E-Cigarettes and the ‘Civilising’ of Smoking

15 Mar


1. E-cig


My starting point for this discussion is a simple question: how did this come to be? More precisely: how and why have e-cigarettes come to be? How, in some cases, have they come to supplant combustible tobacco? More fundamentally, how did tobacco come to be consumed in this way – as, essentially, a nicotine solution that is ‘vaped’? How, to put it provocatively, did smoke come to be erased from smoking?

My core argument is that in order to understand the ascendancy of e-cigarettes it is necessary to have a look at the long history of tobacco use in order to make sense of present-day practices. This is consistent with my sociological position which draws much from the work of Norbert Elias (see Elias 2012) and his ‘figurational’ sociology. The position centrally holds that social reality can only be properly apprehended as a set of long-term…

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