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Winnipeg hosts vaping expo

Winnipeg hosts vaping expo

Winnipeg, that metropolis on the broad Canadian plains of Manitoba, is getting the vaping itch. And scratching it. A vaping expo last Sunday, 20 July, in the stylish downtown nightclub Opera Ultralounge, drew a healthy crowd of curious Canucks eager to try an array of vaping devices.

Several vendors set up booths in the popular watering spot, including Fat Panda Vapes, which has two Winnipeg locations and will soon be opening an outlet in another Manitoba location. A Canadian Broadcasting (CBC) article says that e-cigarettes and vaporizers, including "vape pens" were much in evidence, but it seems from the text of the article that vaporizers, not e-cigs, were the hot item.

This is actually fairly significant, since it is increasingly clear that vapor-tank systems are on the way to dominating the vaping supplies industry, outpacing "cigalike" e-cigs at a rapid rate. Vaporizers may soon make cigalikes as much a thing of the past as the lethal smokes they resemble, or at best a transition product for moving on to real vaping. E-cig execs at Big Tobacco companies have lately been pushing the ridiculous idea that the decline in cigalike sales indicates a return to tobacco cigarettes, a spin with absolutely no data to support it. (But of course it's an idea that could be very useful to Big Tobacco, and is emblazoned in headlines as fact by a dutiful press). Investors, like those who follow the reports coming out of Wells Fargo Securities, know that the actual direction of movement is from e-cigs to vapor-tank.

The Winnipegers clearly agree. “It’s getting very popular. It’s catching on quick because people are desperate to quit smoking,” says Fat Panda store manager Tracey Cucchini. “A couple of guys got together and decided they wanted to quit smoking, so they actually bought the product themselves and realized how well it worked and wanted to share it with other people,” in a statement that could come from virtually anywhere in the world, from Katmandu to Kamchatka, from Tonga to Noname Colorado.

Another notable wrinkle is the fact that a community of enthusiastic vapers already exists in the fledgling Manitoba market. Again this is no surprise – it's also happening everyplace – but it is nonetheless encouraging. This is why vaping will continue to thrive despite the bullying of Big Tobacco, the nannying of governments, or the hand-wringing of public-use-ban activists. The decade of unregulated growth, coupled with obvious success for smoking cessation, has created a cohesive social-political movement that is strong enough to withstand whatever the nay-sayers throw at it. Even in new territory like the feisty metropolis of Winnipeg on the Canadian plains.

Winnipegger Josh McLeod, a smoker since age 13, quit 2 years ago using a vape pen (again the same story as everywhere else), and joined an interest group that meets regularly. “It went from being 30 people to last time we had over 200 people,” says McLeod, who is continuing to lower his nicotine levels. “It’s a good community to be in. There’s people that are really trying to quit smoking.”

Why are we not surprised?!

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