Vape Shops Demanding To Stay Open Amid Outbreak
Various Vaping Groups and Public Health Experts Argue They’re An Essential Service
The world is in the grip of the greatest public health crisis humanity has faced in several generations. The global economy is in rapid decline, public health services are overwhelmed, and businesses are being forced to shutter in an attempt to slow the pandemic.
Several vaping industry groups have lobbied lawmakers on behalf of their clients to allow an exemption for vape shops to remain open during the outbreak. These groups state that such closures may further stress an already overwhelmed healthcare system. They note the exemptions currently made for retailers such as tobacconists, dispensaries, as well as liquor and convenience stores.
These groups cite public health concerns noting that restricting access to local vape shops may push those currently addicted to nicotine to take up smoking again, seek out higher nicotine products available in outlets such as convenience stores, or even seek out risky black-market alternatives. They also claim that helping adults managing nicotine addiction is a far more important essential service than selling liquor or cannabis.
These groups also note the millions of vapers that may be impacted by such measures, and how turning them back toward tobacco or worse alternatives has the potential of further stressing an already overwhelmed healthcare system. They assure their respective governments that the industry is taking all available precautions and official guidance to help stop the spread of the outbreak.
Vape industry organizations such as the Canadian Vaping Association and UK Vaping Industry Association have begun petitioning their respective governments to allow an exemption for vape shops to remain open during the midst of the ongoing global outbreak. These groups cite a myriad of potential public health consequences that may arise from forcing millions of people currently addicted to nicotine to quit cold turkey without access.
Lawmakers in Italy have already allowed for such an exemption, following petitions from harm reduction expert Dr. Riccardo Polosa. He successfully raised concerns over an increased risk of people not only smoking but doing so in confined spaces and around bystanders. He also raised the important concern that there are millions currently using vaping to help manage or wean themselves from nicotine addiction, and that restricting access would most likely force them back to tobacco or black market alternatives to continue meeting their needs.
There have also been concerns raised over the potential impact of forcing people back to smoking amid a pandemic of a respiratory-based disease, and how that may only further exacerbate the global public health crisis. Most governments have already allowed exemptions for outlets such as tobacconists and liquor stores to remain open, which are far less vital of an essential service than ensuring people can safely manage their nicotine addiction.
What these groups did not state in their initial pleas is the potential economic impact of forcing these businesses closed without notice. Such a measure would lead to the permanent closure of thousands of retailers throughout the United States, who have already been devastated following a series of regulatory crackdowns targeting the industry.
As mentioned, vaping is an essential service that provides addiction relief and management for millions of current and former smokers throughout the world. Restrictions on access to vapor products have not only had serious economic, but public health implications as well.
Vaping has not only been repeatedly demonstrated as an effective smoking cessation aid but as a proven reduced harm alternative to tobacco too. One such study comes from the University of Louisville, which found that vaping was more effective than any other form of smoking cessation, including prescription options and going cold-turkey.
Another example highlighting the promise vaping provides as a smoking cessation tool is research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. That study found that vaping was more effective than any other nicotine-replacement therapy in not only helping adults quit smoking, but remain tobacco-free.
In addition to many other studies highlighting vaping’s efficacy as a smoking cessation aid, vaping is also a proven reduced harm alternative to tobacco. Research from Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center found that vaping is actually 95% and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.
The industries push to remain open amid the current global pandemic raises a number of interesting questions about our evolving situation. Most notably, the paradox between exercising proper social distancing and self-quarantine, against the needs of managing their own health and life.
Many outlets have taken a number of voluntary measures to help slow and stop the spread of the outbreak, such as implementing social distancing policies and limiting the number of people allowed in the store simultaneously. The industry hopes they’re striking a balance between looking out for public safety, while also being there to support public health as well.
What are your thoughts regarding vape shops remaining open during this crisis? Do you believe vape shops are an essential service? 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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