We compare artificial cigarettes, so you don't have to.
For some reason, gentle reader, no social situation is complete for many of you without at least some form of slender white tube held between your fingers or dangling from the corner of your mouth. But these days those nanny state killjoys won’t let you light up anywhere!
And then there’s the cancer thing. Who to believe? All those 1950s magazine ads with doctors recommending cigarettes, or those unappetising photos of diseased body parts
that seem to be popping up all over?
Enter the artificial cigarette. Smokeless, cancer-free and perfectly legal pretty much anywhere, the Chinese-invented smokeless cigarette has been on the market since 2005. But is the idea really all that new? Readers of a certain age will recall that for generations, the playground lolly of choice was the curiously named and not particularly tasty Space Man Cigarette. Still available as Space Man Candy Sticks, could these Kiwi classics be a viable alternative to not just real cigarettes but their electronic alternative? We’ll let you be the judge.
Cost: $65-$100 for a starter kit
Back story: Invented by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik in 2003 following an unsuccessful 1963 attempt by Herb Gilbert. Herb’s artificial cigarette never made it to market, possibly because no-one at the time saw
a health downside to the real thing. Ha!
Post-coital suitability: Kim Dotcom might get away with it (feel free to picture that if you wish) but you wouldn’t.
Choose one if you’re a: Smoking hot robot
Unsuitable for: Burning the chests of your gangland opponents
Contains: Propylene glycol, water, glycerin, nicotine.
Fun fact: Propylene glycol was also used as engine coolant in World War II fighters such as the Spitfire and Mustang. Tally ho!
How it works: A battery powered heating element causes the ‘smoke juice’ to vapourise, delivering anything from odourless nicotine to (and we shit you not) Boston Cream Pie flavoured vapour to the hungry lungs of the user.
Availability as a Mr Vintage T-shirt design: Unlikely
Cost: 80 cents for 10
Back story: Candy cigarettes have been around since the early 20th century, with the New Zealand version dating to the early 1970s. Space Man Cigarettes were subsequently renamed Space Man Candy Sticks and had their distinctive red tip removed in 2007. Hoard them if you love them though; cigarette-shaped candy is banned in Finland, Turkey and Norway … could we be next?
Post-coital suitability: Possible hipster applications.
Choose one if you’re a: Sweet-toothed astronaut
Unsuitable for: Blowing Casablanca-style smoke rings
Contains: Sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, vegetable oil, tapioca starch, flavor, colour (133) aka ‘Brilliant Blue’.
Fun fact: According to Twitter, they’re the cigarette-shaped confectionery choice of both mobile phone salesman Rhys Darby and DJ P-Money.
How it works: Chew, swallow, grow slightly fatter
Availability as a Mr Vintage T shirt design:Currently available