June 22, 2024

Is ‘Vaping’ the new Starbucks?


Vaping • eCigarettes

Rocky & BullwinkleThere was a time in our society when certain things just seemed to go hand-in-hand without question — love & marriage, Rocky & Bullwinkle, bacon & eggs, even ‘coffee & cigarettes’. Then, somewhere in the 80’s, society started to ‘evolve’ (another epithet I’ve come to despise) and an Age of Enlightenment was dawning. Not all of the aforementioned pairings were considered necessary and/or deemed ‘healthy lifestyle choices’. Come to think of it, Rocky & Bullwinkle seem to be the only thing that survived the revolution!

Love & marriage became optional, bacon & eggs were the new taboo, coffee went up and down the scale, and ‘Smokers’ were labeled the worst of all – a Pariah. If you have a 10 page rap sheet, you probably stand a better chance of securing employment than the model citizen who just happens to be a smoker. Stick a needle loaded with heroin in your arm and you garner sympathy from the liberal masses because you have a ‘disease’ – yes addiction has now become a disease. That always tickles me. But, pull a cigarette out in public and it sends people running, mothers covering children’s eyes, and others pulling out crucifixes! Ok, yes that’s an exaggeration, but you get the point.

Enter stage right – the electronic cigarette! Being a smoker for a good many years, I decided it was time to confront my demons or at least check out the alternatives, since the price of cigarettes has gone beyond ridiculous. For all you non-smokers, you won’t understand my next statement, but many smokers will – I truly enjoyed smoking, nothing like it after a good meal, during stressful times, when just kicking back and relaxing with a cocktail, after certain activities (that shall go nameless) – it’s da bomb!

So I started researching on the Net, on YouTube, wherever I could find information, and I quickly learned that the e-cig has created a trend called ‘Vaping’. Simply labeled because the ‘plume’ it produces is vapor, not burning tobacco smoke. Vapor dissipates unlike tobacco smoke that hangs in the air. Also vapor doesn’t produce the ‘stink’ that tobacco smoke does. Vaping utilizes a Propylene Glycol or Vegetable Glycerin based liquid, mixed with small amounts of nicotine and food grade flavoring that get vaporized in a small battery powered atomizer, simulating the experience of smoking. You can choose the nicotine level that satisfies you, or even go nicotine free. The smoke juice, as they call it, comes in a wide variety of flavors ranging from basic vanilla, blueberry, chocolate, all sorts of fruity concoctions, and yes even tobacco flavor, if you just can’t seem to break the mold.

The spirit moved me and the challenge was on. Being a newbie, I purchased a basic Starter Kit on-line, since I wasn’t able to locate a local vendor and I was anxious to test the theory. I received the kit on March 21st, 2014 and I’m delighted to say I haven’t had a real cigarette since and don’t even miss it!
liberty vaporI have since found a local vendor, Liberty Vapor in Phoenixville (and now in West Chester), who set me up with a very nice starter kit, which is a clear step-up from the one I purchased on-line. I also bought two bottles of smoke juice, one of which is called Strawberry Banana milkshake, and it is scrumptious. The store was neat, clean and inviting, the staff was engaging and knowledgeable, and they invite you to test the product and the juices. Yes there is an initial investment ranging from $50-$60, depending on what you want, but compared to the price of regular cigarettes and all the hazards, to me it was well worth it. But that’s an individual decision. Even in that short time frame, I am feeling better, my sense of taste is returning, and I’m sleeping better at night – Who knew?!

Now you may be wondering why I invoked Starbucks’ name and what that has to do with the gist of this article…

Well, never having been a coffee drinker, I could never comprehend the allure of Starbucks, especially the prices. But I could sort of understand how those of like mind enjoyed congregating for their fancy cup of ‘joe’ (aka Macchiato, Lattes & Cappuccinos). Similar to the cigar shops that have sprouted here and there, where mainly the boys can go chomp on their favorite stogie, without the high-pitched scream of their spouse or significant other relegating them to the garage.

Starbucks did for coffee what Johnny Carson did for late night television – both took things to a whole new level – a kind of nirvana. Perhaps ‘Vaping’ will do the same for smokers – no more ashtrays, no more stink, no more Pariah! As it stands right now or so I’ve been told, you can actually vape in places where smoking has been banned. But I would check with the establishment beforehand, just as a courtesy. There’s currently no law on the books regarding Vaping, so step up and ask your favorite bar, restaurant, movie theatre, etc.

I’m hoping more Vape shops find their way to the Main Line and give the smoker an alternative, and more possibly a way to quit smoking. I’m also hoping the government keeps their proverbial nose out of the Vaping business – but what do you think the chances are of that?vape on

Personally, I feel I’ve slayed the dragon …or at least threw a wet blanket on him…and intend to Vape On!