Revolver specializes in new market of electronic cigarettesWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Just a few years ago, Brooklyn Beaver was a regular consumer of some pretty harsh cigarettes. Newport 100s, about a pack and a half a day. “I would try to quit, and it was unsuccessful. And I thought, well, I’m gonna be smoking for the rest of my life,” she said in an interview with Toledo Free Press Star.
“But then, I got one of these,” Beaver said as she held up the small device on the counter in front of her — a small, sleek cylinder with a cartridge on top for inhaling. One of the many models of electronic cigarettes offered at Revolver Electronic Cigarettes Vapor Lounge, a new store near the corner of Holland-Sylvania Road and Central Avenue, which specializes in the product.
“And I was like, well, I’ll smoke this and cigarettes. And I was fine with that,” Beaver stated. “But after I started using it, I just quit. I didn’t even mean to quit, it just happened. And then, one day my friend’s like, ‘Did you quit smoking?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I think I did!’”
It wasn’t a coincidence that Beaver received an electronic cigarette. Her father, Dennis Beaver, is a co-owner of the business with fellow Toledo native Matt Smith. The two men met on the Jeep assembly line, spending 12-hour work days together and fantasizing about starting their own venture.
“One day, my dad got an electronic cigarette and said, ‘You know, we should start a business.’ So they just talked about it, not really being serious, then they kinda looked into it. They started with $3,500, and it turned into this,” Beaver said, gesturing to the store she now works in.
Revolver started two years ago as an Internet startup and through word-of-mouth, rapidly grew a loyal customer base all around the country. The physical store opened in April, and has been steadily growing its own clientele.
“We get a lot of local people who have never heard of electronic cigarettes but are just coming to test it. They’re usually smokers, and a lot of them have quit from using our products,” Beaver said.
An electronic cigarette consists of a battery that powers an atomizer, creating vapor which the “smoker” breathes through a cartridge. There are no carcinogens involved, just nicotine, so the health concerns related to smoking are supposedly a non-issue. Fans of the product don’t even want to call it smoking — it’s “vaping.”
“A lot of it is that people really do just like the vapor. My sister got onto them. We do have zero nicotine [varieties], she uses them with no nicotine and she’s never smoked before. And she likes the flavors,” Beaver said.
The flavor options or the “eLiquids,” which create the vapor, really are staggering. Not only does Revolver offer varieties which emulate most every brand of cigarette under the sun, but unusual tastes like cherry, marshmallow, beer, butterscotch, Bavarian cream, hazelnut, “Energy Bull” (a Red Bull taste-alike), Cuban cigar, cappuccino and more.
Beyond helping them kick a deadly habit, money is another reason many are turning to Revolver. The initial cost is high, with a deluxe model of electronic cigarette running $70 to $80. But the eLiquid refills are a major savings in the long run for heavy smokers, Beaver said.
“For a large bottle, [the eLiquid] should last a pack-a-day smoker about a month,” she said. “So it’s about $70 initially, and then after that, it’s about $16 a month.” Compared to the $60 or so that a carton of cigarettes can run a smoker, the economic benefit of their product becomes clear.
The FDA has yet to sign off on electronic cigarettes as an effective aid to quit smoking, or on their long-term health risks.
“They are testing it right now,” Beaver said. “And doctors say that nicotine is about as bad for you as caffeine.” She also said that up to 80 percent of the people who try their product are able to successfully quit smoking.
As for Revolver, Beaver said the company has plans to expand in the coming months, including a store in Kansas.
“I hope that we can get a lot more people off smoking. We’ve hooked a lot of people so far, but I just want everyone to know that there is an alternative to cigarettes and chew.”