Dave Patton’s new business aims to steer smokers away from cigarettes by selling cigarettes — electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, that is. Patton said that in his shop, Dave’s E-Cig’s, smokers will find an alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes that allows them to have what they enjoy about smoking, whether it be the nicotine or the simple hand-to-mouth motion, without a lot of the negative side effects.
“My business offers electronic cigarettes and accessories from starter kits to tank and everything in between,” said Patton.
An e-cig basically consists of a battery-powered device offered in a wide array of colors, and the juice, according to Patton. The juice is the element that is inhaled and which also creates the vapor clouds that many smokers enjoy, he said.
A typical starter’s kit at Dave’s E-Cig’s costs around $40 and consists of a bag, battery and a tank, said Patton. For the essential juice, customers will pay $10 for a 10ml bottle, which, he said, will last about two weeks for the average pack-a-day smoker. The savings, Patton said, don’t go unnoticed among regular tobacco cigarette smokers.
“There is no tobacco in the juice,” said Patton. “Commonly known as e-juice or e-liquid, (it) is a solution of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, polyethylene glycol 400 and, optionally, a variable concentration of nicotine.”
Juices are offered in 24mg, 12mg, 6mg and zero mg nicotine levels.
“For someone who smokes a pack a day and is looking to kick the nicotine habit, I usually recommend starting with the 24mg juice and then working down. Once they get that nicotine out of their system they can put it down and step away,” he said.
Once someone has quit nicotine, Patton said, they will still be able to have the e-cig on hand in case they get a craving to smoke.
“I don’t smoke regular cigarettes anymore. I know the power the addiction had on me,” he said. “When I started using e-cigs I started with the highest level of nicotine available and now I am using nicotine-free juice.”
Having the variable concentration of nicotine is what Patton said helped him to quit nicotine and what he believes can help others, too.
“I am an ex-smoker and I feel these are the best alternatives to regular cigarettes,” said Patton. “It is something me and my family use; it has helped us a lot.”
Because of the taste, the juice is often what draws smokers away from traditional tobacco cigarettes and to give e-cigs a try, said Patton.
“In my shop at the moment I have about 53 juice flavors to choose from, but there are thousands that are available,” he said. “Since I like to try things before I buy, I have a full tasting bar where my customers can try every flavor juice I carry before they buy it — our motto is ‘try before you buy.’”
“Once people find out they can have coffee, vanilla or even fruit flavors and no after-smell on their hand or clothes, they are blown away,” he said. “They are happy about the better taste and that ... there is not secondhand smoke like with regular cigarettes.”
In Dave’s E-Cig’s, patrons will not find the stereotypical “head shop” atmosphere, said Patton.
“Most people aren’t comfortable going into head shops; I know I’m not,” he said. “All I sell is e-cig products, so customers can come in to taste, buy and set up their e-cigs. I have a lounge area with a couch and tables and chairs so they can hang out if they want.”
When asked if the enticing flavors offered with e-cigs attract children, Patton is firm in his beliefs.
“I don’t want kids to smoke. My shop is 18 and older; I won’t even let parents bring their kids in,” he said. “I don’t want kids to use this product at all. I understand that there are all these ‘wow’ flavors and it is one of those hard things, but we, as adults, can’t stop using something because it is appealing to a certain age.”
Always wanting to one day own his own business, Patton said he knew shortly after switching from regular tobacco cigarettes to e-cigs that this would be the perfect business for him.
After spending a year researching the many elements of owning this type of business, from the specific manufacturers he wanted to use to where he wanted to be located, and then nearly six months working back and forth with the city of Napa about the specific zoning he would have for this type of business since it is a fairly new concept, Patton said his business finally opened on Oct. 1; at 22 he is now his own boss.
Patton said the most rewarding part of owning his own business was “sitting in the shop the first day and just looking around thinking, ‘This is mine and this is where I’ll hopefully be for the next 10 or 20 years.’”
While he is able to enjoy the sense of accomplishment of achieving a personal goal, Patton said, he is certainly feeling the stresses, too. In addition to being in his shop every day, Patton also maintains his day job at a Napa car dealership. Thankfully, he said, he gets a lot of help running Dave’s E-Cig’s from his parents, sister and girlfriend.
“It ain’t easy. A lot of people told me it would be stressful,” Patton said. “I have long days but this is something that I have to do, something that I want to do. I love both my jobs. I wake up happy and go to sleep happy.”