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Cigarettes and Tobacco Out at ASU, but E-Cigs Are Still in

Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013

Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2013 16:08

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Tiera Allen

Ted Kaercher, owner of Headquarters, using an e-cig inside his own shop.

ArizonaState Universitystudents are breathing cleaner air this semester after ASU’s tobacco-free policy took effect this month. Students are no longer allowed to smoke on campus. Smokeless tobacco, which is also known as dipping tobacco, and hookah have been banned as well.

But electronic cigarettes are still allowed on campus as long as they are smoked outside. E-cigarettes work by heating up liquid nicotine and turning it into a vapor that can be inhaled.

Non-smokers and even traditional cigarette smokers might not realize what a booming industry e-cigarettes have become. E-cigarettes are estimated to bring in $1 billion in sales this year, according to Wells Fargo securities analysts.

Scottsdaleis the home of NJOY, one of the most recognizable brands of e-cigarettes, which even scored a commercial during the Super Bowl last year.

Ted Kaercher, owner at Headquarters Smokeshop in Tempe, says they have been selling e-cigarettes since 2009 and people are picking them up for plenty of reasons. E-cigarettes release vapor so they can be used inside, they don’t burn or smell, allow users to control the amount of nicotine they are using, have more variety, last longer and are cheaper in the long run.

“Just a few years ago this stuff was super expensive and there were very few choices but because of the popularity the prices have gone down and the products that are being developed are a lot better now,” he says.

There are many options, brands and styles of e-cigarettes, so shoppers are can completely customize what they want, how it tastes and how much nicotine they want to intake. Some e-cigarettes have nicotine found in vegetables rather than tobacco and other e-cigarettes don’t have any nicotine in them at all.

“This industry is growing so rapidly that most people come in and are overwhelmed by all the choices,” Kaercher says. “After being in the smoking industry for the past 20 years, I’ve never seen something that has grown in popularity this quick and developed in technology equipment.”

Cindi Hensley graduated with her masters in communication disorders from ASU this past May and is currently working as a speech language pathologist. She credits e-cigarettes for helping her quit smoking all together.

“The problem with smoking is that you can quit for one year or five years and it’s still tempting,” she says. “The struggle to quick smoking is real. Anything we can give people to make it easier for them, more tolerable for them, and more likely for them to have success, the better.”

Hensley says smoking was mostly a social experience and her electronic cigarette allowed her to still be a part of the smokers’ corner when she was out at bars.

Hensley started smoking while she attended Northern Arizona University and believes her college environment only helped her become addicted, so she supports ASU going tobacco-free.

“I think when kids get to college they are in an environment where for the first time they get to make choices about their lives all by themselves and sadly, most of the people I know, myself included, became huge smokers while in college,” she says. “Also, college preps kids for real life and in real life you can’t smoke anywhere anymore.”

E-cigarettes are not being taxed and are currently not FDA approved but Hensley says that “barring any unforeseen medical issues we don’t know about 35 years from now,” she is doing herself a favor.

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