More than 4,000,000 Americans are now part of the vaping craze.
Vapor stores are opening at a record pace, including right here in Rutherford County.
The newest store, TN Vapors, recently opened on 17 Public Square by owners Rick Lykins and Kathy Lykins.
Business hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday and noon-4 p.m. on Sunday.
“I wanted to quit smoking,” Rick Lykins said. “I haven’t done that yet, but I’m working on it. A friend of mine in Tullahoma has a store, and I saw how well she was doing and thought it sounded like a good business to me.”
Prices at TN Vapors range from $39 to $200. Rick Lykins said there is one advantage to his product that many other stores don’t offer.
“There have been several newscasts lately about the dangers of E-cigarettes with juices being made with everything from formaldehyde to diethylene glycol, which can be found in radiator fluid and are very toxic," Rick Lykins said. "The main advantage to our store is we mix all of our own juices. If a store doesn’t mix it right in front of you when you order it, they’re likely buying it out of China. There are a few E-cigarette stores that mix there own juice in-house and use USDA approved ingredients, and we're one of those stores.
"The ingredients list of our E-juice is: (1) food grade, kosher, USDA approved Propylene Glycol; (2) food grade, kosher, vegetable Glycerin; (3) nicotine; (4) food grade flavoring. There are over 4,000 chemicals in tobacco, so E-cigarettes are a better choice for smokers trying to kick the habit. Our juice can also be made with zero nicotine, and every batch is sent to a lab to be tested for nicotine strength. We add the flavoring and mix the customer's order right in front of them when they order it."
Rick Lykins said his store offers numerous types of juices that are USDA approved.
"We also have a flavor table with over 100 different flavors to choose from, so you can try the flavors before you buy, or we can custom mix your juice to suit your particular taste," he said. "But the main point is if your store doesn't mix your juice in front of you when you place your order, you can't be sure of what you are getting."
Customers at TN Vapors must be 18 years of age to purchase the electronic cigarettes.
“You must be 18 to buy any of the products,” Rick Lykins said. “A lot of of kids go online, and the business has gotten bad rap because they’re selling to kids. They’re kids in middle school buying these things. We won’t sell anything to anyone who isn’t at least 18.”
Electronic cigarettes were actually invented in the 1960s, according to ABC News, but the vaping craze didn’t take off until about 10 years ago.