March 26, 2020
A senior figure in the vaping industry has delivered a sharp warning to smokers that failing to quit could prove fatal for coronavirus sufferers.
Doug Mutter, director of compliance and manufacturer and VPZ told Vape Business earlier this week: “While it might be tempting to return to cigarettes, the combination of smoking and COVID-19 is lethal. Both the World Health Organisation and the UK Government have already expressed concerns about smokers and the coronavirus and anything retailers can do to help customers should be taken.”
The comments came as the industry battles to gain the same “essential” status which has allowed businesses such as bike shops, hardware stores and off licences to remain open during the lock down.
“It is absolutely critical that vaping stores are able to help vapers stay well away from cigarettes,” said Mutter. “By keeping smokers off cigarettes we reduce the strain on the NHS and help to fallen the curve which is so critical to managing this pandemic.”
Earlier in the week there was surprise and consternation when – unlike other countries – the UK government decided not to name vape shops as among those which could continue to trade.
Prior to the decision Sir Kevin Barron, Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and former MP and previous member of the General Medical Council, had urged the government to keep the UK’s vape shops open to protect public health.
“It is predicted that Coronavirus will have a huge negative mental health impact on our population with added stress and anxiety arising from being quarantined or isolated, worries about jobs and finances, and the risk of the disease to themselves and friends and families,” said Barron.
“In such situations there can be a heightened temptation to smoke and it’s crucial that continued access to vaping during the crisis ensures vapers do not return to conventional cigarettes and that existing smokers can be encouraged to switch to vaping. The concern is that if the number of smokers increase in the UK this could place further pressure on an already under pressure domestic health system struggling to deal with the coronavirus.”
The industry continues to press for the government to change its policy.