A convenient, healthier alternative to tobacco? Or a new-fangled instrument of torture? Journalist Nick Lezard, followed by actor Ade, describe their very different experiences of e-cigarettes
“Vaping” was a new word to me, as was the whole e-cigarette experience, says Nick Lezard. I normally smoke roll-ups and sometimes Senior Service or filterless Gauloises. After a few cautious puffs on an e-cig – there was a proper rasp on inhaling, as with a real cigarette – I felt dizzy and faintly queasy, as you are meant to feel after your first, illicit childhood fag, although I never did.
The e-cig induced a feeling of mid-level anxiety that made me want to calm down by – having a cigarette. Which, I feel, is counter-productive.
I tried one that had a high-tech look. It really couldn’t have looked cooler and some serious thought had gone into the design. But it was so strong that I spent the next minute coughing violently. The nicotine was also making me feel horrible.
For five days I tried to reach for these substitutes, when I would otherwise be reaching for a tobacco-filled cigarette. But every time I felt as if I was taking in something weird. It was a feeling that did not diminish. I also developed a tickly cough, which lasted for an hour or so after each session with an e-cig.
So, e-cigarettes are not for me. But at least these things drive home what an unpleasant and dangerous habit cigarettes actually are.
I first found out about e-cigarettes in America when I was in a shopping mall in New Jersey, says Ade. I used to be quite a heavy smoker. I was getting through about 15 to 20 Marlboro Lights a day and I realised that I’d have to cut down or even stop completely for health reasons.
Now I buy disposable e-cigarettes at petrol stations and rechargeables online. Rok premium electronic cigarette’s Rokstar is my current favourite gadget.
I like the fact that with e-cigarettes you can get a major nicotine hit without all the tar and other chemicals that you find in cigarettes, and that’s really what most smokers want. But I also really like the flavours you can get these days. They’re bringing out new ones all the time. My favourites at the moment are apple and melon. What flavour I choose depends on my mood.
When I first started using e-cigarettes, I’d sometimes find that waiters or restaurant workers would rush over to remind me that smoking indoors was forbidden. Now they’re used to it. But electronic cigarettes do cause unnecessary and unwanted attention sometimes. People come up to me in public places and strike up conversations, asking about what I’m doing. They’ll say things like: “Are you trying to quit smoking?”
I’ve already successfully quit and now I’m just in it for the nicotine and the hand-to-mouth action that all smokers are conscious of.
I’m not surprised that e-smoking is becoming so popular. It’s so much better than traditional cigarettes.