Tampa, Florida -- For the first time ever the e-cigarette industry has come together under one roof, right here in Tampa.
Upon entering the convention, attendees are met with a vapor cloud looming. But industry professionals say the smoke is innocuous and that is one of the major perks of vaping.
Event founder Kevin Skipper says, "There is no tar in it - because you are not burning plant material. You are vaporizing a liquid." E-cigarette, or vaping supporters, are trying to clear the smoke in the air and promote their new addiction. One patron said health risks aren't a concern, "Absolutely not, when I get a thumbs-up from a hardnosed lung doctor, I am all for my vaping.
Skipper adds, "There are some localities that have banned the use of them where cigarettes are banned as well. It's just something we will have to educate the public on."
He created the Vaping Convention Circuit last year, years after quitting smoking and months after opening his own shop locally, "We saw there were separate events all over the country. But nothing that brought them together to the public." He adds although state legislation doesn't stop e-cigs sales to minors - he does, "We self regulate - at Digital Hits - no one under 18 can buy."
Skipper says plenty of other people are already buying, "In the U.S this has been popular for about 5 or 6 years. I think last year it topped just over a billion dollar industry in the U.S. alone."
A number he hopes keeps rising.
Industry professionals admit there's been no study done on long term effects of first hand e-cigarette vaping.
Just yesterday a state Senate panel approved SB 224, a bill that bans minors from being allowed to buy e-cigarettes.
That proposal will likely be heard on the floor with the session begins on March 4.
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