The end of civilization has arrived and the apocalypse must be fast approaching. Perhaps you’ve seen it jutting from the mouths of middle-aged women in bars or dangling from apathetic hipster fingers in the Bass cafe. Combining the usefulness of the iPad with the aesthetic appeal of Nickelback, the electronic cigarette raises a fundamental question for cigar enthusiast and cigarette addict alike: Why do we smoke?

Smoking is cool. To intentionally ingest toxins that will likely lead to your early demise is to reject this world and its temporal, material pleasures. Much like Jesus Christ, smokers march fearlessly away from a world plagued by sorrow, genocide and Nickelback toward a higher plane of existence. We sing with the Mills Brothers as they plead, “Most of them rise away to the skies of blue — oh, little smoke rings I love, please take me above with you.” The electronic cigarette, on the other hand, promises all of the sweet nicotine without any of the life-ending tar and chemicals—so that we can have our cake and live long enough to eat it, too.

When you purchase a hand-rolled cigar, you put a meal on the table of the tobacco farmer, master blender, roller and exporter (save in Cuba, where you fund the communist regime). Such a purchase might even be considered charity. When you purchase an electronic smoke, however, you instead feed overeducated scientists and corporate fat cats who would eat a Nicaraguan peasant just as soon as look at him.

Let us reject the material world and earth’s fleeting joys. We do not smoke to fill our bloodstream with nicotine to give us the energy to further entrench ourselves in this earth. We smoke, rather, to take a momentary break from this existence. While the heretics shout, “Give us Barabbas!” let us instead seek the transcendence found, not in an electronic tube, but in the art of a fine, hand-rolled cigar. What would Jesus do?

Review: Ashton VSG Bellicoso #1

Strength: Medium-Full

Shape: Torpedo

Cost: ~$12

Don’t worry if the idea of virginity makes you squeamish — the only tears that you’ll see after finishing this Virgin Sun Grown smoke will be your own, and they’ll flow from glee. An Ecuadorian wrapper encloses nicely packed Dominican filler in this delicious cigar. By the second third, the perfect draw fills your mouth with smooth notes of cedar and chocolate. Though it required a few relights, the medium-full body left me content after just reaching the final third. A-