From smoke to vapor, many are making the switch news enterprisepub.com hp gas online booking phone number

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Considering the high cost of cigarettes, restrictions placed on where a person can smoke and a rise in the awareness of the dangers of smoking conventional cigarettes, many people have found an alternative in the advent of electronic cigarettes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. The American Lung Association said there are approximately 600 ingredients in cigarettes. When burned, they create more than 4,000 chemicals. At least 50 of these are known to cause cancer.

Those numbers became all too real to one individual. With the death of his father from lung cancer, pharmacists Hon Lik from China began experimenting with an alternative nicotine delivery system. With a belief that the cancer found in cigarettes comes mainly from the other ingredients and not the nicotine, Lik developed the first electronic cigarette. Lik himself was a 3-pack a day smoker of conventional cigarettes at the time.

Made to resemble conventional cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, often called e-cigarettes or e-cigs, are battery-operated devices which contain nicotine. E-cigs make use of an atomizer which heats a liquid containing nicotine, turning it into a vapor cloud that resembles cigarette smoke which is is inhaled.

Andy’s Quick Stop of Oakland starting selling e-cgarettes about 2 months ago. “They fly off the shelf,” said Kristy Johnson, an employee of the convenience store. “When we first started carrying them, the order would arrive on Friday and by Saturday evening they were gone.”

Johnson herself is a former smoker of conventional cigarettes who has found an alternative in what is being called “vaping.” At the age of 15, so many of the people in her life smoked and so she started as well. A few months ago, she was smoking as much as a pack and half a day (30 cigarettes.) After seeing a commercial for a product on television called Blu e-cigarettes, Johnson thought she would give it a try. It was not a positive experience and she quickly returned to smoking. “It was too much like smoking a real cigarette which made me want one,”Johnson recalls.

On January 21, a day she easily recalls, she gave it another try with a different type of e-cigarette and hasn’t looked back. “It’s not the same feeling as smoking a cigarette. You are not pulling through a filter. You’re putting water into your lungs. After the first day with no cigarettes you are going to cough. You are clearing your lungs out. I feel so much better now,” Johnson said.

The first has to do with cost. With an average selling price of $7.50 a pack, Johnson was spending an average of $10 a day on cigarettes. In her first month of vaping, that cost dropped to just $50 for the whole month. At this time, e-cigarettes are not taxed in the same way cigarettes are which has kept the cost down.

Johnson said she feels and has even been told that she looks so much better now that she has quit smoking conventional cigarettes. “My mom commented on how the dark circles under my eyes have dissipated. I used to not be able to sleep at night without a cigarette. Now I can fall asleep easy.” Johnson has a three year old daughter and although she tried not to smoke around her, she appreciates that with vaping there is no second hand smoke in the air.

But just how safe are e-cigs? According to Lowell Dale, M.D., the verdict is still out. “Manufacturers claim that electronic cigarettes are a safe alternative to conventional cigarettes. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has questioned the safety of these products,” Said Dr. Dale, medical director of Mayo Clinic Tobacco Quitline and an associate professor of medicine at the College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn. According to Dr. Dale, the FDA analyzed samples of two popular brands of e-cigs, and found variable amounts of nicotine and traces of toxic chemicals, including known carcinogens.

Studies are continually being conducted by both private and public institutions to better understand the risks and benefits of vaping as opposed to smoking. There is a growing fear among manufacturers that once the FDA steps in, regulation and taxation will drive the price of e-cigarettes to the point of being comparable to the costs of smoking traditional cigarettes.

Nicotine is addictive in whatever form it is put into the body. There is a concern that those who have never smoked, or chewed tobacco, might try vaping thinking it is a completely safe thing to do. As discussed earlier, the verdict is still out on that.

Although there are not nearly as many chemicals in e-cigs as found in conventional cigarettes, don’t be fooled into believing they are free from toxins. According to the Huffington Post, a 2009 FDA analysis of e-cigarettes from two leading brands found that the samples contained carcinogens and other hazardous chemicals, including diethylene glycol, which is found in antifreeze.

Most states, including Nebraska, have yet to set any laws concerning the purchasing of e-cigs. Simply put, children can purchase the devices off the shelf the same as an adult. Although the concern of young people starting to smoke has always been there, coming in flavors like milkshake, strawberry and cookies and cream, there is a growing concern about more young people becoming addicted. Many retailers have begun to impose their own policies on selling the devices to minors.

Legislation is currently being considered in Nebraska concerning the sale of e-cigarettes. Introduced by Wilber Sen. Russ Karpisek, LB861 would add vapor products to the list of tobacco-based items that are illegal to sell to children under 18 years old. Minors who use vapor products would be violating the same law that applies to other tobacco products, a Class V misdemeanor. Selling a vapor product to a minor would be a Class III misdemeanor, the current penalty applied to other tobacco products.

It is true that many people like Kristy Johnson are finding vaping to be an inexpensive alternative to smoking and are feeling physically better because of it. “Until more is known about the potential risks, the safe play is to say no to electronic cigarettes. If you’re looking for help to stop smoking, there are many FDA-approved medications that have been shown to be safe and effective for this purpose,” Dr. Dale recommended on the Minnesota clinic’s website.