March 24, 2020
The vape shop industry is reeling this morning as the industry failed to appear on a list of essential retailers given permission to trade despite the three-week lockdown announced by Boris Johnson.
Exceptions have been made for a range of business including food shops, pet food shops, petrol stations and even bicycle shops and hardware stores.
This morning Twitter has been full of condemnation and some uncertainty.
John Dunne, director of industry association the UKVIA said the closure of speciality vape shops “has the potential to reverse 10 years of success”.
Yet specialty vape shops that massively support this effort are not classified as essential but bike shops are. How does that make sense? The governments decision has the potential of reversing ten years of success.
— John Dunne (@Jdunne9407uk) March 24, 2020
Meanwhile Vaper Expo, the account attached to one of Europe’s largest vaping exhibitions, wanted more clarity:
Are vape shops classed as essential @BorisJohnson ? There is no clarity on this, if people can’t use a safer alternative then they potentially will go back to cigarettes. However companies do not want to put there staff at risk @piersmorgan
— Vaper Expo (@VaperExpoUK) March 24, 2020
The apparent decision to snub vape shops comes as a surprise because it is in contrast to other countries such as Italy, Spain and Sweden which have seen the smoking cessation benefits of vaping as strong enough reasoning for keeping the industry trading.
There no clarify, in Italy and France vape shops are classed as essential
Whilst here newsagents sell cigarettes are , doesn’t make sense, smoke and add more people to the nhs, they need to sort this quick
— Totally wicked (@drvape999) March 24, 2020
The decision isn’t stopping many business pledging to meet customers’ needs, with online ordering services remaining operational in most cases and some business setting up Lockdown-friendly delivery services.
Of course, we are adapting also and arranging delivery. I’m passionate about vaping and got into the industry 3 years ago. I now manage one of our shops. I just worry about our customers…….We can do this!!!!! Keep up the good work Family
— Robert Aitken (@RobertA17567147) March 24, 2020
The hope for the industry will be a government U-turn on the decision and what is clear from the past few days is that any decision the government makes is fluid. In the meantime, it has just got a lot more vital that local shops and convenience stores stock a comprehensive range of vape options for people living under lockdown.
More, of course, as we get it.