Agreed. It must be better than cigarettes in all ways: cost, convenience, aesthetics, reliability, experience, usability, availability, brand loyalty, etc. There are social factors too. Friends can't bum an e-cigarette. Proprietors may mistakenly enforce smoking bans. Bystanders may think vapor is second-hand smoke.
The solution will come with a combination of Apple-esque industrial design and Apple-esque advertising savvy. Basically, we need the iSmoke.
My father started smoking because people on building sites who smoked got smoke breaks, and people who didn't had to keep working.
If I had been of more sociable persuasion when I was in college, I might even have started smoking myself - a lot of conversations, camaraderie etc. and more occur outside pubs, where smokers are often relegated to in these days of smoking bans.
As far as I can tell (or so my girlfriend and others tell me), they're already better in most ways than normal ones - more cost-effective (though it can be vastly improved with improved reliability), more convenient, they have a big range of flavours to choose from, they get around smoking bans and, most importantly, they don't clog your lungs and don't make you stink. So it's already great, but the reliability issues are incredibly annoying. But the critical mass of popularity has not yet been achieved, so there's a need for this iSmoke you mention, with strong focus on advertising - so that you don't need to date an (non-smoking!) engineer to hear about e-cigarettes and why they're better.
> they're already better in most ways than normal ones - more cost-effective (though it can be vastly improved with improved reliability),... So it's already great, but the reliability issues are incredibly annoying.
She could also be talking about cars in the early days. Perhaps this is an indicator of untapped potential for disruption in this market?
e-cigs are already a big disrupter to the cigarette market. Until recently, these were completely detached from the tobacco companies. I think only in April of this year a tobacco company bought one of the manufacturers.
They are a massive improvement to burnable cigarettes and while the reliability of them is a pain it is improving.
Originally they all tried to look like cigarettes but that leads to compromises like small batteries. The newest models all look a lot less like "analog"s and have bigger batteries and better longevity.