By Susan Oser
Photos by Michelle Valentino
Name: Craig Scoppa
Screen Name: Scope666
Company: Scope Juice
Shows: Co-Host on Squirreling Out and Mod Envy
Craig Scoppa, known as Scope666, is not just the owner of Scope Juice, which features popular flavors such as Apricot Dreams and Popping Cherry. He’s also an online host for the VULive (Vaping Underground Live) network on http://vapers.tv, a father, a husband, a systems engineer and a drummer.
SUSAN: How did your juice line get started?
CRAIG: Two people actually pushed me into it. There was a guy named Wayne, who goes by the screen name of Vape- Medic, and also Robyn from the Vaping Militia. I met both of them at a meet here in Jersey about a year and a half ago. It was there that I also met people like Vapor Joe (Joe Petner), Smokie, TowerofVape (Rich Gavina) and a few others. At the time, I was still DIYing, and I let Wayne and Joe try my cola juice. They both liked it a lot. However, the one who pushed me really hard was Robyn. After she tried my juice, she told me that it would be a sin for others not to try it.
SUSAN: What has been the best thing about creating Scope Juice?
CRAIG: I love the positive feedback and the direct connection with people that I interact with on my shows (Mod Envy and Squirreling
Out). It is also from that interaction that I get feedback on the flavors, ideas for new flavors, enhancements, etc.
SUSAN: How did you get involved with hosting?
CRAIG: I first got into this vaping thing as a viewer and hung out in Nova where I would watch a lot of shows. I would watch Mod Envy all the time. Around the time I was getting into DIY, Mandycat of Timeless Vapor was doing a DIY show on the NOVA network where she asked chatters to come on as guests. After I was a guest on her show, it led to the idea of hosting.
SUSAN: How did you get hooked up to do Squirreling Out?
CRAIG: Originally, it was a show that I did myself. As I said before, after being a host on Mandycat’s show (on NOVA) and having other people push me to do it, I just decided to take the plunge. William from Maddcatt Vapors (who is my cohost now) was one of my first guests. Five or six months later, I saw ImahFokker in a hangout, sent him an IM and then started talking to him. Then it just kind of evolved and we had William as a guest again. Originally, the show was called Scope it Out when I moved to VULive [on vapers.tv]. During one of the shows, Vapor Joe said, “You guys are always squirreling out.” So the name fit, because while doing a giveaway, we would start talking about something related to it and then just lose track of time and forget about the giveaway until someone reminds us we have to do one.
SUSAN: What about Mod Envy?
CRAIG: This was a weird one but also a surprise because I was just a viewer for a year and a half. When I first started vaping, I would watch the show on my laptop while my wife watched on her laptop. The first prize that I won on the show was a subscription to VAPE Magazine. Then one day, while the show was having tech issues, they contacted me and asked if I could help broadcast the show. This happened a few times and I was a guest quite a lot. At the time, I didn’t know Joe [Vapor Joe] well until we did a couple fill-in shows together and discovered that we had a lot in common. Thus, adding me to the show made sense because I had a good rapport with the gang. This also has given Nitro- Bex a chance to be more of a host as he’s not tied up with technical issues behind the scenes. It still hasn’t sunk in yet … Sometimes on a Saturday I catch myself thinking, “I can’t wait to watch Mod Envy tonight. Oh, wait …”
SUSAN: What has it been like hooking up with VULive or going to various meets to get exposure to your product?
CRAIG: I love interacting with others that are like me—into vaping on a level that is higher than most. It’s fun to discuss the latest gear, newest juices, etc. with likeminded people.
SUSAN: How did vaping change your life?
CRAIG: I feel like I am one of those that is lucky to have discovered vaping. It’s made my kids [7, 10 and 14] happy. Granted, my wife and I always went outside to smoke, but my kids would look outside the window at us while we did it. It certainly wasn’t setting a good example. As for health benefits, I love that I can take a FULL deep breath in the morning without my lungs hurting, and having your taste buds come back to full strength is an added plus.
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I got my wife into vaping around the same time I started. She had bought a cigalike and felt like it was pretty weak, but it planted a seed. Then, when I was on a business trip for work, I saw someone with a device and saw this rather large cloud of vapor it produced. I didn’t know that something like this existed at the time, and everything about his device fascinated me. He let me try it, and suddenly it occurred to me, “E cigs don’t suck, just the cigalike that we tried to quit with did.” That’s when I decided to order from Halo. The day the Halo package arrived was the last day I ever smoked. The wife had tried a drag or two after she started vaping, but was disgusted by the taste and definitely preferred vaping more.
That’s when I really got into it and read everything there was about vaping, including hanging out in shows. I’d watch videos from GrimmGreen and Phil Busardo, learned how to build coils, rebuild tanks and then got into DIY. Smoking is directly responsible for the deaths of my mother and both grandmothers. The one thing that really kicks me and that I will never forget was when I went to visit my mom toward the end and showed her a device that I was using. I let her try it and she loved it. She said that she could’ve done this instead of the smoking. Had devices like this existed sooner, I think it would have saved her. That’s what drives my passion for this community.
SUSAN: What has been the biggest surprise you’ve seen with the vaping community?
CRAIG: How incredibly giving some vapers can be. I’m amazed at how generous vapers can be, especially with donating personal mods and auctioning those things off for those in need. On the other side of that, the biggest disappointment and something that really pisses me off is how some people try to scam their way into getting free product, saying things such as, “I can’t afford to buy juice.” If you were a smoker, I’m sure you always found a way to buy a pack of smokes. There’s no excuse for that.
SUSAN: How do you feel about vaping activism?
CRAIG: It’s unfortunate that there are people out there that constantly threaten our right to vape. We are very lucky to have people like Greg Conley and groups like the Vaping Militia. Where I am in New Jersey (the first one to ban vaping in the entire country on Nov. 13, 2009) is the capital of Big Pharma, and they would rather have us buy the patch, Chantix etc. and not lose that revenue.
SUSAN: So how have you managed to survive as a vaper?
CRAIG: I’m very good at stealth vaping.
SUSAN: Why should people care about the vaping community?
CRAIG: It might help others quit. A lot of people don’t know what it is. The average person thinks an e -cig is something like a VUSE (cigalike). They have no idea that devices exist today that can deliver far more satisfaction. That’s why I try to educate people and try to vape where the smokers are in public places. I have even let smokers try my mod and answer questions, like the guy who first introduced me to “real” vaping. Just take the time to explain how it works and that there’s more to vaping than using a VUSE.
SUSAN: What do you see with the future of vaping?
CRAIG: Devices are going to get way better; those with temperature control will be able to use any kind of wire. I also envision a point where vapor can be produced without using a conventional wick and coil. It’s a big enough industry for companies to push the envelope. If I look at how far devices have come in the last two years, it blows my mind.
To catch Craig Scoppa on Mod Envy (Saturday nights from
10 p.m. midnight) and Squirreling Out (Tuesday nights from 10 p.m. midnight), visit http://vapers.tv/vulive or http://vapingundergroundlive.com. If you would like to check out his company Scope Juice, visit http://www.scopejuice.com.