Health Officials On Electronic Cigarettes

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By: Joe Hellriegel

February 24, 2014, 6pm

It seems electronic cigarettes are here to stay, but can they help a person stop smoking altogether?

The electronic age has carried over into the smoking world, with e-cigarettes letting you control the flavor and amount of nicotine it uses.

"We have a lot of customers that come in that have either come down from nicotine and just wish to vape on zero nicotine and they do," said Andrew Tatler-Burgess, Owner of Vapese.

Andrew Tatler-Burgess owns a vapor and e-cigarette store in Valdosta called Vapese. Tatler-Burgess says he sees customers that want to stop smoking by slowly reducing the nicotine in the e-cig each week. He says he hasn't seen a correlation between his customers vaping, and switching to cigarettes.

"If we have young teens coming in here or somebody I believe is under 18 years old and they want to vape using nicotine, I will not sell it to them," continued Tatler-Burgess.

He says he is also seeing more customers who were once shunned for smoking cigarettes, switching to vaping and enjoying as a hobby.

"Now they feel a part of it, they can join and say, 'Oh what coil are you vaping on', 'what flavor are you using now', or 'have you seen that new mod that just came out, should we take a look'?" said Tatler-Burgess.

Officials at the South Health District of The Georgia Department of Public Health say no matter what you're smoking, it's not healthy.

"I think the e-cigarette is just basically the latest and greatest advent of technology. It definitely serves as an enabler," said Percy Chastang, Coordinator of Adolescent Health, South Health District.

Chastang's job is to encourage young people not to get in the habit of smoking and that includes e-cigarettes.

"That is a new technology that we are in the process of attempting to debunk because it has been offered as a safe alternative for the young people to engage in the act of smoking," explained Chastang.

18-year old Matthew Bolen says he is a newcomer to e-cigarettes and is excited to switch from cigarettes to vaping.

"I think eventually it might become a hobby, just continue doing it because they do offer stuff that doesn't have any nicotine," said Bolen.

Hobby or not, the future of the e-cigarette remains to be seen.