• Target 11 investigation: e-cigs

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    PITTSBURGH - Ben Edner has tried to quit smoking on six different occasions, but so far, he hasn't had any success.

    "I've done the patch, the gum, the lozenges," he listed off to Channel 11's Jennifer Abney.

    Now he is turning to an electronic version of his vice to kick the habit.

    "I was really attracted to it because you can still do those same behavioral patterns," he said of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs.

    According to the CDC, one in five adult smokers in the U.S. has tried e-cigs.

    Many look and taste just like the real deal.

    Instead of tobacco, these battery-powered devices use liquid nicotine.

    Smokers inhale the nicotine-flavored vapor instead of smoke.

    "I could use it in the building and no one would even know because you can't smell it," said Edner.

    Dr. Neal Singh at Allegheny General Hospital has seen success with his patients but has concerns about the product.

    "It's difficult to recommend it right now because it's not FDA approved and because we don't know what's in it," said Singh.

    Manufacturers insist e-cigs are safe, and point to a Boston University study that found the level of carcinogens is up to 1000 times lower than in regular cigarettes.

    Still, the FDA says more research needs to be done on the health risks.

    And with different flavors and colors, Singh worries about the appeal to kids.

    "Kids start using this without smoking because they think it's better and it looks cool," he said. "Then they can become addicted to nicotine for the rest of their lives."

    As for Edner, he's already seen some health improvements.

    "When I'm running or exercising, I can tell," he said. "I can go longer when I am using the e-cig."

    Several countries have banned e-cigs and just last month, a group of U.S. senators asked the FDA to regulate the product.

    For now, though, e-cig sales are expected to top $1 billion this year


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