As the British government gears up to ban disposable vapes, many of us may be wondering just how widespread the problem really is.
Mapping the number of disposable vape stores across the country, a new study reveals that the vaping capital of the UK is not in fact London, but Blackburn.
Compiled by online vape store Go Smoke Free, the data shows that the small Lancashire town has no less than 27 registered vape retailers catering to a population of just 119,707 residents.
Proportionally, this represents about 22.56 vape shops per 100,00 people.
In fact, London didn’t even make the top ten list, with second, third and fourth places going to Bolton, Manchester and Middlesborough respectively.
The remaining entries in order were Salford, Stockport, Doncaster, Newport, Peterborough and Nottingham.
A spokesperson for Go Smoke Free said: ‘Disposable vapes have gained popularity in recent years, due to their convenience, portability and low cost, which has made them an attractive option for those who would otherwise have been unlikely to invest in a more complex vaping setup.
‘The new disposable vape ban should help to discourage children from taking up vaping, while encouraging adults to shift to more sustainable alternatives, such as refillable vapes.
‘This study highlights which areas of the UK are most likely to be affected by the upcoming ban on selling disposable vapes.’
They added: ‘The Greater Manchester area boasts its fair share of stores catering to vapers’ needs, with Blackburn, Bolton and the city of Manchester claiming the top three spots.
‘These cities could see a significant shift in their vaping culture, with the ban impacting consumer behaviour, and existing vape retailers adapting their offerings to cater to the new legislation.’
According to government data, approximately 9% of 11 to 15-year-olds in the UK have taken up vaping in the last three years.
This is thought to have been largely driven by the widespread availability of disposable vapes, with the overall number of 11 to 17-year-olds using the devices having increased by approximately 900% during the same period.
Announcing the forthcoming ban, expected to come into force toward the end of the year, Prime Minister Sunak said: ‘As any parent or teacher knows, one of the most worrying trends at the moment is the rise in vaping among children, and so we must act before it becomes endemic.
‘The long-term impacts of vaping are unknown and the nicotine within them can be highly addictive, so while vaping can be a useful tool to help smokers quit, marketing vapes to children is not acceptable.’
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