Owner Avin Khojasteh outside the Aria vape shop on Cathays Terrace. Image credit: Lowri Lewis

Possibility of disposable vapes ban is stressful, says new business owner

New Cathays Terrace vape shop could see its sales halve if the ban goes ahead

Owner Avin Khojasteh in Aria Vape shop
Owner Avin Khojasteh in Aria vape shop, Cathays Terrace. Image credit: Lowri Lewis

ARIA Vape shop on Cathays Terrace opened less than a month ago, but the business could be under threat because of the Welsh government’s proposal to ban disposable vapes.

Owner Avin Khojasteh said that this could result in a 50% reduction in sales.

“It was stressful for me, but my husband is very relaxed and he said it’s ok. For me, it’s stressful,” said Ms Khojasteh, who co-owns the shop with her husband Amir Moloudi.

Ms Khojasteh understands why the ban has been proposed.

“For the environment and children. I know in some supermarkets they sell it to children. That’s horrible, you know. I think it’s better to ban it in supermarkets,” she said.

Ms Khojasteh believes it is easier for children to buy vapes without detection in supermarkets as they are allowed to shop there for other items. In vape shops it is obvious that they’re not meant to be there.

During our brief interview, a child came into Aria vape shop and tried to buy a disposable vape but was turned away.

Aria employee Andrew Goodenough has worked in the vape industry for seven years and agreed with Ms Khojasteh.

“If they [vapes] didn’t go to supermarkets and every other corner shop, I think it would’ve been OK. If they actually would’ve said you can only sell vapes in vape shops, I think we wouldn’t be in this mess,” he said.

A trading standards operation in Merthyr last year revealed that local convenience stores were where the majority of underage test purchasers were sold vapes. Vape shops and supermarkets also sold vapes to children in this test.

A BBC investigation also found that seven out of 20 shops in Cardiff were selling vapes to underage teenagers.

Ms Khojasteh said it would have been better if the ban had been put in place two to three years ago. Now many young people are addicted to nicotine and may turn to cigarettes rather than reusable vapes if disposables are banned, she added.

Owner Avin Khojasteh outside the Aria vape shop on Cathays Terrace. Image credit: Lowri Lewis

Vaping is on the rise among young people in Wales according to Senedd research, and is the reason cited by the Welsh government for their proposed disposable vapes ban.

The UK government has launched an open consultation on “creating a smoke-free generation and tackling youth vaping,” which asks the public for their opinions on the different options available to reduce vaping and smoking among young people.

Jenny Rathbone, MS for Cardiff Central, said: “Vaping is a public health problem which we have allowed to creep up on us. There is a vast over-supply of these shops already so I disagree that any public money should be used to prologue the life of these businesses. That is not something I would advocate.”