Leader Assistant Editor
The Leader recently published an article about the concerns shared by Garland police chief Linda Bourne over underage use of e-cigarettes. Utah Vapers founding director Aaron Frazier contacted the paper with his concerns about the article and asked if he could tell his side of the story.
In a recent interview, Frazier was joined by Huff n Puff n Stuff owner Shane Moates and promotions director Nate Maughan, along with fellow e-cigarette user Josh Schwab.
Frazier quit smoking in January 2011. That following March he formed Utah Vapers, a tobacco harm reduction advocacy organization and support group to bring consumers and retailers together, educating them on e-cigarettes and their benefits. He volunteers his time as the state advocate by monitoring legislation, visiting with Utah vendors and promoting education.
He said, “I am a loud mouth blogger. I am sometimes the voice and sometimes the face.”
E-cigarettes have been around for about 10 years but have been in Utah for six. While this is not his job, Frazier has devoted “every free minute” to the e-cigarette cause. “I am passionate about it. E-cigarettes have helped 2-3 million people get off of cigarettes. I know they work,” he said.
Moates, Maughan and Schwab share a similar passion.
Moates started smoking at age 11, but decided to quit when he was expecting a daughter. Because of e-cigarettes, he has been smoke free for three years. He said, “It (smoke) sticks to everything. That is the last thing I wanted for my daughter.”
Schwab quit smoking three years ago when he picked up an e-cigarette. “I can breathe. It is not because of vapor, it is because I got rid of the tobacco. There is not a better substitute for smoking. Because I got rid of tobacco, I feel healthier and have more energy.”
Maughan, who started smoking in seventh grade, said, “There are not any negatives, just that it took tobacco to get me here. It (e-cigarettes) freed me from a life of tobacco.”
This alternative to smoking does not have thousands of chemicals and carcinogens like traditional cigarettes. The ingredients in an e-cigarette are all pharmaceutical, medical grade ingredients approved by the FDA for inhalation and generally recognized as safe.
However, the FDA has not yet approved the combination of the ingredients, which include nicotine, propylene glycol (also found in soda, toothpaste and mouthwash), vegetable glycerin, food grade flavorings, water and, in rare cases, a few extra additives.
For more on this story pick up a copy of this week’s Leader.