A looming increase in Minnesota's cigarette tax is leading to new interest in electronic cigarettes as an alternative to traditional smoking.
A Minnesota Public Radio report says shop owners in the Twin Cities are seeing increased demand in so-called "e-cigs." They credit the $1.60-per-pack tax increase that goes into effect for regular cigarettes next week.
Sina War runs the Uptown Vapor Shoppe, an e-cigarette store she opened in south Minneapolis two months ago. She opened a second location in Maplewood last weekend, and other outlets have also popped up in recent years.
Customers say they like being able to get a nicotine fix without inhaling tobacco smoke.
Skeptics say e-cigarettes are still unhealthy, and some are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to play a stronger role in regulating them.