By Gregory Smith
The Providence Journal, R.I.
To Rebecca Boff, electronic cigarettes are a life-saver.
Boff, 40, a former Rhode Island state social worker, is the proprietor of Ocean State Vapes, at 219 Putnam Pike, Johnston. She sells e-cigarettes and supplies and welcomes their users to grab a seat and “vape” in her store.
Puffing on an e-cigarette — or vaping — is meant to be a way to quit smoking tobacco and to reduce or eliminate the inhalation of nicotine and other harmful particles and substances in tobacco.
And Boff is a believer.
She suffered from bleeding ulcers that were aggravated by her habitual smoking, and one day, she recalled, “I almost bled out in my house.”
Desperate, she turned to vaping, and after 1 1/2 years, managed to quit smoking.
“I smoked for 25 years,” she recalled. “Vaping literally saved my life. I was so addicted, I would have kept smoking.”
An e-cigarette, generally speaking, is a handheld battery-powered nicotine delivery system. It heats a liquid and turns it into a colorless, odorless vapor without combustion.
Vaping is the inhalation of the vaporized liquid. The cloud produced is water vapor, which advocates contend is relatively innocuous compared with the contents of tobacco smoke.
Boff is in the vanguard of the e-cigarette boom, which is now an estimated $3-billion-a-year industry that has become a business and cultural phenomenon a half century after the U.S. surgeon general made history when he reported that smoking tobacco causes illness and death and he recommended that the government do something about it.
The Oxford Dictionaries in 2014 pronounced “vape” its word of the year.
An example of the phenomenon was the grand opening Saturday of VAPEsolutely!, an e-cigarette store at 1310 Ten Rod Rd., in the Super Stop & Shop plaza, North Kingstown.