'Vaping' trend replaces cigarette smoking in Auburn

With cigarettes being banned from many businesses and communities, smokers are turning to healthier and more flavorful options such as "vaping."

An abundance of cities across the nation have elected to become smoke free. While these policy changes aim to create a healthier and cleaner environment, some citizens believe they should have the right to smoke within these buffer zones.

According to the City of Auburn website, Auburn is considered a smoke-free city. Per City Ordinance, no smoking is allowed in public places, including public buildings and all restaurants. Smoking is also prohibited within 10 feet of any entrance to a building.

In addition to communities banning cigarette smoking, many campuses are also changing their smoking policies. On Thursday Aug. 16, the University kicked off a new smoking policy that requires smokers to be at least 25 feet away from all campus buildings before lighting up.

Smokers have been forced into isolation to puff away while the public casts judgmental glances, or have they?

Ed and Marian Prickett, owners of Smokin' Vapor in Auburn, believe they have a solution. Smokin' Vapor sells electronic cigarettes (E-cigs) that are considerably cheaper, healthier, convenient and allowed around and in most restaurants and businesses. Smoking these E-cigs is a common new trend known as "Vaping".

Citizens have become more aware of the dangers of tobacco cigarettes.

"Smoking has a strong link to lung cancer- with so many businesses moving to tobacco and smoke free campuses, we feel strongly that vaping is a non-offensive option. This is becoming more widely accepted. I puff on mine in Wal-Mart!" Prickett said.

Cigarettes contain smoke, tar, nicotine and over 4,000 harmful toxic chemicals. E-cigs are battery powered with a small refillable container where the vapor liquid is stored. This liquid is composed of propylene glycol (a sterilizing agent that carries flavor), vegetable glycerin (creates water vapor that provides a smoke effect), food flavoring and optional nicotine. All of these ingredients are FDA approved and Smokin' Vapor only carries liquids made in the USA.

Customers are able to choose from around 60 different flavors including atomic fireball, drunken monkey, watermelon, razzleberry and glazed donut.

Customers are able to try the E-cigs and as many flavors as they like before they even buy the product.

Nicotine levels are also mixed in-house. Many customers are reformed smokers, however, some customers choose to smoke E-cigs with no nicotine and simply enjoy the different flavor options.

Jonathon Frost, an Auburn University graduate student, is a non-smoker that has found vaping to be an enjoyable experience similar to the flavor options found in hookah.

"Due to health concerns, I have never been a smoker. With the introduction of E-cigs, those health concerns are all but negated. Due to the nicotine free liquid, I can enjoy the activity of smoking with virtually no health concerns whatsoever, including the danger of addiction," Frost said.

For reformed smokers, nicotine can come in five different levels, or a dose, depending on the amount of regular cigarettes a customer currently smokes. These doses can be lowered over time to reduce nicotine levels entirely.

In addition to the health benefits of switching to E-cigs, smokers can save money by switching to vaping. Prickett shared said a monthly supply of liquid for a pack a day smoker is about $22. This compares with an estimated cost of $150 per month if that customer was smoking regular cigarettes at $5 per pack.

Ben Sewell, an Auburn resident, went from smoking a pack and a half a day to smoking about one real cigarette a day.

"It has helped a lot. It has helped my lungs out as well, I can feel the difference between the two. I don't get get as winded anymore," Sewell said.

Pricket urges citizens to "stop smokin' and start vaping." For more information on Smokin' Vapor, visit their vapor shop on Opelika Road or contact them at smokinvaporauburn@gmail.com.

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