I know there are smokers who consider Electrofag as 'a bit girlie' and not real smoking. There are also Electrosmokers who act like those born-again non-smokers of old, those who, having kicked a 60-a-day habit, then demand that nobody ever smoke within a five mile exclusion zone because they really, really hate it.
And that's why ASH and their ilk currently have the upper hand.
I smoke both Electrofag and real tobacco. I'm waiting for some more Electrofags too, because the two I have are very different, and neither is the same as tobacco. So I've ordered samples of a few more.
Is the difference between Electrofags bad? I think not. I have friends who smoke readymades. I smoke rollups. I find the readymades a little acrid for my taste although having tried them in the past, I appreciate that there are huge differences between brands. As there are with rollups - I don't like Drum, I'm happy with Golden Virginia but if I can get it, I prefer Amber Leaf or Gold Leaf.
So if all Electrofags were the same, they'd fail. It would be as if all cigarettes were Marlboro and the only tobacco available was Drum. The fact they are all different is a good thing.
I like a cigar now and then. Usually at Christmas and on National No Smoking Day. For me, it's Henri Winterman's or King Edward. None of that Hamlet stuff. To smoke it or not to smoke it, that's the question. The answer is 'no, get a good one instead'. For others, Hamlet would be the best.
It's all personal preference. Non-drinkers will try a taste of a cheap and nasty blend of whisky, of the kind usually to be found in pubs as 'house whisky', and say 'how can you drink that stuff?' I don't. It's horrible. I drink a different kind of whisky. I would rather drink less of the good stuff than more of the drain cleaner.
As the non-drinker cannot understand the differences in whiskies, so a non-smoker cannot understand the differences in tobacco brands. Extending that, a non-Electrosmoker can't understand the differences in Electrofags. They try one, think 'yeuk' and that's it.
Okay, trying a lot of different Electrofags can be expensive (it wouldn't be if the buggers didn't all have different battery fittings) although starter kits are appearing more and more. One battery, a USB charger and a couple of cartridges can sell in the £10-20 range. Sounds expensive, but that doesn't get a lot of tobacco at UK prices. In whisky terms it's only halfway to a bottle of Lagavulin and well below a bottle of Glenmorangie. It's not really risking much more than trying a different brand of cigarettes. It's risking far less than trying a different brand of single-malt whisky.
When smokers were allowed in pubs, we could test new whiskies by buying one glass. The odd thing about Electrofag is that it only seems to be available by post. Unlike tobacconists, there are no shops (that I've seen) even though unlike tobacconists, it would still be perfectly legal to try the product on the premises. Cartridges loaded with enough for a few test puffs, disposed of after one use, would allow for a wider range of products to be tested and you never know, you might find one you like.
Incidentally, antismokers, how many of you frequent tobacconists? Not the Evil Weed counter at the supermarket but the specialist shops that sell only tobacco and smoking gear and nothing else?
How many non-smokers visit? Since smokers go into such shops looking for tips and advice as well as tobacco, how many non-smokers are likely to be employed in there?
Come on, antismokers. Explain why smoking is banned in a premises that is staffed and visited by smokers and nobody else? While you're at it, justify the legal denial of a smoking room in a cigarette factory.
While you're thinking about that one, I'll continue. Take your time, seventy-third hand smoke (reading about it) won't kick in for an hour or so yet and you'll live at least four hours after that.
Electrofag has had more use than anticipated this summer because the weather has been dreadful. Even so, I have not given up tobacco because Electrofag isn't the same. I don't regard Electrofag as inferior to smoking. It's just different. Like those cigars which I smoke rarely and pipes which I once smoked but don't at the moment. It's a different form of smoking.
It is, to me, still smoking. Smoking in the digital age. Battery powered and flameless. It has its ancillary enjoyments too, as when some pompous ass declares 'you can't smoke that in here' and you drop what appears to be a lit cigarette into your shirt pocket. You can pretend to light one of these things using a keyring-sized LED torch for greater effect. That's even more fun if you have an Electrofag that lights up blue. Watch them wonder what you're smoking!
As to the actual electrosmoking, I still find the Njoy better for general-purpose smoking but the Titan has the weirdness factor. As I said, I've ordered samples of more because they come in so many variations. I'll comment on them when they arrive. I only go for ones that are cigarette sized and shaped. Some of the variants look too, well, medical for my tastes.
