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Vape Shop of the Future

The Tobacco and Vapes Bill has temporarily fallen, but the “Vape Shop of the Future” highlighted its flaws shortly before the general election killed the legislation

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The Tobacco and Vapes Bill has temporarily fallen, but the “Vape Shop of the Future” highlighted its flaws shortly before the general election killed the legislation. The spoof vape shop went viral - as retailers took aim at government's “dangerous” vape Bill – as someone mistook a Rishi Sunak lookalike for the real thing and ‘egged’ him.

Quit smoking missionaries, Riot Labs, and Northampton vape shop, Right Vape, took aim at the Government’s now defunct vape legislation.

Opening “The Flavourless Vape Shop” on Kingsley Park Terrace in Northampton, it aimed to draw attention to the implications of a looming tax rise and flavour ban proposed by Rishi Sunak’s Government, which Riot Labs say would have had a devastating impact on people trying to quit. 

The meticulously designed shop - from the signage to the interior decor - illustrated every detail the hypothetical future would hold if the ban was in full effect, to give vapers and smokers a taste of what might come - quite literally. 

Customers faced two choices: One side of the shop which contained less flavour, less value and less choice. Or they could step to the opposite side where they’d be served by Right Vape at 2024 prices with access to the products they came in for. 

The shop launch even featured a Rishi Sunak lookalike to help cut the “opening” ribbon and serve customers the proposed expensive and flavourless vapes. 

Ryan Michlig, Right Vape shop owner, said: “We’re committed to supporting smokers who want to quit and have already helped thousands to stop over the past 7 years. The proposed vaping legislation is going to be so detrimental to everyone who wants to quit smoking. 

“Partnering with Riot Labs to open the Flavourless Vape Shop and bring awareness to the new legislation was a no brainer. We wanted to create an experience that showed what the legislation could be like in real time and get invaluable feedback from customers about how it’ll impact them.”

The launch of the shop even entered the mainstream after taking an unexpected turn when the Rishi Sunak lookalike (real name Sanju) was egged by an angry member of the public who mistook him for the real PM. 

Videos of the chaos unfolding have now seen millions of views on TikTok leading to Sanju being inundated with media requests, and being covered in the Times, Star and Express. 

Riot Labs said the proposed legislation would have blurred the lines between vaping and smoking, making it less appealing to those trying to quit. 

A recent study – conducted by One Poll and commissioned by the UKVIA – found 83% of surveyed vapers say flavoured vapes helped them ‘pack in their smoking habit’. It also found 1 in 3 respondents (an estimated 1.5 million vapers) believe a ban on flavours would lead them back to conventional cigarettes.

The Royal College of Physicians warns that “The wholesale limiting of flavours accessible to adults is not recommended. The use of flavours by adults trying to quit smoking is an integral part of the effectiveness of vaping as a quit aid.”

Riot Labs is proudly representing all responsible retailers and taking the fight to the government through its Riot Activist programme.

Ben Johnson, Riot Labs CEO commented: “The reality of the new legislation is giving people less choice, less value and ultimately less reasons to quit smoking at all. 

“Adults depend on flavours to support their quit smoking journey and this legislation is going to have a detrimental impact on smokers trying to quit. There are better ways to deal with youth vaping such as an enforceable licensing scheme for all retailers.

“Despite the unexpected egging, it was all a resounding success. Sparking conversation around the proposed flavour ban and its potential implications for the vaping community, whilst giving customers the opportunity to experience it first-hand.

We're committed to continuing this dialogue and advocating for sensible, evidence-based regulations that protect public health without unfairly penalising responsible vapers and smokers looking to quit.”

Photo Credit:

  • All images supplied by Riot Labs

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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