The rise in vape shops in The Liberties

Vape shops are becoming more and more common by the day. They are popping up in areas all over the country. Some towns have three or four shops dedicated to the sale of vapes alone, without the addition of filling stations or convenience stores selling them already. 

The Liberties is no different, and it too has its fair share of vape shops like most areas in the inner city of Dublin and across the country. 

In recent years, the rise of vape shops has been undeniable, but a closer look reveals a dark cloud looming over local communities.

Vape shops, once hailed as alternatives to traditional smoking, have now become a breeding ground for a new generation of nicotine addicts. The presence of these establishments near schools and playgrounds raises concerns about the accessibility and appeal of vaping to young people. Moreover, the aggressive marketing tactics employed by some vape shops glamorise vaping and make it appear cool and socially acceptable. 

“I always thought of vapes as a way to help people quit smoking. But now every young one walking down the street has a phone in one hand while puffing a vape. They have lost their intended use.” said Kieran Mallon, a Liberties resident when asked about vapes.  

One of the most concerning aspects of vape shops is their influence on youth and the alarming rate of underage vaping. With their attractive displays, colourful packaging, and enticing flavours, vape shops have successfully marketed their products to young people.

“Young people think it makes them look cool and don’t realise that just because they have different fruity flavours that doesn’t mean there isn’t nicotine in them which makes them highly addictive,” Mallon added. 

The accessibility of vape shops near schools and playgrounds only escalates the issue. Young people are more likely to be exposed to these establishments and their products, making it easier for them to obtain and experiment with e-cigarettes.

The consequences of underage vaping are far-reaching. Nicotine addiction can have lifelong implications for young people, affecting their physical and mental health, as well as their academic performance. Additionally, studies have shown that those who vape in adolescence are more likely to transition to smoking traditional cigarettes later in life.

“When I was younger, we would smoke on nights out thinking we were cool. Now the young ones are vaping, but not just on nights out, you see them doing it in their school uniforms,” said Leanne McCabe, another resident of the Liberties when asked about the impact of vapes on young people.  

While the health risks and influence on youth are often the focus of discussions surrounding vape shops, the environmental impact of these establishments should not be overlooked. Vape shops generate significant waste in the form of used e-cigarette devices, empty e-liquid bottles, and other vaping-related products. The improper disposal of these items can have detrimental effects on the environment. 

E-cigarette devices contain batteries and other electronic components that can be hazardous if not disposed of properly. Improper disposal can lead to the release of toxic chemicals into the environment, posing a risk to wildlife and ecosystems.  

Vape shops have a responsibility to educate their customers about proper disposal methods and provide recycling programs for used e-cigarette devices and other vaping-related waste. By promoting responsible waste management, vape shops can help mitigate the environmental impact of their products and contribute to a more sustainable future.