They can be cheaper and some believe healthier, but state health leaders want more answers about the dangers of e-cigarettes.
Even though e-cigarettes do not have tobacco in them, State Health Officer Dr. Robert Moser says nicotine can be more toxic than arsenic. He feels the public is being misled.
"I never felt good when I was smoking cigarettes. I'd get really bad coughs and get sick often," said Wichita resident Joseph Bilyeu.
That's why many people switch from smoking to vaping, but Moser wants the state to do more research. "The surveys show that young adults are wrongly believing, over 60% of them believe, that water pipes and e-cigarettes are significantly safer than regular cigarettes," said Moser.
"I originally picked up e-cigarettes to quit smoking, with the intention of quitting," said Bilyeu. "Then of course when I did a little more research into it, it's at the point where why would I quit? It's nowhere near as harmful."
Moser worries the products in e-cigarettes might be more harmful than we know. "They want to be able to produce a smoke-like effect, the visual stimulus they get with smoking. So they have to have ingredients to make that happen," said Moser.
Vapor Trail E-cigs President Jason Reece disagrees. "The studies and research that I've seen is that it's no more harmful for you then caffeine," said Reece. "Nicotine and caffeine do the exact same thing, they speed up your heart rate."
Even though second-hand smoke is not a factor with vaping, in 2013 24 people reported toxic exposure from e-cigs to poison control. Eleven of them were children. "Just like with prescription pills, you don't leave them where children can get to them or where animals can chem them up. You have to treat it as a controlled substance," said Reece.
Moser says when small kids find cigarettes they might chew on them. But with e-cigs, they can drink the liquid or get it on their skin. That exposure can make them sick, cause seizures, or even death.
Moser says before he can recommend e-cigs to patients, he needs to know more. "I recognize this could be an alternative method for nicotine replacement therapy, but it needs to be regulated by the FDA because of all the other concerns of exposures and what not," said Moser.
Moser says another problem is that some people are putting alcohol like vodka or bourbon inside them, or the liquid form of marijuana. He says that can be difficult for law enforcement to detect.