They've been around for nearly a decade but electronic cigarettes are just now beginning to catch fire among smokers. E-cigarettes are supposed to be a more safer option than the real thing, but health experts say that claim is not entirely true.
One out of every five Americans spend part of their day lighting up a cigarette.
"It's just you know that little rush you get when you're smoking and then it goes good with so many things, I don't know if it's psychosomatic but boy when you're stressed there's nothing like a cigarette." Said Bob Sundet.
However, many smokers are making the switch to electronic cigarettes. In fact, a Morgan Stanley
research team speculates that e-cigarettes will replace 1.5 billion traditional cigarettes this year alone.
"But is it a good alternative? No it still cost money and it still costs your health." Said Deb Murray, a certified tobacco cessation expert at the Avera Heart Hospital.
As a respiratory therapist Murray says the e-cigarette is being marketed as a replacement to the traditional cigarette under the disguise of being safer or better for you. A claim that can't be fully backed up.
"What's kind of bothersome to me is the unknowns because we don't know for sure what the outcome or the effects are going to be down the road." Said Murray.
Just like the real thing, there is still plenty of nicotine inside an e-cigarette. The drug even without smoke will still take a toll on a healthy body. As for helping people quit?
"There's no plan when you buy that e-cigarette like for example if you buy the nicotine gum or patch or lozenge there is a plan that you can use to decrease the nicotine and then you become tobacco free but there's not a plan with the e-cigarette." Said Murray.
Cutting back is a key part of quitting, something that is hard to manage with the electronic variety. With a cigarette, you can limit your intake of cigarettes because when they're gone -- they're gone.
"Now with this one as an equivalent I'm not counting how many puffs I've taken so I don't really know in one day how much nicotine I've actually consumed." Said Murray.
Every brand is different but this e-cigarette claims to be equivalent to two packs of cigarettes, but how can you effectively cut back? For smoker Bob Sundet, the e-cigs just seem like a goofy excuse to keep smoking.
"If I'm going to quit I'm going to try the gum or patches or something like that but if I were to be serious but quitting I don't think I'd trade in my cigarette for an e-cigarette." Said Sundet.
Quitting is critical to a healthier life but when it comes to the e-cigarette, this is not the best tool to help you kick the habit. Whatever way you choose to quit, no plan is complete without having an accountability partner. For more information about tobacco cessation just call 877-AT-AVERA.