“It’s a worthwhile enterprise in case your lease is just not too excessive and you’re in a great space,” says Alexandru Pescar.
He opened Eire’s first “bricks and mortar” e-cigarette store in Dublin in July 2011. Now has three outlets – two in Dublin and one in Mullingar, Co Westmeath – in addition to a distribution enterprise.
The prevalence of vape outlets in Eire’s cities and cities helps the competition that the e-cigarette enterprise is a worthwhile one, as does what has been described because the “explosion” within the sale of disposable vapes in supermarkets, petrol stations and phone restore outlets in recent times.
This week Minister for Finance Michael McGrath stated a tax on e-cigarettes and vaping products could be launched in subsequent yr’s price range, one thing that already exists in most European international locations.
For Pescar, a tax of 10 cent per millilitre of e-liquid, which he says is widespread elsewhere, “wouldn’t be the top of the world”.
Monetary accounts filed within the Corporations Registration Workplace present that his retail firm, Ecirette Options Ltd, recorded a revenue of €73,989 within the yr to the top of April 2022, up from €26,869 the earlier yr.
His different firm, Ecirette Wholesale, recorded a revenue of €327,845 throughout the identical interval, up from €125,793 the yr earlier than. Between them they employed 11 folks.
Kevin Ryan, who works behind the counter within the Ecirette store on Talbot Avenue, says the aim of e-cigarettes is to assist folks give up smoking.
“It may be robust to cease. Earlier than I attempted vaping, I’d smoked for 10 years. I haven’t had a cigarette in 5 years. Not one.” However he vapes.
The store sells vapes with rechargeable batteries that value €20-€80 and could be refilled with e-liquids, and disposable vapes that value about €9. Whereas speaking on a moist Wednesday morning, two middle-aged male clients go to the store. One spends €20 and the opposite €35. Legally, the store’s merchandise could be bought to folks underneath 18, however Ryan says its coverage is to not.
“The Authorities is simply making it unlawful in December of this yr. So so far it hasn’t been unlawful to promote to an underneath 18, which is loopy, absolute insanity,” he says.
Pescar says e-cigarettes are bought in 4 methods: on-line, in devoted outlets, in outlets that additionally promote merchandise equivalent to cellphones (these outlets have a tendency to focus on disposable vapes, he says) and thru grocery store and petrol stations.
Gross sales of disposable units in supermarkets and petrol stations have elevated considerably in recent times. If their sale have been to be banned, “I wouldn’t have an issue”, he says.
Mark Curran, the proprietor of Classic Vape Room and DRS Distro, is concerned within the retail sale of e-cigarette merchandise, their distribution, and the manufacture in Eire of e-liquid.
He has two outlets, in Stillorgan, Co Dublin, and Kilcoole, Co Wicklow, however had 4 earlier than the Covid pandemic. The enterprise is just not integrated and doesn’t produce accounts.
“After Covid, client behaviour modified. Now it’s supermarkets and fuel stations, that form of stuff. The disposable vape has killed the vape trade over the previous variety of years,” he says.
They’re coming in right here of their college uniforms. It’s not proper. A few of them, if you ask, have you ever ever smoked a cigarette, they let you know no. So why smoke a vape?
— James O’Toole, who works within the DC Vapes store on Talbot Avenue
An organization known as E-Smoke Retailer Ltd, with an handle at Ballinrea, Carrigaline, Co Cork, recorded a revenue of €412,336 within the yr to the top of October 2022, up from €115,873 the earlier yr, in response to its newest accounts. The enterprise, which is concerned within the retail and on-line sale of e-cigarette merchandise, is owned by Gordon and Sally Treacy, additionally of Ballinrea. Based on its web site, it has 13 retailers in Cork and three in Kerry.
Ecig Retailer Ltd, owned by Gerard Devaney, of Bohermore, Co Galway, made a revenue of €259,478 final yr, up from €198,988 the earlier yr. Primarily based in Townpark Centre, Tuam Street, Galway metropolis, the corporate sells vapes and vape merchandise on-line in addition to in 12 stores. 4 are in Galway metropolis, with others in Athlone, Roscommon, Oranmore, Ballinasloe, Athenry, Claremorris, Castlebar and Westport.
The most important Irish vaping enterprise is the Hale Vaping group, which is concerned in wholesale and retail gross sales in addition to the manufacture in Eire of e-liquids.
The group had a turnover of €18.7 million in 2021, up from €13.2 million the earlier yr, and produced an after-tax revenue of €3.2 million, up from €1.2 million the earlier yr. The administrators, in response to the accounts, proposed a dividend to the shareholders of €500,000.
The group has 69 retailers, each on a immediately owned and franchise foundation, with most within the Dublin space and the southeast, and likewise provides product to the Supervalu, Centra and XL retail chains. It has been in enterprise since 2016 and is owned by Irish businessmen Aaron Hutchinson, Stuart and Declan Fagan, Vincent Lynch and Joe Dunne.
“For me, vaping merchandise shouldn’t be on sale all over the place,” says Dunne. “They need to solely be bought in [registered] vaping outlets and retailers which might be licensed to promote tobacco.
“In the meanwhile they’re being bought in barber outlets, butchers, cellphone outlets. You go down Parnell Avenue [in Dublin] and you will note disposable vapes [being sold in phone shops] which might be being imported from the UK and also you don’t know what’s in them,” he says, referring to the truth that the UK is just not topic to EU regulation.
Dunne says the vape enterprise is worthwhile however “what irks me is that it’s our purpose to get extra folks away from cigarettes and, if you wish to see a worthwhile enterprise, go take a look at tobacco”.
It isn’t true, he says, that “vaping is the revenge of the tobacco trade”, as Tánaiste Micheál Martin put it. The vaping sector in Eire is owned by Irish entrepreneurs, not the tobacco trade.
A big proportion of vape units bought listed below are produced in China, together with the favored disposable units Misplaced Mary and Elf Bar. Since 2022, China has banned the sale of fruit-flavoured e-liquids, the sale of e-cigarette merchandise close to sure instructional services, the sale of e-cigarettes over the web and the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s, all measures that aren’t in place on this jurisdiction. China nonetheless permits the export of fruit-flavoured e-liquids.
The massive western tobacco companies, equivalent to Philip Morris and British American Tobacco, are additionally vastly concerned within the international vape enterprise, together with the disposable vape market. These corporations started investing in e-cigarette merchandise some years in the past in an effort to safe their long-term future and are actually closely concerned within the disposable vape market, says Mark Murphy of the Irish Coronary heart Basis.
The emergence of disposable vapes in recent times has fuelled an “explosion” in youth vaping, he says. The primary elements behind this are the widespread availability of disposable vapes, their worth, the usage of “child-appealing” flavours and relentless advertising by social media influencers.
James O’Toole, who works within the DC Vapes store on Talbot Avenue, says fruit-flavoured vapes are vastly well-liked with youngsters.
“I refuse them 100 instances a day. They’re coming in right here of their college uniforms. It’s not proper. A few of them, if you ask, have you ever ever smoked a cigarette, they let you know no. So why smoke a vape when you don’t know what a cigarette tastes like? It doesn’t make sense. I believe they solely smoke them for the flavour,” he says.
When it introduces the ban in December, Eire will probably be one of many final international locations in Europe to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s, says Murphy. Eire, which was to the fore internationally in combating cigarette smoking, “has let the horse bolt in the case of e-cigarette measures”.
“What we wish to see is a whole ban on disposables,” he says. “All disposable e-cigarettes needs to be banned utterly.”