Anthony Fanelli considered himself a heavy smoker before he discovered vaping four years ago.
“I used to smoke Parliament Lights and Marlboro 27s,” said Fanelli. “I was a pack-and-a-half a day person.”
Now, as the owner of Fishtown Vapes, Fanelli, 30, is dedicated to spreading the word about the various benefits of vaping. The shop, which opened last year a few days before Christmas, sells a variety of kits, tools and juices to those trying to make the switch from regular cigarettes or those who merely enjoy how it tastes.
Fishtown Vapes also features a lounge area complete with a PS3 and an acoustic guitar for those who wish to bring their own vaporizers and chill.
Fishtown Vapes employee and longtime smoker Joe Fischetti cited the health benefits that made switching easy for him.
“Every time you smoke a cigarette, you’re putting hundreds of chemicals into your body,” said the 21-year-old Fischetti, who started smoking when he was twelve. “Whereas when you make the switch over to vaping, you have four major things: propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine and your flavoring. That’s it.”
The store currently offers thirty-five different flavors, ranging from candy to fruit flavorings. Fanelli hopes to expand the store in the coming months to include a full juice bar, allowing employees to mix and match hundreds of flavors for potential vapes.
Michael Hagan, 23, started smoking cigarettes when he was 14 and only stopped last year when he began vaping as a means to quell his addiction.
“Recently, my grandpop got really bad lung cancer from smoking,” Hagan said. “He got through it but it made me want to stop smoking altogether.”
Hagan, who is expecting a child soon, is pleased that he’ll be able to keep his family free of second-hand smoke.
Fanelli says that when a customer first comes in, he or she usually works with them to pinpoint how much nicotine they consume daily and then they work out a system that involves continually decreasing amounts of nicotine. Nicotine levels are up to the customer but can range anywhere from 18 milligrams – equal to Fanelli’s former pack and a half habit – to zero.
The long-term effects of vaping have yet to be measured by the FDA, so time will tell if it can truly be considered a healthy alternative. For now, Fishtown Vapes fills a void in the area for those looking to kick their habit at their own pace.
-Text and Images by Daniel Craig and Kevin Stairiker.