Electronic cigarettes: a healthier choice?

Smoking in a classroom? Now cool. Smoking in a movie theatre? Totally okay. Smoking in a restaurant? Even better.

Smoking has never been associated with the word safe and acceptable, until now. There is now a new product on the market called an electronic cigarette. It looks like a cigarette, feels like a cigarette and can taste like a cigarette.

Doug Wemple, a community advisor on campus, is one who has started the trend of sparking electronic cigarettes on campus.

“I’ve been smoking for around three years. I first started when me and my friends were at a Phil Lesh and Friends concert in 2006 and people sell things in the lots and I remember walking around and me and my friend thought that people smoking cigarettes looked so cool. We found a guy selling cigarettes out of his car and each bought a pack,” said Wemple. “It was basically downhill from there.”

Wemple saw ads for electronic cigarettes over the summer and started to investigate more.

According to www.ecigxox.com , “It is a battery-powered device that provides inhaled doses of nicotine by delivering a vaporized propylene glycol/nicotine solution. In addition to nicotine delivery, this vapor also provides a flavor and physical sensation similar to that of inhaled tobacco smoke, while no tobacco, smoke, or combustion is actually involved in its operation.”

“So it’s basically the same thing as a cigarette but there’s no tar or all the crap that’s in regular cigarettes,” said Wemple.

You’d think cigarette smokers would be jumping at the chance to try this new product, but some could care less.

Brittany Baranowski, a sophomore at Castleton, has been smoking just since this past summer. She tried it because her friends around her smoked and over time it just became part of her life too.

“Electronic cigarettes just taste really sweet, nothing like a cig and it’s only nicotine without any of them chemicals so they are better for you I guess. However you are still addicted to nicotine so I feel like it will prolong the addiction,” said Baranowski.

These electronic cigarettes come in different flavors like chocolate, vanilla, or many varieties that taste just like a normal cigarette.

The nicotine amounts are the same as a normal cigarette and there are options to buy high, medium, or low levels.

Electronic cigarettes are available at The Emporium Tobacco & Gift Shop in Rutland. Owner Jim Stone has even used the product himself.

“I used it to help with the quitting process, but I do not market them as a quit product. It is an alternative to cigarettes, but it is the same as nicotine gum,” said Stone.

One of the catches with the e-cigs is the price; about $70 for a starter pack that includes one electronic cigarette, two batteries and charger, and five nicotine cartridges.

“I started smoking officially at like 14, but I had my first one when I was 12. I’m not quite sure why I smoke, it’s just become something I do. I’ve heard of the electronic cigarette but it costs too much money and I’m not really interested in quitting at the moment,” said sophomore Joshua Swimmer.

Quitting would be the healthiest option for people, but for some these e-cigs are the answer for the moment.

“Anything that you put into your lungs that is smoke simply isn’t good for you,” said Wemple.

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