Help­ing smok­ers to quit

Bray People - - NEWS -

AL­LIE AND PAUL O’Shea had con­fi­dence that their busi­ness would work, with ‘va­p­ing’ as an al­ter­na­tive to smok­ing the thing which fi­nally got them off the cig­a­rettes.

It was three and a half years ago when the hus­band and wife team dis­cov­ered elec­tronic cig­a­rettes and stopped smok­ing.

Elec­tronic cig­a­rettes use a mix­ture of nico­tine, gly­col and wa­ter to emit a vapour free from sub­stances such as tar.

Al­lie was at home full-time and Paul’s back­ground was in sales and IT. They had the idea for the busi­ness and looked around for a shop.

How­ever they kept hit­ting blocks so tried out a life in Aus­tralia, where they have rel­a­tives. They said if it didn’t work out they would re­turn to Ire­land and try again to set up shop.

Af­ter three months down un­der they re­alised it wasn’t for them so they came back, tested the de­mand suc­cess­fully at Black­rock Mar­ket, and found a small shop in the Ar­cade in Bray and started sell­ing their ‘ To­tally Wicked’ prod­ucts.

They have now out­grown that small premises and moved to a larger site on Florence Road.

‘If any­thing the vol­ume of sales of the units has in­creased,’ said Paul. ‘We haven’t had lunch to­day,’ said Al­lie. So busi­ness is boom­ing.

They said that while there are other elec­tronic cig­a­rettes and flu­ids avail­able else­where, theirs is phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal grade and comes with their cus­tomer care and ex­per­tise.

A cof­fee shop is the new­est ad­di­tion to their lit­tle em­pire, with some premises mak­ing moves to ban va­p­ing al­to­gether. Ir­ish Rail has of­fi­cially made that move, with some cof­fee shops and so on hav­ing put signs up ask­ing people not to use their ecigs. In busi­ness terms, this means em­ploy­ing three people through­out the week and of course ex­tra pa­per­work on their al­ready large work load.

It’s other­wise a two-per­son oper­a­tion and the work doesn’t start and end when the shop opens and closes. There are or­ders to be placed, an on­line pres­ence to be main­tained and ad­min to be done of­ten late into the night.

Then there are mur­murs about the fu­ture of elec­tronic cig­a­rettes. The de­bate is con­tentious, with some quar­ters ex­tolling their virtues and oth­ers claim­ing they are more dan­ger­ous than cig­a­rettes.

‘I hope sense will pre­vail,’ said Al­lie, adding that they would wel­come reg­u­la­tion in terms of qual­ity con­trol and age lim­its.

Paul, mean­while, said that it’s very re­ward­ing to find that people who were very heavy smok­ers have stopped. ‘ The health ben­e­fits they are en­joy­ing are mea­sur­able,’ he said. He’s con­cerned that the Ir­ish Govern­ment will make a de­ci­sion to ban them al­to­gether. ‘I think the Govern­ment has proven a great ca­pac­ity for self serv­ing be­hav­iour. I’m a lit­tle con­cerned that they could do some­thing stupid.’

On their hec­tic sched­ule, Al­lie said that her par­ents owned shops so she knew what the life of a busy re­tailer would be like. ‘We’re happy but tired!’

See www.east­coast­va­p­

Al­lie and Paul O’Shea, pro­pri­etors of East Coast Va­p­ing on the Florence Road in Bray.

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