Billion dollar e-cigarette industry raises safety concerns - CBS 5 - KPHO

Billion dollar e-cigarette industry raises safety concerns

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(Source: CBS News) (Source: CBS News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A Valley business is at the leading edge a new billion-dollar industry.

It's been 42 years since smoking ads have appeared on television but now there's an onslaught of electronic cigarette ads that are fair game and the market is booming, especially in Arizona.

"It's not that I want to be as good as a cigarette, I want to be better," said Craig Weiss, the CEO of NJOY, the e-cigarette industry leader with headquarters in Scottsdale.

"Our mission is to obsolete cigarettes," Weiss said.

In 2011, sales for e-cigarettes were around $300 million. In 2012, they doubled to $600. In 2013, it could triple, reaching nearly $2 billion.

"We are very concerned that their is virtually no federal oversight of these products. We do not know what's in them. We do not know how they are being used," said Erika Sward of the American Lung Association.

The main ingredients of most electronic cigarettes include nicotine, water, artificial flavoring, glycerol, and propylene glycol, responsible for the exhaled smoky looking vapor, according to manufacturers.

The FDA promises more research, but that could take years.

Weiss welcomes FDA regulation and when asked if he would let his kids use e-cigarettes when they get older, Weiss replied, "I'd rather they smoke e-cigarettes in 15, 30 years than regular cigarettes, so yes, if they choose to smoke, then yes absolutely."

While e-cigarettes may reach $2 billion in sales this year, profits for traditional tobacco products still reach $80 billion in America every year.

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