E-Cigarettes are Gaining in Popularity, But are they Safe?

MACHESNEY PARK - E-Cigarettes are here and they're gaining popularity everyday, but are they safe?

MACHESNEY PARK - It's a typical day at The Vapor Shop in Machesney Park.

As customers peruse the selection, Todd Kundert works with a young woman who's trying e-cigarettes for the first time.

He's only owned the shop for 4 months, but the results to him are clear.

"It's a much safer alternative to smoking, doesn't contain the chemicals, the tar, the smoke. It doesn't leave the smell in your house, doesn't leave the smell in your car, it's safer around children."

The rise in popularity of e-cigarettes has created a new marketplace, but it's also created concern about what's actually in them.

Kundert says he knows exactly what his customers are inhailing.

"Our liquids are made here at the store, contain no chemicals. They contain 5 ingrediants, 4 of them are FDA approved, and one is nicotine."

What users are breathing in is actually nicotine vapor

"Anything that's healthier than putting tar and all those chemicals in your body is a good thing. We've had people, i've heard a doctor say recently, he doesn't care what they find out 10 years down the road, it's a thousand times better than a cigarette."

We ask the important question, "Is there a difference between nicotine vapors, as opposed to actual nicotine?"

"Who knows? We've never had nicotine vapor go deep into lung tissue before." Susan Dewar is the Dean of Nursing at Rasmussen College.

She says that because e-cigarettes have only been around since 2007, there isn't enough research to determine whether they're completely safe.

"I think it's too soon for us to know whether it's a good idea even for adult smokers, let alone children."

While overall tobacco use was down among teens last year, a 2012 survey by the National Youth Tobacco Survey says more junior high and high school students are using hookahs and e-cigarettes, and more teens are curious about trying e-cigarettes.

"We are seeing kids starting to use e-cigarettes, kids that may not have even been smokers, and what that's doing, in fact, is training them into the habit of the action and the sensation of smoking and we might actually be creating more smokers through the use of this product", said Dewar.

That's why 23 different states across the country have banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, and the FDA is expected to act on e-cigarettes in the coming months.

But that doesn't matter to Kundert.

"Just because a guy in a suit at the FDA says it isn't safe, we have doctors who refer their patients here, rather than give them Chantix and other drugs that could be harmful."

It's one reason why so many customers are choosing to use e-cigarettes, that and a lighter wallet.

"The health reasons are the biggest part and the money as well. Once you buy a starter kit, you spend $15 dollars a month on liquids, as opposed to $7 to $8 dollars a day on cigarettes."

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