Mastering the Vape Space

October 5, 2015



Vape Shop of The Month: From Roofer to Vapreneur

By Norm Bour
Photos courtesy of Route 1 Vapor

Chris Austin dreaded every New Hampshire winter. As a professional roofer for decades, he hated climbing up and down ladders during the horrible snow and frigid weather conditions every year. Austin turned 40 last December, and had worked in construction since the age of 15. He dropped out of high school, built boats, worked as a framer and spent long hours “hoping for a way out.” He found it in vaping. Austin opened Route 1 Vapor in Seabrook, N.H., in October 2014, and is now ready to open his second shop in Epping, N.H. How does this happen? How does a construction worker go from being a blue-collar tradesperson to becoming my latest Vape Shop of the Month?

Commitment to Service and Excellence Can Spell Success

The decision to open a vape shop was a family affair, with some financial help and advice from his father. Since Austin was good with his hands, he bought materials and installed them himself. A frugal shopper, he pinched pennies everywhere he could, but knew there were some areas where he would not scrimp: training, service and products.

“We were successful from the beginning,” he said. “There was little competition, and most New Hampshire vape shops are franchises or were too fixated on specific markets. We cater to everyone and give everyone the same service.”

“It’s not about making a sale; it’s about helping them reach their goal,” he added.

Austin does not fit the model of most vape shop owners, nor does he follow most common paths to success. Many successful vape shop Vapreneurs come from a business background, as owners or active participants. A blue-collar worker transitioning into vape success is noteworthy and

Austin started smoking at age 15 by hanging around an older crowd, and smoked for 20 more years. Transitioning to vaping was not easy. “Smoking is easy. The cigarette sits on your lips; it’s light and convenient. Vaping was awkward, and it took some effort to make that change.” It took a month, but when his taste for food came back and he started feeling better, he knew it was a good decision.

On top of that, he always wanted to be his own boss, and knew that this was his vehicle.

He started by doing research—a lot of research. One of his managers worked at a competitor’s shop and watched what they did right and wrong. Austin visited every shop within a 50-mile radius and found flaws everywhere.

“One of the things that bugged me the most was not being greeted at the door, even after buying from them several times. How easy is that?” he asked.

We asked what his competitors were doing wrong, and he replied, “They don’t take suggestions. When a customer comes in and asks for something, we order it! We take feedback very, very personally. Most don’t do that.”

How Vape Shops of the Month Become Significant

My initial Vape Shop of the Month financial benchmark is hitting $10,000 monthly revenue. Austin almost doubled that in his first 30 days, and has never looked back. By month three, the shop hit its next milestone: $30,000 monthly income.

Route 1 is approaching its first anniversary, and its revenue now is several times that amount. The company recently opened its second shop in Epping, N.H., about 25 minutes away, but not for the reasons you would expect. Austin’s motivation for the second shop was not financial, but to serve the customers who drove that far to buy from him. Shop #3 is planned for next year.

Vape shops hitting numbers like these have become rare in this hyper-competitive industry. A few years ago, hitting six-figure income months were common, but the vape space is evolving. New vape shops are better equipped, better trained, better staffed, and poised for the future. The amateurs are victims of their own failures, but even so, the survivors are reaching formerly lofty heights.

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I asked what made his shop so inviting, and he said, “It’s larger than most—almost 2,000 square feet— and is open and uncluttered. Everyone is greeted atthe door. And every flavor tank has a battery. Period. We never have to exchange batteries, and with an inventory of 146 flavors, that takes some effort.”

Route 1 does little advertising aside from the normal social media channels, but it does something unique: It gets involved with the community and supports charity events. The company sponsors a women’s softball team, along with two Jiu Jitsu fighters who go to tournaments. One is a 6-year old boy whose parents cannot afford to pay for their son’s hobby.

The company sponsors bike rides for cancer along with a local band that won a contest to go to the final round in Tennessee. Talk about supporting a range of projects!

The Christmas Toys for Tots campaign is personal for Austin, who said it goes further than Google advertising. “I get a good feeling every day,” he said, and this concept, called corporate social responsibility, is rarely seen in small businesses. “When people come in teary-eyed, thanking us for what we’ve done, it’s immensely satisfying. I never got that in my roofing business!”

Who is the “typical” customer? Like many other shops, it is not always the young 20-somethings, but instead it is the 40-plus crowd, including a higher percentage of older female customers, and those who have smoked for decades.

The company’s top-selling liquids vary, and with 35 different lines, can be unpredictable. Cold Fusion Juice, a local company from Franklin, Mass., has been a strong seller, and it follows a similar cause marketing focus. State regulators don’t worry about Route 1, as the company is doing this “by the book” as much as possible.

A local advocacy group has monthly meetings and retained an attorney to keep them involved.

The New Hampshire coastal community is seasonal, and many of his regulars leave town during summer. That void is filled by tourists.

