BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Electronic cigarettes are becoming more popular than ever and smoke shops selling vapor flavors are popping up all around the city.
“People are realizing cigarettes are gross,” said Greg Fields, a manager at Escape Vape Lounge. “Your clothes smell, you hair smells.”
“I don’t have any hair, but it made me stink,” said Michael Montanez, owner of Smoker’s Choice.
As a way to kick the habit, smokers are turning to e-cigarettes.
“Who wants to smoke cigarettes for their whole life?” said Alexander Lozada.
“I’ve tried quitting a couple different ways patches, gum, stuff like that, but they never really worked for me because I think it was either too much or too little nicotine,” said Jason Staufenberger.
Fifteen years of smoking cigarettes led to a serious addiction for Staufenberger. Vaping, as it’s called, allows users to reduce the amount of nicotine they inhale over time. Three weeks after vaping he said goodbye to cigarettes.
“I’m almost all done with the nicotine, so I pretty much just like the flavor now,” said Staufenberger.
To keep up with demand, vapor lounges are popping up all over. Drive down any given street and you could see multiple shops.
“There is money to be made,” said Kelly Will, owner of Vapor Chamber.
“Business has been pretty good. Its’ been slowly picking up. There are a lot of vapors in Buffalo,” said Fields.
But is vaping safe? Dr. Maciej Goniewicz has been researching e-cigarettes since 2008. The FDA is now looking at his research to find out how to regulate them.
“The levels are much lower than in tobacco smoke, but some of them are classified as carcinogens and we don’t know right now whether the small amounts can pose any health risk,” said Dr. Goniewicz, an Assistant Professor of Oncology at Roswell Park.
Health risks include irritation to the airways and cancer. He warns his research indicates they’re addictive, but it will take time before they know the long-term effects.
“More and more people are using and more and more people are exposed to the vapor. So we are doing our best to find the answers, but research requires some time,” said Dr. Goniewicz.