What are e-cigarettes?

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - In this THV Extra, we are taking a closer look into E-Cigs. Are they really healthier than an average cigarette?

Some are calling it the everyday smoker’s savior: e- cigarettes. The smokeless, odorless and tobacco free alternative to your average square.

But how do they even work? Can someone actually kick the habit and how healthy, if at all are they?

The e-cigarette, it looks almost like a real cigarette. Maybe a little larger, but the LED lighted tip, the vapor and the filter serving milligrams of nicotine into the user may have some looking or puffing twice.

Setting it even farther apart from the real thing is the absence of nearly 4000 carcinogens.

“These are an electronic device that you put a cartridge inside that contains nicotine and heaven knows what else,” says Dr. Carolyn Dresler.

Dresler with the Arkansas Department of Health says a lack of data and studies from e-cig companies themselves has raised red flags with many health officials.

“These products have been out too new to really know the science. The tobacco industry that makes them they’re not doing any science on it, so who knows what’s really in it,” says Dresler.

In 2009 an FDA preliminary study revealed traces of diethylene glycol, an ingredient commonly used in antifreeze.

Late last month, the FDA agreed to take action in attempts to regulate the product.

Harmful or not- full time college student Kari Ellis has used the device for six months and claims the effects have been monumental in her everyday life.

“It’s almost like put a piece of spearmint candy in your mouth and inhale,” says Ellis.

Having smoked on and off for years, Ellis says stress just keeps bringing her back. “Right now is just not the time in my life where I can quit.”

Liam Hill, who isn’t looking to quit smoking anytime soon tried it out.

A little tough at first, but a second drag had him asking questions. “I don’t know how much these things cost.”

Each changeable filter on the cigarette is the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes.

A one time purchase price of $140 for an e-cig, plus a weeks worth of filters for no more than $30, would bring it’s yearly cost to around $1,400.

A pack a day smoker buying cigarettes at six dollars could expect to spend around 2,200.

“In the six weeks I’ve been using. I’ve saved about $230.”

But still the electronic choice may not be for everyone. Take Joseph Burgess for instance, who tried it for his first time alongside his friend Justin Kroger.

“You have to really pull on it to feel it,” says Burgess, who says he would not pay $140 for one.

Kroger, though goes back to it being a mind thing. “It’s kind of like the oral fixation thing. It’s kind of like having something there, and if it’s better for you, you might as well do it.”

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