“The Government of Ontario has taken many positive steps towards protecting Ontarian’s physical and mental health.  We ask them to continue by including vape shops as an essential service, qualifying under section 55 of the Ontario List of Essential Workplaces prepared in response to COVID-19”, said Darryl Tempest, Executive Director of the CVA.

“Vape shop retailers and product suppliers provide products and services that support the health sector though the provision of low nicotine harm reduction products, and also serve to support mental health by satisfying the nicotine addiction of vapers, the vast majority of which are reformed smokers.”
“Many vapers who require nicotine vapour products do not have access to online channels. By limiting sales to e-commerce only, the black market will flourish, and unsafe products will enter the market. Additionally, vapers with the ability to order online may be forced back to smoking to cope with the mental stress of these difficult times as they wait for online orders to ship with no other access point available,” he added.

Tempest pointed out that given the fact that vaping offers a safer alternative to satisfy addicts’ cravings to nicotine, vape shops should also be considered as serving mental health. “Vaping has been proven to be the most successful tool in the fight against combustible tobacco.  Vape shop retailers and product suppliers provide products and services that support the health sector though the provision of low nicotine harm reduction products, and also serve to support mental health by satisfying the nicotine addiction of vapers, the vast majority of which are reformed smokers.”

Ironically, while vape shops have been excluded from the list of essential shops which rightly included cannabis businesses, liquor based businesses made the cut. “As such, these businesses very clearly fall within the definition of an essential service as provided in section 55 of the Ontario List of Essential Workplaces.  Unlike many of the services listed here by the Ontario Government, adult only vape shops are registered with our local health units in the province of Ontario,” said Tempest.

Reopening vape shops in Europe

Meanwhile in Europe, some countries have allowed vape shops to remain open, while others such as France, Spain and Italy, had initially closed them but have now allowed them to reopen. In Italy, award winning Dr. Riccardo Polosa explained why it would be ridiculous to keep tobacconists open whilst closing outlets that sell safer alternatives.

“..hundreds of thousands of vapers would have been at risk of gatewaying back to smoking. It was an issue of public health in my opinion. Also, many vapers with respiratory diseases have seen a curtailment of their symptoms by vaping, and by stopping vaping we would have seen a rise in acute exacerbation in respiratory disease. This would have been extremely detrimental to the national health system at a time when you have ICU beds occupied and not available for anything else,” said the professor.

Similarly in France, in an amendment of the March 14th decree, vape shops are recognized as “of public interest” and have been allowed to reopen, as long as they set in place all the necessary precautions to avoid the transmission of the coronavirus.

COVID-19 Lockdown: UK Government Urged to Keep Vape Shops Open

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