Social Question

josie's avatar

Do electronic cigarettes solve a social problem when I have friends over to party?

Asked by josie (27673points) December 7th, 2012

I heard a discussion today about electronic cigarettes and I had a brainstorm.
I have a couple of buddies who smoke. I smoked when I was in the service and, while I wish they would quit, I understand the habit.
My friends know I don’t want them smoking in my house, so they don’t, but they wind up going outside. That’s OK in the summer I suppose, but during the holiday season I like to throw a couple of parties, and if it is cold out, I feel sort of bad about it.
So I figured this year I might buy a couple of E-Cigs and give them to the guys to use at the party. That way, they are happy, and nobody else is bothered. What do you think?

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16 Answers

Shippy's avatar

It’s up to you but as a cigarette smoker, I would just rather smoke outside. I do wonder though, if these are acceptable on airplanes.

zensky's avatar

Someone was smoking one next to me on a train the other day. I swear I smelled smoke – which means I was inhaling second hand nic and tar, right?

josie's avatar

@zensky It’s water vapor. It has no tar or burning byproducts like tobacco. I actually tried one to see what it was like. No smell at all, although I guess they come in flavors. The guy who was using it, and let me take a hit, was in the same room as me, and I personally smelled nothing at all.
@Shippy And maybe they would rather go outside. They are pretty hard core, and they might worry the e cig would wreck their image. I was just thinking of making the gesture in case they might be interested.

Shippy's avatar

@josie I think it is an awesome gesture. You never know, they might take to them, and quit smoking too. I would definitely try one if I were at your party.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@josie I think that’s a really sweet gesture. I am a smoker, and I have to admit that if I were drinking at these gatherings, I’d probably be more likely to step outside to have a “real” smoke, both because I tend to like the fresh (even cold) air when I’m at social gatherings, and if I am drinking I “need” to smoke a bit more. But if someone offered me an e-cig at a party in their home, I’d be really touched. I think it’s hard for smokers to feel like they aren’t the devil, people hate smoking and the people who do it, and very few people are hesitant to show that. I feel like sometimes there is a disconnect… I’m addicted, I’m actually not going out of my way to ruin your day or trying to kill you, believe it or not. I feel like what you’ve suggested means even more than just keeping your buddies in out of the cold. It’s a really nice thing to consider.

zensky's avatar

I know I smelled something.

Found it:

Do electronic cigarettes smell?
Most electronic cigarette manufacturers will tell you that their products have no smell. E-cig users are essentially inhaling vapor, however… and yes, pretty much every substance in the world, especially organic substances like nicotine, have a smell. However, the faint odor that you’ll find coming from electronic smoking is comparable to a residual scent of aftershave, perfume, cotton candy, a dry ice fog machine, etc.


mrentropy's avatar

I just started using an EgoC electronic cigarette last Saturday. I’d say it is more socially acceptable, as long as the people around realize that it doesn’t work the same way a tobacco cigarette works.

As an added bonus, mine looks like a light saber or, according to some, the mind eraser gadget from Men In Black. People ask questions rather than blaming you for the world’s ills.

As far as smell goes, there is some but it doesn’t linger. It’s also not a ‘smokey’ smell and is dependent on what flavor you’re using.

If they haven’t used one before they may be likely to use them just for the novelty of it at first. They may even notice that they don’t crave a cigarette as much, although in my case a lot of that has to do with habit rather than a need for nicotine. That is, I’ve been smoking for so long at set times such as waking up, after a meal, getting in the car, etc. So, while they may use the e-cig they may still feel the need to smoke a regular one.

As far as it goes for me, I puff on the thing nearly constantly but don’t feel any particular need for a smoke. I’ve been assured that this tendency of constantly ‘vaping’ will subside after a while. But, since it’s cheaper than smoking (in the long run) and I’m not generating burning smoke, it’s not a big deal.

bookish1's avatar

That’s a really nice idea, @josie. Social situations where smokers are in the minority can be tricky. Sometimes I’ve felt like I’m throwing a wrench in a small social gathering if I need to step out for a smoke. But I’m so addicted that my focus and concentration just go out the window if I miss a dose. Anyway, that’s real nice of you to think of your friends. I’m sure they will appreciate the gesture. There are disposable electronic cigs you can buy at a gas station if you don’t want to make the investment of buying an expensive one.

augustlan's avatar

I think it’s a great idea! As a smoker myself, I’d use one in order to have more time inside with my friends, but probably still step out a time or two for a real one. Definitely go with the disposables if you do it, though. A lot cheaper.

