E-cigarettes proving attractive for those wanting to quit

Students find a way to break the addictive habit of smoking

Jesse Laufer, a student at the University of King’s College, used to smoke up to a pack of cigarettes a day. That has changed significantly since using e-cigarettes.

Jesse Laufer smokes his e-cigarette indoors. (Photo: Carlie Connolly)

“They are really customizable; you can adjust heat, temperatures and depending on which parts you put in, you are going to get a different flavour,” he said.

Laufer originally started smoking the e-cigarettes to smoke less and they have helped him reduce his habit.

Since purchasing these cigarettes, he says, “I’ve gone from three to four packs in a week to about two packs in nine months.”

E-cigarettes are electronic devices, shaped like traditional cigarettes that convert liquid nicotine into vapour, without the actual smoke.

Nova Scotia’s health minister said last month the province will introduce legislation this year that will govern their use in ways similar to that of traditional cigarettes.

For Jon Garry, a student at Dalhousie University who had been smoking for 15 years on and off, e-cigarettes helped him stop smoking altogether, as he hasn’t smoked for two years now.

“I started to give it a shot and I rather enjoy it. It’s cheaper and healthier too,” he said.

Garry says they are a lot different than regular cigarettes in how you use them and inhale them with many other benefits involved.

“Your clothes don’t smell bad, you don’t have that awful taste in your mouth and I don’t get winded going up and down the stairs,” he said.

For Laufer, it’s the benefit of getting to use these types of cigarettes indoors.

“I would have never purchased this if I couldn’t smoke it inside,” he said.

Because e-cigarettes don’t produce smoke and operate in a grey zone of regulation by Health Canada, smokers have used them to circumvent rules that prohibit smoking indoors.

Not only is it the inside benefit, but the chemical intake compared to regular cigarettes that in turn helps smokers stop.

Laufer says his lungs feel better from using e-cigarettes, as he isn’t inhaling all of the tar like he did from regular ones.

“My nicotine intake is probably higher but my heart is reasonably healthy. I’m getting rid of like 999 of the chemicals that would be in actual cigarettes,” he said.

“Like apples to oranges”

Laufer thinks the province is wrong to consider e-cigarettes as similar to traditional cigarettes.

“It’s different. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. This isn’t a cigarette, this isn’t dangerous.

He says people who don’t smoke aren’t interested in trying them – only smokers, who, “when I whip this out are like ‘oh that’s one of those, can I try them?’” he said.

Laufer showing off the different types along with flavours. (Photo: Carlie Connolly)

Kyle Curts, the owner of Smoke-less Nova Scotia, a vape store that sells e-cigarettes, says he complies fully with legislation governing traditional e-cigarettes. He has no overt advertising on the outside and sells only to those 19 and older.

“We are usually quite discreet about what we do. Our customers find us by word of mouth or reference,” he said.

He says politicians are not speaking to the people involved in the e-cigarette industry and he doesn’t know the extent of the upcoming legislation.

Since opening in October, Curts says he has yet to have a negative response to these products saying, “probably 99 per cent of my customers after first contact become repeat customers. I hear a lot of good stories and see a lot of happy faces.”