E-cigarettes trend warming up


   A rising trend among smokers brings a flavorful cloud of smoke. E-cigarettes, hookah pens, vapes, whatever you may call them are heating up. 

E-cigarettes are a battery-powered device that heats nicotine for inhalation. Some argue that they are an option for people to use to quit smoking, and although are considered less harmful than a traditional cigarette, the long-term effects of use are largely unknown. 

E-cigarettes typically contain glycerin and glycol ethers, which are used as the liquid carrier, and nicotine. They often come in a wide range of flavors. 

In September, e-Titan Vapors, an e-cigarette retailer opened in Brookings. They sell e-cig products that contain nicotine and also products without. Products are sold to those over the age of 18 and do not come with any health claims. 

E-Titan vapors makes all their own juice at their flagship store in Grand Island, Neb. The store carries over 100 flavors, and have nicotine levels ranging from 24 milligrams of nicotine to zero. The liquid is made with propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavor and nicotine, but can be made with or without nicotine. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control website, “Researchers from CDC and Georgia State University found that from 2010 to 2013, awareness grew to 80 percent and use of e-cigarettes more than doubled among U.S. adults. In 2013, approximately 8 in 10 adults were aware of e-cigarettes, while nearly 1 in 10, or 20.4 million individuals, had ever tried the products at least once. E-cigarette use was especially prominent among current and former cigarette smokers. The study concludes that, given the uncertain public health impact of e-cigarettes, continued surveillance of how they are being used is critical for public health planning. “ 

SDSU counsels students against all tobacco use and the Student Health Clinic doesn’t see e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to regular cigarettes, said Carol Humburg. As the FDA doesn’t approve e-cigs as an alternative to quit smoking, and the CDC cites possible health risks, the Health Clinic works with the SDQuitline to help students quit smoking. 

Jim Shekleton, general counsel for the South Dakota Board of Regents said that the current policy the BOR has in place addresses smoking, but the e-cigarette uses a battery to heat nicotine for inhalation, rather than the incineration of a typical cigarette. 

Although the e-cigs are not specifically addressed within the policy, there is no right to use them without discretion. 

“There is nothing in Board policy that says you can’t ingest tobacco, [use] is regulated because tobacco is unsightly and can present a health hazard,” Shekleton. 

However, regulation also becomes a local policy, per university discretion. 

“Use of all technology is very situational, and I think that at the present e-cigarettes are in category,” Shekleton said. 

Freshman music entrepreneurship and business economics double major Ryan Hurt said, he vapes on an Rebuildable Drippable Atomizer, or as he calls it, a glorified e-cig. 

As for any university restrictions he’s run across, he said “I know we can’t vape in the dorms, that’s all that I know.​”

 Shekleton said that at this point he can’t say whether the BOR will amend the current smoking policy or put one in place for e-cigarettes, and it depends upon whether their use becomes problematic.

“Whenever you see a new technology it takes a while to find out through experience what hazards are inherent in use of technology,” Shekleton said.

Hurt said he vapes because he likes [e-cigs]. “It’s cleaner and I feel that they are more socially acceptable than a cigarette,” Hurt said.

Some students come in because they are trying to quit smoking, others simply like the flavor and smoke the vapor with no nicotine, manager Kelly Wishon said.

Everything that is sold at e-Titan Vapors is e-cigarettes. How long each kit or bottle of “juice” purchased lasts depends on how much the person uses it.

Kelly Wishon and his wife, Stephanie said they both quit smoking with the help of e-cigs. They said they now see people who come in their store looking to quit smoking or some people who are trying to quit chewing. They also said they serve customers who are looking for a less expensive way to get nicotine.

Kelly said that the current customer base is a mix between college-age people and an older demographic who are trying to quit smoking.

The Wishon’s say they hope people can use e-cigs to quit smoking, but they do not market their products as devices to help a person quit smoking, as e-cigs are not an FDA-approved method of quitting.

Stephanie said that even after people quit smoking, they come in to get kits with no nicotine, as they are used to the hand-to-mouth motion that accompanies the nicotine habit. Others come in when trying to lose weight and use the flavors to curb their appetite.

“We are here to help people quit,” Stephanie said. There is a wall in the shop where people can sign their names after 30 days of not smoking cigarettes.

Kelly said that many people who are heavy smokers start with a 24-mg dose of nicotine, but it becomes harsh on their throat so the dosage is then lowered.

Kelly said that he thinks vaping is trending because it is something that “helps people quit or gets them addicted to nicotine in a cleaner form.”