Smoking is a big part of party culture and here at Underground Sound we take interest in what is being inhaled and why. It is not uncommon to find more and more people smoking vaporizers or “vapes” rather than cigarettes. We approached Tom Waugh of The Vape Store, Buggiba to find out why people are choosing vapor over smoke.

 

“With the right help and the right set up, anyone can quit smoking with vaping”.

 

Waugh runs The Vape Store in Bugibba and is more that happy to share his expertise and passion in the business and has an unwavering certainty that he can help everyone find a way to quit. “I’m not in for the big business – I find pleasure in helping people quit smoking cigarettes”.

 

According to Waugh, over a year and half ago there were no vape shops in Malta. When they started to pop up, they were only selling cheap liquid, which he claims makes your throat sore and destroy the device you are vaping from, so Waugh definitely saw room for improvement. Not long after the vape wave caught on very quickly and now to find someone puffing behind a large cloud of vapor has since become commonplace.

The Vape Store, Bugibba

What’s the purpose?

There are small vapes that people are using for the sole purpose of getting them off of cigarettes, while there are much larger ones that people use for the pure pleasure of creating “clouds”.

 

The difference between the two uses can depend on the concentration of nicotine in the vape liquid and the capacity for the vaporizer to billow out much larger amounts of smoke. The liquid they are using is usually artificial PG (Propylene Glycol) or natural VG (Vegetable Glycerin) that comes in a multitude of flavors. How it works is that the liquid is poured into the chamber where it is absorbed by cotton wrapped coils. The vape will heat up the coils, producing vapor as the liquid becomes hot.

 

The shisha reminiscent clouds of smoke you see from vaporizers are generally recreational rather than for kicking a habit and have little or no nicotine. The monster of a vape Waugh is pulling on pops and crackles releasing a mega smoke cloud. “People smoke it for the pleasant taste of the product”.  Responding to this growing culture, The Vape Store organizes ‘cloud competitions’ to see who can produce the best cloud shape.

 

Laws Still Catching Up to Vaping

Waugh sighs when we bring up the legalities of vaping. “Vaping is technically considered a tobacco product in Malta”. This means that they are not allowed to explicitly advertise their products and they must put a sticker on each bottle of vape liquid stating the addictive nature of nicotine.

 

He explains that this is due to the fact that nobody has politically backed vaping, while big tobacco companies have much more support and funding to be able to lobby against them.

 

“We’ve seen a turn in the industry over the last six months. The UK government has done the math and has calculated that it is cheaper to encourage people to vape as an alternative to smoking. It appears that the NHS are seeing vaping as a less expensive habit to treat then the effects of smoking cigarettes”. Vaping remains very regulated with the tobacco style warnings and a controlled volume that they are able sell at a time.

 

The Result?

Waugh has quit smoking over seven years ago. And while did admit to a couple puffs during a weak moment, he noted that after vaping, the taste of cigarettes was awful enough to keep him away ever since. He says that he contributes vaping to getting his taste buds back. Regardless of the addictive nature of nicotine, he encourages anyone that needs help to quit smoking to give vaping a chance.

 

Words by: Luc John Claude