FORT MYERS, Fla. - It's called vaping and it's on the rise. Smokers are lighting up so-called, "vapor" or electronic cigarettes instead of tobacco.
"You see the vapor, you're putting something up to your mouth. You're feeling a sensation, one that you would if you were smoking a cigarette. So really, you're tricking your brain into thinking that you're smoking and that you're satisfied," said Brandie Richards, owner of Roll 'Em Up Smoke Shop in Fort Myers.
"I thought that maybe a few people would keep up with it, but we've had a huge success rate on people starting it and continuing and not going back to cigarettes," Richards said.
According to a recent survey by the Wells Fargo Securities Tobacco Talk, the e-cigarette industry, which was once viewed as a passing fad, has grown to around $300 million in revenue.
"I believe a lot of people still just want to smoke in other establishments, however everything turning into being a non-smoking atmosphere," said Dawn Higgins, owner of Vapin on the Beach.
Richards said she smoked for over 21 years.
"Now I barely touch my electronic cigarette. It's been about four and a half months since I smoked a tobacco cigarette," she said.
She even takes her vapor cigarette to the airport.
"Before I went on my flight, I looked up on the TSA website, what's acceptable, and electronic cigarettes was on it," she stated.
Both owners say they're happy to be smoke free and are happy to help others do the same.
"It's really nice and rewarding when they come in and say that they haven't smoked for two weeks or a month. It's very gratifying," they said.
Some experts say the vapor industry could grow to more than one billion dollars over the next few years. The FDA has not evaluated them for safety or effectiveness.
Opponents say e-cigarettes may be attractive to young people and could lead kids to try actual cigarettes.