Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Smokers go electronic

By Kevin Morley

PLATTSBURGH N.Y.--Smokers of America are progressing with the electronic

age as electronic cigarettes, better known as vapes, have had a substantial increase

in popularity over the past few years according to a New York Times Article.

Those who used to keep a pack handy are now putting their e-cigarettes on

the charger before they go to bed. These new age cigarettes provide users with a

source of nicotine, a highly addictive substance, without all of the other carcinogens

and tars that are found in cigarettes. However, for some users, it is not the nicotine

that draws them to the e-cigarettes.

“I just prefer the taste,” Tanner Barney, a customer at Up in Smoke, said.

“Anything that resembles something like a hookah where you’re not getting all the

harmful stuff and you’re just getting the flavor is what I’m into.”

Up In Smoke, located on the corner of Clinton Street in downtown

Plattsburgh is a place where customers can go to purchase a variety of the nicotine

liquid, also known as “juice”, that is used in an electronic cigarette. These products

range in both the amount of nicotine as well as the flavor of the “juice.”

Flavors range from the simple fruit such as “Very Berry,” to elaborate

concoctions such as “Fruity Pebbles”. Nicotine levels on the other hand are labeled

on the bottles in milligrams, ranging anywhere from 3 mg-12mg of nicotine per


Some e-cig users have even cut out the middleman and started to make their

own “juice.”  Evan Floreck, a sophomore at SUNY Plattsburgh, has been making his

own creations for about a year now.

“All you need nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and food

flavoring,” Floreck said. “You can just Google the products and buy them in bulk.”

Once he receives his shipment of ingredients, Floreck uses E-liquid

calculators online to make sure his measurements for the juice are precise. When

dealing with concentrated nicotine, Floreck notes how dangerous it can be when

used excessively, saying the right amount could easily poison a person.  This is why

the E-liquid calculators are so important.

The clean-smoke trend has struck a particular interest in the teen

demographic. According to a New York Times article, the number of high school

teens who use electronic cigarettes tripled from 2013 to 2014, as thirteen percent of

high school students are now users of vapes. However, the trend is not limited to the

younger generations.

I’d say our customers range from 18 to some of our older customers who are

in their sixties and seventies,” Nick Luroque, a sales clerk at Up in Smoke said. “The

older people say the smoke is less harsh than a cigarette.”

 With the trend gaining momentum faster than anticipated, the government is

having a tough time catching up when it comes to regulating the product. According

to the New York Times Article, the Food and Drug Administration is still developing

a ruling on the safety of e-cigarettes.

Due to the lack of education on electronic cigarettes, the concept of smoking

a vape in a public place is still up for debate. Some shops in downtown Plattsburgh

are accepting of the new trend, letting customers indulge in vaping while in their


“We’re ok with people using them in here,” owner of the Koffee Kat, Patty

Waldron said. “As long as it doesn’t bother others and it’s not harmful to them then

we’re fine with it. The smells not terrible either.”

Waldron used to be an electronic cigarette smoker herself, saying it was a

helpful way for her to quit smoking. With smoking being the number preventable

cause of death in the United States, killing 480,000 people a year, many smokers like

Waldron look to the vape to quit smoking, as it has become known as the healthier


Another aspect that draws people to use electronic cigarettes is the fact that

it is significantly cheaper than buying a pack. A typical electronic cigarette goes for

anywhere from 30 to 100 dollars according to Luroque.

“I put it all out on paper for my mom to show her that it would end up being

cheaper to smoke an electronic cigarette.” Luroque said. “She smokes one to two

packs a day so it would be a big help to her health also.”

Although the use of e-cigarettes is on the rise, a good amount of smokers are

sticking to their old-fashioned ways despite the growing availability of the product.

Some gas stations now sell electronic-cigarette cartridges. Pauline Ramsey, a

partner of the Stewarts on Rugar Street, has not seen to many customers opting for

the new-age smoke.

“I think people are going to continue to use what they want until they are

ready to quit.” Ramsey said. “Try as you may, some people can’t quit right off the


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