‘Vaping’ – New Jersey Shops Cash In On Smokeless Alternative
Smurf's Blood, Unicorn Milk and The Beez Kneez are just a small sample of the flavors that have been attracting users of all ages to the world of e-cigarettes.
"Vaping," for some, is just a hobby, fueled by the look and the taste. For others, it's considered a safe alternative to smoking. Tobacco is not found in e-cigarettes, eliminating the threat of countless chemicals, but nicotine can still be included, depending on the user's preference.
The trend has gained popularity from the West to East Coast. These days, it's hard to find a major highway in New Jersey without a shop devoted solely to e-cigarettes and their wildly-named flavor options.
At Gorilla Vapes of Ocean, which opened four months ago on Route 35 North, operating owner Andrea DiPaolo said the shop has been building a solid client base.
"I get young college students that come in, and I get seniors that take taxis to come and buy their juice," DiPaolo said.
Smurf's Blood is the No. 1 seller companywide, but Gorilla Vapes has more than 100 juice flavors to offer. The chain also has the ability to create special blends depending on a customer's taste.
Marisol Gomez of Long Branch smoked her last true cigarette on Dec. 31 and has since been vaping in order to avoid falling back on the real thing.
"I'm not out of breath. I'm not coughing," she said. "It's a big difference from a cigarette."
The switch has saved a lot of money as well, she said, from $9 a day to $80 total over the past few months.
According to Dominic Noviello with Puff Smoke Shop on Joline Avenue in Long Branch, vaping products are not promoted as options for smoking cessation. After all, nicotine is still lethal at certain doses. However, he said, zero nicotine is a perfectly acceptable option for shoppers.
"It's almost like wine tasting as far as all the flavors go," he said. "It's created a whole new culture, almost an art."
The American Heart Association has said it fears the influence electronic cigarettes may have on young people who could eventually turn to real cigarettes or smokeless tobacco.
The use of electronic smoking devices is included in New Jersey's indoor smoking ban. New Jersey is one of four states that prohibit sales to anyone under 19 years of age.