The U.K. Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) has asked the U.K. government to reclassify vape shops as essential outlets during the upcoming Covid-19 related national lockdown.
In a letter directed to Business Secretary Alok Sharma, Small Business Minister Paul Scully and Public Health Minister Jo Churchill, UKVIA Director General John Dunne urged the government to consider the role of the vapor sector in terms of health and the economy.
“With vape stores remaining closed for a length of time and without access to their vaping supplies, many vapers and ex-smokers will be at risk of relapse back to smoking at these stressful times,” Dunne wrote.
“Economically, as I am sure you will know, vaping has been a UK plc success story and has supported the high street through the challenging environment experienced in recent years,” Dunne added. “Ongoing closure of vape shops, which in our opinion are providing an essential service to current vapers and existing smokers, would be hugely detrimental to the sector’s contribution to the national economy and the health of the nation.”
According to the Office for National Statistics, the U.K. is home to around 7 million adult smokers. Data also shows that currently around 3.2 million people vape in Great Britain.