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Clark Howard: Electronic cigarettes

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Updated: 8/09/2013 8:43 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Scott Kener hasn't smoked a cigarette in two years.

"I easily smoked 10 to 15 a day," Kener said.

He credits electronic cigarettes for helping him kick the habit. He now uses this contraption, the Genesis Atomizer, to get his nicotine fix.
It's a little more sophisticated than the type of e-cigarette you'd find at the convenience store.

Many smokers, like Kener, are turning to e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking. A 2011 study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that one in five smokers have tried e-cigarettes.

It's known as "vaping" to the e-cig community because it's not smoke, it's vapor that comes from heating a liquid nicotine solution they call "juice." The juice comes in a variety of flavors and ingredients that can vary by brand.

The FDA studied two different e-cigarette brands and found diethylene glycol in one - a toxic ingredient found in antifreeze. E-cigarettes are currently unregulated by the FDA, but that is expected to change by this fall.

Kener gets around the unknown ingredients by making his own juice.

"I make my own juice and I
make it out of vegetable glycerine and I just add flavoring to it and some nicotine, Kener said. "And I can control the amount of nicotine, I can have zero or a lot of nicotine. "

Kener acknowledges the health risks involved with vaping, but says it's minuscule compared to what you get from cigarette smoke. He said he enjoys his new habit and doesn't plan on going back to smoking cigarettes.

"I started to dislike the flavor of cigarettes," Kener said.

Using e-cigarettes is a way to transition from smoking to quitting, that's fine. But there's too many question marks about the safety of e-cigarettes to just become an e-cigarette smoker.

There are so many ways to quit smoking. I used to be a smoker and I quit a very weird way. I substituted cigars for cigarettes and eventually didn't smoke either.

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Watch Clark Howard weekday mornings on Action News This Morning on FOX30 beginning at 7 a.m.
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