Crawford brings e-cigarettes to townPublished 10:21am Tuesday, February 16, 2010
By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News
Brandi Crawford smokes water.
Cigarette smoke makes her nauseous, like an allergic reaction.
So, for the past few months, Crawford has been selling Green Smoke, a brand of electronic cigarettes for non-smoking places.
E-cigarettes will likely become more prevalent in Michigan with a smoking ban taking effect in May.
Crawford has been dividing her time between Dowagiac and Florida, where her husband Kevin’s family moved from Virginia.
It was at a mall in Florida where she first became exposed to e-cigarettes.
Now she sells them on a Web site, www.greensmoke.com/to live. Use disc10 (coupon code).
“It looks like a cigarette,” she says Monday at the Daily News, lighting it up and making the tip glow red, “tastes like a cigarette, feels like a cigarette, but it’s water vapor.”
When one filter burns out, unscrew it and screw in another.
“I know a lot of people are worried about the effect the smoking ban is going to have on bars and restaurants,” Crawford said. “Not only is it going to help them, but what I like about it is it’s going to help people quit smoking or, if they don’t want to quit smoking, at least they substitute a new cigarette for the old cigarette and not put tar and tobacco into their lungs. What people do crave in a cigarette is nicotine. There is nicotine and water in this. You can get them nicotine-free, which is just water vapor.”
“Another thing,” Crawford said, “is a carton of cigarettes costs $50 to $60 a week. A cartridge costs $3, which is comparable to a pack and a half of tobacco cigarettes. You buy them in packs of five for $14.75, which is cost-effective compared to $50 or $60.
“It doesn’t make you smell or have the second-hand smoke that bothers people. You don’t have to buy lighters, worry about ash or it being a fire hazard.
“These are very popular in Chicago, Florida and California. All the movie stars have electronic cigarettes. My husband will smoke one in a movie theater and somebody will say, ‘You can’t smoke that in here,’ until they realize it’s an odorless electronic cigarette.
“If you smoke real cigarettes, you smell bad and look old,” she said. “You get those little wrinkles around your mouth from hitting the cigarette all the time. There are so many bad things about cigarettes.”
Green Smoke is based in Miami. There are a number of e-cigarette companies.
“You get a long cigarette, like a Virginia Slim, and a short cigarette,” she said.
With its green tip, it looks like a cue stick for a tiny pool table.
“I don’t even play bingo anymore because the smoke is so bad,” Crawford said. “I like to go to the casino. You can’t smoke in the poker room, but it’s smoky everywhere else.
“It’s truly a social cigarette with no second-hand smoke or offensive odors. Friends and family don’t have to ask you to step outside to smoke,” Crawford said. “You can Green Smoke anywhere – even in no-smoking zones like bars, restaurants, coffee shops, factories, airports and hospitals. There’s free shipping. And different levels (of nicotine).
“Say somebody smokes Newports. You can order menthol. If there’s somebody who smokes Marlboro Reds and then somebody else smokes Marlboro Lights, you can get different levels of nicotine, from zero to 60 milligrams.
“If you’re smoking a normal cigarette, you have tobacco and 4,000 chemicals in one normal cigarette. Pregnant women quit smoking, but if they get nicotine-free, they’re just smoking water. I think it works better than a patch or a pill. It can be a smoking alternative or it can help you quit smoking. I think bars and bowling alleys should sell them if they want to keep the customers they’re worried about losing.”
E-cigarettes even come in flavors, such as chocolate and strawberry.
“I like that I might be saving lives,” she said. “I think smokers have such an addiction that they do feel guilty smoking around their families, their friends, their children, but they don’t know how to quit.
“To me, Green Smoke is an alternative that will help them not feel guilty anymore. They can smoke around their family and friends because it’s harmful. A lot of cancer is the foods we eat and the toxic chemicals we put in our bodies, but cigarettes are the number-one cancer causer.”