The Valley Sees A Rising Number Of Electronic Cigarette Stores

September 27, 2013

An online search for electronic cigarette stores shows nearly 20 in the Phoenix area.

basha Two of the many models of electronic cigarettes Vape Escapes sell. (Photo by Alexandra Olgin-KJZZ)

Electronic cigarette businesses have been popping up all over the Valley. One of these stores, Vape Escapes, is in the shopping center on the corner of Tatum Boulevard and Cactus Road, and there are two more shops within a few miles. Vape Escapes has only been open three months, and employee Joel Vinson said the other two stores are even newer.

“They opened probably in the last month and a half, and both of them had their grand opening the same day," Vinson said.

Even with the recent rise in electronic cigarette stores in the Valley, Vinson said he does not think there is an oversaturation in the market, because as long as there are smokers there will be customers.

store Inside of store with employee Joel Vinson in front of surfboard and Owner Ron LaFaye. (Photo by Alexandra Olgin-KJZZ)

Vaping is the term used for an e-cig smokers. He said the vaping community has been working together to keep the reputbale dealers in business. 

“When this community started I would compare it to a small little lake, and the bad vendors who were out there would be like the little sharks in the lake, but you knew who they were and you knew who to avoid," Vinson said. 

Vinson said the vaping community is small, and if he cannot help a customer he sends them to another reputable store. He warns customers of the dangers of buying any component of an electronic cigarette from a non reputable dealer or online, because you could be getting ripped off. 

E-cigarette user Scott Atkins said he uses the device as a tool to help him quit smoking for good. Atkins quit before with a nicotine patch and said the e-cigs are similar, but they help with the oral fixation.

“You have to be willing to quit, and it is not really a substitute for smoking it’s a tool to quit," Atkins said. 

flavors 50 flavored liquid options the store carries. (Photo by Alexandra Olgin-KJZZ)

Atkins said the cost decreases as he decreases his levels of nicotine.

“And it's gotten cheaper for me in the last couple of weeks, because I’m not drawing on it like I was in the beginning to make up for smoking. Now I’ve kinda gotten figured out its just an aid, and so if I’m really craving I use it," Atkins said. 

The device is easy to assemble and screws together. Vinson disassembled it to show me the various parts. The cigarette consists of a battery unit, heating unit, tank for the flavored liquid and mouthpiece. All the parts are replacable, but the longevity depends on how often a customer smokes.

can Ron LaFaye demonstrates how an electronic cigarette is concealed inside a Rockstar can. (Photo by Alexandra Olgin-KJZZ)

Vinson said e-cigarettes offer vapers new options and variety that tobacco smokers never had.

"If you have been smoking a pack of Newports a day for 20 years, suddenly you're doing orange and banana cream pie and chocolate mint," Vinson said.

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