Breakin’ the Law

A couple weeks ago, our local vape shop was busted by the feds for daring to sell juice for ecigs that they hand crafted themselves right in the shop, without also having gone through the tedious, lengthy, and exorbitantly expensive (for a small business) process of acquiring the proper bits of paper. I’d been expecting it to happen, but the husband, who didn’t know about the owner’s “fuck the man” attitude, was shocked to find the store closed with governmental signs posted all over it about the bust. Sad day for a bunch of folks, and not just us.

I’m 100% down with people needing licenses to sell consumables to the public. Stuff needs to be safe, and consumers need to know exactly what is in the things they are putting in their bodies. But the process to get that done for ecig juice is ridiculously out of reach of any local small business. I’m convinced this is by design. They don’t want people getting their nicotine locally at small businesses. They want people addicted to nicotine created by large companies, preferably those associated with the existing tobacco industry. I prefer to buy juice crafted just for me, on the spot, by a human being I’ve developed a friendly relationship with and who can/will be forthcoming with answers to any ingredient questions I may have.

Anyway, our vape shop getting busted by the feds created a bit of a crisis. While our shop will be reopening (selling only approved juices), they are having some downtime, and there’s really nowhere else in town we want to buy what we need. There’s certainly no one else breaking the law, and I’d don’t know squat about the companies who have gotten licenses to manufacture nicotine products or said products, so a lot of research has happened the last two weeks. I’ve discovered a few things, most of which don’t make me happy. Ok, none of which make me happy, but I’m trying to not be too cranky about it all.

If you can find ecig juice with more than 6 mg, it’s a miracle. Part of the reason for this is the propensity of a certain kind of vaper … the sort taking drags off what appears to be a pipe bomb … and their desire to constantly be creating giant plumes of “smoke”. The other part of it is that lower nicotine levels leads to the selling of more juice to people who want more nicotine than that. A 60 ml bottle of 12 mg juice lasts me two months, maybe three. I’m not a heavy vaper, and I don’t amuse myself in my downtime by blowing huge clouds of smoke around. I think that same amount lasts the husband a couple of weeks. So I’ll be interesting to see what happens when we have to use 6 mg juice.

The other thing I discovered is that single flavor juices are apparently not a thing in the licensed juice world right now. If it is, I haven’t been able to find it. I’ve always kept two flavors on hand. A nice rich vanilla and a clean, crisp peppermint. I don’t need custard or cupcake or pancake. Just the vanilla, thank you very much. Can’t find that. It’s all mixed with berries or milk or other things I don’t want. I did find peppermint, but it took some searching. So now, in addition to having to figure out which companies are making juice I’m willing to put into my body, I have to find one that makes a flavor I don’t dislike. The struggle is real.

And see, I knew all this was coming … with our hardware being discontinued and our vape shop breaking the law, which is why I was in the process of giving up nicotine. It’s a hard thing to do when you don’t really want to do it, but when one of my vices becomes a hassle, I drop it. Procuring nicotine has now become a hassle. It’s stressing me out. I self medicate with nicotine to relax. I don’t want to spend weeks pouring over long lists of flavors I don’t want and juices containing things I don’t want to also consume with my nicotine. I’m willing to trade a few years at the end of my life for maximum enjoyment in the present, but not if the whole process of doing it is stressful. I am also not terribly addicted to nicotine. It’s been a real on again/off again relationship over the years.

All the same, I live with a true nicotine addict who isn’t likely to give it up until he’s in the grave, so I had to find some juice somewhere. Fast. I went to the online store we get our ecig hardware from, and lo and behold, they sell juice too. I’d never noticed. I looked through hundreds of flavors from a variety of companies, and 99.999% of them either made me roll my eyes or gag. I did manage to find a peppermint flavored one, and I settled on getting a bottle of s’mores and one with a weird name that’s suppose to be chocolate, vanilla, and peppermint. It’s as close as I could get to single flavors of vanilla, chocolate, and peppermint that the two of us have always used, and really none of it is close at all.

The new juice arrived today, and while I won’t get to try the other flavors until my cartomizer runs dry, I did immediately fill my peppermint dedicated ecig, and it’s good. Maybe even great. You can’t really mess up straight peppermint. I hope the others are at least adequate, because I’d hate to have to find a new supplier and new juice at the same time. Besides, I suspect in a few months our local vape shop will quietly begin selling hand crafted juice again, just significantly more on the down low. Or maybe not. I’m trying to quit anyway, so if the juice all sucks, and I hate everything, quitting will become much easier. Ok, not actually easier, nothing easy about giving up nicotine, but I will then most definitely stop wanting to vape.