Several vapor companies have stepped up during the Covid-19 crisis to help the communities they serve.
By Timothy S. Donahue
The vapor industry has produced millions of bottles of hand sanitizer during the Covid-19 pandemic. Several e-liquid manufacturing companies redesigned their production lines to help replenish one of the most-needed products since safety protocols to help slow the virus began in March. Manufacturers and retailers then donated much of the product to frontline organizations in need such as hospitals, police departments and nursing homes across the U.S.
Turning Point Brands (TPB) was one of the first companies to start producing hand sanitizer. The company said it expected to produce 6,600 liters of hand sanitizer for hospitals and retirement communities. TPB repurposed select manufacturing infrastructure to produce the free hand sanitizer for communities in California, Kentucky and Tennessee, according to the company.
“Our company takes very seriously our role in providing support to the communities where we operate. We hope that through this action we can both help those impacted by the Covid-19 situation and inspire others to act,” said Larry Wexler, president and CEO of TPB.
E-Liquitech was another company that repurposed infrastructure to produce hand sanitizer. George Cassels-Smith, president of E-Liquitech, said that his company teamed up with bottling partner C&C Bottling, which also manufactures several over-the-counter drugs. “We are producing about 11,000 gallons of hand sanitizer a day, six days a week,” said Cassels-Smith. “We had some extra equipment as well that we are using strictly for sanitizer production.”
Maryland-based E-Liquitech donates several hundred gallons of hand sanitizer to local hospitals in Maryland every week. The company plans on continuing to produce hand sanitizer and has now teamed up with several major distribution companies in order to resupply depleted store shelves. Cassells-Smith says it was just the right thing to do.
“There was a need and we had the ability to help out, so we put a plan in place and acted on it,” he says. “You are going to see people cleaning their hands with hand sanitizer for a long time. It’s going to be the new normal.”
In Virginia, Avail Vapor donated more than 5,000 masks to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to help medical professionals on the frontlines of the coronavirus battle protect themselves.
James Xu, CEO and chairman of Avail, said that the idea came to light early in the pandemic when Avail employees heard about the shortage of masks in China when Covid-19 initially struck. Avail works closely with many Chinese suppliers, and Avail employees wanted to support these suppliers in their time of need. When the virus began impacting the United States, those same Chinese colleagues returned the generosity and shipped thousands of masks to Avail head-quarters for employees and healthcare workers.
“To be successful, our business has always been highly collaborative with global partners,” said Xu. “To see our employees proactively answer a need for their Chinese counterparts was special. Now we are so grateful to our Chinese friends for helping us defend our citizens in this pandemic.”
LCF Labs, a Southern California-based e-liquid manufacturer, also began producing sanitizer. The company donated 100,000 bottles and is co-packing up to 20 million bottles with a distributor for Costco, Walgreens and other large retailers. River Supply Company has produced 10,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to date for local hospitals and nursing homes in California. Mr. Salt-E donated 10,000 bottles to e-liquid manufacturers that are producing hand sanitizer.
In Ohio, James Jarvis, who owns three vape shops, donated several hundred bottles of hand sanitizer to local police departments. Jarvis said that recipients of the sanitizer were genuinely pleased and excited. Tony Abboud, executive director for the Vapor Technology Association (VTA), a vapor industry advocacy group, says that his organization was informed of numerous examples of the vapor industry joining together to combat the coronavirus.
“[The] VTA has been working to support our member companies, which have stepped up to manufacture, bottle and distribute much needed hand sanitizer throughout our communities. [The] VTA is working with its members to source additional materials to further expand the great work already being done,” said Abboud in an email. “We are all in this together, and we are so proud of the way our community has rallied together to help get our nation through this public health crisis.”
Several China-based manufacturers also donated supplies to those in need. Relx Technology announced the extension of the Relx “For You With Care” project to support its inter-national partners during the Covid-19 crisis. Relx initially sent 78,200 masks and over 515 gallons of hand sanitizer to its global distributors, partners and store owners.
“Relx is wholly committed to supporting the well-being of our employees, partners and store owners during the Covid-19 pandemic. As a global startup, we are doing what we can to help our global community. We hope our modest donation will help them during these trying times,” said Relx founder and CEO Kate Wang.
Abboud says he isn’t surprised by the generosity of the vapor industry. After all, the industry is founded on the principle of harm reduction and ending the 400,000 deaths caused every year by combustible cigarettes.
“We are incredibly proud of the vapor industry for stepping up, even as their own businesses continue to confront the economic fallout of this crisis,” said Abboud. “Vapor companies haven’t hesitated to take a leading role in their communities, making a difference in innovative and impactful ways. Their commitment to service is no surprise given that these business owners have made it their mission to support smokers and former smokers as they transition away from deadly cigarettes.” V
The companies mentioned in the article aren’t the only ones practicing good corporate social responsibility. The list of vapor companies helping their communities is long. While we can’t possibly name them all, here are just a few more examples, courtesy of the Vapor Technology Association:
• Lakes Vape and Rec Supply donated 363 bottles of hand sanitizer to fire departments, nursing homes and businesses in their Minnesota community, including UPS and FedEx.
• Madwell Collective has produced 6,340 gallons of hand sanitizer to date.• Ripe Vapes has produced 500,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to date, donating one of every two bottles sold VapeRite has produced 12,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to date for first responders and food delivery workers in Atlanta, Georgia.
• Mech Sauce produced 1,500 bottles of hand sanitizer for the local U.S. Postal Service and seniors in Virginia.
• Chubby Gorilla donates empty bottles to be filled with hand sanitizer for distribution.
• Midnight Manufacturing produces 300,000 bottles weekly to support hand sanitizer distribution efforts.
• Mob Liquid is committed to producing 10,000 bottles of hand sanitizer weekly.
• EjuiceBLVD is producing 6,000 to 7,000 bottles of hand sanitizer weekly.
• Euless Vapor donated 150 bottles to their local fire and police departments in Texas.
• USA Vape Labs has produced 5,000 gallons of hand sanitizer for local nursing homes, local medical facilities and government employees.
• Boosted Juice donated 600 bottles to local police departments in Colorado.