WANNA VAPE? — Some of the wares of Country Vapes are shown, above and below. The e-cigarettes come in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes and styles. Photos by Lizz Schumer.
SPRINGVILLE — Springville will be seeing smoke signals, as Country Vapes opens at 43 East Main St., this month. Owner Dan Dangler of Colden decided to get into the electronic cigarette business, despite not being a smoker himself, to serve the residents of Springville and those who come into the area, who want an alternative to smoking cigarettes or want to try out the new trend.
The electronic cigarettes, sometimes known as “e-cigarettes” came into the market in 2008. E-cigarettes vaporize a liquid that contains vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol, mixed with concentrated flavors and optional nicotine. Although the many models can be constructed in different ways, the cigarettes typically consist of a tank or a cartridge to hold the liquid, an atomizer or cartomizer to vaporize it, a heating coil and a battery. The devices come in a variety of sizes, from small units that mimic the size of regular cigarettes to larger units that Dangler said would be more appropriate for pack-a-day smokers.
The batteries come in a variety of colors, a few of which are shown, here.
The practice of smoking electronic cigarettes, which can be called “vaping,” has risen in popularity, since the devices first reached the United States market. In 2011, the latest year for which data were available, more than 20 percent of adult smokers said they had tried electronic cigarettes, double the rate in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Electronic cigarettes could account for nearly 5 percent of the value of all tobacco products in the next two decades, according to statistical tracker Euromonitor International.
While the Federal Aviation Administration currently does not allow vaping on airplanes, whether or not the devices can be used indoors is not determined by ordinance, like regular cigarettes, since the Food and Drug Administration has not yet released regulations on the still-new devices. That said, e-cigarettes are often allowed indoors, although it is ultimately up to the discretion of the proprietor.
Starter kits are also available, for those who want to buy an introductory package.
“If you’re a heavy smoker, the small electronic cigarette won’t last you very long,” Dangler said. “They make disposable units, but the rebuildable ones are cheaper. That way, you’re not throwing away the entire thing, when it runs out.”
Dangler’s store also stocks a number of starter kits, for both smaller and larger models. The starter kits include batteries, chargers, cartridges and “everything you need, to get started,” according to Dangler.
“A lot of times, people will be interested in checking these out, as an alternative to cigarettes. They’ll start off with a starter and then maybe upgrade.”
Dangler said that the options with the starter kits are limited, since they usually only come in white, black and titanium colors.
“Lots of times, people like having additional options,” he explained. And Dangler has options. He has a glass version, that he called “very durable,” and shatterproof plastic, in a range of colors and styles. The vapor itself comes in flavors, as well, from berry to Swedish Fish, Jolly Rancher and more.
“All of my vapor is made in the USA and it’s all food-grade and kosher. Some companies get theirs from China, but I wanted to make sure it was high-quality, good stuff. It’s a hot product, that has really grown into an industry,” he continued, about the e-cigarettes and associated products.
“Someone who’s been a smoker might start out with the tobacco flavor and eventually make their way to [other] flavors. The flavors are great; you can really taste it. I know some people who will even pass on dessert and use the apple pie flavor, instead.”
Larger models are ideal for heavy smokers, and have more style, too.
The World Health Organization said that, as of July 2013, “no rigorous studies had been conducted to determine if electronic cigarettes are effective to help people stop smoking,” although different nicotine levels exist, on the market.
“We have flavors that have 0 percent nicotine,” Dangler said. “Someone who’s used to smoking Marlboro Reds might start at the highest level and eventually, could work their way down. They’re still conducting research to see if they could be used [for smoking cessation].”
Dangler said that he spoke with Dave Batterson, who owns the storefront where Country Vapes is located, and that he and Batterson agreed that a store of that kind could do well, in this area.
“A lot of people smoke, in this area, and [electronic cigarettes] are really catching on,” Dangler explained. “People come through here, for a lot of reasons. I think it has potential to draw people into the area. And this could mean they come through more often. I’ve always thought Springville was a good town.”
Dangler said that, compared to regular cigarettes, the electronic version are less expensive, despite a higher start-up cost.
“The 650 battery should last people through the day [on a charge] and can last several hundred charges, which should be about a year,” he said. “The coils would have to be changed every two to four weeks, but that’s not a big deal; it’s inexpensive.
“If you have people who usually smoke a pack a day, it doesn’t take long before you make up the out-of-pocket,” he continued. “If you’re smoking top-shelf, like Marlboros, even if you’re going to the Indian reservation and getting them at a discount, you’ll eventually come out ahead.”
The cost differential allows people to try new flavors, if they are looking to switch up their smoking habits, according to Dangler.
Country Vapes will be open 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. during the week and 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. on the weekends, to start. The owner said he expected to be open by the last week of August.
“If the demand is there, people are coming in and they want extra hours, we’ll take that into consideration,” Dangler said. “We’re still working out the nuts and bolts.”