Getting the vapers in Africa

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Euromoney is on a health kick. Stand outside our UK building near St Paul’s Cathedral, and you’re as likely to see one of our team drawing on an e-cigarette as you are someone with a traditional 'fag’ these days.

Numerous visits to retail’s latest innovation – known as 'vape stores’ – in the City of London have yielded all manner of contraptions designed to take the tobacco out of our need for nicotine, from smaller models that glow when you blow, to sophisticated pieces of engineering that deliver more of a hit, but have an unfortunate resemblance in size and shape to a 1980s mobile phone.

Vaping is becoming increasingly prevalent in big cities that we visit. But it’s not suited to travel everywhere.

Vape

Of course, you’ll know that the killjoy airlines have banned smoking e-cigarettes on all flights, even if the only emission from a vape stick is odourless steam rather than tar-filled smoke. That makes a 13-hour flight to Hong Kong as much of a trial as it ever was.

But a recent trip to Africa highlighted a new challenge to our revised habit. On entering one government building, one colleague prepared for the usual security check.

Our correspondent takes up the story: "I had to empty my pockets at the door, and the security guards had a mini-conference about what this thing was. I tried to explain that it was an electronic thing to help me stop smoking."

After much consideration, the chief of security said apologetically: "Sir, we are going to have to take your juju stick. You cannot bring this into the building."

At least they were kind enough to give it back as we left the meeting. It was in a plastic bag – that well known way of defeating voodoo.