Vaporizers or electronic cigarettes: these smoking devices have recently become prevalent in Tempe. There is a “vaping” community that exists and members meet up to smoke together and talk about their recent purchases of devices. It is considered a hobby to collect new pieces for their device.
It seems this device has just recently been popularized in the last three months in the Tempe area. Five vape shops or more have opened in the past couple months, and an increase in sightings have been noted on the popular picture sharing app called Instagram as well as by restaurants, which have watched them become a rising trend between the summer of this year until now.
Electronic cigarettes or vaping devices are different than regular cigarettes because they run on batteries and do not burn any tobacco or carcinogens. They simulate tobacco smoking by using a heating element that vaporizes a liquid solution. It contains a mixture of flavorings and water vapor and may contain nicotine depending on the individual’s preference. The nicotine strengths can also be adjusted to cater to the smoker.
According to vapor4life, a vape shop committed to helping cigarette smokers switch to vaporizers, the nicotine is available with seven levels of strength. 36 mg contains the most nicotine, while 4 mg contains the least. Typically vape users work their way down to 0, which does not contain any nicotine. Battery life of vaporizers and e-cigarettes lasts 3-5 hours on average and is rechargeable. E-cigarettes or vaporizers cost may range from 12$ to 200$ while cigarettes cost 7$ a pack on average and can burn in seven mins.
Advertisements for e-cigarettes and advocates of it say that this offers a safer alternative for people who try to quit smoking. But does it actually help a smoker stop smoking cigarettes? Or is this just a fad growing at the moment?
Nhan Nguyen, Vape Central owner in the Greater Phoenix Area , believes it is indeed a healthier alternative and can help someone quit smoking. He says that he was a smoker for almost ten years and quit in July when he started vaping. He says he started at the highest level of nicotine-36 mg, then worked his way down to 4 mg. Now he is at zero and smokes vapes only for the flavor. “Most of the time if your level is right, it satisfies your craving to where you won’t want a cigarette at all,” he says, which is why him and his friends are big lobbyists for e-cigarettes and one of the reasons why he wanted to bring vaping in Phoenix.
There are still plenty of e-cigarette opponents, like anti-smoking groups, who are not fond of the idea of vaping yet because there is no age limit set or regulation for places where it can be smoked. But there are physicians like Michael Siegel from Boston University’s School of Public Health, who thinks it is far better and healthier than cigarettes. He told the New York Times that “many anti-smoking groups oppose these products because they are blinded by ideology. They find it difficult, if not impossible, to endorse a behavior that looks like smoking, even though it is literally saving people’s lives….What’s not to like?”
Malika Bencherki, a 20-year-old Arizona State University student from Morocco, smokes cigarettes regularly but does not think that e-cigarettes were effective in helping her quit smoking. “At the same time its [e-cigarettes] good because there’s no smell. Which is the bad thing in cigarettes but it doesn’t give you the exact same feeling as cigarettes, even if there’s nicotine in it.
According to Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the electronic cigarette industry, there have been no health regulations and e-cigarettes have no sign of being banned yet because there has not been enough research regarding the health effects of e-cigarettes, since it is fairly new to the market compared to cigarettes.