We discussed weaknesses in his business model, and Austin acknowledged that they should create their own house brand of e-liquids. “We have considered our own line, but have not done that yet. And we will not do it ourselves!”

I asked what advice he would offer to pending shop owners. “Do your research! Not just within the industry, but also investigate the gaps in the shops around you,” he said.

He also said that customer tracking is elementary, and Route 1 uses a Clover POS system. “I admit it; I’m not the most business savvy person in the world, but we know how to treat people, which makes up for it.”

True enough, which is why I am proud to honor Route 1 as Vape Shop of the Month.

Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors, which offers online educational programs, services and resources for anyone in the vape space, including vape shops, online stores and e-liquid brands. He’s also host of Vape Radio, a podcast series that interviews the masters of vape and thought leaders in the vape space. Contact him at


Crowd Chasers

September 29, 2015




Using innovative and aggressive marketing,
Ruthless E -Juice hopes to double international sales in 2016.

By Maria Verven
Photo courtesy of Ruthless E-Juice

By developing a line of unique gourmet flavors favored by discriminating vapers, Ruthless E-Juice has become one of the most successful e -liquid brands in the United States.

Now, living up to their name, the men and women behind Ruthless are developing an aggressive, almost “ruthless” approach to the international market. While Ruthless is already selling about 40 percent of its products overseas, CEO Allen Querido said they are aiming to double international sales in 2016.

“We have a big international presence, but there’s still a ways to go,” Querido said, adding that Ruthless is distributed in Australia, China, France, Germany, Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and the U.K.

This spring and summer, Querido and his Ruthless colleagues exhibited in their first international vape shows, including Vape Jam UK in early May and Vape China Expo in July. They’ll attend at least six more international shows before the end of the year, including Vapexpo in Paris in September, meeting with distributors, store owners and vapers.

“We’re bringing our team to them so they can get to know what we’re all about. We want Ruthless to be available to all cultures of the world,” Querido said. “We want everywhere there’s vaping to know about and taste our products.”

From Chef to E-Liquid Connoisseur

Several years ago, when Allen Querido was in culinary school, he had no idea he would end up using his cooking talents to create new e-liquid recipes.

Querido and his buddy Ramon Barredo, Ruthless’ COO, were introduced to vaping during a trip to visit family in the Philippines in late 2011.

“I was just smoking socially, but Ramon was smoking more like a pack a day,” Querido said. “Ramon had struggled trying to quit smoking, so a cousin gave him his first vaporizer as a gift,” he said. When they got back to California, they set out to learn more about vaping and the e -liquids on the market.

“There was a lot of e- juice out there, but not a lot of creativity going on in the industry, and none that we really liked,” Querido said, explaining why he and Barredo decided to try making their own e -liquids in early 2012.

“They weren’t well made, were too simplistic and didn’t give you that fullness, that full punch of flavor, that ‘wow’ factor,” he said.

Suddenly Stuff Came Out Well

So the pair bought some flavorings and started mixing and creating recipes in Ramon’s kitchen. “Suddenly stuff came out pretty well,” Querido said.

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Their first break came when a friend and owner of the new vape shop Vapor Junkies offered to sell their e- juices. He selected five flavors: EZ Duz It, Grape Drank, C.r.e.a.m.sickle, Slurricane and Peach Fuzz, flavors that Ruthless continues to make to this day.
By the middle of 2012, they were selling so much that they had to move operations out of Ramon’s kitchen into a 500 square- foot warehouse in La Puentes, Calif.

“We saw huge potential,” Querido said. “We visited stores every single day, pushing our products as hard as we could. We got a lot of great reviews, social media followers and developed a lot of relationships in the industry,” he said, explaining the reasons behind their success.

By the middle of 2013, they had to relocate once again. Ruthless’ storage and shipping are now handled in a 10,000 square – foot space in San Dimas, Calif., while a second facility in Walnut, Calif. houses the mixing, manufacturing, bottling and labeling.
Proud of their ISO -certified Walnut facility, Querido often invites customers to visit. “We’re trying to get the same FDA certification that pharmaceutical companies have,” he said.

More than 1,000 stores carry Ruthless E- Juice and its staff now numbers to more than 40, mostly in production, shipping, packaging, marketing and sales. Querido said they’re planning to expand to a 25,000 square -foot facility by the end of the year so they can bring everything together under one roof.

A Smoother, Sweeter Vape

Querido is fussy when it comes to all of the ingredients that go into Ruthless E -Juice—especially the nicotine.

“We wanted to get the best available nicotine with certification, and choose a company that could move forward with us,” Querido said. “NicSelect offered all of that. The other nicotine we tried was harsher, with a sharper throat hit. The color was sometimes too brownish or the liquid was fishy smelling,” he said. “It just wasn’t appealing when mixed with our flavors.

“We tested NicSelect with all of our juices, and it came out with the best flavor,” he said. “We knew we wanted to use it for all our e -juices going forward.” Ruthless uses NicSelect’s VG blend, which offers what Querido describes as a “smoother, sweeter vape.”

