Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Rapid strides made in electronic field during the last one decade, evolution of computer as an indispensable tool of modern economic drive engine and ever expanding role of world-wide web, have increased the human productivity in virtually every sphere of activity. Activities like e-mailing, e-ticketing, e-filing, e-banking, e-management, e-administration, e-communication, e-entertainment, e-business, all have become accepted as part of modern society at large, constantly trying to improve the quality of life. The recent launch of a product by the name 'e-cigarette' (e-cig)supposed to be an alternative to tobacco based conventional cigarettes is an indication as to how far electronic gadgetry can intrude into the life of the citizens.

The new trend of e-smoking is reported to be gaining some popularity and the e-cigarette that is being sold, is a battery powered device for inhaling measured doses of nicotine which delivers a vaporized propylene glycol nicotine solution. Besides the achieving controlled delivery of nicotine, the vapor generated also provides a flavor and physical sensation similar to that experienced during smoking of a real tobacco based cigarette. An e-cig is designed so as to look like a cigarette or a cigar or a pipe and even carries LED light at the other end to simulate the typical cigarette glow. When air is inhaled through the device, it is detected by a sensor which activates the heating element that vaporizes the nicotine solution stored in the mouth piece and the process is being referred to as 'vaping' instead of smoking. Nicotine solution strength can be 0.1% to 6% to cater to different demands and it can be flavored with half a dozen aromas like mint, chocolate, fruit etc. Though they are touted as an alternate to regular cigarettes, use of nicotine in the cartridge can be habit forming and due to recent detection of diethylene glycol, a carcinogenic chemical in such devices, many countries are banning them for use in their countries. One wonders how many customers will be hooked on to this new gadget at the prevailing price tag of $ 70 to $ 200 per piece with the cartridge of 5 costing $ 5 to $ 7.50. Probably in India when it is introduced, cost can be as high as Rs 6000 for a janata model and Rs 12-50 thousand for a high end piece made in silver or gold. Probably it may go well with a Rayban cooling glass!.

No product under the e-food category has yet emerged in the market but there is an American company by that name which, however does not offer any specific foods that can be called a e-food. They are supposed to be specialized in supplying customers fresh meat and poultry products, bakery and dairy foods and other food items using an IT enabled program via their local accredited suppliers through out the country. They claim to offer their clients a single point of contact and coordinated services from a centralized office, all with an on-line synchronization for customers that include restaurants, hotels, pub groups, hospitals, nursing homes, contract caterers etc.

If the concept of e-cig can be applied in the food area, there is a possibility of using the device with cartridges containing food aromas that can either stimulate hunger or create a feeling of satiety. Many bakeries and eateries use their air conditioning systems to introduce pleasant aroma that attract more customers and generate better business. Similarly appetite can be increased by using permitted aromatic substances which when 'vaped' may create the necessary stimulus for eating more or less depending on what is used in the device. The 'vaping' device provides a delivery system for food associated appetite stimulants or suppressants that may have influence on the eating behavior of the consumers. Automatic electronic perfume emitting devices, now available in the country, offer another delivery system to sensitize humans for attracting them to, or keeping them away, from foods. The e-food route, at best, is a short term choice to train people for adopting a food regime that is good for them and cannot be a life term solution.


No comments: