Regina’s Premier Vape Shop
Mike Smider smoked cigarettes for a decade and a half before he opened Queen City Vapes.
“I tried to quit cold turkey,” he acknowledges. “But being out with friends... they’d go out for a smoke, and I’d go with them. Then I’d say ‘hey, score me a drag off that,’ which turned into ‘hey, score me a smoke.’ ”
Eventually, Smider discovered e-cigarettes. “A friend of mine was vaping. I was like, ‘What is that thing?’ ” Recognizing vaping as a potential alternative to “cold turkey,” Smider tried out the technology: “It worked,” he says bluntly.
In the early 2010s, however, switching to e-cigarettes meant Smider had to order vaping products online. The lack of vape shops in the area inspired his business, he explains. “I decided to bring the products here. I wanted to provide ease of access.”
Queen City Vapes is now approaching its fifth birthday. The boutique offers “hardware, vaporizers, and e-liquid to people who want to quit smoking, and haven’t had success with pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter products,” Smider says. “They’re ‘tobacco harm reduction products.’ ”
Other vape shops have since sprouted up in Regina, but Queen City Vapes opened its doors first. Evidence suggests it remains Regina’s preferred source for vaping supplies: Prairie Dog recently tapped Queen City Vapes as “Best Vape Shop.”
That’s not surprising, considering that Mike Smider stays involved in Queen City Vapes’ day-to-day operations. He’s one of just two behind-the-counter staff at the boutique, and he still personally assists visitors. “I guide people through,” he explains, “and help them find devices that will suit them.”
The technology available through Queen City Vapes includes both “mouth to lung” and “direct to lung” setups. The former most closely replicate the tactile sensations associated with old-fashioned cigarettes, Smider reports. Vaping’s appeal crosses demographics and smoking styles: “pipe smokers, cigar smokers and cigarette smokers” have all explored Queen City Vapes’ alternatives. “We want them to enjoy what they’re purchasing; our focus is the customer.”
When selecting stock for Queen City Vapes, Smider ensures that he’s able to vouch for quality. “I’ll see a new product come out, and research it. I’ll bring in a sample to see how durable it is.” He aims for combination of exclusivity (“I try to bring in something different and unique”) and customer-friendly manufacturers (“We try to pick brands that offer good warranty policies”).
Brands that have passed muster include Limitless Mod Co., OBS, UWELL, STLTH Vape, VGOD, and Wake Mod Co. In addition to the warranty policies provided by the brands themselves, Smider adds, Queen City Vapes also offers a 30-day exchange on defective hardware.
Apart from “harm reduction” considerations, smokers might also make the leap to vaping for the sake of financial savvy. After all, Smider points out, it costs over a hundred dollars weekly to maintain a “pack-a-day” lifestyle. “You can buy vaping hardware, e-liquid, and coils for less than that. Vaping is less expensive than smoking in the long run.”
There are reasons aplenty for paper cigarette smokers and vaping enthusiasts to pay a visit to Queen City Vapes. Stop in today.
Queen City Vapes
1763 Halifax Street
Facebook 4.9 stars
Best shop in the city! Absolutely amazing staff! Tried ordering off their website for the first time! Quick and easy and all my stuff was delivered within a couple days! So awesome thanks so much you guys are great! —Courtney
Photos DeAnne Bell