What Is A Vapeshop?

The vaping industry has taken the business world by storm. Once largely relegated to a niche market, vaping has overtaken a significant portion of the tobacco and cigarette industry and continues to grow at an unprecedented rate.

Much of vaping’s success can be linked directly to the prevalence and prominence of vape shops throughout the U.S. These vape shops can be found readily in most cities across the country and are recognized for their positive economic impact on local markets.

Despite enjoying such prominent success today, however, the typical vape shop once existed on the fringe of the business world and possessed doubtful, if not entirely unstable futures. The transformation of the tobacco market, however, has allowed these businesses to grow and thrive, so much so that they now reap dividends that give the vaping industry as a whole a bright future.

To appreciate the evolution of the online vape shop industry, it is important that the public learns about these stores and discover the unique subculture, terminology, and product lines associated with it. By learning about its story in entirety, people can appreciate what is a vape shop and the thriving retail market that has developed from it.

The History of Vape Shops

American inventory Herbert A. Gilbert maintains the credit for inventing the first electronic vaporizer in 1963. Despite obtaining a patent for his vaping device, he was unsuccessful in pitching his invention to tobacco businesses.

In 2001, however, Chinese inventor Hon Lik devised an electronic cigarette similar to Gilbert’s. Lik’s inspiration for his invention came from watching his own father die of smoking-related lung cancer. Unlike Gilbert’s device, Lik’s invention incorporated the use of nicotine. He obtained the patent for his e-cigarette in 2003 and pitched it as an alternative to traditional smoking.

Soon after, vaping became rampantly popular in Europe and made its way to the U.S. by 2004. Vape shops began springing up across the country by the mid-2000s to meet the demand of this growing market. Many of these stores initially began as extensions to traditional tobacco, pipe, and cigarette stores. While these stores’ primary focus centered on selling cigarettes and tobacco smoking accessories, they also offered a limited number of vaping products as well.

As vaping grew in popularity, tobacco shops began offering more vaping products. Some shops even scaled back on the tobacco inventory that they offered because they made a bigger profit with their vaping product lines. In addition to hybrid tobacco and vaping stores, vape shop locations dedicated solely to vaping products like e-cigarettes and vaping juices also started appearing more prominently on the market by 2005 to 2006.

The rise of vaping’s popularity can be linked to the decline of traditional tobacco smoking. As more people became aware of tobacco use’s side effects, such as the increased risk of oral and lung cancer, cigarette, pipe, and cigar smokers turned to vaping. By late 2013, more than 3500 vape shops were in business across the U.S. Many vape shop owners opened their stores in abandoned buildings or declining strip malls, revitalizing these shopping venues and helping to boost the local economies.

Today, people interested in vaping can find a wide array of products within the typical vape shop. Some of the inventory that is for sale at any given time in a vape shop include:

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  • Starter kits with devices, chargers, and batteries
  • E-juices
  • E-cigarettes and vaping devices
  • Batteries
  • Carrying cases for vaping kits
  • Vaping magazines
  • Accessories like clothing or bags
  • Along with brick and mortar retail locations, vape shops increasingly are doing business online. Online vape shops allow shoppers to buy products and devices that may be unavailable in their state.

However, they cannot purchase products like dry medicine or cannabis oil for vaping if these products are already outlawed where they live. People are advised to know what is a vape shop as defined by their state laws and what products can be shipped into the state legally from a vape shop that operates online.

The Evolution of the Vape shop

In exploring what is a vape shop today, it can be crucial to consider this industry’s evolution to what it is today. It also is important to ask what is a vape shop in terms of its responsibility to society and to what extent it must be beholden to state and federal laws.

As noted, the typical vape shop began as either an extension of a traditional tobacco store or as a fledgling enterprise dedicated to the burgeoning vaping industry. Lawmakers, by and large, did not know much about what a vape shop offered or what impact its product line could have on the state and country’s economy.

As they became more aware of the economic potential behind vaping, lawmakers answered their own question of what is a vape shop and what can this growing industry do for the state and the country. They quickly realized that as people spent more money at these stores the potential existed for tax revenue to be harvested for the economy.

In fact, Bloomberg reported in 2014 that the vaping industry was worth more than $1.5 billion in the U.S. Cities like Chicago acted quickly to tax vape shop owners as much as $8 to $15 per 15 to 30-milliliter bottle of vaping juice. City leaders in Chicago argued that the taxation boosted the economy and also minimized the health risk that vaping might have on adolescents and teenagers.

