‘Vaping’: An Alternative To Tobacco, What We Know And What We Don’t

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Feb. 6, 2014) —  Electronic cigarettes are an industry billed as an alternative to smoking in an increasingly smoke-free world.  But as the new habit replaces the old, some wonder if we know enough about electronic cigarettes to label them safe.

Joost Vapor is just one of many stores offering E-cigarettes and hundreds of complimentary products in West Michigan.

The store in Comstock Park has been open since July, offering an alternative to tobacco.

“They are a lot better for you,” said Evan Brogan who works at Joost Vapor, “No tars, no toxins, no carcinogens.”

Jenna Herrema uses the product and also sells it at the Comstock Park store.  “I loved smoking,” she said.  “I just loved it for some reason.  Ever since I started this I quit cold turkey.”

Customers can choose a device, choose a flavor, fill it up and puff away on a mixture of water, flavoring and other ingredients.

“It’s propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin both ingredients have been pharmaceutically passed to be able to be ingested and inhaled,” said Brogan.

It’s those ingredients that have been a topic of debate.

“There is no product control,” said tobacco addiction counselor and respiratory therapist Laura VanHeest.  “Nobody telling them what they can use and what they can’t use.”

E-cigarettes can be sold with or without nicotine making the product accessible to all ages.

“We personally, Joost Vapor, card people who are 18-years-old or older to be able to get nicotine in their product.”

VanHeest said she also has a problem with the marketing of the product.

“Hollywood is pushing it,” said VanHeest.  “So who is going to pick it up? Kids.”

The FDA said E-cigarettes haven’t been fully studied so, with or without nicotine, the long-term effects are unknown.

“Granted there is less, that we know of, poisonous things in the E-cigarettes than there is in a regular cigarette because tobacco leaf itself is toxic, but we also know that nicotine is a poison,” said VanHeest.

Supporters said they’ve seen people put down tobacco and never pick it back up and said at this point the good outweighs the unknown.

“People bringing in their moms that have been smoking for 60 years and talking about how this is really helping,” said Herrema.

Some of these devices we are looking at range in price from $40.00 to more than $100.00.  You also need to buy the liquid that goes in the device.

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  • Tony Morgan

    Even I am only able to quit smoking with the alternative way of using E Cigarette for vaping. Moreover, the feature I like the most is choice of flavors. I agree with Brogan and even consult with my family doctor for the same about the ingredients of <a href ="https://www.facebook.com/EJuiceBox">E Juice which contains propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin are safe to intake or inhale.

  • Tom

    Its time people stop obsessing about what others are doing and worry about them selves instead.
    In other words, MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS and buzz off!

  • Tom

    Lets focus on drinking and the known damage booze causes, it destroys families, is the number one cause of traffic deaths, costs the tax payer millions each year.

    Oh wait…the state makes BIG bucks off the booze tax- so booze is "ok"

    Besides, what the big deal with freedom and freedom of choice, we need the gubment to tell us what to do..

  • Betterhave

    E-cigs are a lot safer than any form of tobacco. They also eliminate all 'second hand' smoke risks. They will never burn down a house, car or start a grass fire, either. For that matter, they're a lot safer than the smoking cessation products on the market that come with a list of warnings and side effects.

    There's absolutely no reason to ban, tax or add any stupid government regulations beyond the present need to card customers buying those with nicotine.

    • bub

      I am all for e-cigs but you are flat out lying, nicotine can still be inhaled second hand, improper use of batteries will cause fires.

      • jason

        studies ahve showed the ecigs dont have second hand nocotine already, and since propalyne glycol is pumped into the air at hispitals. and its mostly te modders and cheap cheap chinese units that have had charging battery faults though even iphones have been catching fire its the nature of lithiu batteries they can be unstable.

  • Darrin Gold

    No one under the legal smoking age should ever use an electronic cigarette. Adults that do not smoke should not use an electronic cigarette. I was a smoker for 27 years. I made many attempts to quit during that time. I used the patch, the gum, the lozenge, and will power. On December 17, 2010 I purchased an electronic cigarette and I have been a non smoker since that very first puff. My health has improved as well. I no longer suffer from sinus infections, ear infections or the constant chest congestion I became used to having. I can climb many flights of stairs without getting winded as well. I believe if it were not for the electronic cigarette, I would have been a smoker for the rest of my life. Dying a painful, perhaps horrific death. But more important than that, I am not killing the people around me anymore. I have seen 100’s of people in my own community switch from cigarettes to electronic cigarettes with the same results as me.
    As to the idea that they are marketed to kids because of the colors and flavors and only kids would want that, I would direct you to the alcohol isle at most super markets where you can purchase birthday cake vodka. I would also send you to the Apple store where you can buy your new Iphone in many vibrant colors. Then there are the flavored coffee creamers like White Chocolate Raspberry, and even Girl Scout Cookie. Adults like flavors and colors. Are Coffee Mate and International Delight marketing to kids? I doubt it.

  • George

    They will sell hardware and e-liquid to kids under 18 if they get no nicotine??? I know that the two most respected and longest running stores in town (Kalamazoo Vapor Shop and Mr. E's) are both certified members of the American E-Liquid Manufacturing Standards Association (aemsa.org) and, as per their by-laws, will not sell ANYTHING to someone under 18… which is as it SHOULD be. Bad business practice to prey on the minors.

    • charles

      They never said that company did sell to minors only that it could be i know hey do card aswell if you look to young. theres alot of misinformation that didnt directly go about the compay just in general that whole video wasnt done well at all

  • Dana

    I've purchased from four different shops (three online and KVS in person), all members of AEMSA, and they all will not sell anything to anyone under 18, regardless of whether or not there is nicotine involved. If there are any shops selling to minors, they need to be dealt with appropriately.

    I'm not advocating that any minor should pick up vaping (and certainly not smoking), but look at this pragmatically: If Hollywood entices kids to try e-cigs, I believe there's a good chance that they WON'T go on to tobacco, simply because tobacco tastes and smells awful compared to any e-cig. Honestly, if you put any child next to a vaper and a smoker, and the child can't tell the difference between the two, you've got bigger problems to deal with.

    Nicotine is a poison, yes…in sufficient amounts. Guess what? Water is, too, in sufficient amounts. Studies have shown that nicotine, in the amounts provided by most e-juices – which the user can specify when the juice is made – actually increase mental alertness and cognitive processing in much the same way as caffeine. To the best of my knowledge, there has never been a definitive link between nicotine, in and of itself, and any kind of serious illness such as a heart attack or stroke. Yes, it does increase blood pressure temporarily, but caffeine does that too, and no one is trying to get rid of soda and coffee. Besides, the OTC patches, gums, and lozenges usually provide MORE nicotine than most e-juices, and they've been on the market for years with no one complaining that kids are trying to buy them and get hooked.

    Propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin are both labeled as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the FDA and have been for many years. The flavorings used (at least in my varieties) are food-grade quality and recognized as such.

    I smoked for over 25 years, and had tried everything to quit. Patches, gums, lozenges, Chantix – you name it, I tried it. They all failed for one reason – they didn't provide the physical sensation of inhalation and exhalation, which in turn fulfilled a psychological and sociological desire. I switched to e-cigs in April 2012, and haven't wanted or desired any kind of tobacco since then. I can breathe, I can taste, I don't smell like an ashtray, and I feel better than I have in years.

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