Cigarettes have not always been labeled as detrimental for one’s health. Doctors used to even recommend them, before more complete studies were conducted. In 1965, cigarette consumption per capita in the U.S. peaked at 4,259 cigarettes. Since then, its use has only dwindled. As of 2006, cigarette consumption per capita had shrunk to 1,691, less than half of what it was about four decades ago. During the last three years, electronic cigarettes, or “vapes” as they are often called, have experienced a mushroom cloud of popularity and are popping up in many urban hubs across the U.S. The decreased risk of adverse health effects coupled with e-cigarettes’ variety of flavor options has encouraged more users to pick it up, and the “vaping” craze is continuing to take many cities by storm.
Many users of e-cigarettes are hailing them as the beautiful pathway out of using traditional cigarettes. Some former smokers are even citing the fact that they used to smoke two or more packs a day, and have been able to wave goodbye to the harmful habit through the use of an e-cigarette.
Consequently, many business-minded people are taking notice, and planning out their efforts towards monetizing the trend. Holland Counce of New Orleans is the owner of Calhoun Vapor, one of a number of fresh e-cigarette stores and lounges that are catering to the burgeoning crowd.
The array of liquids provided for e-cigarette users are vegetable glycerin (a sweet-tasting, non-toxic compound), propylene glycol (a clear, nearly odorless liquid), nicotine and some flavoring. This allows users to have diversity and customization of choice when using the products. Even though the growth of e-cigarette users is continuing to take cities by storm, what has not been fully established yet is whether or not e-cigarettes pose health threats that are in any way comparable to cigarette smoke or any form of tobacco.
A simple online search about e-cigarettes or “vapes” yields a vast collection of articles and opinion publications on the topic. There are nearly as many thoughts on the advent of e-cigarettes as there are people who use them, and there have been very few (if any) scientific reports on their usage. The same goes for studies or research reported by governmental organizations. The FDA has not decreed any regulations yet, but the organization is in the process of collecting information to make a statement and impose rules, if it is found necessary.
A large portion of e-cigarette users claim that without the hope of “vaping,” their current levels of health, welfare and even finances would be nowhere near territory that is worthy of bragging rights. Adam Rogers, a customer of The Vaping Tiger, mentioned that he was usually smoking two to three packs of traditional cigarettes per day before switching to e-cigarettes. Now he is able to participate in group sports and other recreational activities that he says would have been impossible otherwise.
Sylvia Kronstadt of Salt Lake City has commented on e-cigarettes, mentioning that lab tests indicate that very little nicotine is released into the bloodstream when consuming the vapor of an e-cigarette. This essentially backs up the fact that the problem of smoking has long been described as an oral fixation – one that the human body has difficulty escaping from after the point of birth. Babies consume their formula or breast milk via the mouth, humans eat food and kiss other humans by interacting with the mouth, and the recreation of smoking is enabled through the mouth.
Kronstadt also noted that there is research that reveals that nicotine, when free from tobacco, only poses similar symptoms to that of caffeine cravings, or caffeine consumption. Caffeine is one of the most publicly accepted and widely used drugs in the world, and no one bats an eye about drinking a cup of coffee.
As the U.S. stands to receive potentially game-changing rules about the use of e-cigarettes, the thriving industry is taking no time in shifting from underground to mainstream, and forming lifelong supporters in the process. Smokecignals, a store in the Hollygrove area of New Orleans, is operated by Anthony Kolesa and is already boasting monthly revenue that is 14-fold greater than when the store opened nearly two years ago. Kolesa mentions that, including himself, he sees most current “vapers” as people who were once smokers and have now had e-cigarettes “change our lives.” While some may remain skeptical, and some will not be opting for nicotine in their “vaping,” there is no uncertainty that the snowballing of e-cigarette users is continuing to take cities by storm.
By Brad Johnson