As We See It

Mildly NJoyable: electronic cigarettes

Smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.

To enjoy, or not to “NJoy”? That is the question. You may have heard about the electronic cigarette phenomenon. Well, one product in particular, NPro’s NJoy, promises “All the pleasures of smoking without all the problems.”

But what are these “problems” that NJoy promises to solve? Besides the obvious downer that smoking cigarettes can cause cancer, it seems the primary problem would be the inability to get a nicotine fix whenever and wherever, even when slapping on patches and chewing gum like a cow chews cud doesn’t work. When smoking was banned in many places in Nevada (bars that serve food being the primary buzz-kill), nicotine fiends had to satisfy their cravings elsewhere. They’d huddle around in a group during the winter for warmth or sweat their asses off in the desert heat. God forbid we actually just quit smoking. That would make sense, and NJoy hopes you’re not that into rational thought.

NJoy’s advertising says users can “'smoke’ Nywhere, Nytime, Nyplace.” Sitting in a family restaurant? Sure. On an airplane? Go for it. Next to a newborn with a respiratory illness? Knock yourself out. There’s even a handy-dandy card to show people that bug you that says your NJoy cigarette “is a revolutionary product that allows you to savor all the pleasures of smoking… including the places where smoking tobacco is banned.” On the back of the card is a list of why smoking bans don’t affect NJoy – in so many words, why they should shut up and leave you alone.

So how does the whole thing work? It’s a battery-powered cigarette—nay—vaporizer—that charges much like a cell phone. Replaceable cartridges are inserted into the simulated cigarette and are available in varying nicotine levels and flavors. The user inhales exactly as they would a regular cigarette, and the tip glows red to simulate the effect of burning tobacco. Instead of exhaling smoke, however, all that emerges is a light, scent-free vapor mist.

How about the cost? After crunching some numbers, we determined the NJoy can save you cash in the long run, especially with the jumping cost of a pack of smokes. But purchasing the kit and then having to order replacement cartridges and wait for delivery may have smokers running to the convenient store in desperation.

If you’re jonesin’ for a smoke and appropriately stocked up on NJoy supplies, will the electronic cig help? First, NJoy never claims to be a smoking cessation product. In a thoroughly unscientific test, we had four regular smokers try NJoy, and we determined it probably isn’t going to help you quit. Though it’s thoroughly amusing to use the product in non-smoking areas and watch others pull shocked expressions, it’s hard to tell when you’re finished smoking, because unlike a real cigarette, the NJoy doesn’t burn out. You just determine you’re probably finished when you start to get a bit dizzy.

In the end, NJoy wasn’t enjoyable enough to keep our guinea pigs from lighting up the real thing. Even after attempting to satisfy nicotine cravings with NJoy, the desire for a traditional cig persisted and our tiny test group all lit up a cigarette afterwards every time they “smoked” a fake butt. And for that we had to venture out into the elements. So much for leaving our smoke-stained problems behind.


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