January 11, 2021
Doug Mutter explains why government action is needed to stop another health crisis
We have been consistent in our arguments since the pandemic began that vaping retailers are essential services, and our own data showed smoking rates increased during the last lockdown, when vape shops were closed.
We now face a second lockdown with the same restrictions as in March 2020 – which we know will result in thousands of would-be vapers, turning back to smoking.
We welcome this new grant scheme for stores forced to close during this new lockdown, but as ever, we await the details before fully judging just how impactful the scheme could be.
What the industry needs to survive, however, is support from the Government in stating that vaping retailers are essential and can remain open within the restrictions set out. Online delivery and click and collect services are useful to many of our customers but we are still seeing too many smokers slip through the cracks.
NHS stop smoking services has been dramatically reduced, the availability of tobacco cigarettes has never been higher and now with vaping stores closed, smokers have nowhere to go.
Advice and guidance on how to quit smoking and the best ways to make the switch is harder than ever to find and with the last frontline services (vape stores) closing it is only going to get worse for people.
There is a willingness from the industry to remain open in a safe, controlled manner and there is a clear need, we just need the Government to back the vaping industry and we could prevent the one of the biggest growths in smoking we have seen in years.”
Doug Mutter is the director of VPZ vape retail chain.