Electronic cigarettes are battery powered devices that deliver nicotine and other chemicals as an alternative to smoking tobacco, and they are catching on in a big way.
Vaping devices are exploding in popularity, prompting many tobacco smokers to claim that vaping has helped them quit smoking. However, the health effects of e-cigarettes have the medical community divided on whether or not they are more healthy than smoking cigarettes.
The vaping business hit a milestone at the end of August, with sales reaching $1 billion. Analysts expect the industry will explode to $1.7 billion before the end of 2013. That would be an impressive gain of 70% in just four months.
More and more vapor and e-cigarette stores are popping up all over the country, with more in the planning stage due to the take off in popularity in vaping and the subculture it created.
“It’s proven over time it’s not going away,” said Jim Longden, owner of Vapoligy, a vaping shop located in Boise, Idaho. “It’s just going to get bigger because people are seeing the benefits, they’re feeling it.”
National e-cigarette suppliers including Vapor Corp. say their products are a new, safer alternative to smoking that allows you to smoke virtually anywhere. The company says its products are only filled with a vapor and contain “no smoke, no tar and no carcinogens.”
Some doctors even admit that vaping can help people quit smoking, and say that between the two, electronic cigarettes are the lesser of two evils.
“Comparing the toxicity of the two, most in the healthcare field feel that when compared with tobacco, e-cigarettes aren’t as toxic, but can be just as addictive,” Dr. Jim Souza, a pulmonologist at St. Lukes in Boise, Idaho said.
Souza says that most e-cigarettes and vaping liquids contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance that can affect the cardiovascular system. Those labeled as containing no nicotine, Souza says often have trace amounts as well.
However, since these devices aren’t regulated by the FDA, e-cigarettes and vaping devices have presented the medical community with an interesting challenge in determining the possible long term health effects.
Even though there are still some grey areas, in regards to e-cigarettes, some things are known. They are safer than inhaling smoke from a cigarette, both first and second hand, and they are creating quite a popular subculture among users, some even calling vaping a hobby.