As the vaping industry grew, the debate also grew about what impact this smoking alternative could have on people’s health. While most health experts acknowledged that adults had the right to vape, they argued that vaping could harm the health of children and teenagers. No definitive scientific study has proven that vaping is harmful to the health of people under the age of 18. Nonetheless, the vape shop industry has had to accommodate the growing movement to restrict children’s access to e-cigarettes and vaping products.

Today, legislation is in the works throughout the country to limit to whom the average vape shop can sell its products. Laws to compel shop owners to answer what is a vape shop in terms of its liability to children are also in discussion in many states. To date, more than 400 laws pertaining to vaping and the vaping industry have been created or are in the works of being enacted. Some laws even want to make vaping devices and products like e-juice subject to FDA approval.

Given the variety of laws that continue to target the vaping industry, the answer to what is a vape shop could become subject to the laws passed by the individual states or the federal government. Until then, the product line available at these retailers indicate what is a vape shop in its truest form. These stores are places where people who want to switch to e-cigarettes can find devices, e-juices, chargers, kits, and more for sale.

What is A Vape shop: Terminology

The vaping subculture enjoys a vocabulary all its own that can be confusing to people unfamiliar with it. To help people understand more about vaping products and practices, they may learn terms like:


ADV is an acronym for an all-day vape. It refers to a flavor of e-liquid that a person can tolerate vaping all day without growing tired of or becoming ill. Popular ADV flavors include mild tobacco, vanilla, or caramel.


A bonut is a modified regular atomizer into which a greater amount of liquid can be dropped. A bonut is created by rolling and molding a piece of stainless pipe screen into a two-millimeter circular tube.


Also called a topper, it is an atomizer, tank, liquid reservoir, or mouthpiece that is attached to the battery at the user end of the device. A head can be one piece or it can consist of several components.

Numerous other terms for vaping and vaping products and practices exist. By knowing this terminology, people can make the most of their own vaping experience and also consider more of what is a vape shop today.

What is a Vape Shop: Popularity of Vape Shops

The Portland Press in early 2016 explored the question of what is a vape shop in terms of its popularity today. It found that vape shops continue to perform very well in local economies and across the country as a whole. The Portland Press article reported that global research firm BIS found that the industry is growing by more than 22 percent each year and also speculated that profits for the vaping industry in the U.S. could reach $50 billion by the year 2025.

Some of that growth can be linked to states like Colorado that have legalized the sell of dry medicine and herbal remedies within the states’ borders. E-cigarettes allow users of these products to vape instead of smoke the products outright. They also allow people the discretion that some prefer when using such remedies either in public or in the privacy of their own homes.

The popularity of these shops also can be linked to the ever-growing array of e-liquids and vape juices that are available. People who want to stop smoking and also people who want to enjoy the flavor that comes with vaping continue to be loyal to vape shops that make these liquids and juices available. Many people report that they remain loyal to vaping simply because of the array of juices and liquids that are now available to them at vape shops.

What is A Vape Shop: The Future of Vape Shops

It is no secret that lawmakers across the country seem focused on restricting and tightly regulating the vaping industry. Despite these attempts to restrict and eliminate vaping in the U.S., the industry itself continues to thrive.

When considering what is a vape shop and its earning potential, studies have shown that the typical vape shop generates as much as $26,000 a month in revenue. This amount totals more than $300,000 in profits alone for the average shop owner.

Because of the earning potential and the fact that people do not seem dissuaded by lawmakers’ interest in shutting down the industry, entrepreneurs now recognize the earning potential that can be found in opening one of these shops. Opening a vape shop tends to be relatively straightforward and simple. The largest challenge exists in complying with local, state, and federal laws that are already in place. It can be important for entrepreneurs to know these laws, particularly when it comes to ordering and selling inventory for their shops.

While some lawmakers seem focused on restricting vaping, economists note that politicians should ask themselves what is a vape shop in terms of boosting the local economy. As noted, many of these shops open in abandoned storefronts or in shopping centers that have seen a decline in traffic and sales. The shops are recognized and appreciated as vital fixtures to economies in need of rejuvenation.

As such, while some could argue that vaping remains under tight scrutiny from politicians, it by and large maintains a bright future. Both brick and mortar stores continue to perform well and also continue to bring in business from all demographics of the population. Manufacturers of devices, e-liquids, juices, and vaping accessories remain committed to offering the public the product lines that can now be found in any vape shop in the U.S.

Vaping has come a long way since its inception in the early 2000s. It has grown from a niche interest to a global pastime that has helped countless people quit smoking or ease their dependence on tobacco. It also continues to generate impressive profits that make it one of the most successful industries in the world. The public can appreciate vaping and its evolution by learning more about its backstory, product lines, and the potential for the future.

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