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Vaping gaining popularity
Vaping - madvapes logo-website.jpg

The company MadVapes was founded in July 2009, and currently has stores in North Carolina; Richmond, Danville, and Midlothian, Va; and Augusta and Hinesville, Ga. The stores offer electronic cigarettes—with all accompanying accessories and services; and they offer an exclusive and private line of e-liquids—with a variety of flavors and varying levels of nicotine—according to the website. The store will also offer vape starter kits; vape mods, and custom vape juices.

Recently, MadVapes opened up a location at 632 W. Oglethorpe Highway in Hinesville. The shop is owned by Matt Durand, and is aiming to be a spot for everyone curious about vaping to get information and try the trend.

Durand has been in the vaping business for about five years, and it started because a lot of friends and family around him smoked, and when they switched, they personally noticed their health seemed to improve after the switch, he said. 

“It made me want to get into the industry to help others,” Durand said. 

According to Linda Richter, PhD and Director of Policy Research and Analysis at the Center on Addiction, vaping has grown in popularity with the rise of e-cigarettes, which were first introduced to the mass market in 2007.

Typically, the e-liquid in vaporizer products contain a propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin-based liquid with varying amounts of nicotine, flavoring and other ingredients, but not tobacco.

“You don’t tend to have the same chemicals and carcinogens as you do in traditional cigarettes,” Durand continued. “A lot of people try to get off cigarettes, so I think that’s led to a greater interest in vaping as an alternative to smoking.”

MadVapes sees plenty of people coming in and wanting to personally try the products, after seeing friends and acquaintances try the trend, he added.

There can be controversy that surrounds vaping—such as minors having access to the products. MadVapes, Durand said, goes above and beyond to ensure they don’t sell to minors.

“We don’t serve minors,” Durand said. “We also refuse to sell to adults who are shopping for minors. There are some places that aren’t as stringent, which can give vaping a bad name.”

There has been issues reported in the past where the e-liquids had names or flavors that tend to attract the eye of minors. Manufacturers have done a good job eliminating flavors that could potentially draw children under 18, Durand said. Specifically, MadVapes in Hinesville does not carry flavors on their shelves that could entice minors.

In the past year or so, the newest and most popular product among middle and high schoolers is the Juul, according to Richter, with the Center on Addiction. The device is small and sleek, resembling a USB flash drive. The device accounts for nearly 72 percent of the market share of vaping products across the United States.

“Every Juul product contains a high dose of nicotine, with one pod or flavor cartridge containing about the same amount of nicotine as a whole pack of cigarettes,” Richter continued.

“Too many kids continue to experiment with e-cigarette and vaping products, putting them at risk for developing a lifelong nicotine addiction,” according to a 2018 report by the Food and Drug Administration. “These products should never be marketed to, sold to, or used by kids and it’s critical that we take aggressive steps to address the youth use of these products.”

In the end, it has been proved that vaping is less harmful than traditional smoking. E-cigarettes use nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals—whereas regular tobacco cigarettes can contain nearly 7,000 chemicals, Johns Hopkins Medicine said. At MadVapes in Hinesville, the employees are there to assist and provide the right product for everyone, Durand said. 

“It’s different for everyone,” he added. “If you’re looking to get off cigarettes, just come in and see if vaping is worth the try. As long as you find the right product and hardware.”

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