The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

December 1, 2013

E-cigs available in menthol, fruit and ... cheesecake

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

— Southern Smoke Electronic Cigarette in the Crossroads Mall is now open for business.

The owner, Suraj “SJ” Gurung, said he offers a variety of products to help people quit smoking, and his customers are already coming back with success stories.

“It’s a one-stop shop for all of your needs. We have electronic cigarette starter kits, supplies and dozens of flavors to choose from,” Gurung said.

Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices that simulate regular smoking. The e-cigs use a heating element that vaporizes a liquid solution, some of which contain nicotine and flavorings.

Gurung, originally from New York, said he graduated from Mountain State University in 2012, but when he went back to his home state, he had trouble finding a job.

He said he was introduced to the electronic cigarettes by a friend and he decided to come back to Beckley to set up shop.

Southern Smoke opened for business in October and sales have been great so far.

“I’ve sold over 200 pieces so far. I was very shocked.”

He said people are buying his products and then telling their friends and family about them.

“Some people have been smoking for years and have tried other methods, but with the e-cigs, you can feel the real tobacco.”

Those who are trying to quit smoking can start their nicotine level at a higher number, then work their way down, all the way to zero.

“There are certain levels of nicotine, 24 is very strong and it goes all the way down to zero. Most people want to quit, but they want to feel something in their hand for a while, even after they’ve tapered off of the nicotine.”

Available flavors include regular tobacco flavors like menthol or even a particular brand of cigarette, like Camel or Newport. But for those who don’t want the traditional cigarette flavor, Southern Smoke offers more than 50 other flavors such as tropical fruits, Monster energy drink, cheesecake and Mountain Dew.

“You just have to give it a try to know if it works for you.”

Just like the purchase of regular cigarettes, customers must be 18 years old to purchase electronic cigarettes.

Gurung invites everyone to come in and sample his products — “Unless you like it, you don’t have to buy it.”

He said he offers competitive prices and he explains all of his products in detail to his customers.

“I feel great because I never thought I would be able to help so many people. They come back with a big smile and good news.”

Hours of operation are the same as Crossroads Mall hours, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

For more information, stop by the shop, located near

Kay Jeweler’s and JC Penney, or give Gurung a call at

304-253-3686.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com