SHOP OWNER – ‘IT’S HARM RE­DUC­TION’

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Smoking Alternative -

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.”

Matthew Aber­crom­bie

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