E-cigarette craze inspires bizarre new sub-culture

A radical new group of smokers have no intention of quitting. Instead, they believe their their addiction can save the lives of millions who puff away at cigarettes every day.

'Vapers' - dedicated enthusiasts of electronic cigarettes - say the vapors they inhale, along with nicotine, are far safer than the tar and raft of chemicals in tobacco cigarettes, while still supplying the same nicotine buzz.

This emerging subculture of smokers is obsessed with the customizable wizz-bang technology of electronic cigarettes. Some 'vapers' spend thousands to trick out their smoking pieces with the newest upgrades.

'You’re not downgrading from a cigarette. You’re getting something more,' Chris Mikovits, the owner of an e-cigarette store, told the technology website Digital Trends.

'You’re getting accessories, you’re getting colors, you’re getting flavors. You’re able to tune the experience – fine-tune it to you.'

At a recent convention of 'vapers,' tobacco was banned. Anyone who entered with 'analog cigarettes' was commanded to take out the pack and stomp on them.

But 'vapers' are also tech geeks. No one at a recent convention of 'vapers' would have been caught dead with the any of the widely-available e-cigarettes made by Blu or NJoy, which are sold at supermarkets and gas stations across the country.

Those cigarettes don't have rechargeable batteries and don't have refillable container holding the flavored e-juice.

The craze among the 'vaper' community is the PV - personal vaporizer, also called a mod.

Dozens of companies have sprung up offering a cornucopia of e-cigarettes accessories that allow enthusiasts to build and customize their own PVs.

'The last thing you want to do when you’re a new vaper is to be ignorant,' Rich Gavina told Digital Trends. 'If you’re a casual vaper, that’s cool. If you want to be considered an enthusiast, you’ve got to know your stuff.'

An electronic cigarette has five basic parts - the housing, the tip that is sucked on by the smoker, the battery that runs the device, an atomizer that heats up the liquid and vaporizes it and a tank that holds the e-juice and the atomizer called a cartomizer or clearomizer.

The e-juice is usually a mix of two main ingredients - propylene glycol, the main ingredient in non-toxic antifreeze, which the U.S. government has also deemed safe as a food preservative, and vegetable glycerin, also used as a synthetic sweetener and preservative in food. It also usually contains nicotine and food flavors to give the vapor a taste.

At a recent convention of 'vapors' on Long Island, New York, Digital Trends writer Andrew Couts observed that many of the custom vaporizers looked more like 'robot sex toys' than cigarettes.

One enthusiast built his piece out out of an old Atari video game controller. Most are long, sleek metal cylinders.

Tips can be wooden, plastic or metal and come in a variety of colors, depending on the preference of the smoker.

Legally, the U.S. government forbids e-cigarette makers from claiming that the devices will help smokers quit. The Food and Drug Administration still classifies inhaling the odorless vapor of an e-cigarette to be smoking.

Still, 'vapers' say the mix of food-additive chemicals in e-juice is far safer than inhaling the concoction of chemicals in modern tobacco cigarettes.

Many say e-cigarettes allowed them to quit smoking tobacco when nothing else worked.

Source : dailymail


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