The Norman Transcript

September 21, 2013

Vaping comes to Noble

By Jocelyn Pedersen
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — A new business in Noble is helping people who want to quit smoking.

Vapor Stop owner John West said “this isn’t smoking,” explaining that “what is let out isn’t smoke, and it isn’t harmful to others.”

Electronic cigarettes don’t contain tobacco or produce smoke. It’s a different system, where a liquid called juice is inhaled and expelled in the form of vapor, thus the name vaping.

So why do people vape? According to West, some do it for dietary reasons — they want a piece of cheesecake, but they don’t want the calories, so vaping juice with no nicotine in it that tastes like cheesecake does the trick.

“I wouldn’t have believed it (vaping dessert) until I opened a shop and saw how many people actually do it,” West said.

The other reason people vape is because the nicotine in the juice can be controlled, so someone who wants to quit smoking can, over time, reduce the amount of nicotine until they eventually take in zero milligrams in the vaping juice, thus helping to break the smoking habit.

But it isn’t that easy. Smoking addiction comes in two parts. One part is the addiction to the nicotine, and the other part is the actual hand-to-mouth activity. West maintains, and a Google search of Nicorette confirms, that stopping just one of the two habits won’t do the trick. When the dependency on nicotine is gone, the person can then focus on breaking the psychological and behavioral habit of smoking.

“The addictive part of smoking for me is the hand-to-mouth habit. Instead of eating food, I’m vaping to wean myself off of cigarettes,” vaper Shelby Simpson, said.

Simpson’s experience is common. West said most everyone who comes into his shop said they want to stop smoking and West is here to help. He said three of his family members have completely stopped smoking by vaping and decreasing their nicotine levels down to zero over time.

Hazel Cossey said her husband, Darrell, has smoked since he was 14 years old. Just before the May tornado, their grandson asked Darrell Cossey when he was going to quit smoking.

“Due to health, he swore all the hype about smoking was baloney,” Hazel said of her husband. But now that Darrell Cossey has been vaping for a few months, he’s reduced his nicotine intake and his health is improving.

Hazel Cossey said her husband is breathing better and the doctors are happy with his progress, not to mention her grandson who she said is “ecstatic.”

“Once they’re down to zero, they only have to give up the behavior,” West said. “As they start doing this (reducing nicotine intake), they start feeling good about what they’re doing and soon they ask to be dropped down themselves.”

West said 50-60 percent of his customers don’t take nicotine in their juice and his clients range in age from 18 to 80.

West admits he got into the vaping business to make money, but that’s not the only reason.

“If you can help people stop smoking and help the community, it’s an absolute win-win for me,” West said. “I abhor smoking. I hate seeing cigarette butts on the ground. If I can be a small part of helping people quit while I’m making a little money, I’m going to do it,” he said, adding that he has plans to offer a smoking cessation group at Vapor Stop.

Vaping requires three components: a battery, a tank to hold juice and an atomizer or cartomizer to atomize the juice, which is usually a mixture of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin — ingredients found in many foods. The oils used in vaping are pharmaceutical grade oils.

West explains that different vapor shops use different mixtures of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin in their juice. Some are 70/30 mixtures while others are 40/60. West uses a 50/50 mix to which he adds flavoring the same ones, he maintains, used for flavoring candy. Flavors range from spearmint to chocolate to Red Bull. West said his most popular flavors are Premium Tobacco and Jolly Rancher.

A starter vaping kit runs about $24.99 and comes with a free bottle of juice. There are many different styles and prices of vaping kits — some can even track the number of puffs taken in a day to help in smoking cessation.

West is having a drawing Oct. 31 for an I-taste vaping kit, which retails for $72.99

For more information, visit the shop at 626 N. Main St. or call 872-8688.