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Learning About Electronic Cigarettes
April 4, 2014

Eyewitness News Reporter Darrah Wilcox Jared Mitchell smoked menthol cigarettes for several years.

"I started when I was like 16--really young," he said.

He tried to quit a few times, but no luck. A couple weeks ago, he made the switch to an e-cigarette device.

"It's still a very big difference to kind of lose that tobacco, but now that I've actually adjusted, I can't even smoke a real cigarette any more, which is nice, so it's a good change, once you get used to it," he said.

The goal is to quit smoking for good.

"The hardest part for me has been the manual oral fixation so I feel like it's a good way to step down and finally back away and hopefully put it down for good," Mitchell said.

While Mitchell hopes it helps him kick the habit, the device has been called into question recently.

"There's still nicotine in there, which is a drug that's addictive," Elizabeth Ayers, a public health educator with the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, said.

The e-Cigarette is an electronic device that heats up liquid and turns it into a vapor. It's not approved by the FDA, and in many states, there's no age limit to buy e cigarettes. Just like regular cigarettes, many e-cigarettes are full of unknown chemicals, possibly including antifreeze.

"That's a very scary chemical to be putting in your body," Ayers said.

You can buy flavored e-cigarettes, which health officials are afraid will bait and then hook teens.

"If they don't stop now, you know, it can become a huge addiction for them and that will with them the rest of their lives, which not only is an expense out of their pocket, it's also a health expense they could pay years down the road," Ayers said.

Ayers said it's important to talk to your kids about the effects of nicotine and tobacco products.

"It's really important to provide education and awareness to your children, and also adults," he said

For Jared Mitchell, it's a temporary solution.

"I can step down accordingly, and eventually quit, hopefully," he said.


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