Seek's avatar

Let me know how this works out! I’m a non-smoker that loves to throw parties, but with two asthmatics in the house it can be difficult. Sometimes even being outside around a smoker can set my son’s asthma off. If this turns out to work in your favor, @josie – or rather, to be an appreciated gesture at least, I may do the same!

downtide's avatar

I think its a good idea if the smokers are on board with it. However, not all smokers like them or find them an adequate substitute and they may still want to nip outisde for a real one anyway.

I’ve been a convert to e-cigs since July and haven’t had any desire to retern to “analog” cigs since then.

@zensky you can smell some of the flavourings but there are no harmful chemicals in the vapour. The nicotine is absorbed by the user, the rest is water vapour, glycerine and propylene glycol (the same stuff that is used as a carrier in an asthma inhaler). Nothing burns so there is no tar, ash or particulates.

zensky's avatar

Isn’t there nicotine in the vapour? He’s both inhaling it (so some escapes into the air) and exhaling it – plus his own CO2.

Methinks it’s like cellphones: we’ll learn about the carcinogens in a few years.

downtide's avatar

@zensky not really, no. The nicotine is absorbed inth the bloodstream through the mucous memberanes of the mouth and respiratory system, so what’s exhaled has already been stripped of most of the nicotine content. There might be a bit left, but in miniscule amounts.

A review of recent test results can be found here

Some non-smokers have expressed concern about inhaling nicotine should they be exposed to exhaled vapor. It should be particularly comforting to observe that the quantity of nicotine in a puff of captured exhaled vapor too small–even if inhaled directly by a bystander–to have any health effects whatsoever. If a bystander were to lock lips with a user after each inhaled puff and take in the entire quantity of nicotine the user inhales, after 300 puffs the bystander would be exposed to 2.1 mg of nicotine, which is the approximate quantity present in a low-dose nicotine lozenge or piece of gum. At these quantities, nicotine is not a danger to health and does not cause addiction. Furthermore, the nicotine would be delivered much more slowly—at about 1/10 the speed of delivery from gum or lozenges.

However, bystanders concerned about inhaling nicotine are unlikely to lock lips with an e-cigarette user, and since no nicotine was detected in the air samples taken in the stainless steel test chamber, it is apparent that the tiny amount of nicotine exhaled by the user is quickly diluted by mixing with the ambient air. As a result, bystanders are not exposed to nicotine at all.

I worked out how much nicotine I take in through my e-cig (the quantity and concentration is clearly marked on the labels of the liquid), and it amounts to about one cigarette’s-worth per day.

It’s also worth noting that nicotine is not a carcinogen, and is only toxic in large doses.

zensky's avatar

Right – technically on its own its semantically not called carcinogenic, however:

Nicotine is an alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants (Solanaceae) that acts as a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonist. The biosynthesis takes place in the roots and accumulation occurs in the leaves of the Solanaceae. It constitutes approximately 0.6–3.0% of the dry weight of tobacco and is present in the range of 2–7 µg/kg of various edible plants.It functions as an antiherbivore chemical; therefore, nicotine was widely used as an insecticide in the past and nicotine analogs such as imidacloprid are currently widely used.

In low doses (an average cigarette yields about 1 mg of absorbed nicotine), the substance acts as a stimulant in mammals, while high amounts (30–60 mg[6]) can be fatal. This stimulant effect is the main factor responsible for the dependence-forming properties of tobacco smoking. According to the American Heart Association, nicotine addiction has historically been one of the hardest addictions to break, while the pharmacological and behavioral characteristics that determine tobacco addiction are similar to those determining addiction to heroin and cocaine. The nicotine content of popular American-brand cigarettes has slowly increased over the years, and one study found that there was an average increase of 1.6% per year between the years of 1998 and 2005. This was found for all major market categories of cigarettes.

Research in 2011 has found that nicotine inhibits chromatin-modifying enzymes (class I and II histone deacetylases) which increases the ability of cocaine to cause an addiction.

It’s nasty shit. Period.

josie's avatar

^What does that have to do with my relationship with my friends. They are big boys, I would entrust my life to each of them, and they have made a choice about whether or not they want to give in to their addiction.
I have said every thing that I want to say to them about it. They have happily chosen to ignore my pleas and advice. Now they will play their hand, so to speak.
So why not let them feed their addiction without annoying others. No laws are broken, nobody has to put up with the smoke. Seems like a win win to me.

Kraigmo's avatar

E-cigarettes are a good idea if you want to allow smokers to smoke indoors. They are no big deal. The amount of second-hand nicotine vapor is trivial to non-existent. I don’t smoke cigarettes, and I don’t mind people using E-cigs near me. Turning central heat on after a season of being off produces thousands more carcinogens than E-cigs do. So do campfires. So does incense. It’s all relative, and the electronic cigarettes are relatively harmless.

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