More than eleven years ago, Marco Engel (57) born and bred in Tilburg was the first to open an Esmoker shop in the city. The goal: to help more and more people stop smoking and make more conscious choices. The store closed for a while for a major renovation in recent weeks, but luckily the store is open again. We already took a look and spoke to the cheerful Marco.
How Marco ever started the store? There is a special story before that. “I smoked for thirty years and was done with it. Actually, I’ve tried everything to quit smoking, but nothing worked. Until I came into contact with a smoke-free alternative. Since then I have stopped smoking traditional cigarettes for 13 years.”
What works for Marco should work for more people. With that idea, he set up his Esmoker shop on Besterdplein eleven years ago. Five years later, the establishment on the Westermarkt followed. “I was so happy with the discovery of the electronic cigarette and the fact that I had stopped smoking, that I thought: ‘I have to make a lot more people happy with this.’” That is now working well. Every year he and his employees help many people to get rid of traditional smoking with smoke-free alternatives. “This will always remain our challenge.”
“I am anti tobacco”
Not selling as many products as possible, but helping and advising people is central to Marco’s store. “I am anti tobacco! In the Netherlands, about 20,000 people die every year as a result of smoking. That’s horrible. In my shop I advise my customers about smoke-free alternatives. These are, for example, electric cigarettes that you fill with E-liquid and heat not burn devices. In other words: all products with which you inhale vapor instead of smoke.”
The Dutch government is currently pursuing a policy to limit smoking as much as possible. For example, cigarettes are no longer for sale in the catering industry, they will also be removed from supermarkets from 2024 and gas stations and convenience stores will follow a little later. Tobacco will still be for sale at tobacco specialty stores. You can now also buy tobacco in Marco’s shop. “Of course that feels contradictory. But on the other hand, it offers opportunities.Visit mr-joy.com for e liquids for more information. I hope I can make sure that people who come to us to buy tobacco are eventually open to smoke-free alternatives. Now, by addressing these customers, I can persuade them to try a smoke-free alternative. I did not reach these people at first.”
In addition to smoke-free innovations, Marco’s Esmoker stores also sell various e-liquids with different flavors. “These flavors will be banned from 2023 and I think that’s a shame. Soon it will therefore only be possible to vape tobacco flavors with your e-smoker.”
“Every smoker is different”
The customers who visit the store come from home and abroad. “I think this is because we keep our customers well informed. Every smoker is different and therefore needs different products to stop smoking. A heavy smoker starts with a somewhat heavier e-smoker than a light smoker, for example. Ultimately, it is possible to reduce the nicotine level. We will not advise someone who does not smoke to use smoke-free alternatives. And if you are under 18, you are not allowed to enter the store anyway.”
The stories Marco hears from his customers are therefore positive. “We regularly hear that customers feel many times better and are in better condition by using smoke-free alternatives. We really stand behind the products we sell.”
The store on Besterdplein has undergone extensive renovations in recent weeks. Marco is therefore very happy that the store is open again and that he can show the result to his customers. The case had a soft opening on Thursday, April 14. The store will be festively opened on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 April and you can enjoy snacks and drinks in the store. Marco welcomes everyone who wants to stop smoking or is curious in the renovated store at Besterdplein 33 in Tilburg.