He also appreciates the customer service he gets from Nicotine River, one of NicSelect’s exclusive distributors. “Just having someone always available was really big to us,” he said.

Querido said they use NicSelect for all of its flavors, including their most popular: EZ Duz It, EZ Duz It on Ice, Swamp Thang, Jungle Fever and Slurricane.

The Debut of La Dolce Vita and The Breakfast Club

In May, Ruthless released a new flavor it called La Dolce Vita – a unique combination of “vanilla pistachio Italian gelato.” Introduced at Vape Jam UK and featuring unique packaging, Ruthless only released 50,000 units of La Dolce Vita. As of press time, they’re close to selling out. “When people know a flavor is harder to get, they appreciate it even more,” Querido said.

But the Ruthless team didn’t stop there. They’re now launching four new breakfast flavors in a new line called The Breakfast Club.

“We tried a lot of breakfast flavors, but weren’t satisfied to the max,” Querido said. “So we took the four most popular breakfast cereals, and made sure every one of those flavors was exactly what it should taste like and put them together in one line.”

The Breakfast Club flavors Vape Flakes, Apple Snaxx, Crunchberry, and Froops were released in June, and are already taking off in popularity, Querido said.

“We sold close to 50,000 bottles in one month,” Querido said. He believes they’re popular because it offers everyone’s favorite cereal in one juice line. The international response has also been very positive. “I just got back from China a week ago, and it was a hit even there, even though they probably don’t recognize the names,” he said.

Several new flavors are still in the hopper at Ruthless. “We don’t like to release new flavors all the time; we like to give each flavor a ‘run’ and then market it correctly,” he said.

Every e- liquid flavor released by Ruthless passes through Querido’s finely tuned palate. “I still work in the lab and have to be the one creating recipes for new flavors.

“Vapers change constantly, so we do a lot of market research to see what flavors are popular at the moment,” he said. “But we don’t ever want to release anything that’s redundant. We develop something within the same context but that’s totally different.”

For more information, visit
The original Vaping Vamp, Maria Verven is partner and chief marketing mentor of





By Nick Green Photo by Metal Jeff

Should I stick to an Atlantis or buy a Kanger Mini?

- Vinny

Hey Vinny! If you like the Atlantis tanks, then chances are you will also like the Kanger tanks. They are very similar in design and airflow. The great thing about the Kanger Mini is that it does come with an RBA (rebuildable) head. So, you can build your own coils as opposed to buying new coils every time they burn out. The RBA head does take up more space inside the tank, so you will lose a bit of juice capacity, but it’s still very cool. When I’m using the Kanger Mini, I’m always using the RBA base. Saves some money on those coil purchases.

Hope that helps out!

- Grimm

I was curious about the Maganus DVC tank. Do you know the life expectancy of coils on average?

- Dizzy Murray

The Maganus is a great tank. The same goes for that tank that goes for a lot of other tanks. The coils should last a decent amount of time. In my experience I’ve got anywhere from two to three weeks on one coil. That isn’t always set in stone, however. Some coils seem to last longer than others. So, don’t give up if you get a coil that only lasts a few days. Just try another one and hope for the best. I also generally only change my coils when I notice a significant drop in flavor or performance.

- Grimm


Vaping from the Outside: What is this vaping activism thing anyway?

September 27, 2015



By Susan Oser

I once read that activism is the practice of vigorous action or involvement to achieve a political or other goal by the means of protests, demonstrations and the like. As vapers, you have probably heard something about vaping activism in regards to CASAA, the Vaping Militia, SFATA and perhaps via a local organization. Knowing this fact, the question is, do you truly know what vaping activism is all about? Generally, are there some of you who understand what the idea of activism is and what it takes?

I’ve had a few conversations about this topic with my own co-host Tami Chapman (aka bikergranny) on Vapenet, Joe Barnett from the Vaping Militia, and the one and only Malice Doll. These are three of the many people I happen to know who have vaping activism in their blood and who make it a part of their lives. They don’t care about reputation, the popularity, or winning some kind of award or accolades. They love to help people, want to make sure your rights are being allowed and they are not paid a dime to do so. Sadly these very people (like myself) are the one percent who are doing all the grunt work while the rest of us are looking to get the freebies from a vaping show or who tend to forget that if strict regulations do come down, that the community won’t have a chance to win free stuff every day from a different online show host. In fact, as an online unit, if we are not careful, we could lose the privilege of buying our favorite juice online.

This is why activism in general (no matter the issue) can be so exhausting. I know there are some people within the vaping community who sometimes wonder if it’s all worth it in the end when defeat after defeat happens. It becomes even more daunting when we get into something as serious as a pending indoor ban and only six to 13 people are in the room. Most of them fall asleep, some zone out and quite a few of them leave. Sometimes, it even feels like as an online host, when one talks about vaping activism, it’s as if that topic is in competition with the giveaway shows. This is something the needs to be changed in my opinion.

