Chattanooga now has an electronic cigarette store downtown where customers can buy e-cigarettes and the liquid that goes inside them.
E-cigarettes are devices that contain liquid that is heated at a low degree and turns into vapor, manager of the new store—Vapor Tonics—Ben Connally said Monday morning.
The e-cigarette liquids come with or without nicotine and contain three other ingredients—propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and food flavoring, he also said.
Connally said that about half of the customers buy the product without nicotine.
"People smoke because they enjoy it, whether they are getting a buzz or not," he said. "They like the flavors."
The store, which is located at 426 Vine St., opened last week and offers Joyetech e-cigarettes and 30 flavors of e-juices, which will soon be expanded to 50 flavors.
The flavors are made locally in North Georgia by one of the largest e-juice distributors, according to a news release from Connally.
All UTC students, state employees and Unum employees get 10 percent off all purchases.
Customers can get a device for as low as $35, which includes a battery, battery charger, cartridge and juice.
The heaviest smokers will spend about $5 a week on juices, also according to the news release.
Earlier this month, USA Today reported that federal leaders are expected to announce a plan to regulate e-cigarettes as early as October.
According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2011, about 21 percent of adults who smoke traditional cigarettes had used e-cigarettes.
That's up from about 10 percent in 2010.
Overall, about 6 percent of adults have tried the devices.
"E-cigarette use is growing rapidly," CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said in a prepared statement. "There is still a lot we don’t know about these products, including whether they will decrease or increase use of traditional cigarettes."
The CDC reported that e-cigarettes appear to have far fewer toxins than traditional cigarettes, but officials said there needs to be more research on the long-term effects on health.
And CDC leaders want more research to see how e-cigarette marketing could impact initiation and use of traditional cigarettes, particularly among young people.
USA Today reported that 10 percent of high school students said they had tried an e-cigarette as of 2012. That's up from 4.7 percent in 2011.
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