The words of Deborah Frazier's 5-year-old grandson motivated her to try to quit smoking.

Electronic cigarettes, she said, helped her kick her 31-year addiction.

"'I don't want you to get dead,' those are pretty scary words when it's your own grandchild," said Frazier, who manages Totally Vapor, a kiosk in the Southern Hills Mall that carries electronic cigarettes and accessories.

Frazier, a former nurse, said she quit smoking shortly after she started working at Totally Vapor a little over a year ago. The taste of a cigarette disgusts her.

"There's a bumper sticker that says, 'Kissing a smoker is like licking an ash tray.' That's exactly what it's like for me," she said.

Together Frazier and her husband, a former teacher who also works at the kiosk, have more than 30 customers who, she said, have quit smoking and vaping altogether. On average, she said it takes customers two weeks to two months to quit smoking with the help of electronic cigarettes.

Frazier said the "oral fixation" element that electronic cigarettes provide, makes them more appealing to smokers than nicotine patches and pills.

"You can have it all, but you don't have any of the negative side effects, and you control the nicotine," said Frazier, who offers several different models of electronic cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered and consist of an atomizer that heats up liquid in a refillable cartridge. When the liquid (a combo of vegan glycol, propylene glycol, nicotine, food coloring and flavor) is heated up, it turns to vapor.

"What you exhale is water vapor with flavor," Frazier said.

The FDA does not regulate the amount of nicotine in electronic cigarettes and there is a concern that they could contain harmful chemicals, according to Deb Twyford, a wellness intrinsic coach with Mercy Business Health who facilitates tobacco cessation classes. However, Twyford said she knows of clients who have quit smoking with their help.

"Quitting tobacco is one of the best things they can do for their health. It affects all of the body systems," she said. "I know several people that have used that and if that will make them quit smoking, then I guess I don't have a problem with it as long as they're careful."

More than 55 flavors are available at Frazier's kiosk. You can go with a traditional Marlboro or Newport flavor or try strawberry, kiwi, vanilla custard, Mountain Dew and Colombian coffee, among others. You can also customize the strength of the nicotine in your liquid cartridge from 0 to 24 milligrams.

"Most real cigarettes have slightly more than 23 (milligrams of nicotine), but not quite more than 24," Frazier said.

Not only can you control your nicotine intake with electronic cigarettes, Frazier said you can also prevent the toxins and cancer-causing ingredients that regular cigarettes contain from entering your body. She said the liquid Totally Vapor's electronic cigarettes contain is "healthy" and made by a chemist in Albuquerque, N.M.

"Everybody who smokes needs to stop and evaluate their health," she said. "If you need help quitting, this is the best way to do it."


Health and Lifestyles reporter

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