While e-cigs are becoming popular alternatives to traditional cigarettes, it's unclear if the consumer is benefiting from a health perspective, and time will tell whether the cigarette tax hike is good for business.
From Jack Nicholson to Britney Spears, electronic cigarettes are en vogue, and boutiques like ECig Crib in Uptown are popping up all across the metro.
Gabriel Gryffyn says her candy flavored e-cig is helping her cut back on cigarettes.
"I've dialed down the nicotine so I'm only on six milligrams in this," she said – also mentioning it may help her quit for good.
"Even when you want a real cigarette, it tastes disgusting and you want to brush your teeth afterward. This tastes like candy or it tastes cinnamon," Gryffyn said.
E-cigs are electronic inhalers that vaporize liquid into a mist, simulating the act of smoking.
"I believe they are safer than traditional cigarettes," Tim Morin, co-owner of the ECig Crib said.
Morin said the $1.60-per-packtax bump on cigarettes happening next week has some people searching for cheaper options.
"With the electronic cigarette, it's the equivalent to 80 cents a pack," Morin said.
The state tobacco tax hike applies to e-cigs and the nicotine refills as well, but it won't be as high as other tobacco products. E-cigs are not FDA-approved and they are unregulated.
Mike Sheldon with anti-smoking group Clearway Minnesota says he's concerned people may think e-cigs are safe, even though there's no definitive research on either side.
"It's also important to remember that there are lots of big tobacco companies that are jumping into this market, their goal is not to help people quit smoking, it's to keep people addicted," Sheldon said.
READ MORE: Cigarette rush: Smokers stockpile packs ahead of tax hike: http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/22544505/cigarette-rush-smokers-stockpile-packs-ahead-of-tax-hike
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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