Future Vapor faces challenge on 12th Ave turning Capitol Hill smokers into Capitol Hill vapers

Another satisfied vaper at Future Vapor (Image: CHS)

Another satisfied vaper at Future Vapor (Image: CHS)

Although Capitol Hill residents may pride themselves on their otherwise healthy lifestyles, you don’t have to go far down Broadway before seeing someone smoking a cigarette. Zach McLain is looking to change that. Having smoked for more than 25 years, McLain is now looking to help people on Capitol Hill find what he says is a healthier alternative to the neighborhood’s most conspicuous addiction with his new electronic cigarette store, Future Vapor.

1891174_235922799925927_1257889244_n“We wanted to be part of the community and help guide people here through the process of electronic cigarettes, and we were overjoyed when Capitol Hill opened up for us,” McLain said about his 12th Ave store. “It’s new, and there’s a lot of information out there, and It kind of requires someone to walk you through how this alternative to smoking actually works. Our whole, main focus is to help the community stop smoking cigarettes.”

A Tuesday vote by the lawmakers in Olympia, however, could jeopardize the future of the new Capitol Hill business. A House of Representatives committee approved legislation to impose a 75% tax on e-cigarettes.

McLain testified against the bill last month in Olympia.

Although McLain says his store is off to a strong start in the six weeks since Future Vapor’s grand opening, he told us prior to Tuesday’s vote the bill’s approval would put the brakes on his business by imposing a tax rate comparable to the 95% tax charged on tobacco products.

“A lot of people have bad information on this, but vapor is not tobacco,” McLain said last month. “You can’t tax it the same way as tobacco because it really doesn’t have the health effects as tobacco, and the whole reason why the tax is there at all is because of the health side-effects.”

After being introduced in 2007, electronic cigarettes have become increasingly popular in recent years as an alternative to traditional tobacco-based products. While cigarettes contain dozens of harmful chemicals, e-cigarettes utilize a nicotine-infused alcohol solution that is released as an odorless vapor by a battery-powered heating element. Although nicotine is highly addictive and the FDA remains uncertain on what the potential long-term effects of inhaling pure nicotine, the substance lacks the carcinogens or tar that is found in tobacco.

Despite the growing marketplace for e-cigarettes, many tobacco users have still been reticent to switch over after trying them, while others have voiced concern over any unknown health effects. But according to McLain, having a brick-and-mortar store dedicated to vaping allows people to find the flavor and device that works best for them while also providing people the information they need to counter the misconceptions about it that many have.

“There are millions of flavors and types of hardware online, but you’re not quite sure if that flavor is right for you,” McLain said. “People will come in, and I ask them what kind of cigarettes they smoke and how many a day, and then I can figure out what’s right for them.”

Future Vapor is located at 1828 12th Ave. You can learn more at future-vapor.com.

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11 thoughts on “Future Vapor faces challenge on 12th Ave turning Capitol Hill smokers into Capitol Hill vapers

  1. This person sounds like they’re doing everyone a favor when in reality, they want to profit by moving someone from product A to their product B. If they really wanted to “help” they would work on solving the addiction rather than shifting it.

    All the while the tax man wants their cut too!

    That being said, I’d much rather have people on this option than cigarettes.

    • “This person sounds like they’re doing everyone a favor when in reality, they want to profit by moving someone from product A to their product B. If they really wanted to “help” they would work on solving the addiction rather than shifting it.”

      easier said then done

    • I agree, Timmy. Yes, e-cigarettes are somewhat safer, but they are mainly a vehicle for satisfying a nicotine addiction, just like regular cigarettes.

  2. Given that we know that Capitol Hill is populated nearly exclusively by Microsoft employees (see last month’s anti-gentrification shuttle protest) – wouldn’t a better name for this store be “Vaporware”?

    Ah hahahah. If you understand this joke … congratulations! You’re part of the gentrification “problem”!

  3. Pingback: Electronic cigarettes – a safe alternative? – Aitkin Independent Age » Vapor Polls

  4. This reads a bit like an ad for e-cigarettes. These are not yet regulated by the government. They have unknown health effects, and are not necessarily healthy. There is free help available to quit smoking, including e-cigarettes. Call 1-800-Quit-Now 24/hrs a day for assistance.

  5. tldr; fuck whatever you say i’m gonna vape anyway, and fuck the tax.

    i smoked 1.5 packs a day for 17 years before switching to vaping just before the holidays. at this point i’m a hobbyist re-builder so i feel safer knowing i can continue to wrap my own coils, make my own wicks and be good-to-go no matter what the government decides to do (as long as i can get the batteries). my grandmother died from lung cancer two months ago, and my mother who has smoked for 30 years switched to vaping with me.

    regardless of all the straw-man arguments you see here and everywhere, there is no doubting that the adverse effects from inhaling propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine and flavorings are far, far less than what you get from cigarettes. it’s obvious to me as someone who’s insides are starting to heal after nearly 20 years of abuse, and because each of these chemicals independently have been studied for decades with specificity around human ingestion – and they have been deemed safe. no there have not been long-term vaping studies because it hasn’t been around that long. i’d be surprised if those studies turned up anything revelatory but again, still safer than cigs.

    my e-liquid comes from a michigan company using only the best ingredients. the vegetable glycerin is 100% pure USP grade and flavorings are 100% USDA certified organic. i choose my vendors carefully because i don’t trust a brick and mortar store that mixes their own e-juice, usually getting 50 gallon barrels from malaysia to do so. while that’s not inherently dangerous i prefer not to inhale things that come from “over there”, and brick and mortar stores don’t typically have appropriately sterile mixing conditions.

    a couple of people here would rather wait for their government to wave a magic wand than to make grown-up decisions i guess. go ahead and keep giving credence to those in government making money from the tobacco lobby. trust those who are freaking the fuck out right now about how much tax money they might lose? no thanks.

  6. E-cigarettes aren’t dirty, they don’t emit second-hand smoke, and there are nicotine-free vapors available. They aren’t a solution for the addiction, but they can ease people off by satisfying the habit. Even if smokers can’t completely quit, e-cigarettes are a better way to go than rolled tobacco.

  7. I met Zach last week when I stopped by to check out his shop. Good guy, knows his stuff, I wish him the best of luck.

    RE: the health effects– no one in the serious vaping community claims that vaping is without risks. What we do know is this: vaping is far,far, far less harmful than smoking cigarettes. As for nicotine, yeah, I like nicotine. The great thing about vaping is that you can adjust nic levels to where you feel comfortable, especially for people who quit smoking through vaping. Then you can step down the nic level in your juice until you reach 0mg. Just like gum, just like patches. The claims of “health” and “freedom”, etc., are coming from Big Tobacco. Vapers know that the cig-a-like products BT puts on the market are crap. Disposable, expensive cartridges, weak flavor, short battery life. Smokers who try them usually go back to “analogs” (real cigarettes) after being disappointed by these products. There are far better set-ups to be had. Ask Zach, he’ll tell you all about it.