Sussex natives open county’s first brick and mortar vape store

| 12 May 2014 | 01:20

Gene Crane had been in the grip of Big Tobacco since he was 11 years old.

“He smoked the entire time I’ve known him,” says his wife, Jessica. “I saw him wake up every morning coughing.”

After several failed attempts at quitting through both prescription and non-prescription means through the years, Crane says switching to e-cigarettes in 2009 “was a lifesaver.”

By opening Vapor City Plus in his native Sussex, Crane says he is helping others improve their quality of life in the same way.

“I have hundreds of customers that have quit smoking,” Crane says. “They come in here every day and thank me for saving their lives.”

What is vaping?
The inhalation of vapors released by electronic cigarettes, known as vaping, is becoming increasingly popular. An e-cigarette contains a heating element, called an atomizer, which vaporizes a liquid solution and creates a vapor resembling tobacco smoke.

Though not all solutions are created equally, Crane warns.

“Our solution is made from propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, manually extracted nicotine and USDA-approved food-grade flavoring,” he says. “Those are the only components we put in our juice.”

Unlike other places which offer e-liquid, which often have a “back-room mixing” policy, every order at Vapor City Plus is mixed in front of the customer. The difference, Crane says, can be night and day.

“China will make a knock-off of anything,” he says. “People will use it to increase their profit margin.”

Crane says customers should expect only genuine, high-quality products at his store.

Is it safe?
Those who claim vaping is harmful are using “junk science,” Crane says.

There are more than 4,800 chemicals in every cigarette, he adds, nearly 40 of which are known carcinogens. Vapor City Plus makes their e-cigarette solution in front of customers out of only four ingredients — three of which can be found in a popular toddler toothpaste on the market. The fourth is nicotine, which isn’t a mandatory ingredient in any of Vapor City Plus’ e-solutions.

Even with the final ingredient, Crane adds, vaping is still a much healthier alternative.

“Nicotine is about as harmful as caffeine when it’s used like this,” Crane says.

Crane says the negative press about e-cigarettes stems from Big Tobacco and Big Pharma themselves, who are losing millions of dollars as people are no longer buying cigarettes and prescription medications to help quit as frequently as in years past.

In addition to Crane’s health benefits — for the first time in his life he says he is able to climb a flight of stairs without getting winded — the couple has saved a tremendous amount of money by switching to e-cigarettes.

“We save almost $900 a month between the two of us,” Jessica says.

Many customers come to the store to reduce the cost of their habit by supplementing with e-cigarettes, but then end up swapping out smoking for vaping entirely.

Patrons of the store must be 19 or older, and customers are welcome to come in for a sample, Crane says. By asking some basic questions about their smoking habits, the pair will be able to create a solution that is customized for them.