Upper Cape's First Vaping Boutique Coming To Mashpee
By: GEOFF SPILLANE, July 11, 2014
The nationwide trend of “vaping,” or tobacco-free smoking with flavor-infused electronic cigarettes containing user customized levels of nicotine, is coming to Mashpee.
TheVAPEway, a Plymouth-based vendor of electronic cigarettes, accessories, and “e-liquids” is planning to open a store on Route 151, adjacent to Dino’s Sports Bar, by August 1.
There are at least two other vaping boutiques on Cape Cod, both in Hyannis.
Valery Girouard, who owns the business with her son-in-law Chad Perry, was at the site of the future Mashpee boutique earlier this week.
Ms. Girouard said that plans call for the feel of the Mashpee location to be upscale, similar to the Plymouth shop, and that it will cater to a clientele of primarily those over 30 years of age.
“Everyone who enters the store has to prove that they are 18 or over before they are allowed to touch or purchase any merchandise,” Ms. Girouard said, noting that several of her customers in Plymouth are 80 years of age or older.
She also said that staff members spend at least 25 minutes per customer to ensure that they are making the best selection to meet their needs.
“Most of them want to kick the tobacco habit, but some do it for fun,” she said.
Since vaping is generally perceived to be safer than smoking tobacco products, Ms. Girouard said that there is a pulmonary specialist who often visits the Plymouth location to pick up business cards to give to patients—even those with emphysema—who smoke.
To start vaping, users need to purchase a kit, which includes a battery, tank, and charger. They are available starting at $28. They then purchase an e-liquid or “e-juice” containing their desired level of nicotine intake from 0 to 24mg, which can be placed in the vaporizing tank with a dropper. An e-liquid that contains 24mg of nicotine would be an appropriate starting level for a person who would typically smoke one pack of regular, not light, cigarettes per day.
The liquids are available in flavors that include strawberry, cherry, mint, vanilla, and cappuccino. According to its website, new flavors at theVAPEway this week include “Monkey Punch,” or pomegranate and raspberry, and “Cold Soul,” which comprises citrus and mango menthol. There is even a kettle corn flavor. Some vaping enthusiasts collect flavors, Ms. Girouard said.
The e-liquids include four ingredients: nicotine, flavoring, vegetable glycerin, and propylene glycol. They can cost as little as $9.99 per bottle, which would represent the equivalent of five to six packs of cigarettes.
Cigarettes are currently selling for more than $10 per pack in Massachusetts.
Ms. Girouard openly admits that there are concerns that these products may get into the hands of minors, and that there are naysayers who question the safety of the vaping concept.
“The law could really help by letting experts like us sell the products, as opposed to making them available for purchase to anyone on the Internet. As for the flavors, you can go into any liquor store and find flavored alcohol products,” she said.
Dr. David S. Tager, medical director of the Community Health Center of Cape Cod in Mashpee, remains skeptical that e-cigarettes are an effective way to get people to stop smoking.
“Nothing has been proven or vetted about these claims. The FDA is not regulating these products, as they have with nicotine patches and the prescription drug Chantix,” he said, adding that vaping products may indeed be better than smoking but the data to support that claim does not yet exist.
He also expressed concern that using vaping products may provide a gateway to get people hooked on nicotine.
One thing that will be vastly different in Mashpee than Plymouth, though, is that customers will not be able to vape any nicotine inside the store, but they will be able to “test vape” flavors that do not include any nicotine. They will also not be allowed to vape in public places or businesses where smoking is prohibited.
Ms. Girouard said that in Plymouth and other communities across the state, vaping products containing nicotine can be used anywhere, including restaurants and bars.
“In Mashpee, we required them to obtain a tobacco license, which would mean the vaping products will be subject to all of the restrictions governing tobacco products,” Mashpee Health Agent Glen E. Harrington said.