Video by Chauncy Miller, Ashten Dreyer and Han Parker
Everyone has witnessed it recently. It’s been seen it many places matter-of-fact; out on the corner, on a lunch break, and even indoors. People walk past it bracing for the incoming familiar scent of cigarette smoke – instead there is a whiff of something… fruity?
This alien practice goes by the name of vaping. Vaping is done by the use of an e-cigarette, or electronic cigarette.
These e-cigs are battery operated. The cartridge inside heats up so that the “juice” – a liquid concoction of vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, assorted flavorings, and ultimately, nicotine – is vaporized, producing an aerosol almost identical to smoke.
Have long-time cigarette smokers finally received the answers to their prayers? Kelsey Rupe, staff member at Vape Krave in Murrieta, believes so.
“It’s a healthier alternative, and you don’t smell like an ashtray,” she said.
And healthier alternative it seemingly is proved to be. A single lit cigarette produces over 7,000 chemicals, with 69 of them proving to be cancerous. While vape juice contains nicotine – which makes it addicting – it also doesn’t have arsenic, formaldehyde, or carbon monoxide in it. There is also have the option of choosing the amount of nicotine added to the juice, which generally come in low, medium, and high levels.
An added bonus for switching to vaping is the money one can save. An average smoker spends about $2,000 on packs of cigarettes a year; while a basic e-cigarette starter kit costs around $40, which only needs the cartridge – costing around $5 for an entire pack – changed after about 300 uses or “puffs.”
Avid vapor, Justin Shelton, claims he has never felt better after switching to e-cigarettes, and highly recommends it to anyone looking to make the change.
“I like to go hiking, you know, be out and about. I had started to cough a lot, and I knew it was time to do something,” he said. “I tried the patch for a while, and it didn’t really work for me. One of the hardest obstacles about quitting smoking is breaking the whole hand-to-mouth habit, and vaping satisfies both that and the nicotine aspect.”
With the tremendous surge of growth in the vaping industry since it was first introduced in 2007, and over 10 local vape shops popping up in the valley recently, the question has to be asked, “Is this just a trend, and will the hype dwindle in years to come?”
Shelton, on the other hand, disagrees.
“I think there are always going to be those people who take something new and make it a fad, but I think for the people who are actually using it to quit smoking, it’s definitely here to stay,” he said.