Skip navigation
Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

LA Vapers Club Encourages Smokers to Quit

The use of electronic cigarettes have doubled in the past year.

Health experts are still unsure about the possible benefits of vaping, but the LA Vapers Club is determined to change that.

Their stories all start out the same.

"At age 17 I was smoking two packs a day," said Andy Woo.

"I smoked a pack a day for 25 years," explained Lisa Kellett.

"I was a two pack a day smoker for about 27 years," said Darrin 'Pup' Gold.

After trying almost every way to quit smoking cigarettes, no results.

"I tried the gum, I tried the patch, I tried the lozenge, I tried hypnosis," explained Gold. But he said the vape worked on day one.

Once a month, members of the LA Vapers Club meet to share their passion for vaping. For many it's now more than a way to quit smoking.

"I feel like I'm actually helping people change their life to go from cigarettes to vaping," said Rodney Johnson.

"It turns into a hobby verses a habit," said Woo.

A typical vape can cost anywhere from 40 to 60 dollars. Many vapers argue it's a cheaper and healthier alternative to smoking normal cigarettes, which contain harmful chemicals such as arsenic and tar.

"My sensories came back, my taste started getting back, smells, everything," explained Gary-James Gunnarson.

Gold used to weigh 300 pounds and had a lot of health problems. Since switching to e-cigarettes, he vapes different e-liquids to satisfy his cravings.

"Fruits, and candy, and baked goods, and sodas, and alcohol drinks they're all made in e-liquid so I'm able to eliminate almost all of that from my diet," said Gold.

He's since lost 70 pounds. Now he shares his experience with others hoping to quit smoking. But health experts say there's more to the story.

"We don't know what other chemicals it might contain," explained Lourdes Baezcone-Garbanati, a preventative medicine expert. "We're not quite sure yet how the body reacts to those, and we don't know if the vapor from them really could be dangerous."

There simply hasn't been enough studies or time to prove the benefits or harmful effects of vaping.

"Are they really safer in the long run? you know we think they are, but we're not a hundred precent sure," said Baezcone-Garbanati.

But Gold and the rest of the club say they're seeing the results now. Many say they can't possibly measure the benefits of electronic cigarettes and will continue to fight for the vaping community.

Leave a comment

We've Moved!

By Sam Bergum
01/21/16 | 11:09 a.m. PST

Visit us at!

USC Basketball Knocks Off Rival UCLA 89- 75

By Scott Cook
01/14/16 | 12:05 a.m. PST

USC defeats UCLA with stellar play from their Freshmen. 

Holiday Bowl - USC vs Wisconsin Post-Game Press Conference

Su'a Cravens: "It's the players that need to step up"

Darreus Rogers: "It comes down to the players"

Trojans Fall to Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl 23-21

We detected that you might be on a mobile device such as an iPad or iPhone. Sorry, at this time the video box is only visible on desktop computers.