COLUMBUS — Jason Jakub and his wife Heather were long-time smokers.
For 15 years, they needed cigarettes to get through a day.
Now the Columbus natives and current Lincoln residents say they can’t stand the smoky smell that used to linger after each puff.
“It’s better vaping Gummy Bear than smoking a cigarette that tastes like dirty socks,” Heather Jakub said, using a term that’s becoming increasingly common as more people trade their packs of Marlboros and Camels for an electronic alternative.
The Jakubs have been using electronic cigarettes for more than a year, a switch they made in an attempt to kick the tobacco habit.
“It worked perfectly,” said Jason Jakub, who works at Novartis in Lincoln.
And it caught on quickly.
Soon friends and family members were requesting e-cigarette kits the Jakubs purchased from GNS Vapor, a Lincoln business three of their friends opened in August 2012.
Instead of continuing to play the role of courier, the couple decided to open their own store in Columbus.
JnJ Vapor opened Aug. 17 in a downtown shop the Jakubs lease.
The 2423 13th St. business sells e-cigarette supplies and custom blends of “juice” created at GNS Vapor, which now has two Lincoln locations.
An e-cigarette works by warming this liquid juice, turning it to vapor that’s inhaled by the user and exhaled as a white cloud that quickly dissipates.
Each bottle of juice — offered in 27 flavors that range from tobacco to Mountain Dew to raspberry cheese Danish — is mixed with a specific level of nicotine to match the customer’s needs.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t classify e-cigarettes as cessation devices, but many smokers use them to quit by slowly lowering the amount of nicotine mixed with each bottle of juice.
Jason Jakub said some customers don’t request any nicotine. They use e-cigarettes simply because they enjoy the flavors.
“It tastes good. It smells good,” he said.
It’s also more affordable than smoking cigarettes, according to the Jakubs.
The initial kit — which includes an e-cigarette, two rechargeable batteries, two juice tanks and one 10-milliliter bottle of juice — costs $59.99.
A 10-milliliter bottle of juice, sold for $6.99 at JnJ Vapor, will typically last three to five days, depending on the amount of use. This bottle can contain as much nicotine as two packs of cigarettes.
Jason Jakub said e-cigarettes also are more socially acceptable, since they don’t leave a nasty smell or cigarette butts.
The devices can be used in most bars and restaurants that fall under the state’s smoking ban as well.
Although there currently aren’t any state or federal regulations that set an age limit on e-cigarette sales, JnJ Vapor doesn’t sell their products to anyone under the age of 18.
Still business has been good over the past month, something the Jakubs expect to continue as e-cigarettes catch on with more customers.
“It’s definitely growing fast,” Heather Jakub said.
JnJ Vapor is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and there are plans to begin offering Saturday hours in the future.
More information also is available online at www.jnjvapor.com.