Face it, if you have a show that brings in the numbers and has the giveaways, it almost seems logical to bring up a topic and call people to action so at least the troops are rallied up a bit. If not, then it’s kind of a lost cause, and the opportunity has been missed for you as that host or even that channel to do the right thing and show your activism chops. Thus, I’d like to challenge all of the big-time vape people to express a call to action, talk about a topic on vaping rights, etc. at least once every week to at least get your audience to think about it.

Not only would you gain the respect for those in the community who work as hard as the people featured on the hit show Dirty Jobs, but you might just also find yourself wanting to get involved yourself.

If you look at when we do have a call to action that comes from CASAA, SFATA or the Vaping Militia and it comes locally at the last minute, the true activists show up. I know of at least one shop owner here in Michigan who has literally closed his business for the day just go to the Washtenaw county hearing on its indoor vaping ban. Sadly, he was one of only a handful to do so while the rest were thinking about the next dollar. And, he’s not only proud that he sacrificed a few dollars to do this but he will keep doing it just to keep his passion for vaping alive. Who doesn’t want to keep supporting that?

I know that are some people out there who want to let the “experts” handle the activism. However, if you think about it, we all do our part as vapers when it comes to activism in the smallest way that perhaps you never thought about. This includes spreading word about companies we support who test their juice, have clean labs, and who support CASAA and the Vaping Militia. As a juice maker, it means finding your nicotine and flavorings from a reputable and high-quality company. As a host, it means merely talking about the current laws and regulations and how it affects you as a constituent in your community. On social media, share the links that pass your way in support of vaping including articles, celebrities and politicians who actually care about our community.

So the question is: Do you think you’re a vaping activist now?

Remember these little words of wisdom: If you want something bad enough, you have to fight tooth and nail and work your ass off for it. If you want to live in a nice house and pay your bills, you have to work many hours in order to have that place to stay and have food on the table right? Stand up and fight! If you don’t, someone else will take those rights away from you and then you won’t be able to stand up anymore. If you don’t speak up, someone will find a way to keep you from keeping quiet about your rights as a vaper.

Susan E. Oser aka Angelwriterspeaks is a host on Monday nights on Vapenet ( ); (https:// ). For her day job she is an online tutor and part-time freelance writer. She is a passionate activist for rights of any kind. Find her at Contact her directly at .





People ask me all the time if VAPE is a business-to-business or business-to consumer. The answer is that it’s both. We try to focus on every genre of the industry that’s out there, but the exciting thing is that there are so many subcultures in our industry that editorial space in each issue is at a premium. I recently had a conversation at San Antonio’s Vape Blast with an industry professional, and we almost said in unison: “This industry has everything from your 80-year-old grandma who just quit smoking to the 20-year-old who just wants to cloud chase.” And, it’s true. We have vapers who are trying or who have been successful in quitting smoking, cloud chasers, hobbyists, advocacy vapers, vaping events planners, vaping “celebs,” those who vape simply because of the business they are in, and yes, we have those high school kids who are curious about what vaping is, just like the generation before who were curious about cigarettes. Gosh, what an interesting time it is to be a writer.

For October’s issue, we threw it back to the thousands of people who thankfully read VAPE, with our first-ever Readers’ Best Survey. In August, we sent out a questionnaire on social media and via email, plugging this write-in survey. You, the people, chose your favorites in a multitude of categories, such as Best VAPE Column, Best E-Liquid, Favorite Personality and Best Regional Shop. We’re proud and excited to announce the winners and send a hearty congratulations and thanks to everyone involved.

As we head into the fall season, I urge to you stay involved. Whether it is pitching me an awesome story that you’ve heard through the industry grapevine, attending an event or joining our many organizations that are fighting for your rights, being an avid vaper is a very important part of how we stand today.

Happy reading.

- Alyssa Stahr


CROWD CHASERS No Shell Games for Schell Hammel

September 2, 2015



Dedication to Excellence and Complete Transparency are Hallmarks of Hammel’s Success

By Maria Verven
Photos by Wendii Roberts

Schell Hammel believes her success isn’t just due to the fact that she was one of the first to open a vape shop. She’s certain her success is due to her unwavering dedication to being the best.

Hammel and her husband opened The Vapor Bar in McKinney, Texas, in January 2011. Only the second shop to open in the entire Dallas-Ft. Worth area, it was so successful they’ve since opened six more stores in and around Dallas- Ft. Worth, Houston and Huntington, West Virginia. This summer, they’re opening their eighth store in central Texas.

Hammel was also one of the first to develop her own line of e-liquids for her shops. Sold under the Forever and Forbidden brands, she has maintained a steadfast and rigorous adherence to the quality of their e-liquids, spending tens of thousands on equipment and testing.

A smoker for 22 years, Hammel watched three grandparents die of lung cancer. “From the day my grandfather got sick and was in the hospital, he begged me to stop smoking,” Hammel said. “I was still riding that elevator all the way down to the bottom to smoke until the day he died. When I tried my first e-cigarette in 2010, I immediately knew I had found the answer.”

