Owners of vape shops argue that their stores are just as “essential” as the businesses that sell cigarettes.

As cities across the country have shut down in hopes of slowing the coronavirus, a few “essential” services have been allowed to remain open. Banks can fulfill financial needs. Restaurants can offer takeout. Pharmacies can have pain relievers on the shelves.

One type of business that has not always been allowed to stay running: vape shops. And that has become a source of frustration to a growing number of often-maligned vape shop owners and manufacturers in the burgeoning industry, who feel that it could lead to people returning to traditional and more harmful cigarettes.

In states where non-essential businesses have closed, convenience stores and gas stations have continued to sell traditional cigarettes, much to the chagrin of vape advocates.

“Unfortunately, cigarettes are well-stocked,” said Rick Avila, a co-founder of Liquid Nicotine Wholesalers, one of the largest nicotine suppliers in the U.S. “If we cut off one and not the other, people will just go back to smoking.”

Read full article here.

Alex Norcia – Vice.com – March 26, 2020.

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