E-cigarettes fad lets smokers indoors again

By Emily Bardales

Inside The Blind Pig Company in downtown Champaign, a group of University graduate students sit smoking cigarettes. Seemingly contradictory to the Illinois indoor smoking ban, these smokers are once again able to take a puff indoors.

For $50, a person can purchase an e-cigarette kit that includes one electronic cigarette, two battery chargers, and 10 cartridges that can either be filled with flavor or a type of nicotine. Additional containers of liquid can be bought for $10 per container.

Matt Garley was the first one of the group to find out about e-cigarettes. Then he introduced them to his friends Benjamin Slade and Lisa Pierce, all graduate students.

“That container would last me about a month, so if you think about it you pay sometimes five bucks for a pack of cigarettes and this is just ten,” Pierce said.

Depending on the Web site, there are a variety of different colors of e-cigarettes and numerous flavors; Marlboro, Camel, apple, coffee, mint and chocolate are a few.

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E-cigarettes are not yet being sold at Discount Smoke Shop, Smoke Shack, Jon’s Pipe Shop or Undercover.

How it works, straight from the smoker’s mouth

1. The mouthpiece contains a cartridge, and the cartridge has a fibrous spongy material where the liquid is stored. It contains either nicotine or non-nicotine flavored liquid.

2. Then you have the atomizer, which is the most complex part. It heats the propylene glycol up until it boils and the vapor comes out.

“Propylene glycol is the same chemical used in fog machines,” Garley said.

3. Then you attach the battery.

“If I use it during the day, then I’ll have to change it out for the night, so the battery lasts about a half of day,” Pierce said.

Once vaporizing, the end of the e-cigarette lights up with an LED light. This can be ordered in a variety of colors as well.

“The thing about the blue is that then people know you aren’t smoking a cigarette and you get less weird looks,” Garley said laughing. “Well, you still get weird looks, but you get less angry looks.”

How e-cigarettes differ from cigarettes

-They are heavier than normal cigarettes.

-They taste differently.

“It’s not the same thing, and I miss cigarettes” Garley said.

“You don’t get quite the same sensation,” Slade agreed.

Why e-cigarettes are better than cigarettes

Since it does not contain tobacco and nothing is being burnt, it is not subject to the Clean Indoor Air Act.

Blind Pig Company, Esquire Lounge Inc., Seven Saints and Radio Maria have all allowed this group to smoke their e-cigarettes in their businesses.

“We allow e-smoking on a person-to-person basis,” said Jacob Daugherty, manager at Radio Maria in downtown Champaign. “I couldn’t smell any smoke, otherwise it wouldn’t fly.”

Chris Knight, owner of the Blind Pig Company in Champaign, quit smoking seven months ago, but still accepts e-smoking.

“I think that it is a great solution to a difficult problem, especially in this weather,” Knight said.

Nicotine patches and gum fail to treat the addiction to holding the actual cigarette and social smoking. E-smoking simulates those sensations. It also eliminates the mess of ash, Slade said.