Is vaping a safe alternative? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Is vaping a safe alternative?

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Kicking smoking or tobacco can be tough and e-cigs are often billed as a safer alternative, but is that really the case.

Selina Duval says she likes vaping with friends.

"I vape almost every day," said Duval 

She is at one of many vaping shops that have been popping up all over the state. Vaping is a form of electronic smoking using something called a mod, powered by batteries. Buying all the equipment costs anywhere from $50 to $100.

"Insert the batteries and this is what we call a tank and it fits on top," said Duval.

A tank is then filled with e-juice, a flavored liquid blend.

Duval, like others we spoke with at a vape space, say they are substituting this for using tobacco products. Some of the juices contain various levels of nicotine.

"I was smoking like a pack and a half a day and now I cut down to smoking two cigarettes every four days since I started vaping," said Duval.

In fact, vape shops commonly promote being a healthier alternative to tobacco.

"I have got juices, I got my rebuildables, I got tanks in here, batteries, all my mods go in there," said Kevin Lavaley.

Lavaley says he has replaced chewing tobacco with vaping.

"I like trying different flavors, there is a big variety of flavors to try. It's better than chewing a lot better than chewing or smoking," said Lavaley.

But is that true? A health professional we spoke with said that people who think that vaping is a legitimate way to cut back on tobacco use are just kidding themselves.

"Well, in some respect, yes, because the electronic nicotine devices are just another means of delivering nicotine to the body," said Evy Smith, UVM Medical Center.

Smith is a tobacco treatment specialist at the UVM Medical Center. She says products used in vaping are unregulated by the federal government, contain the same chemicals that are in antifreeze and can be very dangerous.

"Again that product is not regulated and it is actually toxic to children and pets, it actually can be fatal for a child if they come into contact with it or ingest it," said Smith. 

And she recommends if you want to quit smoking, use FDA-approved products like patches and gum and seek help from a health professional.

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