Winnipeg e-cigarette expo opens to packed, hazy house

Hundreds of Winnipeggers came out to the first annual Vape Expo in Winnipeg on Sunday.

Vape Expo marks first ever in Manitoba city

Tracey Cucchini shows off vape pens to a customer at the Fat Panda Vape Shop booth at the first annual Vape Expo in Winnipeg on Sunday. (CBC)

More than 100 people came out to the first annual Vape Expo in Winnipeg on Sunday.

The event had e-cigarette vendors set up in Opera Ultra Lounge to sell e-juices and vaporizers.

Vendors said the electronic cigarettes have seen major growth in the city in recent years.

Fat Panda Vapes now has two locations in Winnipeg, and owners hope to open another in Selkirk soon.

“A couple of guys got together and decided they wanted to quit smoking, so they actually bought the product themselves and realized how well it worked and wanted to share it with other people,” said Tracey Cucchini, who runs one of their locations.

The e-cigarettes or vape pens can be filled with flavoured oils, some with nicotine, and emit a vapour or mist.
Josh McLeod tries a vape pen at Winnipeg's first annual Vape Expo. McLeod said he was able to quit smoking two years ago thanks to the device. (Nelly Gonzalez/CBC)

“It’s quite the industry over in Europe and in the States, and now, it’s just recently coming to Canada,” said Cucchini. “It’s getting very popular. It’s catching on quick because people are desperate to quit smoking.”

Winnipegger Josh McLeod used a vape pen to quit smoking two years ago.

He’s part of a group that regularly meets to vape and sell products.

“It went from being 30 people to last time we had over 200 people,” he said. “It’s a good community to be in. There’s people that are really trying to quit smoking.”

McLeod said he started smoking when he was 13 and was able to quit using the vape pen.

“There’s different levels of nicotine,” said McLeod, who said he’s lowered the amount of nicotine he smokes in a day over the past two years with the pen.

Medical experts remain divided on the safety of the pens, and there has been much debate about whether they should be allowed indoors.

Admission is $1 and the expo runs until 5 p.m. Sunday.


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