‘Vape shops’ should be treated as essential to help make sure ex-smokers do not turn back to tobacco products, wrote Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham today in a letter to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Whilst shops that sell tobacco are open and accessible to the public, those shops which sell successful stop smoking aids such as e-cigarettes have been identified as non-essential. This has caused a concern that any supply issues with e-cigarette liquids could cause people to turn back to tobacco, as they are often only stocked in small amounts.
‘Vape shops’ have been increasingly popular with people who have successfully stopped smoking tobacco, but now ex-smokers are forced to try and find some in smaller shops, or order them online – yet many people do not and cannot shop online, and there are notices on website alerting customers of delays in shipping.
In his letter to the Secretary of State, Alex Cunningham said:
“Whilst there are some shops that remain open which sell the liquids for vaping products, these tend to be in smaller amounts and as a result can be more expensive. It is still possible to order products online, but not everybody is able to confidently use the internet to make purchases, and there can be longer delays through the post.
“Although an extra few days wait for the liquids may not seem like much, it is enough time for someone to choose the available option of cigarettes rather than not have having nicotine products for several days. “
The Government has exempted off-licenses which primarily sell alcohol from having to close, and tobacco products are still widely available in all types of supermarkets. The availability of cigarettes during a time where the e-cigarette components could be affected means people’s lung health can be put at risk.
The Stockton North MP went on to say:
“As long as these shops are following the rules on social distancing, and operating strict procedures like other shops are doing, we should ensure that people can still pick the healthier option in life, including with e-cigarettes.”