BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Just about anyone who has tried to quit smoking will tell you it's not easy. There are plenty of alternatives, including electronic cigarettes. But researchers say that may pose some health risks.
When you first meet Ellen Harmon and her husband, Michael, you'd think they were smoking actual cigarettes. But the smoke coming from their mouths is actually vapor, formed by using an 'e-cigarette.'
"Some people can just stop cold turkey. I'm not one of them. I just couldn't do it," Ellen said, when asked why she was using the device.
E-cigarettes are a battery-operated device with cartridges of nicotine and/or flavor.
"Do I want a cigarette?" Michael questioned. "Yes I do. But to me, this is the best way I have found to release myself from that thing."
The Harmons say "vaping," as it's known, is the safer alternative to smoking.
Despite the prevalent use of e-cigarettes in the United States, our neighbors to the north have effectively banned them. The Canadian government says e-cigarettes are more like a drug, while the FDA says they're a tobacco product.
Because of the FDA distinction, they have little regulation of these devices.
Richard O'Connor, a Roswell Park Assistant Professor of Oncology, told News 4, the lack of regulation poses a public health risk.
"There's no manufacturing standards, there's nobody testing that the contents are what they say they are on the label," he said.
The FDA warns, e-cigarettes may contain ingredients that are known to be toxic to humans and may not be safe. But after smoking for 40 years, the Harmons say they'll continue to use the product, because it's keeping them away from an actual cigarette.
One of the ingredients the FDA warns of is diethylene glycol. That's something used inside antifreeze.
Researchers say it may still be possible to develop cancer from using these e-cigarettes.
DEVELOPING NEWS // An eight-year-old boy was shot Thursday morning in Cattaraugus County. Officials are at the scene on West Road, in Leon.
There is another Lake Effect Snow Warning in effect for Erie, Wyoming, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties from Thursday through early Friday.
Lake Effect Snow Warnings return today with the chance for an additional foot for some areas.
A 26-year-old male employee of Ying's Wings and Things told police that Haibo Jiang, also known as Jimmy Ying, choked him until he passed out.
A Good Samaritan died Wednesday while trying to assist the driver of a tractor trailer who got stuck in the snow.
Viewers sent in photos from the snowfall around Western New York.