State-by-state shutdowns have closed what governors have declared “non-essential” businesses. And while it is a necessary but painful step for the world’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, questions remain as to what is essential and what is not.
Countless people rely on vaping and e-cigarettes as part of their effort to quit or cut back on smoking. As smoking cessation has been a high priority for decades, any tool – including vaping – which can contribute towards that cessation effort should be considered as essential. Yet, in many cities and states, vape shops have been declared non-essential and have been required to temporarily close up shop.
Restaurants are at least allowed to continue offering curbside takeout and delivery, and even some liquor stores have been permitted to continue on a curbside basis, even in states with the most outdated liquor laws on the books. Similarly, marijuana dispensaries in states where it is legal are also declared essential. Yet legislators have decided that a plate of chicken wings, a joint and a six-pack of beer is more essential than a vape. Consumers are even finding that it is certainly possible, and even easy, to buy a pack of Camels at their local grocery store or neighborhood bodega, meaning that misguided legislators have allowed consumers to fill their lungs with carcinogens and smoke while denying them access to what has been proven time and again to be a less harmful alternative.
Small businesses around the country are already feeling the impact. While some measures have been taken on the part of the government to provide relief, such as making small business loans available, it is still likely that tens of thousands of small businesses will not survive a will close their doors permanently as a direct result. Some reports predict that up to half of the approximately 30 million small businesses across the United States which employ nearly 60 million people will disappear this year, and the SBA and government agencies charged with offering loans and other assistance to small businesses are not eager to include vape shops in that package.
In Colorado, vape shops have been shut down by the governor as non-essential, while marijuana dispensaries have remained open, ensuring that Coloradans can smoke whatever they desire, be it tobacco or marijuana – but those residents who want to continue vaping as part of their efforts to move away from the health hazards of smoking will be restricted from doing so.
Vape products are still available at some convenience stores, but this is limited and the vaping options that are available at non-dedicated vape shops are restricted since the FDA effectively banned the sale of flavored cartridges. Flavored e-liquids for open-tank containers are still available, but those are typically found in vape shops and in online vape retail outlets, and not in grocery stores and convenience stores. Typically convenience stores only sell unflavored pods or single-use devices, rather than the more popular open tank systems and flavored e-liquids.
Shutting down vape shops is an unmitigated disaster. Smokers are especially susceptible to succumbing to complications from COVID-19, and making e-cigarettes and vaping less accessible during this crucial time will cause more people to return to smoking. Smoking has a definite and negative impact on those smokers who have contracted the disease, and reports have shown that smoking will cause those suffering from the coronavirus to experience more complications than they would otherwise. Yet during the pandemic, cities and states continue to allow the free and open purchase of cigarettes, but not vapes.
For those who want to continue vaping, whether for pleasure or for smoking cessation, there are options. It is still possible to safely buy vapes online. When you do so, first make sure you are purchasing from a reputable online vaping retailer with a solid reputation and a good selection of products. When you receive your package, take a moment to disinfect the package before opening it, as is appropriate for all parcels received in the mail, and then enjoy.