In the past few years, the vaping industry has exploded, with numerous vapor lounges opening up in South Jersey.
With the uptick in popularity has come rapid expansion in research and development.
“It’s ridiculous how fast it moves,” said Mike Moran, who owns Firehouse E-Cigs & Vapors in Cherry Hill.
Moran, who was a smoker for 26 years, opened his store a year and a half ago, and said that the vaping industry saved his life. “We understand the experience a customer is going through and we want to help them,” he said. As a result, he said he focuses on educating the customers, both on the science of vaping and advances in the industry, which is constantly improving products.
One of the recent innovations Moran pointed to was the development of temperature-control vaping devices, which he said reduce the chance of the wick burning and releasing formaldehyde. “It’s more user friendly,” he said of the temperature-control element.
Moran’s shop has a variety of appealing summer e-liquid flavors. He said sweet corn has been popular this summer, as have the peaches and cream flavor, and strawberry cream. For fall, the shop will have pumpkin and candy corn flavors.
Will Merget, the owner of BlueDream Vapor Lounge in Voorhees is also planning to have some pumpkin flavors for fall, though he said their own e-liquid, named Blue Freeze, is still their No. 1-seller. He described the flavor as a strawberry mango menthol. It is a hit with menthol cigarette smokers, as Merget said menthol customers are under served by the vaping industry.
BlueDream also has recently gained the rights to distribute the brand Matchless in New Jersey, a new product which advertises itself as a natural e-liquid alternative.
“We’ve gotten the biggest response,” Merget said. “Every time (customers) sample, it transitions into a sale.”
Popie’s Vapor Lounge, which opened in Marlton in October 2013, was one of the first vapor shops in the area. Owner Robert Eichenberger said he strives to make the shop appealing and accessible, and “create an atmosphere that is comfortable for any age group.”
Eichenberger said flavors are less about what is seasonal, and more about what is new. Popie’s recently debuted e-liquids from Clown, a new company out of New York, as well as from Glas, “really, really popular, reasonably priced solid juice line,” he said.
Doughboys, another new e-liquid carried at Popie’s, features two flavors: blueberry donut and chocolate glazed donut.
But Eichenberger said the big focus is on device technology. The popular device at his shop is the box mod, which is box-shaped instead of long and thing, like the e-cigarettes of yore. While it doesn’t look or feel like a real cigarette, Eichenberger said, it provides the satisfaction of a real cigarette, and has a longer battery life.
“It’s all about that new thing on the market,” Eichenberger said.