Smokers are increasingly turning to battery-powered e-cigarettes to get their nicotine fix. Over the past decade consumer growth has gone from thousands to millions worldwide.
If you were to take a drive around the wiregrass, you would notice various stores selling electronic cigarettes or e-cigs for short. Trant Bullard has been hooked since his first puff. Bullard smoked for 27 years until he was introduced to vaping and ever since he's never had an urge to smoke again.
"I had tried everything to quit smoking, I loved my cigarettes as stupid as that sounds and I knew that they were killing me," said Bullard.
Bullard was so hooked that he says if he had to choose between food and cigarettes he would have gone with the latter. Bullard's daughter Amber says it was about time.
"I asked them constantly to quit smoking and they gave it a shot every now and then but it never stuck until they found vaping," said Amber Jones.
Smoking not only affected Trant Bullard's health, it also affected his family. His children were impacted the most from embarrassment through peers.
"Going to school smelling like cigarette smoke was very embarrassing. I was embarrassed for my friends to come over the house and the house would smell like smoke," said Jones.
For Trant the change is remarkable and he was so taken that he even decided to make it a business. He is now the owner of four True Vapor retail outlets in the southeast. The industry started on the internet almost a decade ago and since then sales have sky rocketed.
"The great thing about electronic cigarettes are that they feel like a cigarette. So they have that throat hit. They taste like a cigarette or they don't, I mean we have over fifty flavors here," said Bullard.
E-cigs can be used at anytime or anyplace. However, the e-cigarette industry is awaiting a ruling from the Federal Drug Administration on whether to regulate the product or not.
A ruling from the FDA on e-cig regulations will be handed down soon. Most likely the FDA's actions will mirror those restrictions on regular cigarettes. Many companies already restrict sales to people under the age of 19.