Vape Shops Adapting To Changing Times
A rapidly unfolding situation has forced many retailers to adjust to survive
Over the past year, the vaping industry has faced a wave of relentless regulation that has left many vape shops unable to sell their products. Thanks to various crackdowns on sales, these small business owners are unable to sell products.
As shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders begin to take effect, retailers currently deemed non-essential are scrambling to find new ways to stay afloat. This has hit vape shops particularly hard, who are often banned from selling their products through alternative avenues such as the internet or over the phone.
For example, some retailers have begun adopting curbside service as a means of staying in business and helping vapers remain tobacco-free. Employees take a series of proactive precautions to help reduce their risk of exposure or potential contamination.
While not ideal, it offers vapers a means of continuing cessation while allowing retailers to remain open for the time being. As our situation continues to unfold, no one is certain how much longer they will be able to stay operational.
Throughout the United States, a series of shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders have forced retailers currently deemed non-essential to shutter or adapt to remain open. For example, some retailers in Vermont have adopted curbside pickup to help vapers stay off tobacco.
“Basically, we’re open for business,” said Alex Morano, owner of Vermont’s Valley Vape. “Not as usual, but we’re still open for business.” Customers can call or text their orders to Valley Vapes staff, where gloved employees will deliver their order directly to their vehicle once they arrive.
The move comes following an executive order in the state that mandates all non-essential businesses to stop in-person sales, which has caused confusion among some Vermonters over what exactly is deemed essential. “To my customers, especially, I’m essential,” Morano said, noting that vape shops are being closed while cigarettes remain readily available at gas stations and convenience stores.
People may purchase vapor products at some of these outlets as well, but many of them only carry high-nicotine disposable vapor products. Users who have successfully weaned themselves down to nicotine-free or reduced-nicotine juices would be at risk of worsening their addiction.
Smoking is a global epidemic responsible for millions of complications, diseases, and deaths each year. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are 38 million smokers in the United States alone, 16 million of whom currently suffer from some form of smoking-related illness.
Vaping offers great promise and potential, as well as our best chance of success in combating this deadly epidemic. A study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that vaping was more effective than traditional nicotine-replacement therapies in helping smokers quit and remain tobacco-free.
Vaping is responsible for saving thousands and potentially millions of lives throughout the world every single year. According to research from University College London commissioned by Public Health England, vaping was responsible for helping up to 70,000 British smokers quit in a single year alone.
Not only has vaping been demonstrated as an effective smoking cessation device, but there is currently no evidence of long-term risk to users as well. A report published by the National Academy of Sciences found that not only is vaping less harmful than smoking, but there are no known long-term health effects associated with prolonged use.
The unfolding global pandemic has not only altered our way of life but the economic landscape as a whole for the foreseeable future. Retailers lucky enough to remain operational for now are forced to adapt to rapid shifts in mandates from lawmakers and public health officials.
For an industry already under tremendous strain following unwarranted regulatory scrutiny and burden, it remains uncertain whether small mom-and-pop vape shops will be able to weather this storm. As mentioned, many of these outlets are prohibited by law from utilizing alternative sales channels such as delivery, as well as mail and online ordering.
The vaping industry and community should lobby their respective officials to allow exemptions for vape shops to remain open as essential retail. At a minimum, restrictions on alternate distribution methods should be lifted so these small businesses can stay in operation during these uncertain economic times.
What are your thoughts regarding the adoption of curbside delivery following bans on in-person sales? How do you believe the ongoing pandemic will impact vapers over the long-term? We would love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
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