Meshaila Connors

Meshaila Connors, owner of The End Vapor Shop, takes a drag from an e-cigarette. The cigarettes deliver a hit of nicotine, but have vapour instead of smoke. (CBC)

A shop owner in New Glasgow is doing brisk business selling electronic cigarettes, but the growing trend is in the crosshairs of some health officials.

Meshaila Connors owns The End Vapor Shop and sells the high-tech cigarettes, which deliver hits of nicotine, but release vapour instead of smoke.

But local health officials want regulations around the devices tightened. Health Canada says the electronic cigarettes are not approved for importation or sale.

Connors sees things differently and doesn’t think she’s doing anything wrong. It’s also lucrative: in four months she’s done more than $500,000 in business and there are plans for new locations in Antigonish, Sydney and Halifax.

"I'm registered, I pay my taxes like everybody else, and I'm an insured business," Connors said. "There's nothing illegal. That's the thing. There's just simply no law."

But the province’s chief medical officer of health is urging for more rules. The problem, Dr. Robert Strang said, is what happens if down the road it’s discovered e-cigarettes are harmful.

"Be cautionary and not create a problem and loosen things up, rather than be loose from the beginning and then have to fix a major problem after the fact," he said.

Customers, however, are effusive. Beverly Turple said she replaced her regular cigarettes with e-cigarettes more than two years ago.

"You're not getting all that crap in your lungs," she said. "And you don't wake up in the morning coughing and choking."

Ashley Pendleton made the switch two weeks ago and said it's helping her lungs and her pocketbook.

"I’d spend $13 a day on smokes," she said. "Now I spend $9 a week for (e-cigarette) juice."