What is it about?

What are e-cigarettes, and what makes them so popular? Why are they a source of tension for public health authorities? This ethnographic study looks at how young people in France use e-cigarettes as a way to reduce the harms of tobacco smoking, without abandoning the small everyday pleasures and social relationships that unfold around cigarette smoking. I argue that e-cigarettes have become a valued form of substitution because they provide new opportunities for social bonding, gustatory pleasure, and the non-medicalized management of health with endless possibilities for individualized tailoring.

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Why is it important?

Since e-cigarettes are a new phenomenon, detailed understandings of how these devices are actually used in social practice are widely lacking. By spending 6 months sharing the lives of e-cigarette users and observing sales in e-cigarette shops, I was able to show how these devices become powerful tools for the self-management of health. I further conceputalise how pleasure is created in social context, a subject often left aside in current debates about drug use.

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This page is a summary of: E-cigarettes, Contemporary Drug Problems, July 2016, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0091450916657348.
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