E-CIGARETTE shop owners in Oxfordshire have said the Government’s endorsement of the safety of vaping could be a death-knell to their business.

Shops like Oxford Vapours and the Purple Haze chain have said they expect an initial boost to business.

But they also fear, with a Government approval on the technology and the suggestion that e-cigarettes could even be prescribed by GPs to help people quit smoking, tobacco and pharmaceutical companies will start investing millions and muscle them out of the market.

The independent review published by Public Health England on Wednesday concluded e-cigarettes were 95 per cent less harmful to people than smoking.

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Daniel Greenall, who runs Oxford Vapours in Witney and Ox Vapours in Abingdon, said he expected people to stop buying e-cigarettes from him within three years.

He started his business three years ago at the age of 17.

He and his father were living in Bournemouth and when his father’s partner, a doctor living in Oxford, bought them e-cigarettes, they both quit smoking within a week.

Mr Greenall started running a stall selling the devices in Cowley, and three years on he now runs two shops, a website and a delivery service around Oxfordshire.

But he said the Government announcement could be the beginning of the end.

The 20-year-old, who lives in Oxford, said: “In the long-run, if they regulate it seriously, there’s probably quite a high chance it’s going to shut companies like me down.”

But he added: “I didn’t do this to be rich, I did it so other people could do what I did and give up smoking. If that is how people find health then so be it.”

Andy King and his parents opened their first Purple Haze e-cigarette shop in Daventry in 2013, after the whole family and seven friends managed to quit smoking by using them.

The family, who live in Kingham near Chipping Norton, now have two more shops in Bicester and Kidlington.

Mother Denise Horne, who runs the business with her husband John, called the announcement a “double-edged sword”.

She said: “It’s brilliant from a media perspective that it has been legitimised.

“But I think it could result in the industry being taken over by pharma-companies and tobacco companies, because they must be losing an awful lot of money to it.”

Mr King, who manages the Kidlington store, said while the devices are already available at supermarkets, his family chain offered more than just products – they offer advice and the benefit of their experience using e-cigarettes.

Dr John Stradling, an emeritus professor at Oxford University’s department of respiratory medicine, said he and others were surprised at the Government’s apparent support of e-cigarettes, which still feed what many still describe as a drug addiction.

He said: “I think where the medical professional has become unhappy that e-cigarettes could have some unintended consequences, like making smoking more socially acceptable.”