Vaping in the new year

bad smoking

By Matt Williams

At this time of the year everyone is making New Year’s resolutions. One that we’ve all heard time and again is “This year, I’m gonna stop smoking.” Often the person making such a resolution will stay away from cigarettes for a few days, try some nicotine-filled gum or patch, and within days are hanging out with friends that smoke and peer pressure takes hold.

The best tool on the market to stop smoking has unfortunately been frowned upon by many people who don’t know a lot about it. It’s called vaping (or e-cigarettes). There’s been numerous reports claiming that it’s not regulated. “We really don’t know what’s in it.”

Let’s take a moment and clear the air about what are in e-liquids (or commonly referred to as e-juice or “vape juice”). The American-made juice is made of only four ingredients: propylene glycol (used in many food products), vegetable glycerin (also found in food products), nicotine and flavoring. There are a lot of vape companies that purchase juice from the Asian market very cheaply, which is in no way regulated and unsafe. If you know someone who vapes make sure they are purchasing American-made e-juice.

There is a misconception that nicotine is the dangerous ingredient in cigarettes. It’s probably the safest of all of them. Unless in large, toxic doses, the nicotine molecule itself is as harmless as caffeine with no evidence of causing cancer. A burning cigarette, on the other hand, has over 4,000 chemical compounds that are inhaled into the body, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. At this time, there have not been any cancer-causing agents found in e-cigs whatsoever. Several of the vape shop owners that I spoke to said that they have had several customers referred to them by their doctors. One store owner claims his best customers are referred by a prominent ear, nose and throat specialist in Knoxville.

Although there are no statistics on the long term side effects of vaping, there are quite a few short term benefits:

  1. 8 hours: normalized oxygen levels
  2. 48 hours: improved taste and smell
  3. 72 hours: rising energy levels
  4. 2 weeks: increased circulation
  5. 3 months: improved lung circulation
  6. 1 year: lowered risk of heart attack
  7. 5 years: lowered risk of stroke

There is also a huge financial benefit to vaping vs smoking. If on average a person smokes a pack a day, that would add up to 7,300 cigarettes a year. At a pack a day a person would spend $1,825 a year on cigarettes. Unless you’re someone that wants to constantly get the newest vape device, after your initial investment you can expect to spend around $520 a year on e-juice. That’s a savings of at least $1,305 per year.

I personally started vaping on July 20, 2013 as a birthday gift to my girlfriend (who crochets and wasn’t happy about the stench of cigarettes staying on the yarn). I picked up a starter kit and had the plan of just using it around her so she wouldn’t have to be around the nasty smell. After using it for a few minutes I realized that I experienced the same nicotine fix as smoking (in addition to it tasting better). At the time I didn’t know a lot about it, but started hearing rumors that they used harmful chemicals in it. After investigating and visiting some e-juice manufacturers, I found out what is in the juice and how safe it is. U.S. companies take precautions to ensure that all of their juice is top-notch and complies with government standards.

As you have probably noticed at convenience stores, supermarkets and drugstores, there are a variety of e-cigarettes that one can pick up for around $10. Most of these are actually produced by the large tobacco companies; the same companies that are spreading most of the negative rumors about vaping. These over-the-counter e-cigs are a joke and the tobacco companies’ way of trying to cash in on the ever-growing e-cigarette market.

There has also been a lot of debate about e-cigarette companies gearing their juice towards teenagers. Why? Simply because they come in different flavors. However, that is not an argument. It doesn’t logically follow that just because e-liquids come in different flavors that this is some marketing ploy aimed at minors. It should be rather straightforward that adult men and women enjoy a variety of flavors, as there is a market for them in moonshine, wine coolers, beer, etc. Furthermore, in light of such business practices backfiring in the past, it is more than clear that targeting children would be bad business. No savvy business owner would risk marketing to children as part of their business strategy. I have personally spent a lot of time in vape shops and many of them will not even allow anyone under 18 to enter the store, much less sell to them. E-cigarettes are not meant to be a gateway to smoking. They are meant to be a healthier alternative for existing smokers.

One local township, Townsend, recently banned the sale of flavored e-liquids due to rumors that they were being marketed towards minors because of the large variety of candy-like flavors. It’s almost as if the government believes that adults can’t enjoy fun flavors.

When a person initially stops smoking, they usually first try a tobacco flavored juice so that it’s not a huge taste adjustment. But as they proceed into the world of vaping and start to develop their taste again, many love to vape a wide variety of flavors. Think of it as getting a taste of your favorite fruit or dessert every single time you smoke instead of tasting tobacco. Unless they just love the taste of tobacco, most would rather taste something that they enjoy every time they vape.

There are now quite a few very nice, helpful shops in Sevier County that would be glad to help you understand the truth about vaping and how beneficial it is to those who choose it over smoking. If you have any questions about e-cigs, simply stop by a local vape shop, such as Anna Mae’s Vapery & Gourmet E-liquids, Cloud 9 Vaping Lounge, Vintage Vapors Knoxville or Sevier Vapor Shop and they’ll be glad to give you more information and give you the help you need. 2015 is now a time for renewal and changing your life for the better. If you’re a smoker and want a healthier, cheaper and more satisfying alternative, give it a try.

In the next few weeks I’ll be writing more about this topic. If you have any information on the matter that you’d like to share, please e-mail me at matt.williams@tnsjournal.com.

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