Smoking these days can be lonely business, what with smoking now banned in many bars and other traditional smokers' hangouts. But a new handheld device is designed to help smokers find each other--and it might even help them kick the habit.
Meet the "blu Smart Pack," the world's first social-networking cigarette package.
The rechargeable package--scheduled to go on sale in June for $80--connects wirelessly to social-networking sites and even flashes a blue light and vibrates if it detects other packages within 50 feet.
Not everyone's as convinced it's such a great idea.
Adam Alfandary, 24, a smoker from Brooklyn, N.Y., called the pack one of the dumbest ideas he's ever heard. "And I'm saying that in full acknowledgment that smoking is one of the dumbest things I can do," he told the Times.
Smoking cessation experts aren't sure the device--which is designed for use not with traditional cigarettes but with so-called "e-cigarettes," which deliver nicotine-laced water vapor instead of tobacco smoke--is anything more than a gimmick.
Dr. Alan Blum, director of the University of Alabama Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society, told CBS News the idea of a social network is "wonderful." Blum points to a 2008 New England Journal of Medicine study (PDF) that showed smokers who joined others in trying to stop smoking were more likely to succeed than smokers who tried kicking the habit on their own.
"But I really don't understand how this e-pack signal is going to do anything other than help you pick up girls."
Almost 50 million Americans are regular smokers. Smoking can cause heart attacks, strokes, and many forms of cancer, in addition to other health problems.