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February 2nd, 2009‘Smoking’ without the smell

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by Don Bolding

Sandra Hammack said she and her friends got tired of having to excuse themselves at social events to go outside and smoke. So she and her husband, Justin, who wanted her to quit, anyway, found a way to “smoke” inside.

Hammack, a Realtor with Century 21, got her first electronic cigarette about the middle of last year and got the impression it could be the coming fashion.

Because real estate sales were fairly slow, she and Justin started developing a proposal to produce a business of the devices under her sole ownership, since he does civilian contract work in Iraq. She settled on the brand name of Choices for the generic products made in China and set up a kiosk near the food court in Killeen Mall in November. She says the idea has been catching on.

“Business was great during the holiday season,” she said, “and oddly, most people weren’t buying them for gifts except for themselves, I suppose. Maybe their own use of them was a gift to their family and friends.

“It’s slowed a little now, but all businesses are slow in January. I’ve worked in customer service all my life, and I know retail patterns. But I expect it to pick up again starting about now.”

The electronic cigarette was first made in China in 2004 and has been available online for some time.

Hammack said it’s now manufactured in Germany and India.

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