If you are like I am, you probably see a lot of people smoking cigarettes here and there, even though the rates of smoking have gone down in recent years. On Wednesday, for example, I happened to stop at Rite Aid pharmacy at I and Olive streets to run an errand, and I spotted two people smoking. One, a man, was at the end of the sidewalk, smoking and staring at the cars coming and going into the parking lot of Bethard Square, where the store is located. The other smoker was a woman, sitting in a minivan with the window down puffing away and reading something on a Kindle.
One thing I didn’t see, and never have seen, is someone smoking one of the new e-cigarettes. I know some people somewhere are using e-cigarettes, because governments already are passing laws regulating their sale and use. For example, you aren’t supposed to be able to sell them to kids, although they don’t seem to be dangerous (the e-cigarettes, that is; not necessarily the kids).
E-cigarettes work by electrically heating a nicotine-laced liquid in their barrels and producing a vapor, which the user then inhales, much as he or she might have done (or might do) with a cigarette. The idea is that the vapor is harmless in comparison to smoke, which causes everything from coughs to bad breath to lung cancer. However, the jury is still out on whether inhaling nicotine causes one any harm. Nicotine is known to be addictive, but so is chocolate. I know chocolate is addictive because I am pretty fond of it, and in fact am going to stop writing now and go get some. Ahhhh.
I used to be fond of nicotine, when I smoked a pipe, but I got over that, thanks to gentle urging from Mrs. Doud and just about everyone else in Madera who kept thinking a haystack was on fire whenever I got close to them.
I’ve no plans to try an e-cigarette, but it would be interesting to see one in action sometime, just to see whether it is as ridiculous as it seems it would be.