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Continued: Minnesota legislators try to clear confusion over e-cigarettes

“It’s renormalizing a behavior that we’ve denormalized,” she said. “Do we want this back?”

A passion and a profession

When a friend persuaded Decorsey to try out e-cigarettes, he was so sold on the products that he decided to sell them himself.

Seven months ago, he repurposed the front of his adult bookstore to create Vape Pro’s.

Inside, an array of devices is neatly arranged and labeled in backlit glass cases. A whiteboard displays more than 50 flavors, such as Key Lime and Coconut Candy. No noticeable scent lingers in the air. Customers who decide to try the devices get on-the-spot help from Decorsey, who sets them up with a device and lets them sample flavors. Kevin Cadigan, 49, of St. Paul, selected “Belgian Waffle.”

Cadigan said he hasn’t touched a cigarette in the four weeks since he began using an e-cigarette. A 30-year smoker, he tried and failed to quit cold turkey until a friend introduced him to vaping. He said his first “vape” was caustic, but he quickly grew accustomed and doesn’t think he’ll go back to tobacco cigarettes.

“In the public forums that I have smoked this, sometimes you get a look, but no one’s been offended,” Cadigan said. No one’s said anything, unless it’s management that says ‘We have a policy of no e-cigs here.’ But no one’s said ‘That’s disgusting-smelling.’ ”

Bridget Sutherland, 31, smoked for 16 years. Her boyfriend hated the smell. For now, Sutherland sticks to e-cigarettes with “Cowboy” flavor, which she said tastes like a Marlboro but doesn’t smell like one.

Decorsey says e-cigarettes could actually be the death knell for tobacco products. As e-cigarette sales soar, sales of heavily taxed tobacco products could plummet.

“Uncle Sam’s not making it on tobacco anymore,” he said.

 

Staff writer Eric Roper contributed to this report.

abby.simons@startribune.com 651-925-5043

jim.ragsdale@startribune.com 651-925-5042

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