“I Can Sleep Fine at Night”

“I didn’t open up The Vapor Bar just because it was a hobby; I opened up The Vapor Bar because I’m a vaper, too,” Hammel said. “With each person who walks through our doors, I hope we can change their lives forever. It will be one step closer to heaven for him,” she said.

“When you walk into one of our shops, we’re going to treat you like a family member, because that’s what you need to get you through this,” Hammel said. “Everyone behind that bar knows exactly what you’re going through, because every one of them has switched themselves.”

Both Hammel and her and husband Jeff had a background in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, and were experienced in complying with rigorous safety standards.

They believe this helped them focus on health and safety. From the outset, they implemented several precautions to ensure they were providing customers with the very best products and quality e-liquids.

“It’s very important to me what goes into your liquids. There’s no halfway. We are extremely transparent in everything we do. As a woman and a mom, I’m more focused on nurturing and protecting others,” she said. “I don’t ever take my job lightly. I can sleep fine at night knowing I’m doing the right thing by my customers.”

Dedicated to Being Diacetyl Free

Unlike most vape shops that either buy other e-liquid brands or make their own, all of the e-liquids sold by The Vapor Bar are created in their certified clean lab and are certified by the American E-Liquid Manufacturing Standards Association (AEMSA) for quality. They sterilize all lab equipment, use stainless steel mixing equipment and all workers wear masks and gloves.

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Hammel estimates they’ve spent tens of thousands on testing the raw flavoring and ingredients, as well as the final products. “If you could only imagine the financial strain this initially put us in,” she said. “On the flip side, we couldn’t afford not to [test] because it’s not just an ethical issue; it’s a liability issue.”

Hammel said 98 percent of The Vapor Bar’s e-liquids are completely free of diacetyl and acetyl propionyl, and the remaining 2 percent are “extremely low.” While these chemicals can give e-liquids a sweet and buttery flavor, they’ve been associated with a lung disease called popcorn lung.

Hammel said they don’t test just the final e-liquids, but every ingredient that comes in the door. “The most important thing is safety. We put it above everything else.

“It was shocking to find that some of the raw flavoring that was commercialized as diacetyl free tested positively for it,” she said. “You have to test everything, because you can find these chemicals in fruit flavors— flavors you didn’t know you could find them in.”

Hammel said that it was horribly difficult to formulate all of their flavors without diacetyl and acetyl propionyl. “When our first test results came back, we pulled quite a few flavors off the shelf. Fortunately, they weren’t our highest sellers.”

At the same time, they introduced 15 new flavors. “So, while we took a few flavors away, we turned it into a positive by adding new flavors.”

“I Stand My Ground”

For the time being, they’re going to stick with their current line of 120 flavors, while continuing to listen to customer feedback and make changes based on this feedback.

Hammel said their most popular flavors include Hell Frozen Over, a blend of mint and cinnamon, Shaded, a “bold” tobacco flavor, Hummingbird, a blend of watermelon and berry, and Beach Bum, a blend of watermelon and mango.

“Fruits are rapidly gaining ground mainly because of the popularity of drippers,” Hammel said. “A huge populace has already switched and reached that precipice where tobacco doesn’t taste good. Fruit flavors are gaining ground as more people who are becoming constant vapers are graduating to different flavors.”

Hammel said she gets a lot of sales calls from other e-liquid brands. “When they ask me if I will carry their line, I tell them I need your testing.

The conversation usually stops there. Until I get that testing, I can’t verify the content or the quality.

“That makes me unique in the marketplace,” she said. “I stand my ground, and there’s no way I’ll carry something in my shop that I can’t stand behind.”

“We Lecture to Our Loved Ones”

Hammel said as a woman, she’s not alone in concentrating on the safety aspect of vaping.

“Women tend to be more inquisitive than men. I believe women pay more attention to the standards and safety of a product, just as they’ll lecture to their loved ones about eating properly,” she said. “Transparency, education and standards appeal to us.”

While women enjoy flavor variety as much as men, she noticed they tend to go for different colored devices with more “bling.” “We try to have customizable things on hand so they can make it their own,” she said. “Hey, who doesn’t like to customize and specialize? It’s just like an accessory.”

Hammel said she believes women tend to understand “you get what you pay for” more than men. They will also buy kits and products for the men in their lives, due to mothering instincts.

“As women, we want to share the good news that we found something to help the smokers in our family. We’ll break the bank to try and save them. God love us, we can’t help it,” she said.

Until the FDA finalizes and enforces its guidelines, e-liquid labs are operating without any standard operating procedures. Hammel and her team at The Vapor Bar are clearly ahead of the game; they took it upon themselves to create their own high standards and safety procedures to protect their business and customers.

“I don’t know how to operate our business any other way,” Hammel said. “I believe your brand defines you. Our customers are loyal to us because we strive to be loyal to them.”

