(NY Times) A Social Networking Device for Smokers
Companies have started adding the ability to communicate wirelessly to an increasing range of devices, like tablet computers, cars and refrigerators. Now they are doing it with cigarettes.
Blu, the maker of electronic cigarettes that release a nicotine-laden vapor instead of smoke, has developed packs of e-cigarettes with sensors that will let users know when other e-smokers are nearby.
Think of it as social smoking for the social networking era.
“You’ll meet more people than ever, just because of the wow factor,” said Jason Healy, the founder of Blu, who did not appear to be making friends as he exhaled the odorless vapor of an e-cigarette at a coffee shop in Midtown Manhattan recently. “It’s like with any new technology.”
E-cigarettes have several obvious advantages to their traditional counterparts. They allow users to avoid bans on smoking in public places because they release only water vapor. Mr. Healy and other e-cigarette manufacturers also claim that they have practically no negative health effects — an assertion that draws skepticism in many quarters. But the devices are also, in their own way, gadgets.