North West’s first e-cigarette ‘lounge’ set to open in Leyland

Tan and Rianne Abul are expanding their e-cigarette shop on Golden Hill Lane into a coffee lounge
Tan and Rianne Abul are expanding their e-cigarette shop on Golden Hill Lane into a coffee lounge
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An e-cigarette coffee lounge is set to open in Leyland next month - thought to be the first of its kind in the North West.

An e-cigarette coffee lounge is set to open in Leyland next month - thought to be the first of its kind in the North West.

“It will have a similar atmosphere to a shisha bar, but there’s nothing like this in the North West”

Tan Abul, who runs Vapor-Z in Golden Hill Lane

The owners of an electronic cigarette shop in the town centre is expanding to a vacant unit next door, to create a dedicated coffee lounge for people wanting to light up their e-cigs indoors.

The plans have caused concern amongst some, as controversy still surrounds the use of e-cigarettes in public, which contain nicotine, but not tobacco.

Tan and Rianne Abul, who run Vapor-Z in Golden Hill Lane, say the hub will be similar to a shisha bar, where people smoke flavoured tobacco.

But as there are no regulations to monitor people smoking e-cigarettes, which produce liquid ‘vapor’ from flavoured water, they haven’t had to apply for a licence other than to serve coffee.

Tan, 34, said: “There’s a big community of ‘vaping’ now, but some coffee shops and pubs ban it because it can be offensive to some people, because there is a lot of smell.

“We want to create a coffee lounge next to the shop where people can relax, and there’s nothing like this in the North West.

“It will have a similar atmosphere to a shisha bar, and I suppose it will look the same because there will be vapor everywhere.

“Shisha is more about the tobacco though.”

He added: “There is a lot of scaremongering around at the minute about e-cigarettes, and we can’t stand here and say they’re safe, but from reports we’ve seen, former smokers are really feeling a difference.

“It’s having a positive impact on people’s lives; some use it to help them quit smoking by weaning themselves to zero nicotine.”

Tan and Rianne, 30, both stopped smoking after Rianne’s mum died from brain cancer, and found there was a market for e-cigarettes.

They opened their first shop in Bamber Bridge two years ago before expanding to Leyland.

Work is currently underway to convert the vacant shop unit into a coffee lounge, with the wall between the shop and lounge being taken down, and the couple hope it will be finished by early March.

But their move has been met with scepticism from the chairman of South Ribble’s scrutiny committee, who set up a Health and Wellbeing group to look at ways of improving people’s health in the borough last year.

Coun Michael Titherington said: “It is legal for people to smoke e-cigarettes indoors, but I do have concerns about that.

“There’s certainly a market for it and it’s not illegal, so you can’t just condemn it. I bet the coffee lounge goes down a storm.

“But there seem to be two schools of thought. Some say it’s safe and others say more research is needed, and I’m in that second camp.”

He added: “It’s difficult to tell if e-cigarettes are as safe as they’re made out to be; I would have some concerns about people getting into the habit and getting addicted, and then it turns out it’s not safe.

“There’s no doubt it’s gathering pace, and there seems to be an awful lot of smokers switching to e-cigarettes, but I would have some reservations because I don’t think we know enough about it yet.

“There needs to be more research done before we can condone it as an alternative to smoking.

“I think it has to be watched very closely.”

Leyland resident Gail Rostron, who has replaced tobacco cigarettes with electronic ones, welcomed the news about the new coffee lounge.

She said: “I think it’s a brilliant idea. There are some place where you can smoke indoors but you never know where you’re allowed and where it’s banned.

“There’s nowhere else like this in Leyland and I think it will do well.

“Even non-smokers can go in because there’s no smoke - it’s just water vapor.

“And if they don’t like the idea of it, then they don’t have to go in.”