Vapour tales

Tyler Silva leaves e-cigarettes behind, only settling for the real thing.

Tyler Silva leaves e-cigarettes behind, only settling for the real thing.

Tyler Silva, an on-and-off smoker of 11 years, tried once again this past summer to kick the habit, this time with the aid of an electronic cigarette.

“It’s different feeling, because actual cigarettes have combustion and with e-cigarettes are just a vapour, so it’s not the same thing. It’s the same idea, in theory, but what’s going inside of you is not exactly the same thing,” said Silva.

Alex Naraya, 23, sells e-cigarettes at a Mississauga flea market at the corner of Mavis Road and Dundas Street.

Naraya said not everyone quits smoking regular cigarettes with the help of the machine and he finds different trends in different demographics.

“I get people of all ages, really,” said Naraya. “There are old guys who still want to smoke but want to replace it.”

E-cigarettes contain a liquid nicotine solution heated by a coil and released as a vapour.

The vapour is meant to be a healthier, non-carcinogenic alternative to regular cigarette smoke – a notion that many, including Health Canada, feel is up for debate.

Naraya said he gets a lot of new business from baby boomers through word of mouth, and although some lose interest quickly, others slowly catch on.

“If they smoke about a pack a day on average, most customers will come back in a few weeks telling me they now smoke a pack a week,” said Naraya.

Naraya said he usually sees smokers in their 20s and 30s quitting with a lot more ease.

“The improvement is very gradual, so the younger crowd they end up, in my opinion, abandon the cigarette much quicker than the older folks,” said Naraya.

Situated in a legal grey area, electronic cigarettes continue to be the subject of debate across Canada.

According to, importing e-cigarettes, and sale of any cartridges containing nicotine are illegal in Canada, but the use and sale of the e-cigarettes themselves are not.

“I’d still crave cigarettes later in the day, it would be like a temporary distraction until I could have a real cigarette.”

Tyler Silva, former e-cigarettes smoker

Silva, a graphic designer, stopped smoking e-cigarettes around a month ago.

“I’d still crave cigarettes later in the day,” said Silva. “It would be like a temporary distraction until I could have a real cigarette.”

Silva, who continues to smoke regular cigarettes, said the machine was used in places where he normally would not be allowed to smoke a regular cigarette.

“ I’d use it in the car, in my apartment, and sometimes I’d even bring it to work,” said Silva.

Silva, 27, cites the cost as the reason for quitting e-cigarettes.

“I saw myself smoking less, but the e-cigarettes, they’re not cheap. So there’s no real savings necessarily, you know what I mean? I was probably spending more, because those things (e-cigarettes) cost a lot.”

An e-cigarette started pack can cost as little as $20, or for the smoker with deeper pockets, $500.

“With that kind of ($500) setup, you’d have very, very big clouds of vapour,” said Naraya. “You pretty much assemble it how you like, you really get to micromanage your device, and it just becomes a lot more complex.”

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