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Frank Davis

Banging on about the Smoking Ban

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E-cig Update
Two or three weeks ago I bought an e-cig. I was a bit disappointed with it, because it didn't pack much of a punch. After the first day or so, I've hardly used it at all.

But today I took Leg-iron's advice, and took it down to the River, my local pub, and showed the thing to the landlord and his wife. Would they mind if I sat inside the pub 'smoking' it? They were very interested in it. They were both trying to give up smoking, two years after I'd last heard them say they were going to give up smoking. They immediately saw my e-cig as something that might help them. I said that I wasn't trying to give up smoking, so I couldn't really help on that score. Anyway, they both said that it would be fine if I used it inside the pub. "It's not smoke," one of them said.

And then I went and sat by the river in the sun like I usually do, and watched the midges dancing in the air, and the flies that occasionally came darting through. And it was such a nice day that, when I'd finished my pint, I decided to have another. And so I went back into the pub.

At the bar, somebody recognised me, and we fell into conversation while my pint was being served. And then, just when I would have normally gone back outside, I suddenly remembered that I had my e-cig on me, and that, hey, I could smoke that instead. 

They gazed in wonder as I got it out, and took a pull on it, lighting up its blue tip. They were full of questions about it, which I answered as best I could. They'd never seen one before. Next thing I knew, I was having a conversation inside a pub, pulling on my e-cig, and catching up with all the news I hadn't heard for round about the past 2 years.

Another customer, noticing me puffing away, asked me what it was. And as I explained to him, his eyes lit up. "I know 5 or 6 people who could do with one of those," he said, adding that he was an occasional cigar smoker, and thought that the government had no business telling him what he should and shouldn't do.

I was quite the centre of attention, as people peered at the e-cig, and unscrewed it, and weighed it, and asked questions about it.

And I felt like I'd rejoined the human race. And within a few minutes I'd bought myself 10 packets of Golden Virginia from a very kind man who was giving them away at two-thirds of the standard shop price. I suppose he must have given up smoking or something, and was just desperately trying to get rid of them. He also had hundreds of cans of Stella going at knock-down prices. So I suppose he must have given up drinking as well. Healthy man! Sir Liam Donaldson would be proud of him.

Anyway, my e-cig came into its own today. It received complete acceptance in the River, even though nobody had seen one before. And none of the other customers batted an eyelid at it. At this rate, I may be back on the pool table again, and playing my usual game of unsuccessfully trying to snooker my opponent on all balls. I haven't played pool for ages.

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Something I haven't tested yet, because if I'm outside anyway I'll have a real smoke rather than electrosmoke, is - does the vapour from the electrofag keep midges away like the real thing?

I was always told it was because the nicotine paralysed insect flight muscle, but then we get told about so many things in real smoke it's impossible to be sure.

Electrofag could finally settle that question since the only thing in the vapour is nicotine. I'll have to wait a few months to test it here because the cold weather has arrived.

It's true that it's not the same as smoking. It comes into its own when the weather is terrible and there's no shelter outside. It's a sustitute. So far it's not a perfect substitute but as you said before, we're at the model T stage. My bet is it'll get closer and closer to realism as time goes on.

There is a super strength fluid available. I'm going to have to try that. It might make me as dizzy as Capstans once did but it's worth a go.

That was me. Forgot to sign in!

When I was sitting outside today, I was smoking roll-ups. But I've not noticed tobacco smoke ever having much of an effect on midges or any other insects. And I have tried blowing smoke at them, and waving a cigarette in their midst. They don't seem to like it much, and move away a bit. But I've never seen any of them fall paralysed to the ground.

I've read quite often that smoke (and not just tobacco smoke) is insecticidal, fungicidal, and bactericidal. I suspect that it probably is if it's dense enough. But it won't be something I'll be able to replicate outdoors with a single cigarette or e-cig.

Probably the best experiment would be to trap a few live midges in a test tube, and then blow tobacco smoke into them, or nicotine vapour, and see what happens to the critters.

You ight try the same with your campylobacteria (Sp?) sometime.

I don't think there's enough nicotine in smoke to kill insects but it does encourage them to go away and bite someone else. Good enough for me.

On the Campylobacter etc... you know, since I can get that E-liquid in small bottles, all identical apart from nicotine content, and since there's a zero-nicotine control, it is certaimly possible to test the effects of nicotine on bacteria.

If it turns out that nicotine kills pathogens, that'll be a fun paper to write. I bet it'll be hard to publish but it would be fun to do.

I'll order some small bottles of the E-juice, one each of each strength in the range, and see what comes up. It might take a while but it won't cost all that much.

You can publish on your blog, if nobody else will publish.

When I suggested the experiment, I was imagining blowing vapour into a test tube. But I guess there's no need to do that. You could just maybe add a drop from a bottle to a petri dish, and see whether bacteria get killed off around where the drop landed.

I think that what's in the bottles is just nicotine and water and some other compound whose name I forget. But I think cigarette smoke doesn't contain much pure nicotine, because it's pretty reactive stuff, and turns into a variety of nicotine compounds, like nicotinic acid (aka niacin), which has been found in cigarette smoke.

You are fortunate, Frank, I have not found a pub yet who will let me use the e-cig in spite of me taking it apart and showing them exactly what it is.

I have the advantage at the River of having been a regular there for 10 years or more, and so I am a very familiar face, and everyone knows my name, even if I have been sitting outside for the past 2 years. I'm sure that helps.

If I walked into a pub where I was an unknown irregular, it might have been different.

Yesterday someone said that there was a pub somewhere not too far away where the landlord handed out e-cigs to customers. This isn't implausible, given that they're made up of disposable components.

I wasn't a total unknown irregular in one of the pubs I asked. They said it looked too much like smoking so would not let me use it. The other smokers outside were fascinated but didn't think it worth buying if it could not be put to good use. It has come in handy in non smoking hotels now and then, but that is about its total use for me. Shame really as it is an excellent compromise for a night out.


Well, I've only tried it out at one pub, and it's one in which I'm well known. I'll be finding out how things fare elsewhere in due course. I'll report what happens.

Will look forward to reading about further attempts.

Great blog, btw.


Have a look at this: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21/20091015/tuk-jail-for-man-who-let-girl-3-smoke-6323e80.html

Clearly the man was a cretin and I certainly don't condone such things, but 18 months behind bars for letting a small child smoke..? I can't help but wonder if such a sentence would have been handed out before the world went smokefree.

E-Cigs (In Canada)

Like Frank, I purchased an e-cig kit a couple of weeks ago. I also got an extra atomiser which ends up giving me two complete e-cigarettes. I can charge one up while using the other one.

E-cigs are currently forbidden in Canada. Although their are no laws expressly forbidding their use, it is illegal to either sell or import these items. Fortunately, there are places (online) where such items can be obtained.

My current impressions of e-cigarettes match up pretty well with your experience and that of Legiron. I consider these devices as a potential future smoking substitute in places where smoking cigarettes is otherwise prohibited. My thinking is also that these devices could be improved and refined considerably if they could be legally commercialised in Europe or North America. There is also considerable scope to improve taste of the liquids used in e-cigs. I have sampled quite a lot of liquids and most of them taste downright nasty (particularly the tobacco flavours). My current favourites are Menthol and a tobacco flavour which tastes more like caramel and is sold as RY4 (similar to the Virginia flavour but not as harsh).

I am fairly optimistic that e-cigs will eventually be approved for widespread use. Check out this blogsite for interesting recent developments.


I enjoy your blog Frank (Also I enthusiastically read Legiron and Dick Puddlecote). Keep up the good work.

The Canadian Expat.

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