CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again


Friends don't let friends smoke (says e-cigarette company)

A new ad for NJoy e-cigarettes treads very close to suggesting that e-cigarettes are somehow healthier than your Marlboros. Yes, it even uses the line "friends don't let friends smoke."

So handsome. And such a good friend. NJoy/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

How good a friend are you?

If your friend is dating someone you consider to be unworthy, do you say something?

If your friend is spending too much money, drinking too much wine, or talking too much nonsense, do you call a halt?

And if your friend is a smoker, do you say: "Oh, please don't do that anymore. Not now that there are fabulous NJoy e-cigarettes which are obviously so much healthier and will make you eternally happy"?

I ask only because an e-cigarette brand called NJoy has just released an ad with the immortal line: "Friends don't let friends smoke."

But, presumably, they do let them try the wonderful NJoy e-cigarettes that will change their lives forever.

In posting the ad to YouTube, NJoy's makers offer breathless enthusiasm: "Check out NJOY Electronic Cigarette's breakthrough new video featuring Avicii's #1 hit single 'Hey Brother'! It is the first to tell the category truth."

Does this mean that all other e-cigarette brands have been telling categorical lies? How frightening. Still, what's the category truth? Well, it's "that there is a real alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes. That we all have friends and loved ones who smoke and who wish they didn't... And neither do we."

There is certainly truth in this. However, there is also the possibly less truthful implication that smoking e-cigarettes is somehow a healthier alternative. As yet, there seems no hard evidence of this.

As if to offer a touch of reassuring paradox, an NJoy spokesman told AdAge: "We do not advertise e-cigs as a smoking cessation device."

So why are you telling friends to stop smoking cigarettes and buy your product then?

The spokesman offered this attemptedly deft response: "We are appealing to the friends and loved ones of smokers -- asking them to leverage the fundamental connection and emotional bond of love that bring us all together and strengthens our trust/intimacy. Everyone can identify with the desire to help our friends and loved ones become the best versions of themselves, and goal (especially in the new year!) to strive to be better versions of ourselves."

So if they smoke NJoy, your friends have a change to become the best version of themselves. (Especially in the new year!)

Here we have joyful examples of friends being friends to friends and being terribly happy. Everyone looks frightfully handsome and healthy too.

So if you're a real friend, you'll give your smoker friend "the only electronic cigarette worth switching to." Finally. So now we discover why NJoy is worth switching to.

Except we don't. Instead, we enjoy a threatening tone toward Big Tobacco: "Cigarettes, you've met your match."

Well, strike a light. I never realized. One thing I should realize, though, is that if I don't push NJoy onto my smoker friends, then I am not a true friend at all. I will feel guilty forever. Guilt creates stress. Stress can lead you to smoke cigarettes. It's a dangerous precipice.

I was at a dinner on Friday night with a very important person who happened to be a smoker. She needed to step outside the restaurant for a puff or two.

"Have you tried e-cigarettes?" I pondered.

"Oh, yes," she replied. "I have one in my bag. But it's not the same."