by Kirsten Kraus | Staff Writer
E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular in previous years, with sales doubled to more than $135 million in the past year. Of the estimated 2.5 million e-cigarette smokers in the U.S., 99% are previous or current tobacco smokers. The e-cigarette is an alternative to smoking, and 31% of people who have tried e-cigarette smoking have quit within six months. The percent of high school students who have tried e-cigarettes has risen from 1.5% to 2.8%.
“E Cigarettes are definitely getting more popular. It’s a pretty good alternative to smoking, and its become somewhat of a trend,” Smokers Galaxy employee, Taylor, said.
An e-cigarette is an electronic cigarette thats stimulates smoking by producing smoke and vapors.
“An e-cigarette is literally a battery, a coil, and a tank,” Taylor said. “On most of our e-cigarettes you push a button and it’ll start to heat the coil, and it will vaporize the juice inside, providing you the smoke and the vapor.”
Unlike real cigarettes, e-cigarettes have liquid you put inside. These liquids come in a variety of flavors, fruit and mint flavors being popular among teenagers.
“To my understanding, an e-cigarette is an electrical cigarette that runs on a battery, and you can put different types of liquid in it that cause vapor. They have flavored kinds, like mint, cherry and bubblegum type flavors, but the danger in e-cigarettes is that you can also purchase drugs and illegal things that can be put into the e-cigarettes,” Julie Shore said.
Although e-cigarettes are not real cigarettes, and are legal to anyone over the age of 18, but they are not allowed on school grounds.
“The e-cigarettes are not permitted at school. The devices are not allowed on campus, even if not being used. We treat them like real cigarettes, and therefore they follow the same regulations,” Shore said, “We don’t want to promote unhealthy choices, or drug use either.”
Students have brought e-cigarettes to school, even though the rules state that they are not allowed. There have been consequences numerous consequences for these students.
“There have definitely been some on campus, and we’ve taken them away. Along with removing it from the students possession, there are punishments given to those students who opt to bring them to school,” Shore said, “We take them out of their possession and call their parents, and the only way they can get it back is if their parent or guardian come pick them up.”
Though it’s in the rules, some students may not be aware of the strict regulations directed toward e-cigarettes.
“I haven’t used them in school, and I don’t think you’re allowed to smoke them either. I think you’re allowed to bring them to school, just not smoke them,” senior Josh Alarcon said
E- cigarettes are often used by smokers who are trying to quit. Smoking the e-cigarette provides a stimulation for actual smoking, and has been proven to help with the transition from smoking to not smoking.
“The e-cigarettes are helping people quit smoking,” Taylor said, “I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore, and I know several other people who don’t either. I have a bunch of customers that come in who no longer smoke cigarettes. Its technically switching it out for something else, but its a lot healthier than the stuff in cigarettes.”
However, there are other ways an e-cigarette is be used that do not help people end this addiction.
“I mainly use e-cigarettes for entertainment,” Alarcon said, “They taste good. I have friends who use them to quit smoking, but I don’t use them to quit smoking or anything. I use them more for smoke tricks. I usually like to practice smoke tricks, but they just taste good.”
Although e- cigarettes may be used to help quit smoking, some don’t believe its useful, due to the of flavor choices people have to put in their e-cigarette.
“I don’t think e-cigarettes are useful if you’re going to put nicotine in it. Even if you’re trying to quit smoking, by putting that in it, you’re still smoking nicotine , so its not helping at all,” Shore said.
The ways e-cigarettes are used varies from person to person. Whether its for fun or to quit smoking , e-cigarettes are used by a variety of people.
“I just use them for flavor, and for the taste,” Alarcon said, “Its like hooka. I occasionally smoke hookah, but when I do, I smoke it a lot. I use the e-cigarette when I get bored, and I just want to do it.”
E-cigarettes are on the rise among teenagers, but the trend is just as popular among adults.
“All ages buy e-cigarettes. We have a good older crowd as well as a good younger crowd. There’s not really a certain demographic. Theres a good amount of teenagers buying e-cigarettes, but there’s not any more than there are adults,” Taylor said.
E-cigarettes are not just healthier than real cigarettes, but cheaper too. The prices cigarette smokers pay for packs of cigarettes add up, making their total spending amount high. While e-cigarettes can be somewhat pricey, the month-to-month cost is typically about half when compared to traditional cigarettes.
“At our store the e-cigarettes typically range from about $30 to $150. The e-liquids will cost anywhere from $5.49 to $20,” Taylor said.