Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) brand VIP plans to open four new stores in the next four weeks in Ireland – one in Co Cork, two in Dublin and one in Co Meath – as well as create up to 15 jobs this year.

An e-cigarette is a battery-powered device which simulates tobacco smoking. It generally uses a heating element that vaporises a liquid solution.

Joe Dunne introduced the VIP brand to the Irish market in October 2012, initially opening a store in the Jervis Centre in Dublin and then expanding into Stephen’s Green Centre.

It’s now the leading electronic cigarette brand in the country, in 22 locations nationwide, with seven stores managed directly and the remaining 15 franchised out. The company currently employs 40 people in Ireland.

According to Dunne, sales growth in the past year has been “significant” and revenue is projected to grow by 20-30pc this year.

“The marketing strategy last year was to roll out VIP to as many locations as possible. This year it’s about people realising VIP is the brand to use if your ‘vaping’.

“We will do this through advertising, staff training, pricing and overall letting people see for themselves that VIP is the brand to have.”

VIP e-cigarettes are not for sale to anyone under the age of 18. Dunne said he welcomed the regulation of e-cigarettes here and could call for an independent body to be established to check the standards of e-liquid and devices.