New E-Vapor electronic cigarette shop opens in Gloucester
HEAVY smoker Ferenc Vamosi had spent more than half his life addicted to cigarettes.
That all changed when he picked up his first electronic smoke.
E-cigarettes are battery-operated products designed to replicate smoking behaviour without the use of tobacco. Some look like conventional cigarettes, while others appear more like an electronic device.
They use heat to vaporise a liquid-based solution containing nicotine into an aerosol mist and have been proposed as a way to help smokers quit.
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Ferenc has set up Gloucester's first E-Vapor shop in Westgate Street and is calling on others to try out the new technology for themselves.
"I was smoking 40 a day and tried to give up many times, using different methods," he said.
"Electronic cigarettes are the future of smoking.
"It is a healthier option to smoking, and helps people to give up.
"Like me, there are many people addicted to nicotine, but it is the carcinogens in cigarettes that are particularly dangerous.
"It is a good way for smokers to gradually wean themselves off tobacco.
"I was probably the most stubborn smoker ever. If it works for me, it will work for anyone.
"Now I wouldn't touch a cigarette ever again, I'm confident of that."
Ferenc sells a range of more than 30 flavours including tobacco, fruit and lemonade.
Devices from which to smoke the liquid start at £20 and go up to £50 in price.
Vapours, with varying nicotine strengths, cost from £5.
They last for around a week for a smoker with a 20 a day habit, considerably cheaper than smoking tobacco. A pack of 20 cigarettes costs £7.
The NHS Stoptober campaign launched this month, inviting smokers to give up for a month in the hope it will help them to permanently kick the habit.
There has been a mixed response to e-cigarettes from health experts.
Up until June, the industry was unregulated in the UK.
It is now kept in check by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
The director of the British Medical Association Professional Activities, Dr Vivienne Nathanson, said more research was needed before e-cigarettes could be supported as a healthier alternative to tobacco.
Yesterday, Euro MPs voted to tighten tobacco regulations aimed at putting young people off smoking.
But they rejected a European Commission proposal to treat electronic cigarettes as medicinal products – a move that would have restricted sales.
They voted to ban cigarette flavourings.