Smoking Is Cool Again, Says The New York Times

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1Photo: Via The New York Times
Thanks to some hard work on the part of the Surgeon General, concerned legislators and citizens, and, of course, Mayor Bloomberg, cigarettes have all but been eliminated from public life. As a result of smoking bans everywhere, from restaurants and bars to city parks, those looking to take a puff are left to do so in dark alleys or remote street corners. Now, all that peace and smoke-free air we all worked so hard for is being threatened, thanks to the sudden rise in popularity of the electronic cigarette. A product that, at least according to the Times, is making it hip to puff, puff, pass again.

In its latest Style section piece, the Grey Lady regales us with tales of all kinds of cool kids (you know, hipsters in Bed Stuy?) that are lighting up again β€” figuratively speaking. Brands like Bedford Slim are marketing their electronic cigs β€” which use nicotine and water vapor instead of the traditional tar and smoke mix β€” to the skinny jean set, which means NYC hotspots are, yet again, as hazy as the '90s. Turns out, everyone from publicists to Vice staffers are turning to the new products, either as a way to make their smoking habit an indoor event, or because it's just the cool thing to do.

Of course, it should be mentioned that electronic cigarettes are technically much less dangerous to the user than traditional Marlboros, and the same goes for the effects of secondhand smoke. However, it may just be that the laws haven't caught up with the times yet. Bars and restaurants are letting e-smoking slide for now, simply because no specific mandate has been written yet. But, many are worried that the proliferation of electronic cigarettes will only serve to glorify smoking, and make it harder for security personnel and police officers to regulate nicotine users in public.

Luckily for us non-smokers, it seems there are a few e-smokers out there who still have our best interests at heart. "Even though it's water vapor, it's just not proper to smoke in a restaurant," a Meatpacking District clubgoer told the Times. "It’s disgusting. You should step outside like any cigarette." While we respect the rights of everybody (and don't want to get down on someone for a bad habit), here's hoping this trend stays outside where it belongs. (The New York Times)