It's Not a Smoke Shop, It Is Vapor...Literally
A new electronic cigarette store is set to open next week in Menomonee Falls. It's one of the few brick-and-mortar business around the country focused solely on the e-cigarette product.
Nowadays, our books our electronic, CDs are going the way of digital files, and perhaps cigarettes may also soon surrender to the grips of charged particles.
At least in Menomonee Falls, people will have a chance to give it a try.
Next week, Anne Hooper and her son, Jeff Jacobs, plan to open the first electronic cigarette store in the village next to Griddlers at N88W16747 Appleton Ave. In fact, it’s one of the few brick-and-mortar stores dedicated to selling only e-cigarettes around the country. Hooper estimated there are some 100 around the United States.
E-cigarettes are a relatively new device in United States, and use by citizens in this country started in 2007 after a Chinese manufacturer received an international patent for the device and started exporting them. Rather than burning tobacco leaf, e-cigarettes heat a small amount of flavored nicotine juice that is vaporized and then inhaled, which contains far less carcinogens than smoke.
So, it is vapor that gets users a dose of nicotine rather than smoke. It Is Vapor is also the name of Hooper’s business. It’s a play on the Abbot and Costello’s skit “Who’s on First” from 1945.
“I always need to actually spell out the business name when I’m on the phone, because when people ask the name I say ‘It Is Vapor,’ but it literally is It Is Vapor,” Hooper said.
Business started in California
Hooper’s ex-husband started an It Is Vapor franchise in Redwood, CA, a few years ago. With his help, Hooper and Jacobs expanded and opened a store in Oshkosh about eight months ago, which has turned into a big success. They then decided to expand to Falls and the Milwaukee area.
Customers can purchase nicotine juice in more than 60 flavors, and with different concentration levels of nicotine. Hooper said they have a brief consultation meeting with new e-cigarette users to get them acquainted with the product and their proper level of nicotine. Flavors are all over the board including pineapple, Red Bull, chocolate mint and Jack Daniels. There’s also a cigarette flavored nicotine juice.
Popular with older smokers
Although e-cigarettes are another device in a growing electronic world that seems to favor a younger generation, it’s middle-aged customers who enjoy the product the most. Hooper said many of their customers are folks who have tried everything to quit smoking, and e-cigarettes were the only thing that worked.
“I’ve smoked for 40 years and thought there would never be anything that would work to help me quit, but these have,” Hooper said.
In fact, Hooper said the staff at It Is Vapor are focused on helping people quit a difficult habit to kick, and gradually reduce their levels of nicotine intake.
“At our store in Oshkosh, we have a ‘Wall of Fame’ of people who have kicked their smoking habit by switching to e-cigarettes and reducing their levels nicotine,” Hooper said.
Jacobs said a heart specialist in Oshkosh has the store listed on the wall in his practice, and refers patients there to help them start the process of quitting and improving their health.
Of course, there are other customers who never plan to quit and just want a healthier way to get nicotine — especially in a time when smoking is prohibited at indoor businesses. Unlike a traditional cigarette, e-cigarettes are not banned indoors.
“We started in California, where smoking laws are a lot more strict,” Jacobs said. “E-cigarettes have caught on pretty quickly out here in Wisconsin as well.”
Costs less than cigarettes
In addition to a healthier “smoke,” e-cigarettes are also cheaper in the long run than traditional smokes. A starter kit is about $60, but a refill of nicotine juice is equivalent to paying $6 for 10 packs of cigarettes.
“Using e-cigarettes also ends up turning into a hobby for many people as well,” Jacobs said.
When It Is Vapor opens the week of July 16, it will stay open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. The store will also feature a lounge area, a free wireless internet and coffee.
“We want to have longer hours because this is people’s nicotine, and we want to make things convenient,” Hooper said. “People also like to stick around for a while, so we’ll encourage people enjoy some time here.”