The original Vaping VampTM, Maria Verven is partner and chief marketing mentor of

Eurozoned Save our Wales

September 1, 2015



By David Cross

Britain woke up to the news that the ruling Labour party in Wales is set to ban vaping in all public places. Annoying to vapers living in the principality, troubling for those across the border in England, it’s the first time such draconian action has been taken and whipped up media interest, radio debate and shouting.

Shirley, an angry caller from a small-minded town somewhere in England, phoned into the BBC 5Live debate: “It smelt so bad, Nicky,” she said. “I felt like hitting him with my handbag.” She was talking about the moron who thought it was acceptable to vape in a doctor’s waiting room.

And this is our national conversation about vaping. On one hand we have the politicians and public health activists bent on an ideological mission against Big Tobacco (content in the knowledge that all nicotine is a bad thing and the public are so stupid they need protecting from themselves). Sitting next to them are the massed ranks of the stupid; it looks like smoking and their children are probably stupid enough to believe it is smoking.

“I was looking about for the person wearing the awful aftershave,” Shirley added. “And I saw him smoking his electric cigarette thing with a smug look on his face.” Shirley began to crescendo to the point of apoplexy now. “Children were looking at him, Nicky,” the woman was aghast. “Children were looking at him,” repeated as if to add meaning to when she exclaimed it the first time.

Of course, her words were meaningless; if we were banning offensive things (in case children looked at them and were possibly influenced) then I’d be campaigning for restrictions on The Kardashians, anything that’s Got Talent, everything in the pop charts and Piers Morgan.

“It’s a very divisive issue this,” announced Nicky as he introduced Professor John Britton. Britton is a Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies at the University of Nottingham—probably the U.K.’s foremost expert on all matter smoking and vaping.

Britton interjected a brief period of common sense and calmness to the proceedings … a very brief period. Maybe his car was parked on an expiring meter? Possibly he needed to hop off and do a bit of shopping? The chances are that DJ Nicky Campbell simply preferred to have more people getting angry at each other, not reaching a point and created nothing more than a wall of noise.

“For the most part, as some of your contributors have said,” explained Professor John, “not using e-cigs near others is a matter of courtesy.” For a nation that prides itself on its politeness we don’t seem to be very good at it anymore. Whether intentionally or not, the professor’s point probably runs to the heart of our national vaping debate—people don’t care about the science, they only care about what they see as rude behavior.

What is it that drives someone to think that it is socially acceptable to vape in a doctor’s reception? For sure, from research we know it has negligible effect on those nearby (and I hardly think such a person is a role model for anything) but this isn’t the point, is it? Vapers are so good at shooting themselves in the foot—maybe that is why he was there? Maybe it wasn’t a smug expression but a grimace of pain.

“The evidence is just not there regarding hazards to others,” continued Britton as he explained why people should be given the opportunity to use an alternative to cigarettes. While supporting the idea that using them in a waiting room was poor form, he did advocate the use of e-cigs on hospital wards. His wards, he gave as an example, have people vaping under the bed sheets. The National Health Service has banned vaping from hospital grounds but the wise professor sees this as an act of nonsense.

Britton expanded: “We’ve got to get real, the majority smoke to get nicotine and they’d rather do it without smoking. The patches don’t replace the hand to mouth motion and people are addicted to the rigmarole of smoking. Over the months and years of smoking you develop the enjoyment of the other aspects of smoking – the ritual.”

But those who do not agree with those sentiments inspired this debate.

 “E-cigs face ban for ‘re-normalizing smoking,’” barked Murdoch’s Sky News. “Wales’ Health Minister Mark Drakeford said e-cigarettes were a ‘gateway’ to deadly tobacco.”

“We have worked so hard in Wales to try and bear down on the harm that smoking does,” said Drakeford, ignoring all science and opinion to the contrary, “and allowing e-cigarettes to be used in the way they currently are risks undoing the progress that has been made.”

On the radio show, Drakeford highlighted the main problem faced by people trying to implement the ban on smoking: they can’t tell what is a cigarette and what is a vaping device. The argument probably highlights Drakeford’s own limitations in subject awareness than anything else.

Professor Britton retorted: “I disagreed with everything he [Drakeford] said. If you see the second and third generation devices it’s very obvious that they aren’t smoking. The only normalizing taking place is that of using nicotine in a way that doesn’t involve smoking.”

It’s an opinion backed up by the latest findings from the annual U.K. research: “The Ash survey highlights that 2.6million have now used [vaping] as a way out—this is the only gateway,” concluded Britton.

And with his departure to go find some tea bags or a decent toothbrush the airwaves returned to unobstructed argument. Attila Danko, at the recent Global Forum for Nicotine, called for vaping advocates to be kind to public health officials. Lorien, going by her title of ‘waitress from Cornwall’ instead of representative of the New Nicotine Alliance, missed this pointer as she launched into Julie from Public Health Wales: “Do you understand how nicotine is absorbed?”

