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UKVIA Calls For Essential Status For Vape Stores

Trade body UKVIA responded to the latest Covid-19 restrictions by calling for the government to grant essential status to stores selling vape products

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The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) has called on the government to reconsider classifying vape shops as essential retail. Boris Johnson failed to protect the sector during the first two lockdowns and has overlooked the important role shops play in smoking cessation yet again.

UKVIA states: “At this time of the year many smokers are making New Year’s resolutions to quit, and vaping has proved to be, and is acknowledged as, one of the best ways to achieve this. Ensuring that smokers can access the customer service, experience, knowledge, and advice that is offered in stores, is vitally important in helping smokers achieve their New Year resolutions.

John Dunne, the Director General of the UKVIA, spoke out: “It’s not just about providing a lifeline to vape businesses but also to vapers and smokers for whom vaping represents a life changing decision, especially at this time of year.

Whilst we fully recognise the difficult situation the government faces and support the need to react to the latest data as the COVID-19 situation worsens across many parts of the country, the vaping industry should be seen as a sector which provides essential goods and services.

“As smokers make New Year resolutions, we should remember that earlier this year Public Health England acknowledged the contribution played by vaping in helping smokers quit and the Royal College of Physicians has found that e-cigarettes are effective in helping people to stop smoking. Recent research has again highlighted that vape products are much more effective than NRTs in helping smokers give up.”

John went on to add: “We welcome the recent announcement to publish a new tobacco control plan in July 2021 and want to help the government achieve its smokefree by 2030 target, but in order to do so we need to be able to offer the same level of service, expertise, and products to those looking to give up smoking in the New Year. We will continue to make these points strongly to government on behalf of the industry and will ask them again to consider vape stores as essential retail as Germany and France have already done.

“We take safety very seriously and vape retail stores are already well equipped to be COVID compliant. Our stores do not deal with the high volumes of traffic like other outlets and are easily able to control the number of customers in a store at any one time. We want to make sure that smokers who might be aiming to quit in the New Year, and those who already vape, can continue to gain access to vape devices, e-liquids, and specialist advice that our members can offer. It continues to be a concern of ours that during lockdowns the risk of passive smoking to the families of smokers is increased, it is therefore vital that services and expertise of our members remains available at this time.

“According to research one million smokers have already quit smoking during the pandemic and we want to seize on the positives of this situation to encourage that number to grow as we head into 2021. The worst that could happen is to see former smokers tempted back into smoking or do not attempt to try and quit as a result of not having access to the services we can provide.

“These are undoubtedly tough times for any industry and the vaping sector is no exception. The status of vape stores needs to be reconsidered as there is a great opportunity to help smokers achieve their New Year resolution to stop smoking at the same time as protecting the thousands of jobs that our industry employs in manufacturing, wholesale, quality control, and retail.”

Rather than support this reasonable call to aid smoking cessation during the third lockdown, anti-smoking charity Action on Smoking and Health shamefully preferred to tell the world that, “UKVIA has tobacco industry members”, and referred people to Tobacco Tactics, an anti-vaping website run by the University of Bath and funded by Michael Bloomberg.


Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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