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Vape store comes to Yellowknife

VapouRevolution opened in the Monkey Tree Mall in early December. The store specializes in selling Vaporizers. Dylan Short/NNSL photo

A new store in town is looking to bring an alternative to smoking up North that swept through Southern Canada last year.

VapouRevolution first opened in the Monkey Tree Mall on Range Lake Road in early December. The store sells a number of vaporizers and cannabis accessories.

Vapourizers are devices that turn nicotine filled gels into vapour that a person inhales. VapouRevolution is one of the largest chain stores in Canada that sells the devices, Mike Williams, the Yellowknife store's manager, says the devices can be used to help people stop smoking.

“A lot of the health problems a lot of the chemicals that you see with cigarettes, comes with the burning of tobacco. We don't burn anything and we don't burn tobacco so we don't have a lot of those by-products or those chemicals. All the stuff that you just don't need in your body, We don't have that issue,” said Williams.

While vapes are recognized by Health Canada as a healthier alternative to smoking, the department also lists a number of risks associated with the products. These risks include nicotine addiction in non-smokers and an increase in exposure to chemicals that can cause lung damage.

“If you are a smoker, vaping is a less harmful option than smoking,” states the Health Canada's website. “Vaping can increase your exposure to chemicals that could harm your health. Vaping could also expose you to nicotine, which is addictive. There are also concerns about the appeal of vaping products among youth and their potential to promote tobacco use.”

According to the latest government statistics, from 2012, 34 percent of NWT residents are smokers with 26 per cent of people smoking every day. The average NWT smoker has 11 cigarettes a day, 37 per cent of people who have smoked in the NWT have been able to quit.

Health Canada also warns of increased risks in youth due to the appeal of vaping in young people. Williams says he agrees young people don't need to be vaping and that his store asks for identification from everyone he sells to.

“We all know teenagers do like to try to get all this stuff, we do ID everybody," said Williams. "We don't sell to minors, we don't sell to people that are buying for minors. I'm very strict on that, I don't let that fly, There's major fines, major restrictions and kids don't need to be doing this stuff.”

Williams said the management team at VapouRevolution saw a need for a vape store in Yellowknife and that the employees at the store will be the experts in town on the use of the smoking alternative. VapouRevolution will work with each individual to make sure they're getting the right products to get away from cigarettes, Williams said.

“Not only do we give people a healthier alternative to quit smoking but when people come here, they're going to get the right knowledge, they're going to get the right products that they need,”said Williams.

In addition to vapes and all of the associated accessories, VapouRevolution will sell cannabis paraphernalia. Williams said that while the store doesn't currently have any plans to open a dispensary when the private market opens later this year, he also said the chain hasn't ruled anything out.

Vaping products are also sold in a number of convenience stores around town as well as the Independent smoke shop.