Backs put up, argument unresolved.

Dave Cross is a writer, biker, vaper, ever-more rotund punk and perpetual disappointment to his parents. According to his wife he is frequently wrong about most things.

Follow Dave Cross on Twitter@MawsleyX.Vape_August_2015_Page_170

Mastering the Vape Space



By Norm Bour

Jason Hambrecht didn’t open his vape shop for the money. He already owned a successful construction company in northeast Florida and was named one of the fastest growing companies in the state. Business was good, and he didn’t need to be there full time to have it succeed. That afforded him time to look around for other opportunities. Hambrecht was never a smoker, but was looking for a change, and decided to open a vape shop.

“I genuinely wanted to start a company that helped people in profound ways. I also wanted a company where everyone involved was happy all the time and negativity was at a minimum. A vape shop seemed to fit perfectly, and it has proven to be precisely what I was looking for.”

Hambrecht had a grasp of reality and how different a vape shop would be from his current business. He had no disillusions of creating a successful shop by accident, and began working with VapeMentors in May, 2014.

“I knew what I didn’t know, and knew that having a coach and guide would speed things up,” he said.

Speakeasy Vaporium opened in August 2014. Fast forward to today, and Hambrecht regularly hits his revenue goals of $1,000 per day and has ideas for expansion. He opened a wholesale operation and plans to launch a second store, along with his own lines of e-liquids.

Speakeasy Vaporium is crushing it as they celebrate their first full year of operation. They are setting a great example of what a vape shop can and should do, and was voted the first “Vape Shop of the Month” by VapeMentors.

Why Speakeasy?
One of the critical steps in any business is the process of developing the name and brand. Many ideas were discussed and, when asked about the area of Amelia Island, a small coastal town of just 12,000 people north of Jacksonville, Fla., Hambrecht shared their illustrious history.

“This is an historic and notorious town,” he said. “We were run by pirates and criminals back in the 17th and 18th centuries, and our town, Fernandina Beach, was right in the middle. Famous names like Captain Kidd and Jean Lafitte are legendary, and the town loves their pirates!” They have clubs and events, and “Talk Like a Pirate Day” is very big here in September. This gave Hambrecht an idea: develop a theme business around pirates.

But wait! There’s more, as they say on late night TV. Fernandina Beach survived the pirate invasion, but different criminals ran their town in the recent past: gangsters. For a town so small, Fernandina Beach has a unique history. Eight different nations flew their flags over this small town, and during Prohibition, many bootleggers smuggled liquor though their streets. As Hambrecht shared this information, the branding options multiplied.

Given Fernandina Beach’s history during Prohibition, the name Speakeasy Vaporium was the top choice, and Hambrecht tapped into his construction experience and connections to create a fantastic vape shop. It is just 1,500 square feet, but it is cozy, comfortable and successful.

Hambrecht has developed a reputation for offering some of the best service around. We visited his shop unannounced, and were welcomed like family. Any fear or intimidation that a newcomer might have would have been quickly put to rest, and I asked Hambrecht how he did it.

“I have an amazing team here that treats customers—and each other—like family. That energy is obvious when a customer first walks in the door,” Hambrecht said. That allows him to do what is rare in any business: he is an absentee owner.

Hambrecht spends a few days in the shop and works it into his schedule while he runs his construction company. He has faith that his business is in safe hands, and that is a rarity. I visited the shop on my Florida tour and spoke with two customers who were hanging out on a rainy Friday night. They stayed for several hours, and when I inquired why, they said, “The crew here make us feel so comfortable and welcome, we would rather be here than at home!” Words like that are priceless, and that is how you beat your competition.

There are shops that are crushing it and doing it right. They should be shared and used as a lesson for this industry. Speakeasy Vaporium certainly qualifies. Congratulations on being Vape Shop of the Month!

To listen to the Vape Radio interview with Speakeasy Vaporium, visit

Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors, which offers online educational programs, services and resources for anyone in the vape space, including vape shops, online stores and e-liquid brands. He’s also host of Vape Radio, a podcast series that interviews the masters of vape and thought leaders in the vape space. Contact him at


Let’s Ask GrimmGreen

August 22, 2015



By Nick Green Photo by Metal Jeff

What is the best vaping kit for starters like me?

-Ian Ashley Pagkaliwanggan Manuel

Hey Ian. There has really never been a better time to start vaping. The starter kits have become better and better over the years, and easier and easier to use. The first thing I would recommend checking out is the new eGo ONE kit. It’s a full kit that includes a 2200 mAh battery, a tank and two atomizer heads. It really could not be easier to use. Fill the tank with some juice. Attach the atomizer head into the base. Screw the whole thing together and start vaping!

Another product that I have been raving about are the iStick products. They come in 20 w, 30 w and 50 w versions. They are small, cheap and powerful. They also have the ability to let you grow as a vaper. Pair the iStick 50 w up with a nice Nautilus Mini tank. Set the wattage to 10 w. and you will be good to vape. In the future if you want to upgrade to a rebuildable atomizer or a cloud chasing tank, the iStick 50 w will allow you to use the full wattage of the device to accomplish that.

