For months after converting to electronic-cigarettes, John Hartigan of Montecito Heights was a loyal customer of Vape-On in San Gabriel.
On his regular visits to the shop to purchase juice or batteries for his electronic smoking device, he would encourage owner Raymond Shen to consider franchising his business.
"Being that he was in the business for years, Raymond was the guru of 'vape,'" Hartigan said.
Eventually, the guru heeded Hartigan's advice. And he pegged one of his loyal customers to help expand the business.
"He asked me to be his partner, and after some conversation, we figured out a way to make it happen," said Hartigan, the owner of Vape On 2, located at the former location of the Flying Pigeon Bike Shop on 3714 N. Figueroa St. in Highland Park.
Vape on 2 held its soft opening on Saturday, Sept. 8 and so far has been enjoying a slow but steady stream of customers, Hartigan said.
For those not familiar with the product, Hartigan explained that e-cigarettes offer a tobacco-free alternative to cigarettes. The devices offer the same tactile sensation of smoking cigarettes, but are filled with flavored juices instead of tobacco.
"Nothing is burned," Hartigan said.
The level of nicotine in the juice can range from zero to 24 mg, depending on the user's preference.
Vape on 2 will sell juices, power supplies and the tank systems which convert the liquid into vapor.
The FDA has yet to offer a definitive ruling about the safety of e-cigarettes, and prohibits sellers from marketing them as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes.
However, news reports state that a growing number of smokers are switching to "vaping" because of the perceived health advantages.
Hartigan was cautious when talking about his own experiences with e-cigarettes, given the FDA marketing regulations, but he did tell Patch that he's no longer smoking tobacco cigarettes after nearly 37 years.
"It's weird to put it in these terms, but it just makes smoking interesting again," he said.
Vape on 2 is now open to the public 12-8 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and 12-5 p.m. on Sunday.