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E-cigarettes gain popularity

November 15, 2013

Kelsi Ford / The Courier - Austin Grant smokes e-cigarettes indoors with minimal backlash.

A guitar pick, a lighter and an electronic cigarette. The three things junior Austin Garant always carries in his pocket, and coincidentally, the three things he can’t live without. The new technology of an “e-cigarette” has made Garant’s smoker-lifestyle not only easier but healthier.

E-cigarettes offer smokers an alternative method of inhaling nicotine where liquid nicotine is converted into a mist by the battery operated cigarette, which the smoker can then inhale.

E-cigarettes require no lighter and don’t give off the typical smoky smell since they do not contain the harmful chemicals found in a traditional cigarette. Patented in 2003 by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik, the e-cigarette is trending among smokers at Monmouth College.

Earlier this semester, Garant was approached by a friend who suggested the pair invest in e-cigarettes.

“The initial investment was around $70,” Garant said while puffing on his e-cigarette. His purchase came with three cigarette batteries and 10 nicotine cartridges. “It’s only costing us about $2 a pack, so it’s a huge motivation for us to keep using them…opposed to the $5-7 of a normal pack.”

With e-cigarettes, a smoker only needs to buy new cartridges since the batteries are rechargeable. One nicotine cartridge tends to last Garant about three days, providing that he’s puffing on it constantly, a feature that e-cigarettes are designed for. Garant still hasn’t bought new cartridges since his initial purchase in late summer.

Part of Garant’s satisfaction from his purchase comes from his desire to quit smoking, a feat he wouldn’t have dreamed of without the help of the e-cig.

“My original intention when I came back to school was to quit smoking, and these have helped me. I don’t want one nearly as often. I feel better. I feel healthier.”

Cartridges are sold with different nicotine levels, some without any nicotine at all. “I’m probably going to end up buying those cartridges. It’ll be easier to wean myself off of cigarettes.”

The urge to smoke a regular cigarette is something Garant still deals with, but his addiction has cut down. He went from smoking five to 10 cigarettes each day to smoking one in the past four days. “It’s saving me money,” Garant said with a smile.

While smoking may be convenient with the e-cigarette—Garant smokes in his room while doing homework all the time—sometimes the convenience isn’t welcome.

“It’s taboo to smoke inside. People don’t like it.”

He hasn’t received any backlash from professors or faculty about his smoking habits in the cafeteria or classrooms, but Garant tries not to make it a habit.

“People don’t look down so much on e-cigarette smokers, because it is a step toward bettering yourself.”

Stevie Croisant

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