EX-SMOKERS Phillip Shulman and son Daniel Greenall have seen the light and are using it to help others kick their addiction.
They were weaned off their habit of up to 50 cigarettes a day with e-cigarettes and are now riding the wave of interest in the devices.
They have set up two e-cigarette shops and say business is booming.
The battery-run devices “vapour-ise” flavoured water containing nicotine that smokers then inhale.
Mr Shulman, 64, lit up as many as 50 a day and son Daniel Greenall, 19, was a casual smoker when they tried e-cigarettes. Since that day in June 2011 they have given up tobacco products and are investing in e-cigarettes.
They moved from Bournemouth and bought the Vaper Trails of Oxford franchise. They have shops in Corn Street, Witney and in Cowley’s Templars Square shopping centre and want to open in Abingdon and Bicester.
They are set to open a “vaping” lounge at the Witney store for customers to try free samples, Former antique dealer Mr Shulman said: “We’ve made the room very atmospheric and filled it with old memorabilia, so 21st century vaping will take place in a 20th century world.”
The devices only contain nicotine which the NHS has said is “highly addictive but much less dangerous”.
NHS guidance says the devices are “generally regarded a safer alternative” to tobacco products.
Mr Shulman said: “I would say that a lot of the negativity comes from the tobacco industy. But we only sell products we trust.
“And we don’t promote vaping as a way of giving up smoking.
“But it worked for me. I’d been smoking since the age of 16 and over the years I had tried giving up and using various NHS products and patches but nothing worked.
“Before I tried vaping, I had a thrombosis and was walking with a stick and now I feel great.
“A lot of our customers are saying they are feeling the benefits too.”
The Summertown resident added: “The business is growing so quickly. It’s the biggest growth industry in Europe.”
Public Health England figures show 17.5 per cent of county adults smoke.
A spokesman said: “Our advice to people wishing to switch from cigarettes is to attend your local stop smoking service, or to speak to your GP or pharmacist about the range of licensed products available.”
- For NHS help to stop smoking call 0845 40 80 300 or 01865 787165 or visit smokefreeoxfordshire.nhs.uk