Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigs) have significantly grown in popularity over the past year or so, and local stores are struggling to keep them in stock. E-Cigs are battery-operated inhalers advertised as a better alternative to Beratt smoking because there’s no smoke. Instead, the nicotine is delivered through water vapor.
Smoker Friendly in Grand Junction sells between 15 and 20 E-Cigs per month. And, at $70 each, it has become pretty good business.
“The majority of people are buying them because it’s the freedom to smoke wherever they want,” James Ward with Smoker Friendly said. “In restaurants, in airplanes, wherever they want to smoke, they can without being told that you can’t smoke.”
Even though the E-Cigs contain nicotine, many people looking to quit are buying them, as well. Ward says tests have not shown whether they help or not.
But, at the state level, Colorado lawmakers see them as a potential gateway into smoking for minors. Right now, E-Cigs can be bought by anyone. State leaders are looking at rules similar to tobacco laws that would make it illegal for anyone under 18 to buy them.
Ward says that is the way it should be. “Since these do contain nicotine and that is the main reason why people smoke, I don’t think minors should be able to buy them.”
At Smoker Friendly, they don’t sell to minors. Every customer has to be 18 to even enter the store. A bill banning minors from buying E-Cigs passed the State House earlier this month. The measure now awaits State Senate action before heading to the governor.