Happy Vaping!


Hey, got a VAMO V7 and want to know the best atomizer to use with it. I’m currently using Nautilus but can’t turn up the wattage without it tasting burned. Help please.

-Nathan N Robin Beck

Hey Nathan. The Nautilus tank is great, but generally can’t hold up to higher wattage settings. I don’t think I’ve ever gone above 12 w with any of my Nautilus tanks. Now, the VAMO V7 can go up to 30w and will fire as low as 1.0 Ohms. So, you can’t exactly sub-Ohm with it.

But, what you can do is grab a Kanger SubTank Mini with some 1.2 Ohm coil heads. Assuming that your coil head is nice and wet/primed. I’ve been able to use the 1.2 Ohm coil heads on the subtank as high as 20 w.

Also keep in mind that you don’t NEED to use all that wattage. A good rule that I stick to in most cases is to start my wattage low and work my way up until it feels right. Additionally, if you are feeling adventurous, there also are a multitude of rebuildable atomizers that will work on the VAMO V7. Again the VAMO V7 has a 30 w/1.0 Ohm ability. So, if you build a nice 1.0 Ohm dual coil and turned the wattage up to around 25 w it should be a nice warm and cloudy vape.

Hope that helps out!

Keep on vaping, Nathan.



Vaping From the Outside



By Susan Oser

My uncle, John Oser, passed away on Veterans Day 2013 from stage 4 lung cancer after smoking for more than 50 years., I’ve always felt that it was his death that propelled my passion for vaping and making sure that others had the right to do so. That has included my boyfriend who has been at least a year and a half without smoking.

I don’t know if I ever told that story or not. I do know that I have told this story on an old BlogSpot blog that I hardly use anymore as well as on my Vapenet show a time or two. It is worth repeating now and again just so that those of you out there can relate in your own way.

When I learned that my uncle’s lung cancer had spread quickly throughout his body, I started to research vaping a little more deeply. Incidentally, my uncle’s diagnosis came at the same time that my mom was diagnosed with stage 1 ductal cancer. I hung out on and kept hearing about vapers taking over the website, which led to the creation of

That was where I met two friends online who I was finally able to meet in person at last year’s VapeXpo. That’s when I knew I found the right place. Let’s face it; it’s where I decided to start my hosting gig back up after being off for a few months and after got shut down. The more I started hanging around vapers online, the more I learned.

I don’t remember the first show I hung out at, but I was ghosting Beauty and the Beast before I actually decided to jump in and chat. I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but when you first heard about fruit flavors, horchata or custards, did you find yourself thinking of foods instead of vaping? If you did, you’re not alone, because that’s exactly what I thought when I first heard about all this stuff.

I found myself hanging out primarily at Vapenet, but also checking out some of the late night shows. Then, I started reading up on vaping and how it helped people. Unfortunately, I was a little intimidated, because numerous people railed against the fact that some vapers merely supported the community, or because they didn’t smoke much but still wanted the experience. I even questioned myself, as to whether I should walk away from good people and a hobby, or see what vaping was like, learn about it from the outside and then introduce people who I thought might want a bit of a lifestyle change.

It wasn’t until my boyfriend grew curious hearing me on Skype with him while watching shows that things really took off. At the time, he was smoking pretty heavily.

In any event, he decided to join me in a chat one day. He started chatting and asking what was going on. I even was asked if he was serious about getting into vaping, because it seemed at the time some people said they were serious vapers or were newbies, but were found to have vaped for a while. My boyfriend won his first bottle of juice and got hooked up with a setup from chatter that night; he received it a week later, and the rest history.

Starting out, he was a bit skeptical. For a while, he vaped part time to get used it, but still smoked cigarettes. This was not something to be ashamed of, because that is par for the course. Unfortunately, some people feel it’s a bit of a stigma and defeats the purpose of vaping. It took him my boyfriend at least six months to finally decided to stop smoking cigarettes entirely. Once in a while, he’d buy a cigarette just to see if he could still do it. However, once he realized how nasty it was, he realized that he had gotten into the right thing.

Now, he loves going to VapeXpo and can’t wait to go every year with me. He loves meeting people that he never dreamed of meeting in person. In addition, he’s visited a few local vape shops with me and is not afraid to voice his opinion in support of the vaping community.

The moral of the story: If making friends or merely having an interest in the vaping community can convert a smoker or two to try vaping, the community is on the right track and shouldn’t forget why vaping is a “community” in the first place.

Susan E. Oser aka Angelwriterspeaks is a host on Monday nights on Vapenet ( For her day job she is an online tutor and part time freelance writer. She is a passionate activist for vaping rights. Find her at http://angelwritercreations., and You can buy her knitted accessories (esp for you the vapor) at