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    ‘Brits vaped more, drank less in January’

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    Despite prime minister Rishi Sunak announcing plans to ban disposable vapes and place restrictions on flavours and packaging, January saw a spike in its sales, as consumers continue to ditch cigarettes and alcohol to embrace fitness.

    According to sales data provided by the contactless payment processor SumUp, sales at vape shops were up by 12 per cent in January compared with the previous month. Demand peaked in the middle of the month, with sales on the day known as “Blue Monday” — January 15 — up more than 100 per cent compared with the same day in December.

    Experts hope vape sales mean more smokers are kicking the habit.

    The Office for National Statistics says that 12.9 per cent of the adult population — equivalent to 6.4 million people — still smoke, although this is the lowest level since records began in 2011. It believes about four million people now vape, with 16 to 24-year-olds twice as likely to vape than average.

    With 8.5 million Britons pledging to give up alcohol for the month, off licences saw sales fall by 49 per cent compared with December, while bars, pubs and clubs saw revenue down 42 per cent.

    An estimated 7.5 million people pledged to lose weight in the new year and this appears to have hit the UK’s 48,000 takeaway outlets. The data shows fast food restaurants took 15 per cent less in revenue in January than they did in December. Meanwhile gyms saw revenues grow 26 per cent.

    Luke Beavon, the chief executive at SumUp, said, “Our transaction data shows the exact points where consumers’ resolutions and good intentions were put under the most strain. Whilst gyms predictably saw more business and fast food outlets were down, the real moments where we saw resolve tested were with alcohol and tobacco.

    “If you are looking for the exact day when people gave up their teetotal resolutions — bars and clubs first saw positive percentage growth again on Thursday, January 11 — meaning UK citizens were back in bars 11 days after the new year.

    “The sales of vapes and tobacco were most interesting. Despite Rishi Sunak announcing plans to ban disposable vapes and place restrictions on flavours and packaging, January saw a spike in sales. Perhaps because consumers ditched booze and embraced fitness, nicotine became their new vice of choice. This craving reached its peak halfway through the month.

    “The figures may also point to a growth in fashionable snus nicotine pouches, which appeal to users who are turned off by flammable tobacco products,” The Times quoted Beavon as saying.

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