Experience Prohibition-era Theme Vaping Experience at Vintage Vapors in Knoxville, Tennessee


Vaping originally started as a personal habit or activity has turned into a social activity. The rise of vaping bars, vaping lounges and vaping cafes in the UK and in the US indicates that e-cigarette smoking has started a new cultural and social revolution where people connect and collaborate around a common activity. Establishments like these provide a venue for vapers to discover new and exciting flavors, checkout mods and “hang out with the guys” – a place where people can kick back and relax. Even the term “mixologist” is a proof that indeed, vape lounges have arrived.

A lot of vape lounges have spruced up across the United States in the last couple of years and with various concepts and features – it is not surprising at all that these are a favorite spot for e-cigarette consumers. Some are man-cave inspired while some are club inspired, others look ultra chic, some sleek and sexy. Vintage Vapors Knoxville is probably the first Prohibition-inspired vape lounge we ever came across and we think it definitely deserves a feature in our blog.

Founded in 2013, Vintage Vapors is the first of its kind in Knoxville, TN. The owners Glenn and Karen Cate decided to open a vape lounge with the goal of recreating the the original Vintage Vapors in Chattanooga owned by their friend Steve Dockery . What came about is a dark-lit, Prohibition inspired interiors – they even had to sign up for a Chicago Gangster tour and sit outside the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre site.

Working on the concept, the couple thought of going for a Prohibition Era Speakeasy type as they thought it was very fitting with the current situation of vaping as a business and as an activity – a lot of pending legislations that aim to control the vaping industry and its consumers. As Glenn puts it wittily “Prohibition didn’t work for alcohol and will not work for vaping,”

The Vintage Vapor Regulars

They have a broad range of patrons from different walks of life, aged 18 to 80, . They go the extra mile when it comes to customer satisfaction Vintage Vapors staff are friendly and very knowledgeable on vaping and their products. Everyone enjoys working at the lounge and assisting customers dressed in 1920’s fashion. Glenn talks highly of their shop manager Jeff Shaver whom he refers to as the Vintage Vapor’s “heart and soul.” They offer a wide selection of original and hand-crafted juices inspired by fruits, desserts, teas and of course the classic flavors of tobacco cigarettes. . Some of their tropical flavors include Jamaican Rum, Hawaiian Punch, Mango Melon and Dragonberry Yogurt. They even have cereal-inspired items on the menu such as Strawberry Yogurt & Granola and Trix.

Reliving the 1920s – Speakeasy Style

Glenn and Karen exerted a lot of effort in making the lounge unique yet consistent with their chosen concept. The interiors are lit with old gas type lamps. They even had a hand carved bar imported from Mexico to complete the look and feel of the lounge. Another focal point of the vape lounge interiors are the woodworks. A rare item in the lounge is a 1908 National Cash Register that everyone pitched and bought to celebrate Vintage Vapor’s 1st anniversary.

If there is one gesture that makes Vintage Vapor different from the rest – customers can order using restaurant style menus – a service not generally offered by most vaping lounges.

Vape and Relax

Vintage Vapors is a small family run shop where everyone is welcome. Employees do not do pushy sales and provides upgrades only when they are asked. They just want customers to have an enjoyable time when they visit the lounge. Expect a lot of warm smiles and hello because customers are treated like family – the staff and the owners of Vintage Vapors would like to hear about friends, family, even pets of their customers.

What Vaping Is and Isn’t

These are some important things about vaping that Glenn wants to clarify:

  • Nicotine is not the cancer causing chemical that should be feared, it is actually the tar and the carcinogens that people inhale from tobacco cigarettes
  • Vapes do not require burning and combustion like cigarettes do
  • A lot of non-vapers and vapers would generally agree that there are less chemicals in e-cigarettes compared to tobacco cigarettes

To summarize, the stigma of smoking and its harmful effects should not be assocaited with Nicotine but with the tar and carcinogens in tobacco smoke.

The Commitment to the Industry and the Consumers

Glenn and Karen are strong supporters of vaping as dedicated members of the Tennessee Smoke Free Association (TSFA). Glenn was one of the earlier members of TN state vaping groups back in 2011 and helped organized vape meets for over 300 people on a regular basis. More than the paycheck, it is the passion for vaping that the Vintage Vapor crew going. Glenn also went to Nashville and Washington, D.C. to show his commitment to the vaping industry and his loyal customers and the vaping community spirit. TSFA has managed to raise enough funds to afford a full-time lobbyist in Nashville to make sure that business owners and the vape consumers have a voice.

“The community spirit is alive with vapers and we are going to fight through litigation, legislation and any other means available to us. The forces against us have more money than we do, more power than we do and even more politicians than we do, what they do not have is heart, and we have that in abundance.” adds Glenn and Kate.

Vintage Vapors will celebrate their 3rd anniversary this September, so if you would like to hang out in their after-hours event, drop by Vintage Vapors or give a shout out to Glenn and Kate. www.vintagevaporsknox.com.


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