NORTH ADAMS >> Have you ever thought that instead of smoking, you might like to go to a website and click on a picture of a cigarette instead? Well, that's originally what I thought "e-cigarettes" meant, but apparently it involves using a battery-operated device to simulate a cigarette by delivering the nicotine chemical vapor to your lungs without lighting actual tobacco on fire. Using this device is called "vaping," and those who use it are called "vapers" or "vapid."
If you're wondering what the point of smoking without the tobacco is, you're certainly not alone. There's someone sneaking up behind you, LOOK OUT! Phew. But vaping does seem a bit similar to becoming hooked on low-fat Twinkies; sure, it's ostensibly slightly healthier than the actual thing, but you're still reaping many of the negative effects while depriving yourself of the full experience. Also, by now they probably have low-fat Twinkie flavored e-liquid to use in your e-cigarette. The industry is exploding.
In fact, a new vape shop had recently proposed opening, which some of the locals seem to be celebrating with fireworks. To be fair, between June and September other things that North Adams residents celebrate with fireworks include:
• Almost graduating
• Winning the lottery
• Entering the lottery
• Eating a hamburger
• Avoiding falling churches
• Owning fireworks
So as you can see, it is an exciting time here in North Adams, especially for purveyors of fireworks. Which I can't help but view as unrelated to the vaping because there's an old saying, "Where there's smoking, there's fireworks."
Those of you who do not vape were probably able to read that sentence without issue. Whereas any vapers reading this article were immediately seized with a fit of apoplectic rage and yelled "Smoking isn't the same as vaping!" Their argument is that while cigarettes produce smoke, e-cigarettes produce vapor, which is totally different because it's the thing they like more.
Studies have shown that use of e-cigarettes can definitely cause damage to your lungs, and if you looked at the lung of a vaping enthusiast it would look totally disgusting. On the other hand, as Norm MacDonald famously observed, if you looked at a healthy lung, it would also look totally disgusting. Human bodies are weird.
But the main downside of vaping may well be acceptance and complacency. With regular cigarettes, now that they have been banned from restaurants and hotels and airplanes and acknowledged as cancer death sticks, people only smoke them for short periods of time while congregated outside of doorways that I need to walk through. Please stop.
Vaping, on the other hand, because it enjoys a much more positive media image, is something that people feel free to do in the middle of a restaurant, hotel, or nursery, for hours at a time. And people in the vicinity will be suffering from the chemicals in the vapor, which are the second-worst by-product of e-cigarettes.
The worst by-product, of course, is people talking enthusiastically about vaping. I realize that making it the topic of a column only adds to the problem, but I promise that my talking about vaping ends here. And that's something worth celebrating -- I'll get the fireworks.
"Seth Brown is an award-winning humor writer, the author of "From God To Verse," and is sad when planned businesses go up in smoke. His website is RisingPun.com."