesn't kill them?
And that's just what Science and Progress have done! Behold, the e-cigarette--and it won't make the curtains reek, either, and it won't set the back seat of the car on fire when you try to flick the butt out of the window in a headwind and miss.
The user “vapes,” or puffs on the vapor, to get a hit of the addictive nicotine (and the familiar sensation of bringing a cigarette to one’s mouth) without the noxious substances found in cigarette smoke.
So what on earth could the problem be? After all,
“Nicotine itself is not especially hazardous,” the British medical society concluded in 2007. “If nicotine could be provided in a form that is acceptable and effective as a cigarette substitute, millions of lives could be saved.”
So, really, I mean it, what's the problem?
The prohibitionists lost that battle last year, when the F.D.A. was overruled in court, but they’ve continued the fight by publicizing the supposed perils of e-cigarettes. They argue that the devices, like smokeless tobacco, reduce the incentive for people to quit nicotine and could also be a “gateway” for young people and nonsmokers to become nicotine addicts.
I'm still puzzled. Why should there be an incentive to quit nicotine if it's not especially hazardous? And why would it be so terrible to be a nicotine addict?
What is the world's problem with pleasure? It's not as if life is so long and easy that we can afford to say no to all of it, after all.