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by Mike Irwin

East Wenatchee, WA — It wasn’t smoking’s devastating health effects or its wallop to the wallet that sent Brian Adkinson searching for the perfect product to puff.

The 35-year-old owner of The UnSmoker, an online business with a kiosk in Wenatchee Valley Mall, hated the pariah-like aspects of being a smoker — being banned from public places and forced to go outside in cold, wind, rain and snow to light up a favorite Camel Light.

Adkinson’s search led him to the electronic cigarette — sometimes called the electric cigarette or e-cigs — as a practical solution to getting his cigarette fix at work, in restaurants and on airplanes. The smokeless, battery-powered, cigarette-shaped device delivers a puff of flavored vapor laced with nicotine to provide the jolt smokers crave.

Several brands and designs of the device, sold at various smoke shops and convenience stores around the Wenatchee Valley, are still being studied by the FDA. State health officials have yet to give it a nod of approval.

“At first, I held the thing in my hand and said, ‘No way this’ll work,’ ” Adkinson said. “But then I took a puff. The vapor hit the back of my throat and — whoa — I was amazed. It was like a real cigarette.”

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