It has finally arrived! I am handed a slightly torn and dishevelled package labelled ‘aromatherapy’ at the post office and begin the joyous trip home. Swinging it as I walk the snowy streets, a small hole opens up and plastic cartridges begin to fall out. I rush to pick them up, looking furtively round. This isn’t exactly legal in my country. These cartridges hold a newly found alternative to my fifteen year-old addiction. I’ve been waiting for them impatiently.
From England, I reply. Its been two weeks!
Two weeks is not long.
Not long?! It only takes three days to get to the moon, I exclaim irrationally.
Well, wait for it up there, he retorts and turns to walk out.
Back home. I roughly tear at the package and its content spill and scatter over the kitchen table. It looks quite like a chemistry set, I think to myself, looking impatiently for the right pieces to assemble. A dozen small bottles, pipettes, plastic containers and metallic tubes before me. Altogether I have:
. 2 round batteries, about the size of a pinkie, white
. a USB charger
. 2 vaporisers, about half the battery’s size, also white
. 10 x plastic cartridges, black, an inch long, hollow with some cotton wool stuffed inside
. 3 x 30ml bottles, labelled ‘Apple’ ‘Cherry’ ‘Oak’
. 6 x 5ml bottles, labelled ‘USA blend’ ‘Euro blend’ ‘French Pipe’
. 3 x pipettes
. a black snap-open case to carry some of these items around
These are the essentials to satisfy my cravings. I am in possession of an electronic cigarette and will indulge myself with smoking nicotine infused vapour from now on. I will attempt to smoke only this device writing about the experience in this digital journal. I’m also interested in the technology behind this Chinese invention and will investigate and report back all that I find. Will my body accept this new chemical dose, will my breathing improve? Personal addictions aside, I’m curious of the public’s reaction to my indoor vaporising.
I’ve been promising to quit smoking for a while now. Friends and family are beginning to insist. I’ve tried stopping a few times, but never really in earnest. I’ve enjoyed smoking too much and have not, so far, been bothered by any side effects. Warnings on cigarette packets only annoyed my sense of pride and stirred the rebel within. The social exclusion bit was tough, especially in winter countries. Now all this is about to change. I can smoke anywhere, literally anywhere! In a bar, at the cinema, on the aeroplane, in my bedroom and most importantly, huddled outdoors with my mates still puffing on the real thing.
The guide informs me that the first battery charge should be around 8 hours. I presume these are lithium cells. But I cant resist waiting so long and decide to run the other one flat. One of the two batteries is plugged into my computer’s USB port. A blue light turns to green shines on the charger. Its a little strange. The cigarette, luckily, does not register as a drive or any kind of device on the operating system.
I take out the vaporiser and screw it together with the other battery. I uncork the ‘Apple’ bottle and using a pipette extract a few drops which I then use to soak the cotton wool inside the plastic cartridge. No explanations necessary. Everything fits together and makes sense. A child (sic) could do this! Plugging the cartridge in the other end of the vaporiser I take a drag and puff with trepidation. A small red light at the top of the cigarette comes on in tune with the strength of my pull.
Hmm. Not bad. I toke again.
Hmmm. A small cloud of whitish smoke (or is it vapour?) is exhaled from my mouth. Funny… Toke…Interesting… Toke… Hmmm…