Why Your Vape Shops Are Essential Services

Why Your Vape Shops Are Essential Services

If you have been watching the news lately, you may see considerable discussion on what is considered as an essential service and who is considered as an essential employee during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. There have been various degrees of quarantines across the nation, with some states and localities taking more aggressive action, such as California’s “shelter-in-place” order. However, this leaves vapers with some questions. Are vape shops considered an essential service? Are the employees of vape shops essential workers? Let’s take a look at why your local vape shop could be considered as an essential service in these difficult times.

What Essential Services Are

There is no clear definition of what an essential service is. Recently, companies such as GameStop have tried to consider themselves as an essential service, which received a lot of backlash as many retailers have closed their doors to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19. However, there are a few services that have generally been considered as essential services: healthcare, the armed forces, police, firefighting, transportation/logistics, utility services, grocery stores, gas stations, and the media. There have also been other services that have been considered essential such as financial services, but the definition of what an essential service is has largely been at the discretion of local and state authorities.

The United Nations’ International Labor Office (ILO) has laid out their own definition of what is an essential service, despite the fact that even their definition remains unclear and open to interpretation. “What is meant by essential services in the strict sense of the term depends to a large extent on the particular circumstances prevailing in a country. Moreover, this concept is not absolute, in the sense that a non-essential service may become essential if a strike lasts beyond a certain time or extends beyond a certain scope, thus endangering the life, personal safety or health of the whole or part of the population.”

Why Vape Shops Are An Essential Service

Before COVID-19, the focus of the media was on vape products and vaping in general. COVID-19 is now the biggest global pandemic since the influenza pandemic of 1918. Therefore, it is important to understand why your local vape shop and vape retailers may be considered essential services. The ILO states that certain services may be considered essential services in order to protect the personal safety or health of the whole or part of the population in certain situations. Vape shops are often the point of access for alternative nicotine products and harm reduction for vapers. The need for alternative nicotine products will not stop even during the COVID-19 pandemic, just like the need for grocery shopping will need to continue.

Vape shops are an essential service as vaping is considered a harm reduction method because if vapers return to traditional tobacco products, it could add to the issues we are seeing with COVID-19. Therefore, the local vape shop, as a gateway to access harm reduction methods and provide alternative nicotine products, could actually be a vital resource in helping reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Many businesses have started offering curbside pickup or delivery of their products and/or services. If this is legally possible in your area, vape shops can take advantage in these times to help continue their business during the COVID-19 shutdown. Vape shops should look into curbside pickup and delivery (if once again, legally possible) of their products just like any other retail store.

What are your thoughts on vape shops being an essential business? Do you agree that they should be considered an essential service? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Let us know what you think!

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Since one of the things everyone says is important is hot air and liquids inhaled and drank to stave off infection, my personal view is inhaling hot air through my vape down my throat is helping keep things moist and not much different than trying to do it with steam etc. I could be wrong but seems to me that vaping might just be a good way to help protect ourselves. Hot temps kill the virus, so I, for one, feel vaping may be a way to stave off infection.

Holly Hoolthaus

Yes thank you!

Vena Coyle

Vape shops should be essential! In my state of NJ they are allowing liquor stores to be open and essential so why not vape shops?

Lisa a francis

I don’t understand how bars and liquor stores can be considered “essential businesses” but smoke and vape shops are not. I’ve never been to a smoke/vape shop that had more than 3-4 people in it. But bars? I’ve rarely seen less than 5 people in one. And what can a liquor store sell that is essential? If they’re using the whole “you can make sanitizer from it” spiel, they’re taking advantage of people. The only thing they can sell that I’d consider “essential” is a bottle of whiskey for medicinal purposes and that bottle, even a small one, would last a good long while.

We went the other day to try and locate a vape shop that was open so I could replace my coils. Found out later that evening that they’d all been closed down. A couple of them were fined from what we heard.

Disregarding those that misuse the alternative smoke/vape items, I seriously want to know how a liquor store/bar can supersede the importance of smoke/vape. Are they deliberately trying to increase the DUI rate or the violence that comes from drinking? Unless it’s an illegal substance, smoking/vaping doesn’t have to really worry about that in most cases. It’s the opposite.

It’s not right to close one but not the other.


I have been so afraid that I will not be able to order my monthly supply of vape juice. Currently I have NOT been able to purchase coils because you are SOLD OUT! I am so afraid to go back to smoking after being smoke free for over two years!

Rafaela Evans

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