When John Boynton exhales after taking a puff from his electronic cigarette, what's released is a sweet-smelling, water-based vapor, rather than smoke.
Boynton will soon open an electronic cigarette store in Aiken called Vapor Tek USA and, to him, it's not just a business, but, also a movement.
Boynton said he hopes to educate the community and offer a product that will help those who have tried everything, but can't kick their smoking habit.
From smoke to water
Boynton was a smoker and also chewed tobacco. His father introduced him to e-cigarettes, and Boynton said he hasn't touched a tobacco product in two years.
His wife Chassity also switched from “analog” or traditional cigarettes, to the e-cigarette.
Boynton said when he stopped using tobacco products, he felt healthier. According to Boynton, the liquid used in electronic cigarettes contain nicotine, vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol compared to the approximately 600 different ingredients found in cigarettes.
Boynton said cutting tobacco products out of his life meant no more coughing, smoky odors or yellowing of the teeth.
“We are extremely passionate about our business,” Boynton said. “We are not getting rich. It's a life-changing experience. I feel better, and it's allowed me to put down cigarettes.”
Due to his own positive experience, Boynton wanted to get involved and start selling the product himself.
After researching both the product and the industry, he started his own website business that has been quite successful. Boynton said the website has attracted interest from around the world.
Threat to 'big tobacco'
Boynton said his product is different from what's found in the convenience stores.
Many convenience stores carry disposable e-cigarettes, which look a lot like what is found in the traditional pack of cigarettes.
Boynton said those are made by the large tobacco companies in efforts to catch up with the e-tobacco market, but they're not as cost effective or satisfying to a transitioning smoker.
E-cigarettes run off a battery and use a variety of different flavored liquids, of which Boynton said the choices are endless. He said they produce more vapor and offer the tangible effects that many smokers crave.
He said that a disposable e-cigarette cost about $10 to $12 and is said to last less than a day.
A reusable e-cigarette basic starter kit cost about $40 to $60, and the 30-milliliter liquid refills range from $7 to $10, which last him about three weeks, Boynton said.
As more smokers transition to these e-cigarettes, tobacco industries are losing big bucks. Big tobacco lobbyists are pushing bills to regulate electronic cigarettes, Boynton said.
Currently, there is a South Carolina bill that was recently tabled that would tax sales of e-cigarettes at five cents per milliliter of liquid if passed.
Vapor Tek USA
The focus of Boynton's business is to offer smokers, who are wanting to quit but are struggling, a safer option than using tobacco products.
Boynton said that they would card customers at his store as any business that sells cigarettes does and will not sell the product to minors.
Boynton hopes to have his store open by early September. Vapor Tek USA will be located at 1921 Whiskey Road.
For more information, visit www.vaportekusa.com.
Amy Banton is the County reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the publication since May 2010.