Many corner stores are selling illegal tobacco products that are threatening to put dedicated vape shops out of business, an independent vape retailers has claimed, warning that lack of regulation on vapes could permanently destroy the industry.
Dave Clarke, who runs Norfolk’s largest independent vape shop The Vape Gurus, has stated that most corner stores and newsagents now sell disposable vapes as standard.
Clarke started the business, which has stores in North Walsham, Aylsham, and Sheringham, after vaping helped him quit a 70-cigarettes-a-day smoking habit. In its first few years, Clarke said there was huge demand for his expertise, as more people turned to vape products as a way to wean themselves off tobacco.
However, an increasingly high number of non-smokers are now using them and turning to corner stores and newsagents to buy who in turn are selling mostly disposable vapes as standard.
“The problem with the disposables is a lot of them are 20mg which is a huge amount of nicotine. The people selling them don’t really understand the health implications. There’s also a big problem with illegal products making their way into shops and never getting caught,” a local publication quoted Clarke as saying.
In the UK, nicotine-containing e-liquids cannot exceed 10 ml per bottle. E-liquids must also have a nicotine strength of no more than 20 mg/ml. It is likely that anything over 650 puffs will contain more than the legal volume limit and so should not be on sale.
Clarke claimed that he frequently hears from customers that they’ve been able to buy products containing more than 2,000. And as well as being dangerous, he said it’s having an impact on business.
“People see they can get these high-puff devices for cheaper and think it’s better value – we’ve lost a lot of custom because of that. We need to see a much stronger approach to people breaking the rules. There’s a real chance we’ll see vape shops going under if that crackdown doesn’t happen.”