Connie Hawley used to smoke a couple of packs of cigarettes a day. Now she doesn’t smoke, she “vapes.”
Six months ago, Hawley quit smoking and began using electronic cigarettes which produce vapors, not smoke, when drawn on and exhaled.
She and her husband Chuck Hawley, who also switched to e-cigarettes, came to like the product so much, they recently opened Rolling Rock Vapor Store, at 903 Honey Creek Road off Highway 20 behind the Rite Aid.
“It just kind of overwhelmed us,” said Hawley of the e-cigarette. “I went from smoking two packs a day to nothing.”
The store carries electronic cigarettes and about 90 flavors of liquid, which is poured into the cigarette and heated to produce the vapor. Some of the more popular flavors include berry blast, dark chocolate, cappuccino, caramel coconut, and banana blitz, as well as traditional tobacco flavors, including cherry.
The liquid contains nicotine and flavoring, but near as many, or as harmful, chemicals found in cigarettes, said Hawley.
“It’s a healthier alternative to smoking,” said Hawley. “Everything that’s in this bottle you can buy in the grocery store and make yourself.”
The e-cigarette looks like a regular cigarettes but is really an electronic device with a charged battery. When a person takes a drag through the cigarette a small computer chip senses the air flowing and sends a signal to the indicator light and atomizer, which is surrounded by liquid.
The atomizer turns the e-liquid into vapor, which dissipates instantly and leaves no scent behind.
The nicotine vapor looks, tastes and feels like a cigarette but it’s more similar to steam inhaled in the shower than smoking a cigarette, explained Hawley.
The liquid contains between 0 and 24 milligrams of nicotine, said Hawley, so that users may choose the strength of their e-cigarette. Those used to smoking full flavor cigarettes might choose a 24 whereas those used to ultralights could be satisfied with between a 6 and a 12.
Hawley said she and her husband, married for 20 years and residents of Rockdale County, have grandchildren and a younger son, and the second hand smoke from regular cigarettes concerned them. E-cigarettes don’t give off smoke, only vapors.
Another benefit is that with the e-cigarettes, their clothes, house and cars don’t smell like smoke, said Hawley.
E-cigarettes are also cost-saving, said Hawley, who said that a pack of cigarettes can cost $4 and a carton $35 to $40. An e-cigarette kit can cost as little as $24 and the liquid for a week $8.
Hawley said that e-cigarettes are designed for those who are already smokers, and that the business doesn’t sell to anyone age 18 or younger. The stores gives customers the opportunity to try the product before buying it.
“We’ve had a very good turn out. It’s been better than we expected,” said Hawley of interest in the product.
Rolling Rock Vapor Store is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The store can be reached at 770-335-5951.