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UKVIA Lobbies for Lockdown Essential Retailer Status

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The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) is once again urging the government to classify vape shops as essential businesses to help keep people from smoking during the latest lockdown.

The trade body has been pushing for vape shops to be classified as ‘essential’ since the first lockdown in March and is now stepping up its efforts.

UKVIA also noted that many smokers will have made a New Year’s resolution to make the switch.

UKVIA director general, John Dunne, said:

“It’s not just about providing a lifeline to vape businesses during lockdown, but also to vapers and smokers for whom vaping represents a life-changing decision.

“It continues to be a concern that during lockdowns the risk of passive smoking to the families of smokers is increased. It is therefore vital that the services and expertise of our members remains available at this time.”

The UKVIA said that vape shops are already equipped to be Covid-compliant, with social distancing and sanitisation measures in place.

The trade group believes that allowing vape shops to remain open during lockdown would help new vapers remain smoke-free while protecting thousands of jobs.

The UK’s vape shops have been hit hard by the pandemic, with a quarter of the 4,000 stores on the high street pre-Covid predicted not to survive.

Vapers are instead relying on supermarkets and retail stores, according to IRI data.

Independent grocers have seen a 33 percent increase in vape sales over the past 12 months, while convenience store sales have risen 16 percent and major grocers 9 percent.

Dunne said: “These are undoubtedly tough times for any industry and the vaping sector is no exception.”

Source: The Grocer

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