Last week, the City Council debated whether to ban e-cigarette smoking in public places.
People who want to inhale nicotine-infused vapor at restaurants, for instance, are currently allowed to do so because it technically isn't smoking. My inner libertarian thinks that laws banning the indoor use of e-cigarettes are silly, especially because the data on the effects of secondhand e-smoke are inconclusive.
Still, sometimes I can't help but want to see vapor-happy restaurant patrons Tasered and deported to New Jersey. While the risk to public health appears to be minimal, indoor e-smoking can irritate the eyes of people nearby.
And some people within 10 feet of indoor e-smokers roll their eyes so hard that their ocular nerves could be severed.
How addicted are e-smokers to nicotine that they can't step outside for a few minutes to get a fix? Proponents often argue that e-cigarettes help them break their addiction to nicotine, but I've noticed that some e-smokers inhale more. Is it because they can't stop?
"Does it help people quit, or does it help people not quit?" NYC Health Commissioner Thomas Farley asked recently.
I once tried an e-cigarette. It had a low level of nicotine and was vanilla flavored. When I took a drag, a red light turned on at the end that simulated the burning of a real cigarette. Do e-cigarettes make the "vapers" look cool -- you know, like the iconic leather-jacket-wearing high school senior cutting class so he can smoke?
I have to admit that I've wondered whether indoor e-smokers would mind being confronted. In my mind, a person storms up to an e-smoker, demands he stops inhaling, and the e-smoker smugly replies that he isn't actually smoking. The person sulks off in defeat, and the e-smoker feels vindicated -- for the first time all week.
Small, incredibly easy victories are the best.
Sure there's poverty, homelessness, disease and genocide in the world, but none of that matters to a smug e-smoker who just stood up to someone bothered by nicotine-laced vapor.
An oppressed person of the world can rejoice at his triumph over injustice.