January 19, 2021
Vaping industry body UKVIA has urged the Scottish government to look again at changes to restrictions for so-called ‘non-essential’ retail which means vape stores are unable to offer click and collect services to customers.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the measures last week and the move comes as industry experts warn Scotland’s smoke free target for 2034 is hanging by a thread.
A quarter of Scottish smokers (26%) also said that they had been smoking more heavily since the first lockdown began last March. This rise coincided with the closure of stop smoking services and specialist vaping retailers during the pandemic.
Smoking rates have increased in Scotland for the first time in seven years, despite Government aims to see it tumble over the next decade.
Doug Mutter, manufacturing and compliance director at vaping retailer and manufacturer VPZ, has warned of a ‘lung health crisis’ if smoking rates continue to increase.
Mutter said: “Years of hard work in reducing smoking rates in Scotland are on the verge of being wasted if we fail to act, by not providing the tools people need to stop this deadly habit.
“Specialist vaping stores have done a fantastic job in adapting safely to trying times, so the suspension of click-and-collect is a huge blow. We must be allowed to properly support those seeking advice and guidance on harm-reduction alternatives.”
“If we act now, we can maintain progress on a hugely significant public health strategy, rather than lurching into another crisis in the coming years.”
John Dunne, director general at UKVIA, says click-and-collect must be protected:
“Cancer Research UK has already cautioned that Scotland is on course to miss its smoke free target by 16 years. All the nations of the UK must reconsider how they support the vaping industry and the public during lockdown. Squandering the potential of modern, harm-reduction tools is a disaster for public health.
“I am writing to ministers and MPs to urge them to protect click-and-collect retail provisions, and the British vaping sector stands ready to support in any way it can.”
VPZ has also written to the health ministers and public health officials highlighting their concerns.