E-CIGARETTE entrepreneur Paul Gifford is “giving vapours more choice” by opening another store in Westgate Street.
Spa Vapes, which also has shops in Albion Street and Lansdown Trading Estate in Cheltenham, opens in Westgate Street tomorrow just metres away from the E-Vapor shop.
Former heavy smoker Paul set up Spa Vapes 18 months a go.
“I was smoking 50 cigarettes a day, then decided it was time to stop,” said Paul, a father of two.
“The change in my health has been biblical. My blood pressure has improved, my lung capacity, my skin. It was just a transformation and I could not have done it without e-cigarettes.”
In a bid to fend off competition from online vendors, Spa Vapes has a strong focus on customer service.
The shops offer a try-before-you-buy juice bar, giving people the health kick they need to get into the right frame of mind to quit smoking.
“Customers can come into our shops and try every juice before they buy it so they don’t end up wasting money online because they don’t like the flavour,” said Paul.
“We also teach people about the devices, how to use them and what the health benefits are.
“We are also hoping to have an outdoor area where people can bring their food and coffee and sit with other vapours. Using these devices is a journey. It is something you can talk about with friends.”
E-cigarettes are battery-operated products designed to replicate smoking behaviour without the use of tobacco. Some look like conventional cigarettes, while others appear more like an electronic device.
But their use has proved controversial with some claiming they “undermine smoking prevention”, with calls to ban them in public places.
Among the brands on offer at the new store are T Juice, Mrs Lords, Vampire Vape and Rips.
“Products range from £15 to £300 and you can get pretty much any flavour you can think of,” said manager Andrew Steele.
“We are a modern tobacconist, an e-baconnist. It is a bit like going back in time.”
The pair said they are not concerned that there is another e-cigarette shop on the street.
“It is good that we are able to offer people a choice, it shows how far the e-cig market has come,” said Paul.
Joy Kerr, manager of E-Vapor, said: “It’s nice that people in Gloucester have more choice. We stock different items and healthy competition is a good thing. It will be fun having them on the same street.”