Vapors gaining traction


Elias C. Ahumada

Ryan Atchinson blows out a thick cloud of vapor after a pull on his vaporizer set up.

Elias C. Ahumada, Opinions Editor


It was hard to quit smoking cigarettes for Bakersfield resident Trevor Poe, as it can be for many smokers. Poe said, “I haven’t smoked a cigarette in about two months.” Poe has been vaping for some months now and he explained that the reason why he started vaping was to quit smoking cigarettes.

“About a month ago I took a drag from a cigarette and it was horrible … it was one of the most terrible feelings in my life,” he said.

Poe quit smoking for the same reason that many of Ryan Atchinson’s customers quit smoking and have made the transfer to vaping, so they can get a cleaner smoke. Atchinson has had his shop, Vapor Supply Co., open since Jan. 17.

“We’ve been doing good, lots of customers, and it’s cool seeing everybody get off the cigarettes,” Atchinson said.

Atchinson explained that vaping has become popular with people of all ages, with some of his customers ranging in age, anywhere from 18-80 years old.

Atchinson, who started smoking and chewing at age 15, said that since he made the switch to vaping and quit smoking a couple of years ago, he has noticed a difference in his breathing.

“I think the feeling of vaping is a lot nicer, especially in the throat and chest, compared to a cigarette,” he said.

Many of Atchinson’s customers are former cigarette smokers and Atchinson seems proud that he is helping his community quit tobacco consumption one person at a time.

“Some people will come in on a Friday, get their pen set up with no expectations of quitting smoking, but they’ll get a high dosage of nicotine … they’ll come back in on a Monday just stoked.”

Mike Bond, a local e-juice manufacturer, explained that the vape oils could be purchased with, or without nicotine. Bond has been manufacturing his own juice since 2011.

“I named my company Smoke Out Solutions because I wanted to get people off of smoking cigarettes,” said Bond.

Although e-juice itself is not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the individual ingredients that make up e-juice are approved by the FDA. The ingredients found in e-juice are vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, food flavorings/sweeteners, and the choice of nicotine dosage.

Bond noted that much of the times it is not the nicotine that is bad for a person who smokes cigarettes. In fact, it is the carcinogens in cigarettes that are cancer causing.

“Nicotine by itself is very similar to caffeine; it’s addictive, it’s a stimulant, but that’s it,” he said.

Bond went on to say that vapor companies have went from an intake of a millions of dollars to a billion dollar industry.

“Big tobacco companies are reporting losses,” he said. “These multi-billion dollar companies, they have their hands in the pockets of politicians, so they’re trying to have the politicians shut us down.”

He questioned whether this could be a reason why the FDA has yet to approve e-juice.

For some, vaping has become a hobby. A user can go inside a shop and customize his mechanical mod to his liking. Some mods are bigger than others, while some have cool designs. No matter what the reason for one choosing to vape, it seems to many that it’s a much healthier alternative to get a nicotine fix.