Vape shops across England and Wales are expecting huge numbers of customers—including many smokers seeking expert help and guidance to quit—when they reopen on Monday.
More than 2,000 vape shops across the U.K. are preparing to reopen their doors to customers again on April 12 after the government confirmed the next stage of lifting lockdown restrictions will proceed as previously announced.
Nonessential retail outlets, including vape shops, will be able to reopen their doors from Monday across England and Wales. In Scotland, however, nonessential retail must remain shut until Monday, April 26.
The U.K. Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) welcomes the relaxing of restrictions as the latest step on the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, especially as this coincides with the hugely successful month-long awareness campaign VApril.
Run by the UKVIA and now in its fourth year, VApril aims to help educate smokers on how to successfully quit conventional cigarettes by transitioning to vaping.
This year’s VApril campaign kickstarted with a webinar featuring leading industry experts, including UKVIA Director General John Dunne, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping Chair Mark Pawsey, Global Legal and Regulatory Strategist at Andina Gold Corp. Patricia Kovacevic and former Director of Action on Smoking and Health Clive Bates.
“The closure of retail outlets has been especially difficult for some users of vaping products who have struggled to get hold of equipment and advice that they needed and who might well have returned to smoking over the past few months,” said Dunne.
“I am so pleased that the wider vape retail sector in England and Wales is now able to reopen its shop doors on Monday 12th April and begin trading again.
“Given the evidence that vaping is at least 95 percent less harmful than smoking, according to Public Health England, it is vital that smokers are now given all the advice they need on making the switch from smoking both in store and using online advice, including the VApril website.”
“We are delighted to have our stores reopen after another lengthy lockdown,” said Doug Mutter, director at VPZ. “From the click-and-collect services alone, we have already seen a huge number of smokers coming forward looking for advice and guidance on their quit journey.
“It has been over a year now that smokers have been struggling with getting expert advice and the selection of products they need from specialist retailers. Vaping retailers have been the last remaining service where people can get help and advice on how best to quit smoking, so we are fully expecting a very busy couple of months.
“We are fully committed to achieving a tobacco-free country by 2030, and, with our expert staff now able to open back up the stores, we are ready to help any smoker make the switch.”
“We are so pleased to be able to give the service we are renowned for to our local customers once again,” said Dan Greenall, managing director at Oxford Vapours.
“Like many other businesses, despite managing to stay afloat during the past 12 months, we have seen a huge drop in aiding smokers on their journey to switching to a less harmful alternative.
“Vaping is personal and guidance is essential to ensure a successful switch attempt. Education through brick-and-mortar retail is the best way to help people looking to make a switch to the less harmful alternative.
“This couldn’t have come at a better time for smokers looking to quit, with the UKVIA recently launching VApril 2021—a dedicated educational campaign to help inform adult smokers of the options available to them and to support those wanting to switch on to vaping.
“Now [that] we can reopen our stores, we are truly able help people make the switch and support the government’s efforts for a smoke-free England by 2030.”