ESCANABA — After years of failing, Scott Krieg figured he would always be a smoker. “I was a smoker for 25 years,” said Krieg. “I tried Chantix, I tried the gum, many things, but could not quit smoking.” Then everything changed when he tried an electronic cigarette. “My wife came home with one and we both tried it and knew right away that hey, we can quit smoking using these,” Krieg said.
That was 10 weeks ago and Krieg hasn’t had a cigarette since. An electronic cigarette provides doses of nicotine through a vapor without many of the harmful chemicals in normal cigarettes and comes at a much lower price. After paying $60 for a starting kit, an e-cigarette cartridge costs around $1.80 and is the equivalent of one-and-a-quarter packs of cigarettes.
Electronic cigarettes are also proving to be much safer. According to the Food and Drug Administration, an electronic cigarette has 3.87 nanograms of carcinogens compared to 4,300 in a Marlboro cigarette. Even though initial studies appear positive, the Dickinson-Iron District Health Department is taking a wait-and-see approach to e-cigarettes.
“Right now we cannot support electronic cigarettes because we really don’t know everything that’s in them,” said Health Department Educator Kelly Rumpf. “They have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.” Kreig said the goal is for people to wean themselves off nicotine and eventually quit smoking all types of cigarettes.
“It’s been great seeing our repeat customers come back and say, ‘I can’t believe it. I smoked for 35 years and I have quit traditional cigarettes all together,'” Krieg said