Electronic cigarette promoted as ‘safer alternative’

When can a cigarette be legally smoked in a place of business, restaurant, bar or even on a commercial airplane?

Anytime would be the answer if the “cigarette” is one of the electronic products now on the market.

The “healthier alternative” by Smart Smoker is similar to a patch or chewing gum, as it provides an alternative nicotine delivery system, that is available in pharmacies to help a person in his quest to stop smoking.

Smart Smoker recently arrived on the Franklin County scene in two locations, including Family Pharmacy and Raven’s Country Store.

While the product contains degrees of nicotine, ranging from high to none, there is no odor or tobacco-related danger from the liquid-based vapor smoke that is emitted when the cigarette is “puffed” or inhaled.

Staff Photo by Morris Stephenson: Howard Schapiro, product supplier, demonstrates a Smart Smoker electronic cigarette to Jessica Beckett, manager of Raven's Country store. The odorless smoke is actually a liquid water vapor.

Staff Photo by Morris Stephenson: Howard Schapiro, product supplier, demonstrates a Smart Smoker electronic cigarette to Jessica Beckett, manager of Raven's Country store. The odorless smoke is actually a liquid water vapor.

The electronic cigarette kit comes in a menthol or regular tobacco-like taste. It emits a red glow on the end when it is being “puffed.” The end is also gray and resembles ashes, and the filter is brown in color. The only visible difference is that the plastic cigarette has a shiny appearance.

Not only is Smart Smoker an alternative to regular cigarettes, it is also cheaper to use, according to Howard Schapiro, who smoked two to three packs of cigarettes a day before he saw the product on the “Doctor” television program early this year.

“I’ve had two heart attacks, but I just couldn’t not stop smoking. My doctor told me he couldn’t help me anymore me unless I stopped smoking,” he said.

“So I went online and checked it out. When I got to the comments section and asked about it being available in the United States, it (the product) hadn’t reached here yet,” he said.

“So I got in touch with the company in England, and the next thing I knew, I was on an airplane going over to the U.K.,” Schapiro added. “Now, I supply the product to Layman’s Candy and Tobacco Co. in Roanoke. They liked what they saw and took a chance on it.”

“I have stopped smoking cigarettes and now use Smart Smoker,” he said. “But I an still able to use that hand-to-mouth habit developed in smoking.”

The back of the box notes that the product is 100 percent legal to smoke any place, there is no pollution, no tar, 80 percent cheaper than discount cigarettes with no passive smoke.

“While it’s perfectly legal to use, the final word is up to the business, restaurant or store owner. If he says you can’t use it, then you have to do what he says,” Schapiro explained.

“The liquid smoke I inhale is not harmful, and I get the taste of tobacco. Of course, there was a difference in the taste of what I was smoking and what I got using this product,” he explained. “Like switching brands of cigarettes — it takes a little getting use to.”

The deluxe model contains two batteries (body of cigarette), the atomizer, a wall-model recharger and five cartridges of nicotine — two high, two medium, one low and one none. The deluxe sells for between $55-$60.

One cartridge of nicotine equals about a pack of cigarettes, “once a person gets use to smoking it,” Schapiro said.

Using the various degrees of nicotine from high to low allows the user, if they desire, to wean themselves from their nicotine dependence.

“The smoke is a liquid vapor containing nicotine mixed with either propylene glycol or common glycerin. Both are common food additives,” he said.

Once the five cartridges of the starter kit are used, a five-pack of cartridges can be purchased for about $8, according to Jessica Beckett, manager of Raven’s.

The number of cartridges equals about five packs of cigarettes, equal to paying $2 for a pack of tobacco cigarettes, she added.

Schapiro also noted that if a person takes too many “puffs” of nicotine close together, the light at the end of the cigarette will turn green and shut off for five minutes as a safety measure.

The batteries, like a cell phone, need to be charged after being purchased, Schapiro said. It should be recharged for a full eight hours the first time. Afterwards, the charging time varies from one to three hours. Two batteries are included, so one can be in use while the other is in the charger.

Schapiro said the electronic cigarettes are mostly made in China, but The Smart Smoker Co. Ltd. has the product shipped to the U.K., where changes are made and the product is improved. It has a 60-day guarantee on the electronic parts, and the product is only a 1-percent defect rate once it passes the stringent standards in the U.K, Schapiro added.

Although deemed safe, the company does not sell the produce to anyone under the age of 18.

“We don’t want to attract young people to the product, we want to provide adults with an alternative to tobacco,” Schapiro said.

“It’s very simple to operate,” he explained. “The atomizer screws into the body of the cigarette. Then the cartridge is inserted into the atomizer, and the filter top is placed over the body and covers the cartridge.”

There are only two chemicals used in the Smart Smoker, while there are 4,000 plus in cigarettes, Schapiro continued.

“Smart Smoker is just beginning to break onto the scene in this area. Every time someone sees me ‘smoking’ it, they have nothing but questions. They seem to like what they hear,” he added.

Noting that a carton of cigarettes has reached $40 to $50 a carton, “the Smart Smoker is much, much cheaper and has not been found to be harmful, that alone was enough for me,” Schapiro said. “But I am now off tobacco cigarettes.”

“Smart Smoker is not only the answer for someone who wants to quit, but it is also the answer for owners of restaurants and bars in the state worried about the news laws pertaining to second-hand smoke. The safe, odorless, water vapor isn’t offensive to anyone, and I can smoke after a meal,” Schapiro said.

source: www.thefranklinnewspost.com

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