The vape industry is ‘extremely disappointed’ that the UK government does not deem vape shops to be an essential service, the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) has said.
UKVIA director general John Dunne made the statement ahead of a second nationwide lockdown that will see all but sellers of essential goods and services shut down from November 5 until December 2.
The trade body ‘recognise(s) the predicament the government faces,’ Dunne said. However, he argued that the decision was at odds with Public Health England’s acknowledgement earlier this year that vaping provides a key role in helping smokers stay free of tobacco.
Dunne also noted that vape shops do not typically experience large volumes of people and are equipped to manage social distancing.
“Only last month the Government-backed Stoptober campaign was encouraging smokers to quit, including through taking up vaping.
“Those who took up the challenge during the month now do not have access to the same level of support and products from their local vape stores.
“We will be making these points strongly to government on behalf of the industry and asking them to reconsider their stance on vape stores and reclassify them as essential in future.
UKVIA is to launch an industry-wide campaign this week to promote the online and delivery services provided by vape retailers.
Dunne said that it was vital that vapers do not revert back to smoking during the ‘stressful’ lockdown period.
“These are undoubtedly tough times for any industry and the vaping sector is no exception.
“The industry proved to be incredibly agile during the first lockdown and I am sure it will rise to the challenge again this time around.
“As a FMCG sector it will be important for the vaping industry to reopen for business in early December, the target date for the end of the second lockdown, so it can maximize sales in the lead up to Xmas and safeguard the thousands of people it employs in the manufacture, wholesale, quality control and retail of vape products.”
John Dunne, UKVIA
The government made the decision to introduce a nationwide lockdown following a huge rise in cases across the UK and abroad.
Along with the closure of all non-essential retailers, members of the public will be encouraged to stay at home wherever possible.
However, those unable to work from home will be allowed travel to and from work and schools and universities will remain open.