by Stephen Dafoe
Thomas Kirsop smoked his first cigarette at the age of 9. By 15, he was a regular smoker. Though his parents valiantly tried to interrupt the process for several years, he remained a smoker as an adult, smoking a pack-and-a-half a day by his early 30s.
“My notion of indestructibility was waning,” Kirsop recalls. “This was the point in my life that I began my annual flirtation with cessation products, dutifully heading to buy several hundred dollars of Nicotine Replacement Therapy products every year, and then returning to smoking.”
He repeated that cycle for 12 years until he ran into a man at work who was smoking a vapourizer. Like many, he asked what it was and how it worked.
After a false start with a poor-quality product he bought at a mall kiosk, Kirsop butted out another cigarette and walked into a Vape shop, willing to gamble the price of a carton of smokes on another attempt to quit smoking.
“That was the last cigarette I ever put out,” Kirsop said, noting his transition from smoking to vaping is considered anecdotal to tobacco control organizations and Health Canada. “My experience absolutely may not be anyone else’s experience and as a soon-to-be vendor, I will be prohibited from voicing my opinions on cessation or health benefits that have not been scientifically proven and accepted by Health Canada, as stated in their 2009 notice on E-Cigarettes.”
Kirsop has spent a lot of time in researching the technology and the culture of vaping. Last September when his wife told him of a conversation with a man lamenting the lack of a place to buy vaping products locally, the idea for the business was born.
That business — Alternatives & Options — Vapourizers and E-Liquids Ltd. — is set to open Mar. 7 in the former used car lot on 100 Street.
Kirsop said the unique name was part of the shop’s philosophy. “Once the decision was made to start the business, considerable thought was put into who we are, what we do, and what impact we would like to have,” he said. “We want to create an atmosphere that welcomed a smoker looking to try an alternative, and we wanted to address some of the common image issues in the industry. So we looked to terms used for second, third and fourth generation vapourizers and came up with Alternatives & Options — Vapourizers and E-Liquids Ltd.”
Recent headlines about a young man who was burned by a vapourizer are something Kirsop said was an unfortunate incident.
Kirsop said he believed the device used was a hybrid mechanical mod, used with a tank type atomizer not designed for use on such a device, potentially shorting out the battery. Batteries in all modern vaping devices, Kirsop explains, have a high level of potential energy and when over-stressed will vent to release that energy. “Due to the level of electrical knowledge required to safely operate them, and the risk potential should they be operated outside of their limitations, Alternatives & Options will not stock mechanical mods for sale,” Kirsop said. “It’s our belief that modern regulated vapourizers with their safety interlocks are a far better option for the vast majority of users.”
Kirsop went on to say the new shop will be age restricted to customers 18 years of age and older, and anyone who looks under 25 will be asked for ID.
Alternatives & Options – Vapourizers and E-Liquids Ltd. – is set to open Mar. 7 in the former used car lot on 100 Street. The store will be open Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. No decision has been made on Sunday hours as of yet.