CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (NEWSPLEX) -- Not long ago, e-cigarettes were a novelty, something people used only when they couldn't smoke the real thing.
Today, that's changed.
Vaping, as it's known, is a booming business. At least six stores have opened locally in the past several years, and business is likely about to get even better.
That's thanks to a new report from the British government describing vaping as 95 percent less harmful than cigarettes.
Tracy Riffel, co-owner of Smoke Brake Vapes on the Downtown Mall, is thrilled to share that report with her customers..
She said, "That is such a great thing for people to hear."
She says the report matches her personal experience: improved health thanks to vaping and the ability to finally kick cigarettes after years of smoking.
Jennifer Lucas, manager of Best Vapes on Hydraulic Road, agrees.
"I personally was a two pack a day smoker for over 20 years and tried everything to quite smoking and was never successful until I found vaping," she said.
Family practitioner Greg Gelburd says, while he would never recommend vaping, he believes it is preferable to smoking for those who have tried and failed to quit cigarettes.
"I still think that it's safer than cigarettes, which have more than 7,000 chemicals and more than 70 carcinogens in them," he said.
But he has concerns about the British report's claim, and he cautions that vaping hasn't been around long enough to determine how safe it is.
"I think that's the first of many studies that we need to look at," said Gelburd.
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