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When a person lights up at a restaurant or other location where smoking is banned, the usual response is to make that person step outside. However, with smokeless cigarettes on the market, restaurants and shopkeepers are faced with a tough choice on how to handle the situation. KSMU’s Adam Hammons has more.
As technology grows, so do the different ways people can quit smoking. A person can use a patch, chew gum, or use a nicotine substitute called an “e-cigarette.” That’s an electronic cigarette, designed to mimic the looks and feel of a regular cigarette. It’s battery-operated and creates a nicotine vapor that satisfies a smoker’s craving. Don Johnson, owner of Tobacco World in Springfield, sells the electronic cigarette.
“Seems like a lot of the people who have smoked for 30,35 years wanted to quit, this has been a real help to them to be able to quit.”
Johnson said that there are no bad side effects from using the “e-cigarette.”
“There is no second hand smoke at all, it’s water vapor that’s all it is.”
However, Katie Towns-Jeter, spokesperson for the Greene County Health Department, disagrees.
“The Food and Drug Administration has done some preliminary testing on these products, and has found that there are carcinogens and toxic chemicals that are being emitted from the vapors that do come from the end of an electronic cigarette.”
Since there’s only vapor and no smoke coming out of the e-cigarette, restaurants aren’t quite sure whether to allow them in no-smoking areas.
Towns-Jeeter said that right now it’s up to the individual restaurant to decide if they want to permit these e-cigarettes in their buildings. Bill Griffith is the owner of Farmer’s Gastro Pub in Springfield.
“I would have to be thoroughly convinced that it wasn’t causing any issues with my other guests and I’m sure that if it looks like a cigarette then I’m going to have an awful lot of complaints from people saying, ‘Hey I thought this was a smoke-free restaurant.’”
But though it looks like smoking, Johnson says a lot of people are only using it to quit.
“I feel like for the people that really want to quit, this is really something that has helped them, I’ll be honest with you.”
The electronic cigarette has an initial cost of around 70 dollars and extra nicotine cartridges cost about ten dollars each.
For KSMU News, I’m Adam Hammons.