Looks like one, feels like one, but...

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - It looks like a cigarette, you hold it like a cigarette, you smoke it like a cigarette, but technically, it isn't a cigarette. It seems these days, not even everyday vices can escape the scope of technology.

It lights up like a regular cigarette with the help of an LED, and there's no smoke, at least, not until you exhale.

"What you see there is pure water vapor," explained Hamilton Daniels, with Sinless Smoke, supplier of the electronic cigarette. "No tobacco, no carcinogens, no tar. Who would have thought we could have a pacemaker to run our hearts? What this is, is simply allowing smokers to have a healthier alternative."

The E-Cigarette runs on a rechargeable battery. It screws into an atomizer which works like a fog machine. Take a puff on the end to heat up the liquid nicotine, giving "smokers" the hit they need. The atomizer is what creates the smoke-like mist. It took 30 year smoker Van Lucas a bit off guard at first.

"I've only tried it a couple of times here and I love it," said Lucas.

"The electronic cigarette bridges the age old war between smokers and non-smokers," said Dean Lusk, an E-Cig supplier.

He says like a real cigarette, it feeds the craving - the sensation and experience of smoking a real cigarette - without the harmful side affects. But, is it a safer, positive alternative?

"Scientists tell us that if you take straight nicotine, and you take it and ingest it, it can kill you," said Angie Johnson-Guevara, manager of the East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Tobacco Education Program. "This is nicotine vapor...that alone scares me."

We showed Guevara the E-Cigarette.

"When you look at nicotine addiction, it's like other addictions...there's a behavior associated with it," she explained.

She says the E-Cig feeds that addiction, making it even harder to kick the habit. She says there is a better alternative.

"Nicotine replacement therapies are gradual release of nicotine, so my body gets used to weaning itself off of nicotine," she explained. "The patch, inhalers [and] gum [are good options]."

Tough to chew on for some. For others...

"This is, this is unbelievable," exclaimed Lucas.

An E-Cigarette starter kit will run you about $120 bucks. Last year, the World Health Organization said, due to a lack of testing, it did not consider them to be legitimate therapy for smokers trying to quit.

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