Manchester, Salford, Bolton and Stockport have among the highest registered vape shops per 100,000 residents amid across the board concerns about the harm illegal vaping maybe doing to children.
Blackburn ranks as the UK’s vaping capital, with 22.56 registered vape shops per 100,000 residents, the largest figure for any UK town or city.
Second on the list is Bolton, with 20.26 vape shops registered per 100,000 population.
The borough has 41 registered vape shops in total serving its 202,369 residents.
Manchester ranks third, with 110 vape shops.
However, the city’s larger population means this works out to 19.84 registered vape retailers per 100,000 residents.
Rounding out the top five is Salford, equivalent to 12.03 shops per 100,000 and Stockport ranks sixth, with 10.91 vape retailers per the same proportion of residents.
Last September, a meeting of Bolton Council heard child addicts as young as 13 are ‘unable to go an hour’ at school without vaping.
They heard St Joseph’s high school in Horwich installed vape sensors to address the crisis.
Horwich and Blackrod First member Samantha Williamson, said: “In recent times, we have observed a concerning rise in the use of vape products among youngsters, leading to an increase in disruptive and anti-social behaviour within our schools.
“There are 13-year-old addicts unable to go one hour without a vape and sensors going off not just hourly but by the minute.” Trading standards officers at several Greater Manchester councils have worked with police to address black market illegal vape products.
In Salford last July, around £400,000 worth of illegal vapes, some with up to 11 times the legal limit of e-liquid were seized after a raid. At the time, Salford City Council said that since January 2023, their team had seized almost 85,000 illegal vaping products, worth more than £650,000.
Last month, Linda Thomas, Bolton Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, welcomed the announcement of a ban on disposable vapes which
it is claimed are a source of the child addiction problem due to attractive colours and appealing flavours, from bubble gum to candy floss.
She said: “We are delighted the government decided to ban disposable vapes as research shows these are a go-to product for children and young
people due to their accessibility and affordability.
These disposable vapes are not only damaging to the environment, they are a health risk for children and young people as they contain nicotine and other chemicals which can cause health problems later in life.
“We will not tolerate sales of vapes to children and we will take action against anyone flouting the law as we drive towards creating a smokefree generation.”
Online vape store Go Smoke Free used GOV.UK’s Companies House advanced search feature to find businesses registered for the retail sale of tobacco products in specialised stores. The number of these active businesses was then compared to each town or city’s population size.
A spokesperson for Go Smoke Free, said: “Disposable vapes have gained popularity in recent years, due to their convenience, portability and low cost, which has made them an attractive option for those who would otherwise have been unlikely to invest in a more complex vaping setup.
“The new disposable vape ban should help to discourage children from taking up vaping, while encouraging adults to shift to more sustainable alternatives, such as refillable vapes.
“This study highlights which areas of the UK are most likely to be affected by the upcoming ban on selling disposable vapes. “The Greater Manchester area boasts its fair share of stores catering to vapers’ needs, with Blackburn, Bolton and the city of Manchester claiming the top three spots.
“These cities could see a significant shift in their vaping culture, with the ban impacting consumer behaviour, and existing vape retailers adapting their offerings to cater to the new legislation.”
Top 10 rankings as UK vape capitals:
Number of active vape shops – 27
Number of these businesses per 100,000 residents – 22.56
Number of active vape shops – 41
Number of these businesses per 100,000 residents – 20.26
Number of active vape shops – 110
Number of these businesses per 100,000 residents – 19.84
Number of active vape shops – 22
Number of these businesses per 100,000 residents – 12.43
Number of active vape shops – 14
Number of these businesses per 100,000 residents – 12.03
Number of active vape shops – 12
Number of these businesses per 100,000 residents – 10.91
Number of active vape shops – 12
Number of these businesses per 100,000 residents – 10.44
Number of active vape shops – 13
Number of these businesses per 100,000 residents – 9.75
Number of active vape shops – 17
Number of these businesses per 100,000 residents – 9.68
Number of active vape shops – 30
Number of these businesses per 100,000 residents – 9.62