Vapo opened its 16th specialist store in Ponsonby following two other stores opening in Queenstown and Pukekohe last month. It will soon be opening a 17th store in Dunedin too.
Vapo and Alt New Zealand co-owners, Ben Pryor and Jonathan Devery, say the dedicated stores are critical to the country becoming smokefree and are a consequence of the tougher vaping regulations brought in by the Government this year.
Mr Devery said: “In short, our new specialist vape stores will help keep many Kiwis off cigarettes given the likes of dairies face heavy restrictions on vape flavours from next year.”
The latest Ponsonby store highlights the rapid growth of Vapo which is now one of the biggest vape brands in Australasia. The Auckland-based entrepreneurs only opened their first store in Dominion Road in 2017.
“We’re delighted to have secured this site on Auckland’s iconic Ponsonby Road - just a stone’s throw from the popular Ponsonby Central. We’re also thrilled to be employing four people. It’s a great team, and Black Interiors have done another smart fitout which nicely sits in with Ponsonby’s aspirational look and feel.
“Vapo’s arrival will help a lot of locals quit deadly cigarettes and that’s really exciting for us. We also want to assure people that Vapo stores enforce a strict R18 policy which includes asking for identification from all customers who look under 25 years of age,” he added.
Vapo’s retail policy also means the store only sells vape products to smokers wanting to quit tobacco and existing vapers.
The Ponsonby store is the third one the company has opened since Parliament passed the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020 in August.
Since 11 November, vaping products cannot be advertised, and no vaping is permitted in workplaces. Vapo’s Ponsonby store will be running opening promotions, but due to marketing restrictions now in place all lips are sealed.
From 11 August 2021, general retailers such as supermarkets, service stations and dairies can only sell three vape flavours: Menthol, mint and tobacco. Whereas those that register and qualify as specialist vape stores, including Vapo’s new stores, can continue to sell a wide range of popular flavours.
“Under the new legislation, Auckland and Dunedin vapers were set to lose considerable access to many flavours from next year as general retailers will only be allowed to sell three. However, Vapo’s arrival means local vapers will retain great access to their favourite flavours which research shows is absolutely critical to keeping people off smoking,” says Mr Devery.
The vape entrepreneur says growing their retail offering positively contributes to Smokefree 2025 and keeping New Zealand’s smoking rates down – currently at about 12.5% nationwide.
“By sustainably growing the number of VAPO stores, we’re hoping to encourage even more Kiwi smokers to make the switch. Our online store continues to see good growth, but a ‘bricks and mortar’ retail presence remains really important to ex-smokers,” he continued.
As with the other VAPO stores, Ponsonby and Dunedin customers can responsibly dispose of their e-cigarette waste in-store
In a unique partnership with TerraCycle, VAPO encourages vapers to recycle their devices and pods by dropping them off at a VAPO store. Alternatively, e-cigarette waste can be sent free through the post by participants signing up to a programme on Terracycle’s website.
For every kilogramme of vaping waste sent to TerraCycle, VAPO and Alt donates $1 to the charity Sustainable Coastlines – which works to keep New Zealand’s coastlines beautiful.