There has been more than a thirty fold increase in the number of vape shops operating in the UK over the last five years and the North West is officially the number one vaping hotspot, according to new research.

A report by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) finds that some of the largest declines in smoking rates over the past five years were observed in regions with a particularly prominent vaping sector.

The North West is the region that boasts the highest number of vape shops with 456 stores currently open there.

That’s one for every 2,019 adult smokers in the region.

The North West has also experienced one of the biggest declines in smoking prevalence, with the adult smoking rate there falling by four percent between 2013 and 2017.

While the growth in the number of vape shops can be seen throughout the UK, particularly on high streets, the density varies across the country.

Sales of vape products in the UK reached £1 billion in 2017 and this is expected to double in less than three years to £2 billion by 2020, according to figures by Euromonitor International highlighted in this report.

The study, backed by Philip Morris International, also highlights the impact the vape economy is having on the wider economy as 40 percent of vape shops were found to be trading on premises that were previously vacant.

Almost 6,000 people are employed by vape shops and the number of vape shops has grown by more than 100 percent at the same time as retailers that have traditionally been a staple of the high street such as grocers, down 15 percent, and electrical goods stores, down 26 percent.

The research this report has been based on was conducted by the CEBR in June 2018 using multiple data sources including Local Data Company and Opinions and Lifestyle Survey figures for 2017.