Zach Eastman leaned back in a chair, brought a small device up to his mouth and inhaled.
Vaping, he says, is trending upward in central Pennsylvania, much like it is across the United States.
Eastman, whose education is in plastics engineering, worked in electronics manufacturing for years until he opened Illuminated Vapes in August 2014 at 129 Rolling Ridge Drive in State College. It is the only vaping store in Centre County.
“The devices we use are roughly the size of a large to small flashlight, and they use liquid nicotine and flavoring,” he said. “The device actually boils and vaporizes liquid nicotine, and you inhale it like a cigarette, except there’s no carcinogens, no tar, no nasty smell. Most people say vaping smells more like a candle or air freshener.”
He also talked about how vaping was a gateway to help him stop smoking, the safety of vaping and whether the government should regulate the vaping industry.
I also saw the potential in it. Anything that was better than smoking was a good thing to me. The first ones I tried had inefficient batteries, ran out of liquid quickly, were expensive and tasted bad. It took time for me to find the right products to work for me.
The first few weeks of vaping I did cough a bit, but I realized it was my lungs healing themselves and getting rid of all the buildup they had. A year after I started vaping I was breathing a lot better, and I didn’t get winded jogging and running. I could go to the gym without issues. I didn’t have pain in my lungs when I woke up. I feel much healthier.
My personal feeling is that’s much better than smoking. I feel like it’s many times better, and there is a lot of twisted information out there in skewed articles going one way or the other. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. If it’s going to be around long-term, we need to know exactly what it does to the body so that we don’t make the mistakes we did with tobacco in the 1940s and ’50s.