The ministry of health has categorized vape shops as non-essential, and therefore ruled that they stay closed during the COVID-19 lockdown. Whilst the implementation of measures that encourage social distancing is commended, this particular measure is being questioned, as it also came with a ruling that forbids online sales of vaping products.

The director of the Association Québécoise des vapoteries (AQV), Valérie Gallant, received a letter by local authorities stating that vape shops are not part of the list of priority shops issued by the government. She said that in response to this, she is trying to turn to convenience stores, where store owners could leave products on deposit.

She added that until now, only the Saga group, a group of independent convenience stores in Quebec, has indicated that they are open to the idea. “The president forwards the documents to his franchisees, who will contact me for orders afterwards,” said Ms. Gallant.

CVA: Vape shops are essential

“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.”
Similarly, Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford has just released the list of essential services which will remain open and this excluded vape shops. The Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) argued that this will be counterproductive to public health.

“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.

Ironically, while vape shops have been excluded from the list of essential shops, 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.

 Read Further:

UK Vaping Association: The Vaping Industry Remains “Open For Business”

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In-house journalist covering international vaping news.