If you’re a smoker, electric cigarettes might be right for you — but a lot depends on you. There are a few questions you need to ask yourself and the first is: “Why am I smoking when there is this new alternative?”

I am fifty years old and perhaps a very old geek; yes, geeks get old. I remember when I was seventeen, though. I used to carry my unfiltered cigarettes in a spark plug box. I cannot mention the brand name for fear of trademark issues from the embattled lawsuit crazed cigarette manufacturers, but it was the short ones that rhyme with ducky bikes. Yeah, I looked tough working on that ’65 Chevy Corvair with one of those hanging from my puss.

Are Electric Cigarettes Right For You?
cc licensed flickr photo shared by JoeDuck

For some reason nicotine occurs naturally in several plants: tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and of course in tobacco. It is in the same alkaloid family as caffeine. The health effects are similar to caffeine for most people, except for smokers, who never fully realize the extent of the damage done to them by their compulsion. If you’ve ever craved potato chips, there is a reason for that. It is the same as your craving for coffee isn’t it?

I have a short video at YouTube of my Dad offering my brother a cigarette when he was a few months old — that is how much a part of my life tobacco was. I don’t use it any more directly, though it is still used in the production of the liquid nicotine solution product I buy from China for my electric cigarette.

Nicotine is suspended in a product called food grade propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. Both are natural food additives that are commonly used in everyday dishes, especially desserts. The cake decorating gel that chefs use to draw letters on cakes is glycerin with food coloring. Instead of using alcohol in vanilla extract, propylene glycol is often used as a substitute. Just don’t spill any on the hot stove, because it smokes like crazy at 100 degrees! This is what causes the fog that comes out of an electric cigarette. All the element in the device needs to be is warmed to about 100 degrees.

Rich Munnich, here — a Chicago native. I worked in a machine shop for close to 25 years, making mainly train parts on CNC lathes. I’m all geek, trust me. Show me a blueprint and a few machines and you get metal objects. I’m semi-retired now, working as a karaoke host. I’m married with five adult children and the sixth grandchild is on the way. I can be found on YouTube and Twitter @RichMunnich.