Belfast's first E-Cigarette Club and ‘vape café’ is now open for business as electronic cigarettes continue to grow in popularity.
The recently established E-Cigarette Club on Royal Avenue, is much more than just a place to go and ‘vape’, Director of the E-Cigarette Club, Jordan Stewart said: “It’s still very much a work in progress, we have plans to open a food café upstairs, have open-mic nights on a Thursday and a cinema club on a Sunday.”
Jordan and his wife Nadya, who is also co-owner, opened up their first ‘vape café’ two-years ago in Lisburn and they wanted to bring one to Belfast.
Mr Stewart said: “I was a smoker for 15-years and I was about to become a parent and wanted to find a healthier alternative. I also have asthma and found within a few months of switching that my breathing had become a lot better.”
“Being completely honest it is still a habit, but after a short while is becomes a hobby. Ultimately my wife and I wanted to create a safe environment for people who vape to come and do so in a safe place and where people will not stare at them for vaping."
Mr Stewart added that studies had found there was no "second-hand smoke" risk to vaping, "By the time it leaves your lungs the particles are negligible."
The café currently offers the choice of 140 flavours or ‘juices’ to smoke and also offers tea, coffee and buns.
Jordan advises: “I would only try about four or five at the most, otherwise it will be too much for your taste buds.”
Vaporisers include nicotine, the addictive element in cigarettes, but not tobacco, which is believed to make them less harmful than cigarettes. However, as the industry is in its infancy, the long-term effects are yet to be known.
Mr Stewart said there was "no definitive answer" on the long-term effects. "To get a clinical trial I think you have to do it over 10 years. It isn't that old yet as an industry. There still is work to be done and there still is obviously new things that come up that we keep on top of."
E-cigarette stores have become popular around the UK and Northern Ireland, and are the fastest-growing category of retail on the British high street, research from PwC and researchers the Local Data Company found.
E-cigarettes were the fastest-growing product in UK supermarkets last year, as sales rose 49% in 2014.
Credit: Belfast Telegraph