So, I contacted the shop and spoke to Julian, who works at Dr Smokeless and he agreed to do a short interview.
What I uncovered was the fascinating story of a General Practitioner called Dr John Ashcroft who used a thirst for scientific knowledge and a desire to do the very best for his patients, to come to the conclusion that the very best advice that he could give to smokers was to switch to an electronic cigarette.
Dr Ashcroft helped to establish a retail outlet called Dr Smokeless so that his patients, and others, had access to electronic cigarette products.
Here is my interview with Julian, from Dr Smokeless.
How did the idea for Dr Smokeless come about ?
I'd been vaping on and off for some time and explained how personal vapourizers were a kind of upgrade from the standard disposables that were just coming onto shop shelves.
Not long after, he spoke with a man called Steve Brimble, and he gave me a call as he knew I was currently free and asked me if I'd be interested in the shop.
Is there anything that you think makes Dr Smokeless unique ?
The one thing that makes our shop unique -at least to my knowledge and at this current time - is the fact that it is part owned by a practice owning GP.
Dr.Ashcroft (the eponymous one) has three surgeries which have a floating smoking cessation clinic. It is through this that we offer a cash voucher for people to spend in the shop on any Ecig product.. This is offered to patients as an alternative to avoid NHS prescriptions for other NRT options.
Is Dr Ashcroft a vaper himself ?
I suppose you would have to ask him yourself as to his habits but I know we set him up a unit so that he could demonstrate it at conferences and he hasn't given it back!
Only joking, he brought it in for a top up!
I don't believe he is a regular vaper but I have seen him vape a very low nicotine juice to demonstrate to a journalist so he stands by his words and his products. He has never smoked.
... and how do you find it working with a GP ?
As to how do I find working for a GP....... GPs are people too you know. It's great actually as he is 100% behind this.... More so! He absolutely believes that for every patient/customer who switches to vaping that their life will improve immediately and it truly does, I have seen it first hand.
A lot of our referred customers are only too aware of the end result of smoking and even when the "worst" is confirmed, they can at least use vaping to help them fight back against the cause of their illness. I think that is extremely important for people when they are facing chemotherapy and similar treatments. It is dangerously easy for their spirits to drop and just say "I may as well give in and carry on smoking"!
It is a positive thing that can actually be achieved quickly and I have personally seen the boost people get by taking control.
What would you say is the most popular e-cig that you have ?
By far and away though our best and most popular would be an Ego 650mah battery with the Evod tank! We finally have this combination as a starter pack. The battery lasts a good days worth of moderate to high vaping and the tanks are tough,good looking, reusable and cheap to run!
Three pounds a week would be the average spend for normal use (15-20 cigarettes a day habit).
You would have to be a world champion vaper to defeat this combination.
What are your thoughts for the future of e-cigs in the UK?
Optimistic but concerned.....
What do you think about the proposed new regulations for electronic cigarettes ?
We are totally behind quality control and common sense safety and age related regulations but I haven't yet heard any actual clear sensible proposals for regulating e-liquids yet. I am truly angry at a lot of the misinformation and knee jerk uninformed negative comments! What do these people hope to achieve? How long will their triumphant glow last if they do manage to ban or massively restrict something that bears no relation to their own lives?
Why am I told not to vape in certain buildings even though it is legal (and this is before any legislation)!
There is more propyl glycol in someone's out breath when they use an asthma inhalor!!!
It is in deoderant and perfume!
Smoking is dead and it needs to be buried along with all the negativity!
I feel like vapers are being accused of trying to bring smoking back through stealth! The majority of us hate smoking!
And please if you support your right to smoke free nicotine or nicotine free vaping please show your support by supporting the World Vaping Organisation and signing up, it could save lives.
Whats next for Dr Smokeless ?
That depends a lot on whether we can all change public perception of vaping. I would love to see NHS support for nicotine withdrawal vapourizers at least.
My main hope is that many more doctors can educate themselves and their support teams so that we can prove that vaping is not only safe but saving lives and improving standards of life!
Also on a less grandiose scale, we are in the process of building a website on which to host support videos and some clinical information so people can see for themselves the facts and reality of what we are doing.
End of questions
Julian added :
" I hope my answers are concise enough and sorry if they are a bit passionate at times but I truly am worried for the future of Vaping. Please check out the World Vaping Organisation site. I didn't want to get side tracked but felt it was vital to mention it! "
Thank-you very much, Julian, for taking the time to do the interview for my blog.
Dr Smokeless can be found here :
196 Cotmanhay Rd.
0115 9 309 687