We conquered the capital on the Vapouround bus
Like Big Ben, Tower Bridge and the black cab, the red double-decker bus is an unmistakable signifier of London life. It is so integral to our capital’s identity that filmmakers frequently use it as a visual cue to help us identify a film’s setting within seconds of the opening credits.
While we can’t claim that the Vapouround bus has had quite as big an impact on our cultural identity, it has fast become the ‘big red bus’ of the vaping industry. On a mild May morning, the bus weaved its way through East London’s streets and to SN Vaping in Hornchurch.
Shop owner Steve Nichols prides himself on supporting his local vaping community. Having cut his industry teeth as a YouTube reviewer and vlogger, Steve bit the bullet last year, selling his house to bankroll the shop. Since opening in January, SN Vaping has developed a reputation as the friendliest and cheapest in the area.
“Some shops will happily sell customers kit that they don’t even need but we look after our customers so they get exactly what they require. If they’re a bit low on funds, I trust them to pay us later.”
We set up shop – a pretty straightforward process now the bus has been revamped – and began welcoming our first customers of the day. Mark was one of the first to pop his head through the door and have a look at the shiny interior. Mark successfully switched to vaping five years ago and hasn’t touched a cigarette since.
“I started with a basic pen and it’s now descended into a full-on mod addiction. I can’t get enough of them!”
Mark’s only complaint is one that we hear far too often.
“I hate that I have to huddle alongside smokers in the smoking area. I took up vaping to get away from that.”
Most of those who stopped by were SN Vaping customers, many of whom praised Steve for his expert knowledge and continued support as they transitioned from smokers to vapers.
Vapers are spoiled for choice in Hornchurch, not to mention the wider London area which is easily accessible by the local Tube station. Nonetheless, Steve has developed a loyal customer base in just four months.
The most gratifying part of working on the bus is handing out starter kits in exchange for cigarettes or tobacco. One person to make the exchange was Dylan, a homeless former-smoker whose mod had been stolen days before. Dylan couldn’t afford a replacement and was grateful to be able to exchange some rolling tobacco for a pod starter kit.
“I really don’t want to smoke but without my mod it can be tough. This vape is a lot less bulky. This will really help me out.”
That is, after all, what our industry is all about: helping improve the lives of smokers by informing them about e-cigarettes. Thanks to the support passionate vapers like Steve, there has never been a better time to quit.