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what are these people smoking?


Over the last couple of months I’ve been noticing them everywhere.   People contentedly suck on them (sometimes greedily) in airports, cafes, and the street.   And they’re exhaling billowing clouds of what looks like smoke.  They look like a a seductive mix of toy, high end tech gadget, and drug paraphanalia.   I don’t know what they are, but I know I want one.


Turns out, they’re the latest trend in France. Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes.   E cigarettes are supposedly healthier than smoking because you’re not inhaling burning carcinogens, just vaporized nicotine and flavor.   No smell.   No fire.   You recharge the battery in the USB port on your computer.  You can get them in various nicotine strengths and in more flavors than Baskin and Robbins.   They even have a cannibis flavor, which I was sad to learn, contains no actual cannabis.


On a one-mile walk to Juan Les Pins the other day, I noticed five new e-cigarette stores have opened on Boulevard President Wilson. They display an array of lovely and varied e-cigarettes, pipes and even cigars as well as small bottles of the nicotine liquid.  There are also  necklace clips, carrying cases, stands, travel packs, fancy cartridges and so on.   It’s like buying a Barbie…the real money is in the accessories.

I’ve got to admit, I’m tempted by the concept.   I’ve even tried a disposable one, and while not as satisfying as a real cigarette, they’re not bad.

Granted, it might be just another ill-fated attempt to get people to quit smoking and spend a bunch of money in the process.   Not long ago, my neighbor Joc was smoking a lovely silver etched e cigarette.  Oh how I coveted it.    I asked her about it and she told me it was great.   She swore by the virtues of the ecigarette.    I was almost convinced, but the following week, she was back on the cigarettes. That doesn’t bode well for the long term.

IMG_4024But still, they’re so…shiny.  And they have the added benefit of being able to pretend I’m actually making a healthy purchase.    I’m tempted to get something really blingy.   Something that will make me feel like my name should be Zza Zza.   Or maybe something sleek and classic (in which case my name would be Inga).   Or one of each.

e cig bling

I can see it now.   I’ll convert to the ecigarette, my lungs will be purified, I will be healthier than I’ve been in years.  My skin will become  luminous and dewey. My apartment will always smell fresh, and there will be no new burn marks in my clothes.    Then I’ll choke to death on a loose Swarovski crystal.

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