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February 20, 2014

Just What You've Never Wanted: Dutch Company Debuts Bluetooth E-cigarette

What can we do with our phones nowadays? The answer is, “more things than we could have imagined 15 years ago.” We can make and receive calls, either through the cellular network or through voice over IP (VoIP). We can text message, chat, send and receive emails, surf the Internet, post on social media, research purchases and buy things, top up our phone minutes and even pay for items in retail stores, thanks to mobile wallets. We can play games, monitor our health and even cure acne.

A Dutch company, however, wants us to be able to smoke our phones.

To be fair, it’s more a matter of being able to make calls off our e-cigarettes than smoke our smartphones. E-cigarettes, or tobacco vaporizers that allow for the consumption of tobacco and nicotine without the smoke, are gaining popularity as a safer alternative to cigarettes. (Health care professionals  and public health advocates may not agree with this assumption, however.) They are popular because they can be used indoors without subjecting others to second-hand smoke, and they are often billed as more economical than standard cigarettes.

Netherlands-based firm Supersmoker has debuted what it’s calling the world’s first Bluetooth-enabled e-cigarette. The device has a built-in speaker and microphone and, when connected to a wireless device such as a smartphone, can be used to make and take calls and stream music. When someone calls the smartphone or device to which it’s paired, Supersmoker users can answer the call by pressing a button and holding the speaker to their ear and the microphone near their mouth.  (We know: if it were near April Fool’s Day, we’d all be expecting this to turn out as a hoax. It’s not.)

According to the device’s maker, the Supersmoker “aesthetically combines the convenience of electronic smoking with modern-day technology.” Apparently, someone out there once looked at a cigarette longingly, thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great if this thing played music?”

The device is available in black, silver and gold and retails for about €84.90 (about $117). While the sales figures for the device are unavailable, it’s certainly garnering a lot of press attention. Engadget refers to it as “an abomination,” while Coolest Gadgets grudgingly admits that “at least it means having one less device to hold in your hand at that point in time.” Some commenters on these sites lament that the Bluetooth component doesn’t do something useful and product related, like allow you to order refill cartridges for the e-cigarette.

So if you’re the sort of person who finds holding an e-cigarette and a phone at the same time difficult, this might be the product for you. But please don’t operate any heavy machinery or try to drive while scratching your nose. 

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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