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Smokers turn to e-cigarettes as nicotine alternative

By Jonathan Radford, jradford@wcyb.com
Published On: Jan 15 2014 05:03:02 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 15 2014 09:00:32 PM CST

News 5 discovered many smokers are kicking the habit by switching to electronic cigarettes to get their nicotine fix.

BRISTOL, Va. -

According to the American Cancer Society, nearly three-quarters of smokers will try to break the habit this year, but only 7 percent of those who try to quit for the first time will succeed.

News 5 discovered many smokers are kicking the habit by switching to electronic cigarettes to get their nicotine fix.

E-cigarette stores are popping up everywhere as smokers trash their cigarettes and pick up vapor pens, or e-cigarettes, at places like Vape Aloud in Bristol, Virginia. "We get people who are just young and athletic. They want to get smoking out of their lungs so they can perform better. Then we get people who have been smoking for 50 years and they are finding that this helps them stop smoking," said Jason White, owner of Vape Aloud.

Zachary Tittle is one of White's regular customers. "I smoked 2 packs a day," said Tittle.

Tittle tells us he smoked and dipped tobacco for eight years, but five months ago he began to break the habit when he tried an e-cigarette. "I couldn’t run, I couldn't play sports and I couldn't do anything. Now, I’ve been playing football and I'm getting ready to join the military," said Tittle.

White tells us he sells as many as 200 starter kits every month, and so far they've doubled their overall sales every month.

But the business boom isn't totally a healthy blessing. "So you still have nicotine, it's an addictive substance and it is habit-forming. We don't recommend it for anyone who doesn't already have the habit," said White.

We asked a pulmonologist how e-cigarettes can affect your health. "Most of the nicotine is actually absorbed in the mouth; it's absorbed in the cheeks. Whereas with regular tobacco, nicotine is absorbed in the lungs, so your heart and blood vessels are still going to get the nicotine," said Dr. Joe Smiddy.

Still, White believes 'vaping' is a better alternative to smoking. "I think we might be looking at one of the last generations that finds it ok to set fire to tobacco. Vaping is the new thing," said White.