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Norwich doesn't need any more vape shops

PUBLISHED: 14:26 23 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:20 23 October 2019

The new CBD and Vape Lounge opened in Castle Meadow in Norwich Credit: Archant

The new CBD and Vape Lounge opened in Castle Meadow in Norwich Credit: Archant

Archant

This week I was walking along Castle Meadow in Norwich and noticed builders fitting out a new unit and when I looked up at the shop sign I immediately rolled my eyes - Ye Olde CBD and Vape Lounge.

Over the last few years, vape shops have been popping up around Norwich and Google Maps now lists 17 of them located within the outer ring road alone.

It goes without saying that new openings should be celebrated, as an indicator that Norwich's retail sector is doing well, but there is just too many and there is a danger of glamourising it.

Research shows that vaping is better for you than smoking so it is a better alternative for those looking to ease of the cigs slowly, but it is also the case that many, particularly young people, are going from non-smokers to vapers.

With names such as Ye Olde Vape Shoppe, the sister venue already open in Eastbourne Place off Prince of Wales Road, and Medusa Juice, in Dereham Road, and flavours ranging from buttered popcorn to banana, it comes across as a cool thing to do.

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This is even more the case when you add 2019's buzz word CBD, as is the case with the new opening, which is cannabidiol and is a chemical compound in the cannabis plant.

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It isn't just because I'm fed up of people walking in front of me billowing strawberry smoke like they are the Genie in Aladdin, as I think that many long-term smokers yearning to quit would agree that making vaping trendy is not a good thing.

The vaping and e-cigarette market is big money and the global market it now estimated to be worth £15.5 billion, which has increased from £5.5 billion five years ago and the UK, US and France make up over half of that combined.

In 2018, there was an estimated 41 million vapers globally, according to the World Health Organisation, a figure that is expected to rise.

Another issue is due to the relatively new invention of e-cigarettes and vapes, there isn't any long-term research to show the implications they have on health.

They should be stocked subtly in shops, as is done with cigarettes that now have plain packaging, so smokers have an alternative but it needs to stop being made to look fashionable.

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