The number of vape shops in the United Kingdom increased significantly last year, according to a reports in The Independent citing a survey by the Local Data Co. (LDC).
The country currently has 3,573 specialist vape shops, 233 more than at the start of 2023. This compares with an increase of 61 shops in 2022 and a decline of 23 in 2020.
The LCD figures exclude the numerous convenience stores, post office shops and news agents that also stock e-cigarettes and related products.
Sales of vape products grew by £897.4 million ($1.14 billion) in 2023, according to data published by NIQ and trade The Grocer.
The fastest growing vape brand in the U.K. was Lost Mary, which saw its sales grow by £310 million over 2022.
The market for traditional tobacco products contracted in 2023. Sales of cigarettes and loose tobacco declined £849.1 million and £393.1 million, respectively.
Keen to crack down on youth vaping, the government recently announced a consultation on how to protect children while encouraging adults to use e-cigarettes to quit.
Its suggestions include restricting flavors and product descriptions that may be appealing to underage consumers, along with rules on how products are presented in stores.
Jonne Dunne, director general of the U.K. Vaping Industry Association, said the rise in the number of specialist vape shops reflects the growing demand from smokers wanting to quit their cigarette habit.
“Vapes are proven to be the most effective way for smokers to quit,” he was quoted as saying, adding that e-cigarettes are helping around 50,000 more smokers beat their habit every year.