By Madina Toure
In downtown Flushing Dragon Vapes NYC, an e-cigarette shop, says its mission is to help people quit smoking and make a difference in the community.
Located at 135-27 Roosevelt Ave., the shop sells electronic cigarettes and the chemicals used in the products. The store has another location at 83B Bayard St. in Chinatown in Manhattan.
Orion Charlebois, who has been working at the shop for the last six months, said Dragon Vapes aims to give people of all ages the experience of smoking without having to endure the harmful effects of it, noting that its e-cigarettes are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“When you use our device, you’re not getting all the tar, all the carcinogens,” Charlebois said. “You’re getting water vapor.”
The e-cigarette’s ingredients are water vapor; propylene glycol, a synthetic liquid substance that absorbs water; vegetable glycerin, a carbohydrate derived from plant oils typically used as a sweetener and artificial and natural flavorings, such as vanilla and orange extracts.
The e-cigarettes typically cost anywhere from $45 for a starter kit to $225 for a 14-carat gold-plated vaporizer. The e-liquids used in the smoking apparatus range in price from $8 to $30.
The owner and three other individuals founded the shop because they all collectively smoked for more than 30 years and decided that vaping, or inhaling and exhaling vapor produced by an e-cigarette, was the best way to quit. The owner is from Flushing.
“It’s a growing community and he’s known in the community and he wants to make a difference,” Charlebois said.
The founders said there are no guarantees that vaping will help people quit smoking, but it is a good start for people who want to kick the habit.
They thought that there was a need for their services in Flushing, Charlebois said.
“They came up with the concept to help the community by showing them that there is an alternative, that there is a better way,” he explained.
Charlebois, who was born and raised in Flushing but has been in and out of New York state, previously worked at the College Point Multiplex Cinemas in Flushing and would hang out at the Dragon Vapes store frequently. He asked them to give him a chance to work there a couple of times and was finally successful.
He says he enjoys the job and likes coming to work every day.
“I think this is a good business for me because I like change and I like making a difference,” Charlebois said.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour