E-Cigarette Use Growing in the Tri-Cities - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

E-Cigarette Use Growing in the Tri-Cities

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- Electronic cigarettes are grabbing the attention of tobacco smokers as an alternative to their addictive habit.

At the SmokeStop Vapor store in downtown Kennewick, they sell only electronic cigarette products and they tell me there's a thriving market for these devices.

Many people are looking for a way out of their tobacco smoking addiction and for some, the e-cigarettes really work.

Electronic cigarettes are delivering a nicotine fix and a way out for many tobacco smokers who need help putting down the pack.

"I've been addicted to just about everything out there and this is the hardest drug I've ever had to quit and now that I've gone to e-cigarettes I don't even have a calling for it anymore," said Ken Hartwig, who switched to e-cigarettes after a 25-year addition to tobacco cigarettes.

Hartwig began smoking at age nine, but he started using an e-cigarette in November and hasn't picked up a tobacco cigarette since.

People looking to stop smoking are turning to e-cigarettes. The battery powered device is filled with a nicotine liquid.

The 10 milliliter bottle is equivalent to 10 packs of cigarettes and it's changing lives for people addicted to tobacco.

At SmokeStop Vapor, business is good.

Owner Gary Fletcher says the market for e-cigarettes is growing and will only expand from here.

"We're getting more and more new customers everyday and the same consistent customers. Our customer base has grown quite a bit," Fletcher said.

The nicotine liquid comes in a variety of flavors and some describe it as an alternative to gums or the patch.

But the FDA warns they've found carcinogens and toxic chemicals in the products and they plan to regulate the e-cigarette market just like tobacco.

But users say they're a lesser evil when it comes to their health.

"Smoking kills people. I mean it does. Smoking kills people. If we can get them to stop by any means possible, as long as it's fairly safe, I say let's do it," Fletcher said.

"I swear by it. I would never go back to cigarettes again ever," Hartwig said.

E-cigarettes are a sustainable business at SmokeStop Vapor and it's just one local example of a trend happening nationwide.