Newfoundland Vape Retailers Are Essential and Must Stay Open
March 26th 2020 8:00am
Newfoundland Vape Retailers Are Essential and Must Stay Open

On March 23, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald released the list of essential services that will continue to operate amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite the inclusion of liquor and cannabis-based businesses, adult-only specialty vape retailers and vape product manufacturers and distributors were not included as an essential service. 

The Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) has repeatedly voiced its concerns about limiting access to harm reduction products. Many vapers who require nicotine vapour products do not have access to online channels, both due to living in remote locations or lack of credit products required to complete the purchase. By limiting sales to e-commerce only, and removing curbside pickup of vape shop purchases, the black market will flourish, and unsafe products will enter the market. Additionally, vapers with the ability to order online may be forced back to smoking to cope with the mental stress of these difficult times as they wait for online orders to ship with no other access point available. It is also important to note that, as a result of the pandemic, Canada Post has changed its age verified shipping procedure to require recipients of adult-only products purchased online to show ID at a depot instead of their home. As such, the online model does not even serve to eliminate contact within our communities.”

Tempest went on to state, “Vaping has been proven to be the most successful tool in the fight against combustible tobacco. Vape shop retailers and product suppliers provide products and services that support the health sector through the provision of low nicotine harm reduction products, and also serve to support mental health by satisfying the nicotine addiction of those who utilize this powerful harm reduction tool, the vast majority of which are reformed smokers. As such, these businesses very clearly fall within the definition of an essential service as a provider. Unlike many of the services listed here by the Newfoundland Government, adult only vape retailers are locally owned and operated small businesses, servicing thousands of adults who battle addiction. By working together we can implement all necessary measures to keep Newfoundlanders safe without adding additional stress and anxiety to the lives of the thousands of adult vapers in Newfoundland during what is an already difficult time”. 

The CVA strongly agrees with the need for social distancing. We recognize that it is best for the protection of our citizens and fully support the recommendations of our medical professionals. However, as has been emphasized by many clinicians, former smokers and researchers, vaping is a critical tool for many in managing their nicotine addiction. Flavoured nicotine e-liquids are the key for many reformed smokers, 90% of which use low nicotine options that are only available in adult-only access product vape storefronts.

Many vape shops across the country have implemented new policies that follow social distancing recommendations to protect staff and the public. These policies include phone-in orders, where customers call in their orders and are met outside by staff. Customers are required to pick up their orders at specified times and six-foot markers are in place to reinforce social distancing in case a customer arrives prior to their individualized, designated pick-up time. These orders are pre-paid and eliminate cash handling while minimizing physical interaction between customers and staff. Additionally, the few stores still allowing customers to enter the premises are allowing only one person in their shops at a time and are following significant sanitation and social distancing protocols to ensure the safety of both consumers and staff.

The CVA urges governments to include vape retailers and the related manufacturers and distributors as an essential service, similar to liquor and cannabis operations. Stores will continue to implement all required procedures to keep Canadian’s safe during these unprecedented times and will continue to encourage the use of phone-in systems to eliminate cash handling and reduce physical interaction. We must work together to ensure that thousands of Canadians vapers have access to the products they require to remain free of combustible tobacco, a product that we know kills one in two users.

About the Canadian Vaping Association

The Canadian Vaping Association ( is a registered national, not-for-profit organization, established as the voice for the burgeoning Canadian vaping industry. Founded in 2014, the CVA represents over 300 retail and online vaping businesses in Canada, not including tobacco companies or affiliates. The association is the primary liaison with the federal and provincial governments on all legislative and regulatory issues related to the industry. The primary goal of CVA is to ensure that government regulation is reasonable and practical, through the strategy of professional proactive communication and education supplied bilingually to health officers, media, and elected officials.
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