The Innovative Women of Vape  in honor of Women’s History Month, Carol O. Clements

Carol O. Clements-Owner of Community Vapor

In 2011, two love birds in Tennessee —both cigarette smokers—found themselves in a predicament. The boyfriend, who was about to undergo knee surgery couldn’t smoke as part of the preparations for the procedure. For insurance reasons, he also had to go to Wilmington, North Carolina for the operation. As chance would have it, by 2011, vape shops were already all over Wilmington.

After the surgery he stayed with a friend to recover. However, his host did not want him to smoke. He decided to purchase an e-cigarette at one of the many shops conveniently located around him.

To his surprise, vaping replaced his cigarette habit. He shared it with the girlfriend, who initially refused.

“We had been dating about six months, and he bought me one, and I'm like, please, I just started dating you. You think I'm going to give up cigarettes?”

Turned out vaping worked for her too. The realization came one day when she did not smoke a cigarette for 10 hours.

“Then my cigarette pack stayed on the patio, I don’t know, probably two or three months and I finally just threw them away because I just never smoked another cigarette,” said Carol.

Fast forward to today, Carol Clements and her now husband Mark, have become two of the biggest advocates in the vaping industry. They began by giving away e-cigarettes to all of their friends and helped many people transition from smoking to vaping.

In 2013, they decided to open their vape shop. Carol recalled the conversation:

“Mark said what do you think about if we could borrow some money and open up a vape shop. We talked about it, prayed about it, and the next morning I woke up and I had a very clear vision of exactly what our shop would look like, and now we have with them.”

Their store, Community Vapor, is in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and has become an integral part of their community. Their business has helped them create special bonds with local organizations, their church, and nonprofit organizations. They also sponsor special needs children with serious disabilities.

As a woman, Carol has found extra fulfilment helping others in educating smokers on how they can quit. By her own example, she has also helped tackle “the vape perception that only a certain type or class or group of people are vapers.”

Most notably, Carol played a critical role in fighting the FDA against their efforts to drive people out of their vaping businesses by charging fines for specific ingredients.

“I wrote a letter to the FDA, and I said, basically you took 600 hours of my life. So, before you take several thousand for ingredients, these are my issues and God just sort of moved that mountain,” she said.

She eventually ended up communicating with an FDA director. By leveraging the power and influence of nearly 1500 business owners in her vaping network, she was able to succeed in reducing the fees.

“People forget that their voice matters. I was one little person, a single shop at the time who really just believed that something could be done. Now we just to joined forces with more voices,” she shared.

Carol wants to continue to use her voice and her business to stand up against the FDA, help families, help her community and help people quit cigarettes. She credits the vaping industry for position her on this path; it's what she sees for her future. "I don't want to do anything else.”

To learn more about these vital players, keep up to date with our weekly articles throughout the month of March.

March 18, 2019 — Beverley Harris-Alvarez

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