DANVILLE — LaToya Johnson, a non-smoker, wandered into Vapors, curious about its electronic cigarettes.
After sampling some flavors, she was a convert and vowed to tell her smoker friends about the devices, which some people say helped them kick tobacco.
“This is nice. This is awesome,” she said as she inhaled on one of the cigarettes. “I don’t smoke, but I would do this.” However, she added that she would want one of the non-nicotine “juices.”
Johnson’s enthusiasm for e-cigarettes was echoed by several other customers on a recent afternoon as they browsed or bought at Vapors, a new shop in Towne Centre.
The shop, which opened in March, specializes in the holders, flavored liquids, batteries and other items. Other businesses in town also sell e-cigarettes, including Tobacco Warehouse and B&J Music.
Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated nicotine-delivery devices that mimic the look and feel of smoking. The heater inside the unit vaporizes a liquid solution. At Vapors, the liquid contains four ingredients — nicotine, a flavor, vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. The last two ingredients are used in food.
The user gets a puff of hot gas, which feels a lot like tobacco smoke. When he exhales, a cloud of vapor looks like smoke, but it’s odorless and quickly dissipates.
The user chooses how much nicotine — if any — he wants in the e-cigarette. At Vapors, users may choose 24, 16 or 8 milligrams of nicotine. A non-nicotine liquid is available at the Champaign store, and is coming soon to Danville. The user also chooses a flavor, which is part of the liquid solution.
The devices come in all sizes and vary in their power, including how much vapor they produce, depending on the battery.
The Food and Drug Administration has said it intends to regulate e-cigarettes as it does regular cigarettes, it has not yet done so. In Illinois and Indiana, there are no state laws except for the requirement that a person must be 18 or over to purchase e-cigarettes.