EASTON — A new retail store on U.S. Route 50 in Easton gives a whole new meaning to the concept of “juice bar.” Vapor Alley, owned by Rick and Barbara Mulder of Preston, offers electronic cigarettes, the juice for which comes in 20 different flavors and may be sampled at the front counter.

It’s a “healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes,” said Rick Mulder.

The juice goes into a battery-operated device that mimics the process of smoking a standard tobacco cigarette by heating it into a vapor format that smokers inhale. The vapor is essentially odor-free to the majority of people.

“It’s not really a cigarette. We call it a personal vaporizer,” Mulder said.

The juice contains three ingredients including nicotine that may be adjusted to levels equivalent to a traditional cigarette or less, and that, along with the sensation of smoking, will satisfy most smokers of traditional cigarettes, Mulder said.

What makes it a healthier alternative is a lack of chemicals, tar and carcinogens found in traditional cigarettes.

“You don’t get the thousands of chemicals found in cigarettes, and you don’t get the tar and carcinogens that cause cancer,” Mulder said. “We have to stop short of saying its good for you, but it is definitely a healthier alternative.”

The product also has a 90 percent success rate when used to reduce or quit smoking altogether, Mulder said.

”I quit smoking three years ago because of these devices,” he said.

Electronic cigarettes were introduced about 10 years ago, but the product has evolved significantly since then. Vapor carries long-lasting devices with rechargeable batteries and higher voltage than what was once available, Mulder said.

The cigarette includes a device called a clearomizer, a see-through component that is filled with the juice and has a mouthpiece attached. The other part of the device is the battery.

Starting at about $50, a complete kit includes a clearomizer, battery and charger. Kits run all the way up to $210 for a top-of-the-line Innokin 134 Mod, including the battery and charger. The difference is materials, said Mulder, which may include plastic or glass and metal.

The juice comes in 10 ml for $6.99, the duration of which is dependent on how often a person smokes. For a person who typically smokes one pack a day, 10 ml would last about one week, Mulder said.

The juice comes in flavors from traditional tobacco to blueberry muffin, and disposable tips are provided for sampling at the juice bar.

The Mulders operated online for five years before opening the 500-square-foot store front, with gross annual revenue of more than $1 million last year and only the two of them working the business.

For more information, go to www.vaporalley.com.

Shauna Thompson, business editor, may be reached at sthompson@stardem.com or follow on Twitter @stardem_biz.

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