Safety Of E-Cigs Still Up For Debate

(Memphis) One of the newest businesses on Broad Street in Binghampton is the latest sign of a growing trend.

Chase the Vape is all about smoking, but not your typical cigarettes.

“You still have the nice inhale and exhale and you see the smoke. You are not always fidgety and you have that nicotine delivery and it’s just so much better,” says Karla Roadinger, co-owner of Chase the Vape.

Customers are lining up for Electronic Cigarettes.

There is no smoke, just vapors that give the illusion of a cigarette and that gives smokers  satisfaction without the side effects.

“I don’t have the 4,000 terrible chemicals that a standard cigarette has in it,” says 40 year smoker Randy Keller.

The jury is still out on the safety side of  e-cigs.

“The substance they are inhaling has not been investigated and found safe for them,” says Dr. Leslie Robinson, Director of Clinical Health at The University of Memphis.

She  says e-cig use is exploding, but few people, especially young people, really understand the possible dangers.

“There are a proportion of the teenage population that are not trying e-cigs as an alternative to tobacco because they are addicted and trying something else, but as a starter product. That gives us some concern because the nicotine in e-cigs is addictive,” says Robinson.

E-cigs have a cartridge with nicotine and other substances.

The user inhales the liquid and exhales the vapor, but’s it’s that inhaled liquid that is raising a lot of concern.

When the FDA seized and tested  some batches, it found some known carcinogens in E-cigs, some similar to anti-freeze.

Chase the Vape says there are a lot of misconceptions about what’s in e-cigs.

“We order everything from the U.S. We make all of our e-liquids here. We know for certain what is in them,” says Roadinger.

Unlike other smoke free products, e-cigs don’t have mandated warnings about cancer or other diseases.

“We are years away from knowing how damaging these products are,” says Dr. Bob  Klesges with U-T Health and Science Center in Memphis.

“Everything has a modicum of risk with it. The problem with e-cigarettes is we don’t know what that risk is,” says Klesges. “It’s a poison. You just have to pick what poison you choose to engage in.”

Some smokers are taking their chances.

“I think it’s the next wave. People are talking about quitting smoking. This is an alternative to smoking a tobacco cigarette,” says Keller.

A new federal regulation of e-cigs is said to be on the horizon.

Tennessee prohibits the sale of e-cigs to minors.

Meanwhile medical students at the University of Tennessee are getting the word out about overall tobacco dangers.

They have gone into elementary schools with a “tar war” campaign, teaching young students about the dangers of smoking and using e-cigarettes.