Thanks to laws and city ordinances, smokers have been pushed into smaller and smaller spaces so that now about the only place they can legally puff away is in their home or car.
A new Lindale business – Sandi’s E Cigarettes, owned by Sandi Sweeten and located at 1414 S. Main in the Town Square shopping center – is hoping to provide those needing their nicotine fix with a new path to choose and at the same time, kick the habit altogether.
And Sandi isn’t just the business owner she’s a consumer as well.
“I haven’t had a cigarette since last fall,’’ she said. “These (e cigarettes) are great. They work for me so I know they can work for anyone.’’
The idea behind the e-cigarette is relatively simple: a nicotine delivery device comes in a tube about the same size as a large pen. You fill the device with a liquid containing a certain amount of nicotine, which Sweeten calls “juice.’’
Instead of smoke, the user exhales a water vapor which is odorless and dissipates in just a couple of seconds. Since there’s no smoke involved, Sweeten said the device is legal in all restaurants and other places smoking is prohibited.
The only place you can’t use it is on an airplane, she said.
All her products are approved by the Federal Drug Administration, she said.
How much nicotine is included is up to the customer.
“I can include as much (nicotine) as they want up to 24 milliliters,’’ Sweeten said. “I won’t go over that. Then I try to work out a plan where they will gradually step down to where eventually they are at zero.’’
She said she tries to cut back each bottle by two milliliters each time the customer comes back.
Rising costs are another reason customers are choosing e-cigarettes she said.
“My jar of juice costs $7.58 plus tax and that equals one carton of cigarettes,’’ she said. “Most cigarette cartons now cost between $60 and $75.’’
Local resident Bryon Redden is a Sandi’s customer and he swears by it.
“My wife and I just love it,’’ he said. “I’ve been using this for several weeks and I feel much better than when I smoked.’’
Sweeten offers different flavored “juices’’ – from exotic varieties such as coconut and maple to cigarette brand flavors. She also said she’s got supplies for pipe smokers as well.
Does she worry that by helping people kick the nicotine habit they will eventually become former customers?
“No, because there are a lot of people out there who need help in quitting,’’ she said. “I want to help people stop smoking. I’ve learned as much as I can about this process and I am ready to share it with all my customers.”