Cloud of controversy surrounds electronic cigarettes

Cloud of controversy surrounds electronic cigarettes »Play Video
BOISE - Supporters call them an alternative to tobacco smoke but when it comes to electronic cigarettes there are some skeptics.

"I tried the patch, I tried chewing gum, I tried the nicotine inhaler," said Noah Minskoff, owner of InnoVapor, LLC.

But Minskoff says none of them helped him quit smoking altogether.

"I still found myself smoking one or two cigarettes a day."

He says that's where electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, changed his life. In fact so much so he started InnoVapor, LLC, an on line distribution company based in Boise.

"It's been very effective for people who have used nicotine patches, or nicotine controlled inhalers, or nicotine gum has been unsuccessful," said Minskoff.

Instead of inhaling burning tobacco, Minskoff says an e-cigarette works as a personal vaporizer powered by a battery.

"That battery heats a resistor up, a wire coil, and that wire coil reaches a certain temperature and it turns whatever liquid you have into a vapor," he said.

But e-cigarettes don't have everyone breathing easy.

"They have not gone through FDA approval," said Nancy Caspersen, a registered nurse and tobacco cessation specialist.

Caspersen she says unlike nicotine gum and inhalers, little research and trials have been conducted on e-cigarettes in the United States.

"They're not regulated so we really don't know if there is a difference between a company making it in China and company making maybe in the United Kingdom," she said.

Idaho health officials say the FDA recently did some testing on several companies selling e-cigarettes and found varying levels of nicotine as well as other chemicals known to cause cancer.

But Minskoff says the product and liquid he sells is independently certified in the U.K.

"Purely in my opinion it is far, far healthier than smoking," he said.

But Caspersen says in her opinion that's up to the FDA to determine.

The owners of InnoVapor say the company where they get their e-cigarette devices and liquids from is in process of going through drug trials in the United Kingdom.

For information on cessation classes click HERE