Amarillo, TX - Battery operated, vapor-smoking devices commonly known as e-cigarettes are becoming more and more common and have widely been marketed as a tool to help smokers quit. But there hasn't been much science to prove whether they're actually helpful or harmful causing some to say it's time for the FDA to step in and regulate.
"I smoked for several years, way too many," said Lujuana McGehee, owner of Mesquite Vapors. "So I finally tried it after two years and I haven't had a cigarette since."
McGehee not only sells e-cigarettes, she actually uses them herself. Not to help her stop smoking completely, but just to get away from the harmful tobacco products in regular cigarettes.
"Tar, carbon monoxide, nicotine and 4,000 other chemicals but with this you get nicotine," explained McGehee.
But e-cigarettes have been widely marketed as a safe way to quit smoking, something that concerns groups like the American Cancer Society.
"There's not a lot of science proven or dis-proven regarding e-cigarettes," said Jason McCoy with the American Cancer Society. "So, really there's not good science on the benefits or the harms so we really don't recommend it as a cessation tool because that's kind of how it's been marketed."
Without knowing all of the possible harmful effects, there's also been talk of possible regulation by the FDA.
"Some of the major tobacco companies are behind the e-cigs," explained McCoy. "Since tobacco companies are regulated now, or cigarettes are regulated now, if they're marketers and makers of e-cigarettes then they would be regulated too."
"I understand them wanting to do it because of the nicotine," added McGehee. "But as far as them wanting to regulate it like a tobacco product, there is no tobacco in it so they should not regulate it like tobacco."
But even without any positive effects confirmed through science, users like McGehee say blowing vapor is still better than blowing smoke.
"What I can tell you is that it's safer than cigarettes," added McGehee.