The UK’s biggest vaping retailer has said it expects the UK Government to protect vapers from a San Francisco-style ban, as it commits its future to the industry with a major expansion plan.
VPZ has revealed plans to create 1,000 new jobs over the next three years as it looks to open 200 new stores across the UK.
The retailer, which has 125 stores across the country, said that it has outlined the rapid expansion proposals in order to keep up with surging demand as smokers put down traditional cigarettes.
Plans will see the company, which started in Edinburgh in 2012, grow substantially in Wales and the South East as it looks to cover more of the UK market.
VPZ said its recruitment drive will create new opportunities across the business, hiring staff in retail, marketing, sales, manufacturing and finance, as well as hiring new flavour mixologists.
Doug Mutter, director at VPZ said: “These plans will treble the size of our business by the end of 2021.
“There are currently 3 million vapers in the UK market and that is continuing to grow fast, so we need to grow fast ourselves to meet that high demand.”
VPZ’s plans come just days after regulators in the US announced that San Francisco is set to become the first city to have a complete ban on the sale of vaping products.
Mr Mutter said he found the decision across the channel “bemusing”, and said that the UK Government has taken a “more logical” approach to the vaping industry.
While there are significant calls for more research to take place on vaping products, Public Health England’s most recent study suggests that it could be up to 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes.
In the UK, buyers of vaping products must be at least 18 years of age, and Mr Mutter said he believes current restrictions are “fair”.
He said: “It was completely bemusing when I saw the regulations in San Francisco – it is only going to drive people back to cigarettes which are more dangerous.
“I can’t see anything similar happening here because the UK government has a much better stance. The regulations over here are reasonable, and in fact, we’ve helped to drive a ‘Challenge 25’ policy for UK vaping retailers which has been backed by the Vaping Industry Association.”
VPZ said its shop expansion plan will focus on high street, town centre locations, contrasting the current pessimism currently affecting a large number of UK high street retailers.
The company director said the increase in store vacancies on high streets has presented a good growth opportunity for the firm.
He added: “We are on the upturn right now, so a key priority for us is working quickly to find the best possible high street locations and then we can deliver new jobs in that area.”