Electronic Cigarette Fad Growing

Electronic cigarettes are becoming more popular and can even be seen on campus. Photo by Cheyenne Anderson.

Cigarettes without the smoke, otherwise known as e-cigarettes, consist of a battery powered device which vaporizes nicotine without providing the user with toxic smoke.  Relatively new on the market, e-cigarettes have been gaining popularity not only among adults but teens as well—including Marshfield students.

Senior Anthony Flores-Fraser is one who has used e-cigarettes in addition to a hookah pen.

“Although the two are very similar, I believe that e-cigarettes are a way to fight cigarette addiction, and hookah pens are just to smoke and mess around with.” Flores-Fraser said.

Along with Flores-Fraser, another MHS student, Josh,* commented on their usage.

“The attraction of e-cigarettes for teens, like myself, is because it comes in a lot of flavors.  It is also easy to hide from parents because there is not a strong odor from the e-cigarette,” Josh said.

E-cigarettes were originally introduced as a means of helping smokers quit or cut back cigarette usage.  According to a recent article in The World, Nikki Zogg, former administrator for Coos County Public Health, is concerned that  e-cigarettes are just another way of becoming addicted to nicotine and can actually cause young people to move toward using regular cigarettes.

Flores-Fraser said flavors such as strawberry, grape, cherry, chocolate, mint, and even cookie flavor could be very enticing to young people.

“I have smoked many flavors such as mint from the brand Fantasia and they taste very good,” Flores-Fraser said.

For people with strong nicotine additions, e-cigarettes can be used as a tool to taper down nicotine consumption. However, e-cigarettes do not prevent nicotine addiction. The concern over the pros and cons of e-cigarettes has prompted the Coos County Public Health Department to release a position statement.  Although there are no state or federal laws regarding their use yet, some organizations such as Bay Area Hospital have chosen to ban or limit the use of e-cigarettes on their property.  It is the lack of restrictions that entices some people to use them, such as a former MHS student Zan Walker.

“I can smoke an e-cigarette in restaurants or places where smoking is banned,” Walker said. “Since there is no smoke, it doesn’t bother people around me.”

Blu, Smoke Green, Cig2Os, SafeCig, V2Cigs, and SmokeTip are just a few of the many companies touting the benefits of electronic cigarettes.  E-cigarettes and or hookah pens can be purchased usually at any store where regular cigarettes are sold, according to Flores-Fraser.

“I buy and smoke Fantasia from a local store Flashback, but I have seen other students smoking various brands like Blu,” Flores-Fraser said.

  In addition to the promise of a healthier cigarette, these companies are making a profit off of peoples’ choice to use them.

While e-cigarette users avoid the toxins of tobacco combustion and burning paper, few studies have been done to look at the health risks of using e-cigarettes.  For now, however, e-cigarettes continue to be offered to the public as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes. The debate over whether or not the pros outweigh the cons will carry on.  For now, e-cigarettes do not fall under the same restrictions as tobacco cigarettes, but increases in their use may bring about new regulations.  Smokers who chose the e-cigarette for the freedom to smoke wherever one chooses may find themselves limited once again.