Are Vape Shops Essential Businesses During the Covid-19 Pandemic?

Around the world, countries are all dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic in their own way. Still, one strategy is fairly standard, with non-essential businesses being shut down and social distancing a large part of the prevention of the spread of Covid-19.

It’s the definition of essential businesses that are proving to be the tricky part in the United States, with many vape shops being left out in the cold. It’s not just in the US either that vape shops feel that they’ve been excluded during the pandemic.

As you look through different country’s definitions of essential businesses, it’s easy to spot a pattern developing regarding what’s been deemed essential and what’s deemed non-essential. Of course, all medical and health services are deemed essentials. Then you have critical services such as sewerage, food services (delivery and take away only), power, water, and mail. It’s the next list of businesses that it seems to start getting a bit shaky.

Bars and clubs are mostly closed, but open for people to walk in and order takeaways. Most liquor stores and convenience stores are open, and also cannabis dispensaries. Obviously, if you can still buy cannabis, alcohol, beer, and cigarettes, you would assume that vape stores would also be included for taking away orders.

This is where things get a bit confusing. Almost every country and state have deemed vape shops as non-essential. It’s confusing for vape shops that are now forced to close their doors completely while they watch other shops such as tobacco, liquor, and cannabis stores continue to operate only next door in some circumstances.

Italy and France initially closed all vape shops while leaving cigarette shops open for business. After the hypocrisy of this was pointed out and vapers lobbied that more vapers would turn back to tobacco, they switched their stance and allowed vape shops to remain open. The UK was initially on the fence about vape shops, with them not declared either essential or non-essential. Still, after lobbying about having them deemed necessary, the UK government classified them as non-essential and forced them to close except for online deliveries.

Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association (CASAA) has started a movement #EssentialToUs to have vape shops reasonably classified as ‘essential businesses’ alongside tobacco shops and liquor stores. Vape shops, like many other essential businesses, could just as quickly implement all social distancing requirements while also offering curbside pickups and online deliveries. However, not all states across the US allow for vaping products to be delivered or purchased online, which makes it that much harder for vape shops to switch from brick and mortar stores to online ordering.

Should Vape Shops Be Classified Essential Businesses? Conclusion
When you consider many of the other businesses deemed as essential, it’s hard for many vape shops to be considered non-essential alongside liquor stores, convenience stores, tobacco stores, and cannabis stores. Do you think that vape shops should be considered essential or non-essential businesses? We’d love to hear your thoughts.