I’d been smoking since I was 16 years old and as a result I was chronically ill with bronchitis, pleurisy or pneumonia. I often suffered from double walking pneumonia and would have to be hospitalized to have my lungs drained. I had such severe COPD that I would be gasping for my 2nd breath. Just to keep breathing I had to use a Spiriva inhaler once a day and a rescue inhaler several times a day. In 2011 I was rushed to the ER and everyone on staff that night was in my room working to save my life. I was so terrified that I asked one of the nurses if she thought I was going to die. As she looked down at me I could see her eyes welling up with tears. Without a word, she turned away and rushed out of the room.
Once I was stabilized, they admitted me to the ICU where I remained for 9 days. My physician in Jennings, Dr. Benoit, informed me that if I did not quit smoking immediately I wouldn’t have long to live. My husband, Scott, went across the street to Shop-Rite and bought me a Blu e-cigarette. This was before most people knew what vaping was. That Blu got me through those 9 days in ICU, but we knew it would take something more for me to quit smoking. This is when we began our search for a permanent solution. I found a 510 Pen and some juice and started vaping. We ended up spending a fortune on juice just to try them out and since there were no vape shops at that time, Scott decided to make it himself for our own use.
After vaping for about a month I was finally able to stop using inhalers and was now actually catching my second breath. It was then that all of a sudden I realized I had regained my sense of smell and was even able to taste food. All this time I had no idea how much cigarette smoke stunk until I was able to smell again. When I next saw Dr. Benoit he took x-rays of my lungs and could not believe what they showed. My lungs were completely clear! He started telling his patients about us and word got around. Not long after, doctors in the area were calling me for information and passing it along to their patients UNTIL THE GOVERNMENT SILENCED US. The FDA banned us from mentioning our medical success and doctors were no longer allowed to dispense this information to their patients. But that did not stop us!
Scott started taking his e-cig to work and was told his company was going to reimburse him for the cost under their smoking cessation program. When he told them he didn’t have a receipt, they quickly stopped reimbursing the cost of e-cigs as a smoking cessation device. However, his coworkers still wanted them, so we ordered several kits from DHgates with the idea of reselling them. We spent $1000 and immediately sold every single kit. However, they turned out to be of very poor quality and all broke soon after.
Fortunately, my dad trusted my judgement and loaned us the money to turn this into a business. All we needed was a reputable supplier. We found one and got better devices, which enabled us to replace every single one that had broken. We bought more and started reselling those to make money. Our customers loved Scott’s juice and asked him to make them some, saying he should start selling his juices. This is when Bayou Swamp Juice® was born with Cajun Vapes® being the name we used for the hardware. At this point we had been doing everything out of our home. When business grew to such an extent that we needed more space, we opened our first vape shop on October 29, 2013 and at the same time started using a manufacturing facility for Bayou Swamp Juice®.
We are currently operating legally, but the government is coming down very hard on the vaping industry even though it is saving so many lives. It’s absolutely horrible. Having said that, we are trying to expand as fast as possible and are praying that they aren’t able to keep us from selling vaping devices or our e-juice.