With e-cigarettes growing in popularity across the country, brick-and-mortar stores dedicated to the smoking alternative are popping up. Magnolia Vapes is one such shop that is helping traditional smokers kick the habit of smoking by turning to vaping.
In addition to being long-time friends, Magnolia Vapes owners Sam Warren and Mike Jefcoat shared a long history of smoking, and after several tries at quitting it was electronic cigarettes, or nicotine vaporizes, that finally did the trick.
Their motivation for opening Magnolia Vapes on Highway 51 in Ridgeland in November 2013 was to help others do the same.
"We see long-time smokers who had health problems, it's almost killed them before, and it's good to see people stop," Jefcoat said.
While vaping is still not quite mainstream Warren said word about the nicotine delivery alternative is getting around.
"Gaining ground, we're getting hundreds of people who have come in, tried them, been successful quitting smoking," Warren said.
Their primary competition is found online, so Jefcoat and Warren play to the strengths of having two physical locations. With seven employees at their Ridgeland and Richland stores they focus on customer service to help assist those who are new to e-cigarettes.
"Problem with going online is you don't get to touch it, feel it, try it," Warren said.
Patrons are encouraged to try a variety flavors to find out what they like. Magnolia Vapes owners hope customers appreciate the fruit bar (due to the variety of fruit flavors that the liquids come in), but they know vapes have another advantage over their carcinogen-filled counterparts.
"If you smoke a carton a week you're spending anywhere from $50, $60, $70 bucks a week," Jefcoat calculated. "10 mil (milligram) bottle, which is about the equivalent to a carton of cigarettes is about $8."
Which makes vaping more forgiving on the finances.