Minnesota Retailer Bets on Electronic Cigarettes

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Minnesota Retailer Bets on Electronic Cigarettes

11/22/2011

ANOKA, Minn. -- As electronic cigarettes fight for respect and recognition, one Minnesota retailer is hoping that the relatively new industry spells success for his store.

Anoka resident Steven Ryan has so much hope that he is putting all his eggs in one basket. Last month, Ryan opened the eCigs Shop, and as the name implies, it not only specializes in electronic cigarettes, but that is the only product it sells, as reported by KSTP.

According to the store's website, Ryan smoked two packs a day for 23 years. He tried his first electronic cigarette in 2007, and although he describes that experience as a failure, he tried again three years later and has not smoked a cigarette since October 2010.

Electronic cigarettes are tobacco-free devices that combine the use of battery-powered heat and a glycerin-based liquid. The liquid is a mixture of five main ingredients: propylene glycol, glycerol, nicotine, water and flavoring, according to the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association. When heated, the liquid turns into a vapor, leading some to coin the term "vaping" instead of smoking.

The liquid comes in different flavors and is refillable. Stronger batteries create a stronger taste and smoke feeling. The price is also a fraction of the cost of cigarettes. Ryan told the news outlet that one 30 milliliter bottle costs $20 and lasts as long as three cartons of cigarettes, which he said can cost $180.

He added that newer eCigs devices come in a variety of shapes and styles -- resembling cigarettes, cigars and even cell phones. They are customizable, he said, unlike the versions that first hit his area two years.

But electronic cigarettes may not be as popular in Ryan's area as he would like. According to KSTP, the three retailers it featured in a 2009 report on electronic cigarettes no longer sell the products. They couldn't find a market, the news outlet reported.