Blu Cigs want to bring social networking to e-smoking

blu cigs socialRemember when smoking was cool? Before the health crusade began, being a smoker was a badge that got you access to an exclusive club: Cigarettes came with their own social network. But times have changed as smokers are allowed in fewer and fewer places, bumming a cig without returning the favor is nearly a crime, and smoke breaks can mean squandered minutes standing outside alone.

Society’s general shunning of smokers (and of course, the increased knowledge of its health risks) means more people are quitting than ever before. Couple this with society’s newest and more accepted addiction–digital dependence–and e-cigarettes make a lot of sense. Annoying patches be gone: These devices deliver vaporized nicotine to a user and also let us engage in the familiarities of the habit.

But Blu Cigs realized the social aspect was still missing. With its battery-powered electronic cigarettes, smokers will soon be able to start losing the old smokes and simultaneously finding new friends. The company is planning on releasing its “Smart Pack” technology, giving a pack of e-smokes unique IDs to detect nearby Blu Cig users as well as locations where they can purchase additional Blu Cigs – and of course, access to their own exclusive, customizable social network. E-smokers are notified when they are within 50-feet of each other, and for extended social networking the devices integrate with Facebook and Twitter. In an interview with Fast Company, president and founder of Blu Cigs Jason Healy says customers testing the Smart Parks (they will be released in June) are beyond impressed with the social platform of their e-cigarettes. He claims that smokers have become ostracized, saying “More and more smokers are becoming lepers. We’re not just selling electronic cigarettes – we’re selling freedom.”

Like most other personal electronics, the Smart Packs sync to computers and allow users to personalize their profiles, interact with friends, and integrate any of their e-socializing to other sites. The Smart Packs will go on shelves shortly, and cost $80 for five rechargable e-cigarettes.