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E-cigarettes becoming a concern

ILLINOIS -- More people are turning to e-cigarettes as an alternative to traditional tobacco products and it's sparking a statewide debate.
ILLINOIS -- More people are turning to e-cigarettes as an alternative to traditional tobacco products and it's sparking debate. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels explains.

"I smoked for about ten years and then I just quit."

Marie Wysocki says she wanted to live a healthier lifestyle so she switched to electronic cigarettes instead.

"You don't have all the toxins and stuff in cigarettes. The additives they put in, it's just nicotine."

E-cigarettes run on a battery and give off a vapor instead of a puff of smoke. But that vapor has a lot of people uneasy.

"We need more research."

Heather Eagleton is with the American Cancer Society. She says the devices are still too new and worries about their long-term effects.

"There's over 250 brands of e-cigarettes. None of them are regulated by the FDA, so we don't know how effective or safety they are. We don't know what those vapors are doing or whether they are good or bad."

E-cigarette users say they're willing to take the chance.

"I'd rather be smoking this than a cigarette any day."

It's non-smokers who don't get the choice. Most places have no ruled regarding e-cigarettes, so you might be out to dinner and inhaling second-hand vapor without even knowing it.

That's a big part of why the City of Chicago banned the vaporizers everywhere cigarettes are banned. It's a move vapor shop owner, Niki Castleman, says is unfair.

"That should be a choice that is made by me or a bar or a restaurant. It's not a tobacco product. There is no tobacco in it."

But, critics say the ban is about more than just what is or isn't in the e-cigarettes.

"The real issue with not smoking them in public places is we don't want to re-socialize the activity of smoking in a public place."

Plus, she says local rules will be too difficult to keep track of, so it's likely the issue will end up in the capitol soon. Illinois banned indoor smoking in 2008. A state law just went into effect this year banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.
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