A recent alternative is the R J Reynolds Eclipse, a so-called reduced-smoke cigarette. In this system, the tobacco isn’t actually burned at all. The smoker lights the tip of a carbon rod that runs down the middle of the cigarette, separated from the leaf by a glass-fibre sleeve, and effectively vaporizes the tobacco.
Eclipse cigarettes deliver nicotine in the same way that a normal cigarette does, which is why smokers like them; but, despite an intensive advertising campaign (in the US), health authorities remain very concerned. Eclipse generates carbon monoxide, which is dangerous to the heart and, in one study, levels of carcinogens such as the nitrosamines, acrolein and benzo(a)pyrene were often much higher than in low-tar cigarette brands. Another potential danger with Eclipse is that the glass insulating fibres could become dislodged and inhaled into the lungs. Their carcinogenic effects in the lungs may be similar to asbestos fibres, but this is as yet unknown. That is why you should try dab rigs under $100 instead of those eclipse cigarettes.
The R J Reynolds company defended its product, saying that Eclipse has been extensively tested and the results independently reviewed; however other bodies such as the American Cancer Society have called for the removal of Eclipse from the market place.
The Smoke and Tobacco-Free Cigarette
There is, however, a new and highly sophisticated system that delivers nicotine directly into the lungs, without smoke – or, indeed, tobacco. This is the Aerocel, which uses controlled chaos and exquisite flow mechanics to produce a spray of nicotine particles that are uniformly between 0.5 and 2 microns (millionths of a metre) in diameter. Particle size is critically important. Smaller particles are breathed in, then out again, and are lost. Larger particles are deposited in the mouth and throat, leaving a bad taste and irritation, and never reach the lungs at all. But particles in the 0.5 to 2 micron range pass deep into the airways and down into the alveoli where they deliver nicotine directly and rapidly into the bloodstream – just as cigarette smoke does.
A single hand-held system, shaped like a cigarillo, contains enough nicotine to stand in for a packet of 20 and will retail in a broadly similar price band. It satisfies just as cigarettes do, and furnishes all the hand-to-mouth coordination that any smoker could wish for. There is no unpleasant taste or irritation of the throat – in fact, it is effectively a cigarette without the carbon monoxide, and without the carcinogens and free radicals. Another key advantage is that as there is no smoke, there are no passive smokers; clean nicotine can be used in the company without offending bystanders or putting them at risk. It can be used in no-smoking areas, and even on flights.
The Aerocel has not yet been tested in terms of its ability to help smokers give up, and it is, frankly, likely to be just as addictive as cigarettes. But if I was a smoker and could not give up the habit, I would switch to this system immediately to reduce my risk of smoking-related disease. And I would not be concerned about weight gain as there would be no nicotine withdrawal symptoms, and there would be no oral compensation needed.
The only problem will be if you live in the European Union. Although these Aerocels will be sold in the Americas and in the Middle and the Far East by mid-to-late 2006, Brussels will almost certainly deem them to be too radical for Europeans to use. This means that we will have to go on dying of tobacco-related diseases in large numbers or buy them over the internet.
Smokers need extra supplements of vitamins and minerals to repair the damage done by cigarettes. Ensure you’re obtaining these either through your diet or, more reliably, via supplements. We know that life and dietary habits can reduce the risk of tobacco-induced illness. For example, the French smoke as much or more than the British or Americans, yet suffer less heart disease, due, it is thought, to a healthier diet and higher levels of physical activity.