The UKVIA writes to the Scottish and Welsh Governments to urge them to keep vape shops open during and post the coronavirus crisis

The UKVIA has written to the governments in Westminster, Wales and Scotland today urging them to keep vape shops open and to provide all the support they can to the vaping industry during and post the coronavirus crisis given the vital role it plays in supporting local communities from both an economic and public health perspective. It has written to: Nadhim Zahawi MP, Minister for Business and Industry; Paul Scully MP, Small Business Minister; Jo Churchill MP, Minister for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care;  Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills; Joe Fitzpatrick MSP, Minister for Public Health; Vaughan Gething AM, Minister for Health and Social Services; and Ken Skates AM, Minister for the Economy and Transport.

The full letters are printed below and available to download here:

Letter to Welsh Government:

Dear Minister

Given the current situation with the outbreak of Coronavirus across Wales we recognise that this will be an extremely busy time for you personally and for the Government. However, we would ask that due consideration is given to the vital role of the vaping sector in their communities, both from an economic and public health perspective.

Our simple ask of you is to ensure that vape shops in towns and rural areas across Wales stay open during the crisis and would urge you and your colleagues to look at the example of Italy. Dr Riccardo Polosa, a world renowned scientist and researcher on vaping and tobacco harm reduction and founder of the Centre of Excellence for the Acceleration of Harm Reduction, successfully argued that due to the stress caused by the Coronavirus, with the closure of vape shops vapers were highly likely to go back to smoking cigarettes to maintain their nicotine needs. This could be dangerous from a public health perspective and could heighten the risk of exposure of tobacco smoke to bystanders during the crisis, including families and children. This could also place a further burden on an already overstretched health system.

Online stores are critical to stopping an increase uptake in smoking given the present environment, but so are physical vape retail outlets as smokers and vapers rely on the specialist advice that they receive at these shops.

In addition to keeping vape shops open for business we would particularly like to understand what types of support will be available for our members who are manufacturers, compliance specialists, vape store owners and online retailers. Many are small to medium sized operations, and both during and post this crisis we want to ensure that they are still able to provide a service to the three million plus vapers in the UK, including those in self isolation and people living in remote areas in Wales. It’s also crucial that our members are able to continue to help even more smokers transition to much less harmful vaping. As I am sure you will know, vaping is now the number one quitting smoking method in Wales, with some 150,000 adults now using e-cigarettes, which in turn has been key to reducing the current level of smoking to 17% of the population.

As mentioned, we understand how busy you will be at this current time but we hope that you take on board our views above and provide us with feedback on support measures which will go some way to reassuring our members. We would, of course, be happy to discuss this matter further if this were helpful.

Yours sincerely

John Dunne | Tel: 0203 2670074

Email: ukvia@jbp.co.uk  |  Website: www.ukvia.co.uk

@Vaping_Industry        UKVIA

34 Smith Square | Westminster | SW1P 3HL

 

Letter to Scottish Government:

Dear Mr Hepburn

Given the current situation with the outbreak of Coronavirus across Scotland we recognise that this will be an extremely busy time for you personally and for the Government. However, we would ask that due consideration is given to the vital role of the vaping sector in their communities, both from an economic and public health perspective.

Our simple ask of you is to ensure that vape shops in towns and rural areas across Scotland stay open during the crisis and would urge you and your colleagues to look at the example of Italy. Dr Riccardo Polosa, a world renowned scientist and researcher on vaping and tobacco harm reduction and founder of the Centre of Excellence for the Acceleration of Harm Reduction, successfully argued that due to the stress caused by the Coronavirus, with the closure of vape shops vapers were highly likely to go back to smoking cigarettes to maintain their nicotine needs. This could be dangerous from a public health perspective and could heighten the risk of exposure of tobacco smoke to bystanders during the crisis, including families and children. This could also place a further burden on an already overstretched health system.

Online stores are critical to stopping an increase uptake in smoking given the present environment, but so are physical vape retail outlets as smokers and vapers rely on the specialist advice that they receive at these shops.

In addition to keeping vape shops open for business we would particularly like to understand what types of support will be available for our members who are manufacturers, compliance specialists, vape store owners and online retailers. Many are small to medium sized operations, and both during and post this crisis we want to ensure that they are still able to provide a service to the three million plus vapers in the UK, including those in self isolation and people living in remote areas in Scotland. It’s also crucial that our members are able to continue to help even more smokers transition to much less harmful vaping. As you may be aware, we have seen the smoking rates increase in Scotland for the first time in seven years and no action could see this increase hugely and undo all the progress that is being made nationwide.

As mentioned, we understand how busy you will be at this current time but we hope that you take on board our views above and provide us with feedback on support measures which will go some way to reassuring our members. We would, of course, be happy to discuss this matter further if this were helpful.

I am copying this letter to Joe Fitzpatrick MSP, as the Minister for Public Health.

Yours sincerely

John Dunne | Tel: 0203 2670074

Email: ukvia@jbp.co.uk  |  Website: www.ukvia.co.uk

@Vaping_Industry        UKVIA

34 Smith Square | Westminster | SW1P 3HL