Yes, the Electrofag is fun but it has not entirely replaced real tobacco because it is not the same. It is enjoyable but in a different way, just as whisky is enjoyable in a different way to beer, or lamb is enjoyable in a different way to chicken.
The self-imposed apartheid between smokers and electrosmokers doesn't seem to happen anywhere else. Some people don't like lamb, but I've never heard them vehemently denounce those who do. I've never heard them say 'Chicken is the only Proper Meat and if you eat lamb, you're letting the side down'. When the Meat Control cranks up alongside tobacco, booze and salt, will we hear Jews and Muslims saying 'We don't like pork so meat must be banned'? No, they are smart enough to realise that it won't just be pork in the sights. Will they do a CAMRA and cry 'Don't ban us, ban them'? I seriously doubt it.
So when Meat Control comes along, it will find life difficult because all meat-eaters, whatever their preferences, will stick together. Booze Control is just as easy as Tobacco Control because it is really, really easy to set CAMRA against those who like fizzy cold beer from an electric pump. It is easy to set the gin and tonic types against the park bench Red Stripe drinkers. It is easy to set the wine buffs against the vodka drinkers.
They are all drinkers. They will all be affected by the Shenkerite Puritans but it is easy to pretend to each of them that it's the other groups that are the problem. So they split, fight amongst themselves and Shenker sneaks in and steals all their booze. He has the support of every group against the other groups. Each group thinks they will be spared. None will.
The same thing is happening with smoking. There are 'vapers' who consider tobacco users as evil and there are smokers who consider vapers as cop-outs. There are cigar smokers who think cigarettes are disgusting and pipe smokers who regard other forms of smoking as inferior. There are readymade smokers who think rollie smokers are cheapskates and there are rollie smokers who think readymades are for the lazy.
Differential taxation rates on cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco have nothing to do with 'relative harm' and everything to do with 'divide and rule'. They are designed to make one group feel superior to another and to make one group in particular aggrieved at having to pay more tax than the others.
Then there is the attack on Electrofag, which is nothing more than vitamin B3 in steam yet is portrayed as more deadly than smoking. There are smokers who support such an attack on the basis that 'We're banned, why shouldn't they be too?' That is the wrong attitude. Switch it around to 'They're allowed, why aren't we?' and you're getting somewhere.
As long as smokers of one product are the enemies of smokers of another product, we are split and easily controlled. None will be spared. No, vapers, not even you. ASH find it useful to let you advertise 'the evils of smoking' for now, but when your usefulness has reached its limits, you're going the same way as the rest of us. Don't be fooled by sweet words and promises. This has nothing to do with health. It's not the smoke they hate, it's the enjoyment.
Also, vapers, be careful of trashing the tobacco industry. Where do you think the nicotine comes from for Electrofag? For that matter, where do you think the nicotine comes from for those patches and gum? You must have noticed the tobacco industry aren't saying much lately. Whether they sell the stuff to tobacconists or pharmacists, they make money either way. Yes, ASH, by promoting the patches and gum you are supporting the tobacco industry. By constantly banging on about smoking you are selling their tobacco and also the extracted nicotine for the patches that don't work and send smokers back to tobacco. Oh, the tobacco industry isn't complaining because they are on a winner, thanks to ASH.
As long as we are split into different types of smokers and are at war with each other, the Dreadful Arnott laughs. Every time a vaper harps on about how horrible smokers are, the Dreadful Arnott giggles. Every time a smoker derides vapers, the Dreadful Arnott hugs herself (well, nobody else will).
Look, we can fight about who has the best way of smoking another time. For now, we are all under attack from one common enemy who wants all of us gone. All of us. No exceptions.
Just sit back, light up (or power up depending on your preference) and think about the absurdity of being an antismoking smoker.
We are all smokers. The differences are cosmetic. Fighting on the basis of those differences is as ridiculous as fighting over the colour of our skins.
So can we stop it, at least until we've disposed of our common enemy? They are in high places and they are looking down on our petty squabbles and laughing at us, you know.
And we are all paying the taxes that fund their cruel sports.
UPDATE: As if to prove the point...