While the definition of an essential service might vary from state to state and even between localities, the following industries are generally agreed to fall under the category of an essential service: the armed forces, police, firefighting, hospitals, transportation/logistics, grocery stores, gas stations, utilities, and the media. Other services may be considered essential in certain states and localities (i.e. financial services), although that is up to the discretion of local authorities. Recently, video game retailer GameStop had tried to brand itself as an essential service, which received backlash as many retailers closed up shop to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19.
The United Nations’ International Labor Office (ILO) has a definition of what is considered an essential service . “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.”
COVID-19 effectively took the public eye off of vaping and placed it onto the biggest pandemic in a century. Why are vape shops an essential service? If we go by the definition of the ILO, what can be considered a non-essential service may become essential to the personal safety or health of the whole or part of the population in certain situations should include vape shops and vape retailers. Vapers are utilizing vape products as a form of harm reduction; even in the time of COVID-19, the need for alternative nicotine products will continue just as food delivery will continue or grocery shopping will continue.
Vaping as a harm reduction method and the vaping industry should be an essential service as adults have reported harm reduction through the use of flavors. The local vape shop should be considered an essential service because it may be the only place that vapers can access the vape products and hardware they need. If vapers return to traditional tobacco products, it may actually add to the issues we are seeing with COVID-19.
Recently, many businesses have been offering curbside pickup or delivery of products and/or services. This can extend to vape shops as well who may be experiencing a lack of business due to the COVID-19 shutdown. Where legally possible, vape shops can use this time to deliver products to local vapers or allow curbside pickup of vape products just like any other retail store.
Do you go to your local vape shop? Should they be an essential service? We’d like to talk about this more in the comments. Let us know what you think!
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