CVA Calls on Canadian Governments to Follow Italy’s Example and Ensure Adult Access Vape Shops Are Considered an Essential Service

Hamilton, ON, March 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- While Canadians watch unprecedented events unfold surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, including the closure of retail shops around the country, 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 shops. 

 “We are asking all Canadian governments to follow Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on the advice of Dr. Riccardo Polosa, a world-renowned scientist and researcher on vaping and harm reduction, to ensure vapers have access to the products they require to stay off of combustible tobacco,” said Darryl Tempest, Executive Director of The Canadian Vaping Association. He went on to state that “Vaping has been shown to be the most successful harm reduction tool in the fight against combustible tobacco. While the world is facing extreme public health risks associated with public gatherings, Italy, one of the regions hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, is treating vape shops as an essential service by allowing them to continue to operate while other retailers are being shut down.  They made this decision in an effort to ensure that those that have switched to vaping don’t return to smoking combustible tobacco.  They are particularly concerned with ensuring vapers with pre-existing lung illness do not return to smoking.”

Dr. Polosa indicated that vapers switching back to smoking would cause a rise in acute exacerbation of lung illnesses amongst many individuals who had seen extremely beneficial health impacts from quitting smoking through the use of vape products.  Tempest says, “The closure of adult-only access specialty vape shops would be very detrimental, both to the reformed smokers that frequent these establishments and to our already stretched health care system, at a time when our citizens and public health system need our support the most. This in addition to the gateway effect for those who will return to smoking, exposing others to secondhand smoke along with a host of other unintended consequences, highlight the importance of keeping lifesaving nicotine vape products in the hands of Canadians.”

“Research suggests that only 3-10% of smokers can successfully quit smoking cold turkey. Most smokers and vapers are both physically addicted to nicotine and psychologically addicted to the act of smoking or vaping. As a result, when they give up such habits, their bodies experience withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, insomnia, and depression, which can last up to three months. The added anxiety and mental stress during an already difficult time, will inevitably push vapers back to easily accessible combustible tobacco products”, concludes Tempest. 

The CVA is asking for all governments to consider adult-only access vape shops as an essential service.  There are an estimated 1.1 million vapers across Canada that rely on vape shops to ensure that they don’t return to smoking or turn to black market homemade e-liquids to satisfy their nicotine cravings. With Canada Post and other delivery services eliminating the shipment of products requiring at the door age verification, the availability of these products through retail locations is of extreme importance to reformed smokers. We are asking governments across Canada to work with The CVA and the 1,200 vape shops across our nation to ensure that those addicted to nicotine are not forced to returning to the use of combustible tobacco products, our nations leading cause of death, nor to the extremely high-nicotine content products sold by Big Tobacco vape brands through the convenience store channel. Adult-only access vape shops must be allowed to continue to operate under the social distancing guidelines as prescribed by public health.

By working with industry, our governments and public health officials we can ensure we don’t send hundreds of thousands of vapers in Canada back to smoking or expose them to high nicotine levels, feeding increased addiction. Specialty vape shop owners will continue to implement and comply with all prescribed precautions as recommended by health authorities for the protection of all Canadians. 

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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