As of March 27th, 2020, over half the United States has implemented a stay at Home Order, twenty-three states, including Washington, have issued Stay at Home orders and another fifteen states have issued this only in more affected counties within their states. This is due to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The deadly and highly contagious virus has been spreading faster and faster each day in the United States. The US now leads the world in confirmed COVID-19 cases with 83,000, surpassing China and Italy. Just a few weeks ago, Florida's beaches were completely filled with families and college students looking to have a nice exciting few days at the beach to decompress from those draining classes and work.
What’s a Stay at Home Order?
Over 160 million Americans have been told to stay in their homes, and “nonessential” stores and buildings are being closed down. However, grocery stores, banks, and pharmacies are staying open so you can still leave your home if you need to go to a medical appointment or grocery store to buy some essential items like food, water, medicine, etc… People are also allowed to go hiking and do a few normal outdoor activities as long as they are six feet away from any person. Liquor stores and cannabis dispensaries have also been deemed essential so people may visit these stores and purchase what they need, as long as they follow the six feet distancing.
What’s deemed essential?
In many states, vape shops are deemed “nonessential”. In those same states, liquor stores and cannabis dispensaries are essential. But many vape shop owners and customers don’t see it the same. “If alcohol and recreational marijuana are essential services, we believe that responsible adult vaping consumption is an essential service, too," Amanda Wheeler, vice president of the Rocky Mountain Smoke-Free Alliance, said in a statement. "This is a health issue as many of our customers are former combustible cigarette smokers looking for a healthier alternative to smoking. When you take away that option, it has real health implications. With vape shops closed, former smokers may have to resort to purchasing cigarettes from convenience stores."
There is no evidence that vaping increases the risk of infection or progression to severe conditions of COVID-19, though identified vulnerability conditions for this progression (cardiovascular and respiratory disease, diabetes) in mostly senior patients are strongly correlated with long term harms from smoking. "Unfortunately, cigarettes are well-stocked," said Rick Avila, Co-founder of Liquid Nicotine Wholesalers, "If we cut off one and not the other, people will just go back to smoking."
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Do you think vape shops are essential businesses? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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Almost half of all Americans have been ordered to stay at home. This map shows which cities and states are under lockdown. (2020). Retrieved 27 March 2020, from https://www.businessinsider.com/us-map-stay-at-home-orders-lockdowns-2020-3
Lee, A. (2020). These states have implemented stay-at-home orders. Here's what that means for you. Retrieved 27 March 2020, from https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/23/us/coronavirus-which-states-stay-at-home-order-trnd/index.html
See Which States and Cities Have Told Residents to Stay at Home. (2020). Retrieved 27 March 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-stay-at-home-order.html
Norcia, A. (2020). Coronavirus Has Closed Vape Shops, but Left Cigarettes Readily Available. Retrieved 27 March 2020, from https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/pke8n7/coronavirus-has-closed-vape-shops-but-left-cigarettes-readily-available
Bunch, J. (2020). Vape shops puffed over 'non-essential' designation. Retrieved 27 March 2020, from https://www.coloradopolitics.com/coronavirus/vape-shops-puffed-over-non-essential-designation/article_b16662aa-6ed5-11ea-9960-7b95655dcae7.html