E-cigarettes: Locals share concern over lack of labeling
MOUNT CARMEL - Workers at local stores that sell electronic cigarettes seem to agree with a Congressional report released Monday calling for a need to regulate the industry.
Manager Darlene Derr and employee Nicole Share at the Puff's Express tobacco store on Oak Street, both smokers themselves, have tried a number of e-cigarettes, and both believe that, at the very least, they need warning labels.
"There are no warning labels," Derr said Monday morning at the store.
E-cigarettes have to potential to cause acute nicotine toxicity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from April 4 said e-cigarette exposure calls to poison control centers increased from one in September 2010 to 215 in February. Fifty-one percent of the calls involved children under the age of five.
Share said the scents available with e-cigarettes are appealing to children.
"If it is strawberry or blueberry scented, it smells like strawberry or blueberry candy," she said. "They are a huge seller for all ages from 18 to 60 years old."
Puff's Express keeps all of its e-cigarettes and accessories behind the counter to keep them out of reach of children, Derr said.
E-cigarettes sales are estimated to have reached $2 billion in 2013, and they don't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. They are very popular, Derr said, with Puff's selling at least 20 varieties of both e-cigarettes, which are similar in appearance to real cigarettes, and vaporizers - often called hookahs - that use a form of liquid nicotine.
"They say it is revolutionizing smoking, so we'll see," she said.
Puff's recently started selling a brand called Zoom, and they are flying off the shelf. For that matter, all of the electronic cigarettes at the store are selling fast, Derr said.
Jessica Latsha, an employee for just a few months at Puff's location on 109 W. Independence St., Shamokin, has seen the popularity of e-cigarettes rise and attributes that to word of mouth.
"Some people claim it has helped them quit smoking or at least cut back on smoking actual cigarettes," she said.
Latsha, also a smoker, has tried them, but said they made her feel "funny" and light-headed.
Derr said the sale of e-cigarettes hasn't made much of a dent in the sale of regular cigarettes, and that some people use both, possibly to help them quit or cut back.
Derr said she is in the process of quitting smoking and is giving a smoker's patch a try. She said she uses an electronic cigarette from time to time.