Electronic-cigarettes have become nearly as controversial as the real thing. The e-cigarettes work when liquid nicotine is heated up by a battery-charged coil. There's no tobacco burned. Users inhale and instead of smoke there's a steam-like vapor. They've been in the United States for less than a decade, and increasingly big tobacco companies are manufacturing them. Limited research has been done in the health impact.
"You can also make the case that there's never going to be enough science, that there always going to be room for another study," said Amy Fairchild of Columbia University's school of public health. "It's the dire urgent public health need. This is one of the most important public health problems we face."
But she argues E-cigarettes must be federally regulated and not marketed to kids. Some states have age requirements on sales but not all. CDC data shows nearly two million middle and high school students tried E-cigarettes last year, more than double the number in 2011.
"E-cigarettes can potentially help some people, but they have got serious potential harms that we know about. If they get kids to start smoking that's really bad. And if they re-glamorize the act of smoking that's really bad," said Tom Frieden with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
E-cigarettes are not regulated by any federal body and they're not an FDA-approved method to quit smoking. Critics point out they can keep users hooked on nicotine.
"Cautious optimism with a number of caveats," said Thomas Glynn with the American Cancer Society. "What we don't want to do is take something out of the hands of people which could in fact stop people from using the traditional burn cigarette which is the enemy."
Bill Anderson owns Precision Vapor in Lexington. He says it's always the goal of his business to get people to stop smoking cigarettes. He says he's had much success and his company is growing. Anderson says the equipment used has improved greatly in the past few years.