Company Fosters Social Networking Via E-Cigarette "Smoking"

By Tracey E. Schelmetic May 11, 2011

If you smoke or have smoked in the past, you'll know that it's often a social activity as in, “Let's step out for an afternoon smoke together and chat.” Sure, it's a form of social networking, albeit of the face-to-face variety. So what if the social smoke could happen via online social media?

The New York Times today profiles a company called “Blu,” which makes controversial “e-cigarettes” and has developed a new digital e-cigarette “pack” that allows e-smokers to see when other e-smokers are “lit up,” so to speak.

An e-cigarette is an electrical device shaped like a standard cigarette that attempts to create the sensation of smoking a cigarette – users inhale a nebulized mist that contains nicotine. E-cigarettes are marketed as a “safe” (medical professionals are dubious of this claim) alternative that replicates the physical sensation, appearance, flavor and nicotine buzz of a regular cigarette. Many smokers like them because they can circumvent the rules against smoking indoors or in public places: e-smokers exhale only water vapor.

Blu is taking e-cigarettes a step further by introducing a new The new “smart packs,” which will go on sale next month for $80 for five e-cigarettes, are equipped with devices that emit and search for the radio signals of other packs. When they get within 50 feet of one another, the packs vibrate and flash a blue light, writes the Times.

“You’ll meet more people than ever, just because of the wow factor,” Jason Healy, the founder of Blu, told the times. “It’s like with any new technology.”

The reusable packs, which serve as a charger for the cigarettes, can be set to exchange information about their owners, like contact information on social networking sites, that can be downloaded onto personal computers. The packs also conveniently vibrate when a smoker nears a retail outlet that sells Blu cigarettes, says the Times.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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