SHOP OWNER – ‘IT’S HARM REDUCTION’
Matthew Abercrombie, who owns the Vapeology vape shop in New Rents, Ashford, opened his store last summer after losing his sister, Katie Abercrombie, to lung cancer, aged just 42.
The 35-year-old, who quit smoking himself, believes there’s a “lot of misunderstanding” surrounding vaping.
He said: “During National No Smoking Week this year, we were the first vape shop in Kent to be sponsored by the NHS.
“When they visited, we had a go on our e-cigs and blew into a smokerlyzer. They said we’d get more smoke feedback standing next to a bus.
“A lot of people think it’s worse for you than smoking, and it isn’t.
“There are 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes and only four in e-cigarettes.
“We can only say it’s harm reduction – we can’t say it’s 100% safe.” But he feels vapers “need to be mindful of others”, adding: “If I was in a restaurant, I wouldn’t vape. If I was on a train, I wouldn’t vape.
“Vaping in enclosed public areas is a no from me. That’s my personal view – it’s tarnishing us vapers.”
Mr Abercrombie also says he gets non-smokers trying to get into the vaping habit. He said: “We send them away. We’re not interested in helping people get addicted to nicotine.
“And it’s the same for kids, I don’t want to encourage children to vape, regardless of whether they smoke or not.”
Although it’s not mandatory, Vapeology has a strict 18-years-and-above policy.
And with a seating area for vapers outside his shop, Mr Abercrombie is wary of children passing by, explaining: “We have kids walk past at 3.30pm at school finishing time, so I tell my vapers to come inside and do it because children are inquisitive.”
Mr Abercrombie said: “I just wish I’d had the chance to get my sister to vape before she passed away.”