Vaping and the clouded record of its consequences

Marlo Mac Flores, manager of South West Vape, a store that sells vaping products on Solano Drive, doesn’t want your business.

Unless you already vape.

Unless you’re a smoker trying to quit.

Furthermore, if he thinks you’re under 18, he’ll check your ID on a scanner app on his phone and send you on your way if you’re not old enough. The Food and Drug Administration regulates vaping just like smoking and sales to people under 18 are prohibited.

If you’ve never smoked or vaped, but want to try vaping, Flores will try to talk you out of it.

“I will tell them, ‘Are you sure you want to go backwards?’” Flores said. “If you’ve never smoked, why would you want to start? I do get people; they see it as a cool thing. They see people doing tricks. Next thing, they want to try it. I feel it should be a tool to help people quit smoking.”

That’s exactly how Flores became involved.

Flores, 30, had been a smoker since he was 17 years old. He was an avid cigar smoker, smoking as many as three a day — “that’s a lot,” he said. He collected expensive cigars whenever he traveled.

But smoking had taken a toll on his health.

“I was always real sick,” he said. “I was getting real bad throat problems. I had a real bad smoker’s cough.”

He regularly posted to Facebook about cigars and one day, six years ago, he was contacted by Ray Vigil, owner of South West Vape, who was trying to build business for his store. He asked Flores if he’d ever considered quitting and offered him a free vape starter kit to try as an alternative.



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