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Exposing E-Cigarettes

CINCINNATI (Paula Toti) -- It's kind of jarring when you first see the glamorous ads because smoking ads have been banned for decades.

This actually isn't smoking ... it's called "vaping." Nothing is being burned. A mixture or e-liquid is being heated.
"It's propylene glycol, vegetable mixture, flavors and nicotine if you use it," says director of operations Frank Cahall at ALTSmoke, a vapor bar in Eastgate.
Many vapors, as they call users, like Cahall do use nicotine in the device, in various amounts, but there is no tobacco.
A young woman on the internet says she started vaping at 13, she thought it was cool.  Young people talk about vaping on the internet and ads are selling "cool".
A young Cincinnati woman, Gabriella Most, says she saves money, it's not as expensive as smoking, and in her words, "It's healthier."
The average cost of vaping is about 30 bucks a month. While Gabriella Most made the health claim, that claim is up for debate. However, she does say vaping has helped her stop the smoking habit she started at eighteen. You hear that a lot from vapors. However, doctors at the Centers for Disease Control worry e-cigs will cause their own addiction.
Psychologist Doctor Gail Friedman doesn't think it's a stretch to say e-cigs are a gateway for young people.

She says, "Because those more susceptible to nicotine, if they want more they will go to cigarettes".
The e-cigs come in flavors like bubble gum and banana cream. Manufacturers say that's not targeting children, it's targeting people.
Friedman says, "It's kind of like the campaign they did in the 40's targeting everyone."
Doctor Freidman says e-cigs could certainly become another habit and whether that transfers to another addiction is hard to predict.  Her overall thought is that it's not a great thing for young people. 

However, Cahall says for him, "'It's a gateway' when we don't sell to minors is a non-issue".    
At Altsmoke in Eastgate they provide an almost coffee bar type environment to vapors. They don't sell to anyone under 18.  Actually, Local 12 found that to be the case all around the tri-state. The business of e-cigs is exploding and the industry has become largely self regulating.
Even so, the CDC is finding e-cig use is big among the under 18 crowd. The number doubling to two million between 2011 and 2012.
While the girl we found on YouTube says she buys e-cigs on the internet, for the most part you are at least asked by the online seller if you are 18 before you can even explore the site.
For those who might say e-cigs are healthier for young people than cigarettes, a new study in JAMA says otherwise.  It points to research that shows e-cigs may reinforce smoking in young people and not be a substitute.
There is a bill in the Ohio legislature that would ban the sale of e-cigs to minors. It's a bill supported by Cahall's company.  The FDA is working to regulate ecigs, but so far has had difficulty defining it's regulatory powers there. What e-cigs  really are, is a complex area.
What is certain is that e-cigs are a new delivery system for nicotine, big business and compared to smoking everyday, less expensive.




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