Aug 15, 2013 1:45 PM by Janine Reyes
CORPUS CHRISTI -- Electronic cigarettes, known as E-cigarettes, are becoming a popular alternative for smokers.
At Smoke Smart in La Palmera Mall, vendors are reporting selling several hundred dollars worth of those cigarettes a day.
They say they have a lifetime warranty on a cigarette that is a safer choice.
But, should the E-smokes be banned from places that don't allow smoking?
If you've ever passed by the Smoke Smart kiosk at La Palmera Mall, you may think you see cigarette smoke, but it's actually vaporized nitrogen. They sell E-cigarettes, and at more than $100 a piece, they're selling a lot of them.
"We're selling 5-6 a day," said Kobi Bannino with Smoke Smart.
He says it is safer and cheaper than the real deal, but admits there's no such thing as safe smoking.
"Its safer than a cigarette, okay, I wouldn't say its healthy, the best way is not to smoke at all, however it's a lot better than a regular cigarette," Bannino told us.
According to Doctor Salim Surani with Christus Spohn, he may actually be right. Dr. Surani tries to help patients quit smoking.
Since smoking a real cigarette exposes you and those around you to 30-40 carcinogens and more than 4,000 harmful substances, he agrees, the E-cigarette is a better alternative, but he never suggests it to his patients. He says it doesn't curb the nicotine addiction.
Back at smoke smart, sales people tell you you can wean yourself off nicotine with the E-cigarette and, you can smoke it anywhere. Well, almost anywhere.
While you'd never think about lighting up a cigarette at the mall, or at the airport, the E-cigarette is allowed in both places, you can even smoke it at the Coffee Beanery in the mall.
But, at Starbucks, you're not having any kind of cigarette with your coffee, not even E-cigarettes. The chain has banned them nationwide and coffee drinkers are kind of mixed about that.
"I'm fine by all means with electronic smoking, I can understand where they're going with real tobacco smoke, especially around kids," Charles McCrann, who happens to be a non-smoker told us.
It's no surprise, Bannino agrees. "I think in order to give the best service, they should let their customer enjoy something with their coffee," he told us.
But, Shelly Dvorak takes a different view.
"From one point of view I think about it as a better alternative for people who do smoke or who would regularly smoke, but as a mom, as an educator it's still sending that message out that can be confusing to children what's good for you and what's not good for you so," she said.
We haven't heard of any bars or clubs banning E-cigarettes locally.
Doctor Surani tells us second hand smoke is not a big concern of his with E-cigarettes, but he thinks restaurants and bars should air on the side of safety until more long term studies can be done on the E-cigarette.