Nineteen year old Gaven Moss is on the road to freedom, freedom from his nicotine addiction. He's doing it one puff at a time. If that sounds odd to you, you're not alone.
Until six months ago Gaven was a pack a day smoker.
"I knew that I had to quite sooner or later and I picked up one of these and quit cold turkey," Moss tells NewsChannel 7.
Now instead of reaching for traditional cigarettes, Moss takes a puff from his electronic cigarette. Unlike tobacco products, the e-cigarette delivers nicotine to the blood stream in the form of water vapor. Because the user can control how much nicotine each hit contains, Moss says it's a great way to wean yourself off all together.
"A lot of people have been switching over to them and quitting and it's a lot healthier and cheaper."
Inspired by the change the e-cigarettes made in his life, Moss decided to turn his experience into a business, opening Mossity, an e-cigarette store in downtown Stevens Point.
"We saw the transition in him and his desire to try to help other people get off cigarettes and how much it helped him, we supported that Idea," Moss' dad, John Moss tells NewsChannel 7.
While Doctor Eric Penniman agrees they are a healthier alternative, he's still worried by their growing popularity and availability.
"Kids are beginning to get the message that these are cool and that this is a safe alternative," Dr. Penniman explains. "The problem with it is it still has nicotine in it which is as addictive as cocaine."
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report unconventional smoking products, like electronic cigarettes, are becoming more popular among teens.
For those using the e-cigarettes to help them quit, Dr. Penniman wants them to know they are not without risk, as nicotine effects blood vessels and blood pressure leading to hear attack and stroke.
Dr. Penniman adds, "If e-cigarettes make it easy to maintain your nicotine addiction, fewer and fewer people are going to be able to ultimately quit."
But for Moss, the e-cigarette is just one stop on the journey to a life free from smoking.
Moss' store has only been open for a few months. He tells us in that time he has sold out of his e-cigarettes on multiple occasions. His most common customers are college students looking to kick the habit.
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