On Thursday, KLTV News in Tyler, Texas published a new report about the growing vaping craze. According to KLTV, e-cigs are now found all over East Texas with vape shops and lounges popping up all over the place. Texans love e-cigarettes because they provide the same sensation as a cigarette minus all the dangerous tobacco and tar.
KLTV interviewed Jacksonville resident Jeremy Williams, who said he had been using an e-cig for 100 days. It’s also been 100 days since Williams had a tobacco cigarette. Williams recalls the exact day he quit smoking – October 20, 2013. He told reporters that vaping was helping his health and his finances, estimating that he has already saved over $150 and avoided smoking 1,100 toxic cigarettes. When asked about the difference in his health, he was quick to report some big improvements. “I do sleep a lot better. I obviously don’t have the smell of smoke. I breathe a lot easier and I don’t have the cough in the morning,” he said.
Roy Hufstetler, owner of Toot Juice Vapor Shop also spoke with KLTV. He explained how his ego style e-cigarette worked. “It’s basically a battery and some kind of container that you call a tank. You put liquid in, you put (the cap) on, and then you have a toot,” he explained. Toot Juice is a popular vape store in Jacksonville that makes all of their own e-liquids using just four ingredients according to Hufstetler. “Our liquid consists of four things – propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine, and the flavoring,” he said.
These are the same ingredients used in all major e-liquids. Some critics have claimed propylene glycol is dangerous, considering its use in antifreeze solutions. However, it is also a common ingredient in cosmetics, medications, toothpaste, and even packaged foods.
At Times Square Vapor Lounge, co-owner J.J. Hubbard told KLTV that propylene glycol is quite common. “Products for your skin… it’s used in injectable forms… it’s used in inhalers… used in a lot of stuff that we use everyday,” he said.
Hufstetler told KLTV that he used to smoke three packs of cigarettes a day before he switched to e-cigs. He claimed that he had been a heavy smoker since he was twelve years old. He insisted that his vape shop encourages vaping as an alternative to cigarettes to help people stop smoking. “We definitely would never encourage anyone to start whether you’re a child or an adult. Our view on this is to help people stop smoking.”
Last year, the FDA warned companies not to market e-cigs for smoking cessations. Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine is pushing for e-cigarettes to regulated because he is concerned about the products appealing to children. “It’s not just vapor they’re inhaling. It’s heated nicotine and nicotine, we know, is highly addictive,” he said.
Hufstetler insists that e-cigs are not marketed to appeal to children or even to non-smokers. “Although they’re not recommending people go out and star this – which I don’t either – it’s definitely a better alternative and a safer alternative than smoking cigarettes,” he claimed.
Local opponents of the vaping shops have criticized the variety of e-liquid flavorings, which seem to appeal to kids with flavors like Bubble Gum and Hawaiian Punch. Michelle Setzer, a local mom of three, worries that flavors are appealing to kids rather than adults. “I think that should be addressed. I don’t think a 21-year-old or a 33-year-old adult wants a bubble gum cigarette. That’s not the market they’re targeting,” she complained.
The Texas vapor shops disagree with Setzer, insisting that adults actually do like the flavored liquids and they do not even permit kids to enter their stores. “We don’t let anyone in here that’s under 18 and we do ID,” said Hubbard.
Ultimately, there is no denying that e-cigarettes are growing trend in Texas and across the country. With over 200 e-cig companies offering a variety of models and flavors, it’s a booming business for local vape shops with endless possibilities. Unless the FDA steps in to enforce strict regulations, it appears that e-cigs are here to stay.
Do you think the FDA will start restricting e-cig sales in 2014?