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March 24, 2015



Unfortunately there are two cigarette-functions that are not only lacking, but are actually perversely negative with e-cigs and smartphones.

One, closely mirroring author Davies' thoughts, is the lack of a specially delimited time period "to have a... whatever." A cigarette was very defined in that sense. A smartphone is wildly varying, depending on whether you have a quick TXT or ride a Googled train of readings. Except for relatively rare chain-smokers, cigarette-times were discrete, and punctuated with fairly regular non-cigarette times. E-Cigs on the other hand, particularly if one is a smoker trying to be "healthier" by vaping low or non-nicotine e-juices, lend themselves to continuous use, taking a puff every minute or two, perhaps stopping ONLY for sex and meals.

The other is social connectedness. Yes, you have moments of "connection" with smartphones, but it is a sterile and disembodied connection, and it is rare that they encourage moments of intimacy among strangers who might well grow closer during and beyond them. Cigarettes, particularly before the Antismokers' attacks through taxation, were an open invitation to share with others, either offering one to a stranger or bumming one from a stranger -- in both cases opening the door to lengthier and more intense communication if the parties desired it. Cigarettes also had the unique quality of needing two elements -- the cigarette and the flame -- and if one desired communication with an unknown smoker and were too shy to just walk up and say "Hi! Me Michael! Who You?" one could always just say, "Excuse me, do you have a light?" -- thereby breaking the conversation-opening barrier and simultaneously establishing a "food-sharing" type relationship or asking or granting a boon.

The nature of opening the communication was also ideal in the lack of risk involved: walking up to a stranger and introducing oneself forced one to risk rejection, while being walked up to someone who introduces him or her self forces a conflict between the social urge to be polite and the fear of opening oneself to a further, possibly unwanted, intrusion that such an introduction invites. The sharing of a lighter or match has neither risk: one is unlikely to be rejected, and one is under very little obligation to continue the interaction to a higher level.

How important are those functions compared to possible health risks from smoking? Maybe not very... but they shouldn't be ignored. They *are* something that we lose when we lose smoking.


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