I LIKEN ELECTRONIC cigarettes to fracking. The new ways of drilling deep down and sideways to untap natural gas have delivered a fuel that is cleaner than coal. But while many people hail natural gas as a bridge to renewable energy, others fear that fracking will give us new levels of air pollution and groundwater contamination. The critics say we are still addicted to a fossil fuel.
E-cigarettes are proliferating in a parallel universe. The battery-operated devices are “cleaner” than tobacco cigarettes, as they do not burn tobacco and do not contain the tar directly linked to lung cancer. Websites for e-cigarettes note how they do not produce the smell, ash, and smoke that have led to workplace and public-space bans for tobacco cigarettes.