Cigarette alternative draws some criticism - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/18/09

Cigarette alternative draws some criticism

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By Cassie Hataway | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - If you have ever craved a cigarette on a plane, in a business meeting, or restaurant where no smoking is allowed, you may be interested in a high tech alternative. 

It's called the e-cigarette, the ‘E' stands for electronic.  It doesn't contain tobacco or several of the other harmful carcinogens linked to traditional cigarettes.  Instead of smoke, it produces a vapor created by mixing water, flavoring, and nicotine with the heat of a battery similar to the one in your cell phone.  Of course, though, there are two sides to the story.

"You get to smoke this anywhere, anytime, anyplace, and we believe because of the current environment, taxes on cigarettes, it's a much better economic value for you as a consumer," said John Wiesehan, distributor of N-Joy , a brand of e-cigarette.  Dr. Cheryl  Healton, President of the American Legacy Foundation, though, said, "We do not know what is in it, we do not know if when what is in it is brought into the lungs repeatedly, it is safe for the lungs". 

So, while the makers think of e-cigarettes as a safer option for smokers, some argue that since it still contains nicotine, an addictive drug, the FDA should decide if it's safe.  There have been no independent studies on the e-cigarette so the FDA has not taken a stand yet.  It's not available in the u-s yet.  Right now, it's a product you have to purchase on-line and it starts at about $150 for the device and about $20 for every refill.

For more information on e-cigarettes visit: njoy.com, smokeanywhere.com, or ecigaretteusa.com.

For more information on the health effects of e-cigarettes, click here.

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