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Veteran Vapers

Veteran-owned e-cigarette company gives back to local veteran organizations

James Grant (left) and Frank Kidd, owners of Veteran Vapers, stopped by the JBLM Fisher House earlier this summer to deliver a donation. The company donates 10 percent of its earnings to local veteran service organizations. Courtesy photo

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Looking for a healthier alternative to cigarettes? Want to help out local veteran service organizations?

Then start smoking. That's right - smoking. Not smoking in the traditional sense, of course. That stuff is loaded with hundreds of toxic, cancer-causing chemicals like arsenic (used in rat poison), formaldehyde (used to preserve dead bodies) and cadmium (the active component in battery acid). Mmmm, sounds appetizing.

But what if you could curb your smoking craving, perhaps even quit traditional cigarettes altogether, by lighting up an electronic cigarette instead?

The e-cigarette sensation has taken off during the last several years, in part because it's a healthier alternative to cigarettes. Made with just five FDA-approved ingredients, the liquid in e-cigarettes (known as e-juice) is available with nicotine or without and comes in a veritable plethora of flavors like honeydew, key lime pie and strawberry lemonade.

For those interested in quitting the hard stuff, e-cigarettes can provide an avenue to tobacco cessation, too.

"(Smokers) can wean themselves and can use flavors that are enjoyable," said Frank Kidd, president of locally owned e-juice company Veteran Vapers. "It's actually kicking the habit in an enjoyable way."

The company, founded last December by Kidd and fellow veteran Staff Sgt. James Grant (who is stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord but is in the process of medically retiring), offers an array of e-juice flavors including fruit, lemonade, tobacco, menthol and dessert inspired.

Kidd, who separated from the Army in 2008, came up with the idea for the business when, "like anything, I just got sick and tired of paying for it," he said. So he and Grant, who were stationed together in Korea in 2006, began doing some research and laying the groundwork for the company. Veteran Vapers had its first official sale in March, and its products are now available at stores across the country.

From the beginning, the pair decided they wanted their business to give back.  

"Right off the bat, we wanted to give 10 percent back to veteran service organizations," Kidd said.

They chose the Fisher House, the Wounded Warrior Project and the DAV, among others.

"They're all solid organizations," Kidd said. "Our business motivation is to raise money for (them)."

But they don't just want to cut a check each quarter, either.

"We really want to do something that makes a difference," Kidd said. "When you donate money to something, you never know where it really goes. We want to show where that money went."

The company's first donation, to the JBLM Fisher House, did just that.

Armed with items from the home's wish list (, Kidd and Grant stopped by the house earlier this summer to deliver the goods and meet the staff.

"It was a lot of fun to meet the Veteran Vaper guys and hear their story," said JBLM Fisher House manager Jodi Land. "We are so lucky to have veterans in our area that continue to serve  by supporting other veterans.  Fisher House is grateful to have them join our team and appreciate them stocking our shelves for the families."

Though neither Kidd nor Grant has had personal experience with Fisher House, both knew of soldiers who had.

"We may not have used Fisher House, but (we) had used other veteran organizations," said Kidd, who lives in Kent and is finishing work on his B.A. in global business management at the University of Phoenix in Tukwila. "We knew we wanted to help."

So if you are looking for a way to help local veteran service organizations and find a healthier alternative to traditional smoking, pick up some locally made Veteran Vaper e-juice at a store near you. 

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