Hi folks. Today we have some bad news to announce: Steam Vapour Co. will likely close in the next two to five months. However, in order to give everyone as much time as possible to prepare, we are introducing three new, extra-large quantities of e-juice available by special order only. 120mL bottles will be $35, 480mL will be $120, and 960mL will be $200. Our standard Buy 3 Get 1 Free deal will apply to these quantities, but no other discounts or coupons may be used. If you’re interested in all the details as to why Steam will probably close, please continue to read below.
If you have been following the news, you know that over the past six months, several events have had very detrimental impacts on small vapor businesses across the country. As a shop that’s totally specialized in vapor products, Steam Vapour Co. is not immune to these effects.
In the fall of 2019, the CDC fueled the flames of a mass panic circulating around tainted, black market THC cartridges, and they irresponsibly advised the public to stop all kinds of vaping. While our customers and vapers across the country can attest to the fact that traditional nicotine vaping could not and did not cause the illnesses that began to occur last year, social pressure on vapers to quit vaping spiked dramatically. As a result, we at Steam lost approximately 40% of our usual revenue.
More recently, the U.S. Congress and President Trump passed and signed an immediate raise on the age limit to purchase all tobacco products. Due to the Laramie Police Department’s silence on the issue of enforcement, we’ve had to turn away about 15% of our remaining client base to remain law-abiding.
Lastly, way back in 2016, the FDA enacted regulations that prohibited the introduction of new vapor products into the market and made it extremely difficult for vapor manufacturers to legally advertise their products. As many of you have likely noticed, most of the industry decided to ignore these regulations. Perhaps unwisely, we at Steam decided to follow them.
From day one, we have manufactured and sold only our own e-liquid. This policy has allowed us to control the quality of our e-liquid to exacting standards and enabled us to know every ingredient that our customers purchase and inhale. To us, the risk involved in selling e-liquid with unknown ingredients to our fellow community members has always been too high. Thus, when Juul broke out on the scene in 2017 with a new kind of nicotine--nicotine salts--we were wary.
Strap in for a little bit of nerdy vaping chemistry. Nicotine on its own is pH basic, making it slightly caustic. In traditional freebase nicotine e-liquid, this gives more “throat hit” at higher nicotine concentrations. Nicotine salts, on the other hand, have been reacted with an acid, usually benzoic acid. While this makes the nicotine slightly harder for the body to process, it makes the nicotine almost pH neutral and drastically reduces throat hit. With less throat hit, nicotine salt manufacturers like Juul can increase nicotine concentrations to ridiculous and arguably irresponsible levels. This, of course, makes their products incredibly addictive. Combined with subversive advertising targeted at youth and the poor ID-checking practices of convenience stores and gas stations, Juul took the vaping world by storm and created the “youth vaping epidemic”.
Nicotine salts are ethically a double-edged sword. Being able to deliver more nicotine with less throat hit makes vaping a more viable alternative to many smokers for whom traditional vaping just wasn’t enough. More smokers switching to vaping is an undeniable improvement. On the other hand, products that deliver double the nicotine of actual cigarettes have the potential to create crippling addictions.
We at Steam strongly considered a middle ground. We prototyped e-liquid using nicotine salts but with reasonable nicotine levels. Our hope was to use this new kind of nicotine to reduce the throat hit of our e-liquid and offer a product that supplied enough nicotine to satisfy the cravings of the heaviest smoker without creating an even stronger addiction.
Unfortunately, the FDA regulations from 2016 prevented us from bringing these products to market. To be honest, this decision haunts me. While competing e-liquid manufacturers chose to ignore FDA regulations, gambling that enforcement would never come, we chose to follow the law. While other local retailers sold Juuls and other high-concentration nicotine salt products, we chose to continue to sell the only product we trusted--our own. While other vape shops in the state ran ads on local pop radio with laughable disclaimers like, “If you’re under 18, turn off your radio now”, we hoped word-of-mouth between our adult customers would carry us like it always had. And now, while others have decided to continue to sell tobacco products to individuals under the age of 21, we’ve again chosen to follow federal law.
Looking back, it is impossible to know if we made the right decisions, and I don’t blame or resent our competitors for making the opposite decisions. Honestly, less people smoking and more people vaping can easily justify most business decisions in this industry. However slight the moral difference, there have indeed been high roads and low roads to choose from and we believed the high road would always be more rewarding--and in many ways it has.
We’ve developed not just an extremely loyal set of customers, but a network of friends. Over our six years, we’ve helped thousands if not tens of thousands of individuals switch away from smoking. As we look to the future and our likely closure, many thoughts weigh heavily upon us. While it’s difficult to rank all the worries we have, among the most pressing is the concern that without access to our products some of our customers may return to smoking. Of course, many of you will switch to products from other manufacturers and suppliers, and we certainly encourage that over smoking. However, we also know that most of you would prefer to continue to use the products you know and love for as long as possible. Our other concern is the economic well-being of our employees, ourselves, and the business itself as we all eventually transition to other work.
So, in hopes of addressing both of these concerns, we’re offering three new quantities of e-liquid: 120mL for $35, 480mL for $120.00 and 960mL for $200.00, with our standard discount of Buy 3 Get 1 Free applying to all quantities. Just to have the math out there, B3G1 on 120mL means a cost of $0.22/mL, B3G1 on 480mL is $0.19/mL, and B3G1 on 960mL is $0.16/mL. Of course, these are huge quantities with lots of up-front cost for both Steam and the customer. To make it easier for everyone, these are available by special order only with half payment on order and half on pick up. Turn-around time for the first orders will be approximately two weeks, with most later orders available on a shorter timeline based on ingredient availability.
Depending on how this all works out, Steam will likely continue operation in one way or another for the next two to five months. As things progress, it is likely that some parts of the business will change. Business hours will likely be shortened and we may not be open certain days of the week. Our selection of available hardware may shrink, but we will do our best to continue to offer most coils and our favorite devices at every price point.
Finally, we’d like to thank all of our customers and the community as a whole for helping Steam Vapour Co. to exist in the first place. We’ve come a long way from our launch day on October 1st, 2013 with our folding table product display, and none of it would have been possible without you. Being able to serve and contribute to the downtown Laramie economy has been one of the great prides of our lives. Despite the harsh weather and the eternal parking issues, it’s hard to imagine a better locale for a business like ours. Of all the emotions we’ve experienced while writing this announcement, gratitude to our customers and community is the most prevalent. So one last time, thank you.
And that concludes this very long post! If you’d like to help us stay open as long as possible, please share the information regarding our new e-liquid sizes and pricing. We’ve recently reduced prices on our 60mL bottles to $22.50, and 30mL bottles are also slightly cheaper at $16.50. If you’re a Steam customer that has since moved away, but would still like to get some great e-liquid at some crazy low prices, you can call us at 307-745-8116. We’ll validate your ID and get it shipped out to you! Steam also owns a very large step van (i.e. food truck) that is currently for sale at $5,500 or best offer; if you or anyone you know is interested, please let us know!