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NEWS9 Special Assignment: E-Cig Safety

Updated: Friday, May 16 2014, 04:14 AM EDT

WTOV9.com
Young and old, we've seen all ages walk into a tobacco store. Instead of going to get their pack or carton of smokes, they are trying the latest trend -- electronic cigarettes.
At first, it may look like a normal cigarette. But it isn’t. There's no flame, no smoke -- just vapor.
“I have tried them,” Bryan Olejasz of Smoker Friendly said. “I really like them, yeah. They aren't too bad.”
According to the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, sales of electronic cigarettes have soared from 50,000 to 3.5 million in 3 years.
“They are still extremely popular,” Olejasz said. “People keep coming in and getting them, especially recently. The more people hear about them, the more they want to try them.”
Some people said they aren't a huge fan of the technology, but those who are say it has really helped them cut back on regular cigarettes.
“I like a definite cut back,” e-cig user David White said. “About three packs a day to one cigarette a day, so it definitely helps."
One of the reasons why people say they love electronic cigarettes so much is because of the different flavors. You've got root beer, raspberry, and vanilla with each of the bottles lasting the equivalent of a carton of cigarettes.
But are they really a safe alternative?
“Well, nicotine has been studied for a while,” said Dr. Angelo Georges, chief medical officer at Wheeling Hospital. “I think the liquid nicotine and having lay people put them in the cigarettes themselves and with kids around, that's the unknown factor.”
Georges said he has quite a few patients who are using e-cigs to try to quit altogether. He recommends using other, more traditional step-down approaches like nicotine patches or inhalers.
“It's hard for me as a physician to tell them to stop doing it till we have more research,” Georges said. “I think it's a plus they have been able to get off cigarettes.”
When it comes to ads and commercials, Georges said he is concerned about young kids thinking smoking is cool, whether it's using e-cigs or not.
“There is no reason to promote this as stylish,” Georges said. “There shouldn't be any fruity flavors or colorful pens or whatever they are using. It should only be indicated for those lifelong smokers that need to get off.”
As it stands, e-cigs are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which users said is a little concerning.
Georges expects that will likely change in the next year or so if they want to move forward successfully in the states.

NEWS9 Special Assignment: E-Cig Safety


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