| 13.9°C Dublin

UK e-cigs cafe aims to bring smokers in from the cold

Close

Vaping is an increasingly popular alternative to smoking.

Vaping is an increasingly popular alternative to smoking.

Vaping is an increasingly popular alternative to smoking.

Vape cafes, where customers can buy and smoke e-cigarettes, are set for a major expansion in Ireland early next year.

A British company plans to enter the Irish market with their first shop in the Republic next year, the Irish Independent has learned.

Ten years after the smoking ban came into force, the Vape cafe concept is an outlet for nicotine addicts to legally indulge their habit while socialising indoors in a public place.

The owners of The Vape Lab, London's first e-cigarette and coffee shop which opened last March, pointed out there were now 1,000 similar businesses in France. And they have not ruled out expanding their operations into Ireland "in the second half of 2015".

"Firstly, we're looking at three more stores in London. Then, after December, we move our attention to the rest of the UK and Ireland," said Igor Kapovsky, manager of the east London cafe and shop.

"It's all about getting a community feel to the whole thing."

Customers can sample over 60 flavoured 'e-liquids' ranging from custard to Cuban tobacco, absinthe to gin, and coconut to tangerine. However, some of the products are relatively expensive. Reusable 'base units' start at around £45 (€56), while 10ml bottles of flavoured solutions sell for £7 (€9).

Meanwhile, Phoenix iCig which operates a vape cafe in Carlow town centre, manufactures its own brand of liquids.

Company director Jim FitzGerald said they hoped to expand, with a shop in south Dublin expected to come on stream within the next "six to nine months".

The company said it operated a strict over-18s policy, and sells over 100 types of self-produced liquids, with varying tastes and strengths.

As demand continues to grow, Mr Fitzgerald said he expected businesses from outside Ireland to fight for a share of what will be a growing market.

The long-term health effects of e-cigarettes remain a matter of controversy.

Chris Luke, a hospital consultant at Cork's Mercy University Hospital, says it would take between three and 15 years of research before the long-term health implications were fully known.

Irish Independent