Ireland’s e-cigarette industry continues to boom, with some traders claiming business has doubled since last year.
Industry observers said specialist shops catering for Ireland’s estimated 250,000 vapers have enjoyed their best year of business to date, with the number of walk-in customers up by nearly 15%.
Organisers of Vapefest Ireland, taking place today in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, said the event will feature more than 50 vendors, the largest number since it started five years ago.
Co-organiser Ronan Condon said: “Vaping just seemed to catch on in Ireland two to three years ago, and the scale of this year’s Vapefest reflects how popular it has become. I would say that after the US, France, and the UK, Ireland is next in the list in terms of the how widespread vaping is.
“It’s phenomenally popular and I think we can probably expect between five and 10 years of growth in the industry in Ireland before things level out.”
Gael Forlot, who runs Cigatec — one of four independent e-cigarette shops in Dun Laoghaire — said that business has doubled since he opened his premises in May of last year.
Originally from southern Brittany in France, Mr Forlot said: “We’re getting busier every single month and I see new customers every day. I’m not surprised, because people are trying more and more to give up smoking, and this option is cheaper and certainly not as bad for your health.”
Although the jury is still out on the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes, upcoming regulation in Ireland, in the form of an alteration to the tobacco retailers’ licencing legislation, will ban sales to minors and ensure all retailers of vaping products obtain a licence.
According to the Irish Vape Vendors Association (IVVA), the legislation has gone through the public consultation process and is due to be implemented before the end of the year.
IVVA spokeswoman Gillian Golden said: “There are many who work in this industry across the world who grow weary of the argument that e-cigarettes are somehow a ploy by tobacco companies to keep people smoking, or some other such nonsense. The reality is, only a handful are owned by tobacco companies.”
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