Micah Pullen, Ken Callaway, Dillon Reddish ome of us have habits we loathe which are so much a part of our everyday routine that they become almost impossible to curb and later quit altogether. One of those said habits currently under fire by every healthcare professional who has spoken to patients about the topic is smoking. The trail of physical dangers caused by smoking is a mile long, and recently, the socially unacceptable implications are gaining ground. No one wants to cut their time with loved ones short and many, who don’t partake in a puff or two on occasion, don’t want to see or smell the remnants of someone taking valuable years from their lives. Nowadays, there is an alternative to lighting up which does not include a package of tasteless gum or a patch that delivers teeth-chattering doses of nicotine directly through the skin of a smoker hoping to kick the stinky little monkey from their back. Electronic cigarettes, also known as vapes, vapors, e-cigarettes or other new terms that may be as foreign to us as the device itself, are popping up all around us as folks trade their pack and lighter for tiny bottles of liquid and curious-looking handhelds. One downtown business owner was once perplexed with the new fad but after smoking for almost 20 years, he found that cigarettes were literally stifling his outdoor lifestyle and “vaping” gave him the
needed wiggle room to escape from underneath the thumb of tobacco. Ken Callaway, lifelong Roman and owner of Summit Mist Vapors (522 Broad Street, Rome), saw the need to remove cigarettes from his life when he would begin to lose his breath while doing what he loves, mountain climbing. “I’m an explorer at heart. I really love the fire and the drive of life. It’s a beautiful thing,” he says. “But, I smoked for 19 years and one day while at the top of a mountain I lit a cigarette. I found that moment to be very counterproductive, you know, to be at the top of a mountain smoking a cigarette. “I started feeling the realities associated with smoking. I was in my early 30s with a smokers cough and I got tired prematurely,” Callaway continues. “I had tried a couple of cheaper (cessation) kits with no success in quitting, so I generalized the entire market as ineffective and gimmicky.” While working as a manager for a chemical lawn care company, Callaway noticed one of his clients puffing away on a strange-looking contraption. And being a smoker who had a burning desire to quit, he was naturally curious about what this gentleman was inhaling. “He had this weird-looking device and he kept talking to me about it. He had bought extras for his friends and family and he sold me on it. I paid $30 for it along with the only flavor he
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had, which was pina colada. So, I thought here is another $30 wasted,” Callaway recalls. “But I never looked back after that and it surprised me because I wasn’t even looking for an alternative at that point. I had tried everything, or so I had thought, but it really changed my life.” With a new-found method to quitting his pack-a-day addiction, Callaway started to explore new flavors and technology in the e-cigarette arena but his knowledge of grass, and different ways to make a lawn beautiful, was propelling him up the management chain of the lawn care company he worked for. Still, Callaway continued to research his new found passion until he could no longer keep it under wraps. “I decided to open Summit Mist Vapors in October of 2013 inside a closet at a friend’s salon called Wiyanna’s Salon. I am forever grateful to her for letting me impose on her like that,” he says. “If she had not allowed me to open there first, I really couldn’t have done it.” Now, his business has gained traction, allowing him to find his permanent home.