E-cigarettes raise worries – WRAL.com

E-cigarettes are everywhere and sales are exploding. They soared from $500 million in 2012 to an estimated $1.5 billion in 2013.

“E-cigarettes hold a replaceable cartridge that contains nicotine, solvents and flavorings. When that’s heated up by the battery, it atomizes the solution and creates an inhalable vapor,” described Jamie Kopf of Consumer Reports.
The e-cigarette market is not federally regulated like normal cigarettes, although the FDA is in the process of creating some guidelines. 

Some local governments and businesses don’t allow e-cigarettes. They are banned in Wake, Durham and Cumberland county school systems, and they cannot be sold to anyone under 18 in North Carolina. 

In areas where smoking bans are the norm, some people fire up e-cigarettes where traditional ones are illegal.

Commercials promote them as a more socially acceptable alternative to smoking.

While there’s no tobacco, e-cigarettes do contain is nicotine. In different samples, the FDA detected a toxic chemical used in antifreeze and some carcinogens.

“Like in the early days of tobacco cigarettes, it’s just not clear yet what the long-term effects of using these products are going to be,” Kopf said.

Plenty of people turn to e-cigarettes to drop tobacco.

Nina Weinberg-Doran is a satisfied user. “From the day I started using it, I did not smoke another cigarette,” she said. “It worked. It took away that oral thing, and there’s no smell, there’s no matches, there’s no smell in your hair, your clothes, your car.”

Although, in a study done last fall, only about 7 percent had stopped smoking after six months.

Another concern is that flavors with names like peach schnapps, cherry crush and vivid vanilla may entice young people to smoke.

“Our advice is: Don’t start with e-cigarettes just for fun,” Kopf said. “And if you’re trying to quit smoking, stick with approved and better-studied methods, like nicotine gum, patches, and counseling.”

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