Electronic cigarettes or e-cigs have grown in popularity over the past several years- especially here in northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio.
You might even know someone who uses an e-cig or a vaporizer.
But are they safer than traditional cigarettes?
WFFT takes a closer look in this special report- Vaporized.
Just this past week, the FDA changed the rules regarding e-cigarettes and is now in the process of regulating them just like other forms of tobacco.
WFFT spoke with experts here in Fort Wayne about how that will shape the safety, and the growth, of electronic nicotine.
Some say electronic cigarettes are the next big thing, and could make traditional cigarettes go up in smoke.
Instead of actually smoking tobacco, the user inhales vaporized nicotine liquid.
"They're popular, but I think they're mis-marketed to the consumer,” says Jill Leal.
Leal is the director of Tobacco Free Allen County.
She says one of their top goals has been pushing for stronger regulations for e-cigarettes.
"The issue for us is, nicotine is addictive it doesn't matter what form it comes in, and the fact that they're saying it's healthier- well you're still getting carcinogens,” says Leal.
Leal says very little research has been done regarding toxicity- but it has shown some toxins in the vapor.
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced plans to regulate e-cigarettes.
The change forces manufacturers to reveal what chemicals are in the nicotine liquid.
That's fine, says Cravin' Vapes owner John Dennis.
"Because of the ingredients that we use, all of the ingredients that we are using are FDA approved,” Dennis says.
They make all their vapor liquid in-house, he says.
And he says it's just flavor and nicotine- no chemicals.
And those flavors, 100 of them, he says, are fruity and light, and have a purpose- and it's not to sell or market to minors.
"Why would you want to emulate a flavor that you're trying to get away from? Why not pick one of the other one-hundred flavors that we have out here that would end up satisfying your need and gives you a pleasant breath,” Dennis says.
Now that e-cigs are going to be regulated like other tobacco, businesses that allowed customers and employees to 'vape,’ are now snuffed out.
Daniel White owns Wrigley Field Bar and Grill in Fort Wayne and has allowed e-cigs since the city-wide smoking ban went into place a few years ago.
"What a lot of people don't realize is when the smoking ban came, we were down fifty percent for probably six months from July through January that first year. And now that we have the smoking areas, things have gotten better. But it's never been the same,” White says.
He says banning e-cigs would hurt his and other bars in the region and has had zero complaints about them.
Not the case over at IPFW- which included all e-cigs and vaporizers in its campus-wide tobacco ban at the start of April.
"There were complaints by students and faculty and staff that any kind of smoking was causing problems for everyone,” says IPFW Executive Director of Health Services Linda Finke.
It could take a couple of years for all of those regulations to take place.
And you'll hear people advertise e-cigarettes as an 'alternative' to smoking.
That's because it's against FDA rules to market them as a way to quit smoking.
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