Vast Vapor offers alternative to traditional smoking

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Steven and Tracey Kane own Vast Vapor at 111 N. Carlisle St. They have seen an influx of customers since opening last fall.

A desire to quit smoking led to an unexpected career for Steven Kane. He and his wife Tracey opened Vast Vapor, 111 N. Carlisle St. on Nov. 23.

The business sells electronic cigarettes, in starter through advanced kits; e-liquids in nearly 50 flavors; and parts and accessories.

The State Line couple have opposite backgrounds with cigarettes, but common ground with the electronic version. Kane, 34, began smoking at age 15, and was a two-pack a day user. He had tried many times to quit the habit and finally tried vaping in 2011. The e-cig, powered by a rechargeable battery, heated and vaporized a liquid solution. Almost immediately, Kane’s cravings were gone.

Other people wanted to try vaping as well, so he set up a website and sold products from his home. He had customers from across the country, and requests for local service. After a TV interview a year ago, “We went boom,” he said. “There was no option but to get a retail shop.”

Tracey, on the other hand, has never smoked, but took up vaping.

“I like the flavors.”

The two left their jobs to handle the workload fulltime. He was a technical operations supervisor and she was a retail manager.

Vast Vapor customers range in age from young adult to over 90, male and female. The Kanes and their five employees card buyers and do not serve anyone under the age of 18. Many people come in to kick their nicotine addiction, and can purchase e-cigs containing various levels of the stimulant. As they adjust to returning senses of smell, taste, and energy, they scale back on the amount of nicotine in the vapor.

Kane said they advise people on the options for quitting, if that is their goal.

“We walk you through everything,” said Tracey. “That customer service is what sets us apart.”

Growth has been “ginormous” since setting up shop in Greencastle, Kane said. They sell their own brand of flavors, created in a Tennessee lab, as well as OMG. E-cig supplies come from Innokin, Vapeonly, Kanger, Vision and SmokTech. They carry some products which cater to e-cig aficionados. Kane, on a request from customers, established a vaping club which meets monthly. Eighty people attended the last time.

While the law has not caught up with vaping, the Kanes are members of a self-regulating association. Kane would like the federal and state governments to establish standards. His own experience and feedback from customers indicates that the medical community supports electronic cigarettes over the tobacco version.

Vast Vapor is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The phone number is 717-491-5456.