States are responding to their own outbreaks of COVID-19 by implementing different versions of social distancing and shutting down non-essential services. While some of these businesses are being granted exemptions (for example, restaurants can still offer curbside pick-up and delivery and liquor stores are open with strict social distancing protocols), there are questions about whether or not vape shops are allowed to remain open in any capacity.
Tell your governor that vape shops are essential services
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We know from recent experience that denying people access to vape shops will send many of them back to smoking. During these state and local shutdown orders, gas stations, convenience stores, groceries, and pharmacies are being allowed to remain open. Obviously, food, fuel, and medicine are essential, but these retailers also sell combustible tobacco and do so without providing access to the full range of safer alternatives. FDA guidance prohibits them from selling the full range of vapor products, and these retail environments will never be able to replicate the service provided by vape shops.
Governors need to hear from consumers about how important it is to maintain access to vapor shops–especially in a time of crisis. Under high stress and with limited options, it is very likely that we will see hundreds of thousands of people go back to smoking.