The UKVIA urges Government to allow UK vape stores to stay open, as many EU countries have done.

“The UK Vaping Industry Association is continuing to urgently seek clarity from the Government over how best the UK’s high street speciality retail vape stores can continue to responsibly provide their vital services to help people stop – or avoid resuming – smoking during this unprecedented public health crisis.

Many of our retailers are already reporting that customers are extremely concerned about not being able to have access to vape products during the Coronavirus outbreak. Whilst newsagents and supermarkets are being allowed to sell vape products, they carry limited ranges and are not able to provide the sheer breadth of expert advice and product lines of speciality stores.

We remain very grateful to the Government and, indeed, we thank Ministers for allowing online retail to continue . A number of our members are, in fact, now setting up further home delivery schemes. However, with other industries also turning to such service provision, additional pressure will be placed on distribution operations nationally.

We are therefore actively continuing to urge Ministers to allow UK vape stores to stay open, as they have in France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany, but only along tightly controlled lines that would abide by the strictest hygiene and social distancing guidance.

As the UK vaping industry’s leading trade association, all of our members fully respect and understand the public health rationale that has led to the Government’s latest restrictions.They equally understand their responsibilities to their staff and customers.

However, if many UK vapers are to continue to reap the benefits of vaping rather than suffer the dangers of smoking, we urge the Government to do the right thing and deem vape stores an essential service that can play a significant part in overcoming the current pandemic. We will update our position as soon as we have more information for vapers and retailers alike.”