Some Question Safety Of Electronic Cigarettes


Since Ohio joined several other states in a smoking ban 2 years ago, some smokers have found a new way to indulge their habit in public places that is about half the cost of cigarettes.

"It's kind of a logical alternative to smoking," said Dustin Claypool, a distributor for InLife Electronic Cigarettes. 

The cigarettes are black, not white and glow blue, not red, 10TV's Andrea Cambern reported.

The steel tubes of the electronic cigarettes contain a battery, an atomizer and a cartridge. 

"The cartridge contains nicotine and water and a food additive, called propylene glycol," Claypool said.

According to Claypool, a smoker can breathe in nicotine and exhale water vapor without tobacco's 4,000 chemicals and carcinogens.  His non-smoking business partner, Steve Petrosino, said the cigarettes help those who can't or won't quit.

"They enjoy the act of smoking," Petrosino said.  "They're going to continue smoking."

Both men said that the electronic cigarettes are a healthier choice compared to traditional cigarettes.

"Logic tells you that this is better for you," Claypool said.  "Plus, you can use it in bars (and) restaurants.  You can use it on an airplane.  It kind of gives smokers back their rights a little bit."

A spokesman for the Ohio Department of Health told 10TV News that since the devices don't burn tobacco that the smoking ban does not apply.  Leigh Ann Burns, a smoker, said that courtesy should apply.  Before she lights up, she shows the electronic cigarette to the manager.

"I wouldn't want someone coming into my establishment and just taking this thing out without approaching me with it first," Burns said.

According to Petrosino, the electronic cigarettes are also fire-safe.  If they are dropped, they turn themselves off.

"If you fall asleep with (the electronic cigarette) in your hand, then it rolls into the bed with you, it's not going to light anything on fire," Petrosino said.

Shelly Kiser of the American Lung Association said that no one knows how healthy an electronic cigarette really is.  She said there is no research to prove its safety.  Since it dispenses nicotine, a drug, the Food and Drug Administration considers it a drug-delivery device.

"They have stopped the import of this device into the United States and it's possible that soon they will stop the sale of this product," Kiser said.

Until then, Burns plans to enjoy the electronic cigarettes.

"It actually fulfills every craving you would have off a regular tobacco cigarette," Burns said.

"The best thing is just to have clean air in your lungs," Kiser said.

A cartridge equals one pack of cigarettes and costs about $3.70, a bit more than half the cost of cigarettes, Cambern reported.

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