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‘Vaping’ grows in popularity

By Dave Detling 9:19 PM January 17, 2014

Stores hosting "vapor meets," but are they safe?

ANCHORAGE - It’s advertised as the new and best way to kick the habit of smoking, but critics said they’re not buying into those claims.

The latest generation of e-cigarettes goes by vaporizer pens or “vapes.”

Inhaling is known by users as “vaping,” and it involves a device with a battery-powered heating element that warms a liquid turning it into vapor.

Stores selling the products, like Cold Smoke on Nothern Lights Boulevard, said you can pick the level of nicotine.

Brian Cayton supplies personal vaporizers to the store, and  said he kicked the habit of smoking when he found this new product.

“It was an instant transition,” he said. “I stopped smoking cigarettes the day I started using vaporizers.”

Signs clearly labeled in Cold Smoke say customers have to be 19 years old to sample the products.

But it’s who could eventually pick up the devices that have health experts worried.

Alison Kulas, deputy program manager for Alaska’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, said she’s concerned.

“We know that kids are using them across the nation, rates are really rising among youth,” she said. “It is a concern of ours. We’re watching it carefully to see what other public health strategies can we do to really do to really protect our children.”

E-Cigs and personal vaporizers are unregulated by the government. For that purpose the FDA has not approved them as cessation aides.

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