vape shops are now open after COVID 19 Lockdown

ARE VAPE SHOPS OPEN?


CLOSURE OF VAPE SHOPS DUE TO THE PANDEMIC 

The recent lockdown and restrictions due to COVID 19 have made many aspects of life a challenge, and the UK vaping and tobacco scene is no different. With the closure of UK vape shops on the high street during this time, access to vaping has been limited, making it harder for people to make the switch from cigarettes. 

The UKVIA (United Kingdom Vaping Industry Association) petitioned the government for vape stores to be classified as essential retailers in an effort to aid public health by stopping vapers and e-cig users from reverting back to tobacco products. At a time when the public aim is to reduce the stress on the NHS, the benefits of using e-cigarettes have never been more relevant!

For customers who already have their favourite vape products, e-cig and supplier, the closure of vape shops didn’t present much of a problem as many stores were still able to offer home delivery. Smokers looking to make the switch from smoking tobacco were limited to only being able to check out alternative products online, or purchasing from a newsagents or petrol station… no visiting a store to talk about products with a retail assistant, no demonstrations, no try-before-you buy... arguably this isn’t the end of the world, but at a time when many people are having to tighten their purse-strings, every purchase counts.

GOVERNMENT APPROVAL TO KEEP VAPE SHOPS OPEN UNDER HEALTH GUIDELINES

Further into the year of restrictions, retailers who were able to offer ‘click and collect’ services were able to stay open to some degree for customers wishing to collect their orders - this meant no delivery time, which is incredibly valuable in terms of keeping customers from reverting back to tobacco products. Italy lead the way on this as they decided to re-classify vape stores as essential after initially closing them, with many EU countries also following their example. This shows the established consensus on the value of e-cigarettes and vaping in the fight against smoking, and their positive contribution to public health.

According to the leading medical and health groups in the UK like Public Health England, "e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes".

WELCOMING CUSTOMERS BACK INTO VAPE SHOPS

Smokers who were looking to make the change were still in a tricky position: entering shops was reserved for customers who had placed orders, so smokers looking to make the switch were having to either gamble on a product through research online, or a phone conversation with a vaping or e-cigarette retailer.

Understandably, this can be frustrating when trying to make a positive change, all the while dealing with a nicotine craving - running into obstacles like this can, for some people, be the trigger that leads a smoker to revert back to tobacco use. So, after a tough year, it is with great pleasure that vape and e-cigarette stores are now open for business once again - here to help you put a permanent pin in your smoking habit! Just please be patient as there have been some changes to the retail environment to keep you safe.


REOPENING VAPE SHOPS AND ADJUSTING TO THE NEW NORMAL

Now that the restrictions on non-essential shops have been lifted here in the UK, there are some significant differences when you now go to a vape shop.


SOCIAL DISTANCING 

Your local vape store may look a little different; implementing social distancing inside, often achieved by limiting the number of customers allowed inside. Larger shops may have applied measures for guiding customers through their stores, using floor stickers and signage to indicate the direction for customers to follow. 

CUSTOMERS AND STAFF MAY BE REQUESTED TO WEAR A MASK

Wearing face masks or visors is another way shop staff - and customers - can help to combat the spread of the virus, helping customer’s shop in safety and with confidence, and help staff work in a safe environment. 

At SMOKO E-Cigarettes, we have put in place a Perspex screen at our counter, our staff either wear a face mask or a visor.  We have multiple hand sanitizer stations for staff and one for customers and we have limited the number of customers allowed in store at any one time, asking them to wear facemasks where possible. This is bolstered with a clean down every morning and at the end of day.

VAPE SAMPLES AND TESTERS MAY NO LONGER BE OFFERED

Customers will experience a few more changes in store. Prior to the pandemic, customers could try the varying Vape POD Starter kits, different e-liquid flavours and nicotine strengths while in store. Sadly, this is now not the case.

Display units that would normally pass between hands of customers present a problem in terms of the potential spreading of pathogens, so in order to curb the risks of spreading the virus, shops can’t allow the handling of products as freely as they did before. As COVID 19 is a respiratory disease (affects your lungs) and can be spread in water droplets in breath when it is exhaled, it is no surprise people are particularly sensitive to breathing in vapour that has just been in someone else’s lungs - so vaping inside is likely to be restricted. These issues mean that customers will still be unable to test products before they buy - this is far from ideal, but is likely to be the case for the foreseeable future, in the interest of everyone’s safety. 

E-CIG SHOP OPEN HOURS MAY HAVE BEEN CHANGED

Do not forget to check the opening hours before you make a visit to collect your order from your nearest supplier! An additional safety measure of limiting the opening hours of the shop may well have been put in place, so to avoid disappointment, look online or give them a call to make sure they are open and able to serve your needs!


OTHER RECOMMEND MEASURES WHILE AT A VAPE SHOP

To keep vape customers safe, there are a number of additional measures that we have been following to allow for the safe re-opening of vape shops.

USING CONTACTLESS PAYMENTS 

There are many other reasons to shop with confidence and in safety, with the recent increase of the contactless purchase limit up to £45, allowing customers to purchase more than ever with their bank card without having to touch any surface that may have been touched by others.  There is further talks in the UK Government to increase the limit of contactless payments to £100 within the near future.

LIMITING TIME AT THE VAPE SHOP

It is always a sensible idea to research a product before you buy it, and it has never been more important. Not only does it help you buy with confidence but it will reduce the amount of time you need to spend in store. For new customers, singling out a few flavours you might like from information found online, or giving the shop a phone call to ask staff for their recommendation, is a great way of reducing the time spent in store too. 

LIMITING NUMBER OF PERSONS

At SMOKO, we pride ourselves on delivering a personal service.  We always have time for a good chat with customers, but in this new state we find ourselves in, we are having to limit the time any one customer is in our shop, asking others to queue outside for maximum safety. Many of our walk-in customers have opted for the collect services, placing their orders online or over the phone and swinging by the shop very briefly to pick up their supplies. To our customers who do this - we salute you!


CHECKING IF VAPE SHOPS OFFERS ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS

With the normal retail environment changing so quickly over the last 12 months, there some extra services that may be available, so it is worthwhile checking your vape shop's website or calling ahead of time.

PLACING ORDER AND PICK UP AT STORE 

Thankfully, with delivery services in place, many of our electronic cigarette users have been able to keep themselves supplied through the lockdowns and beyond. The click and collect services established within the lockdown period are still available, allowing a safe way for customers to visit their local store. This minimises the time you need to spend in store, keeping things as safe as possible for everyone.

ONLINE ORDERS 

Whilst testing products in store is off the table for the time being, great vape offers like SMOKO’s starter kit deals allow for a really inexpensive purchase for first time users, helping you get started for an amazing low price, allowing you to choose between 3 flavours. These deals and more can be found online, for the tech savvy. The same options apply online, with a choice between delivery service or an in store pickup for your convenience. 

SMOKO has been helping smokers quit for the past 9 years, improving our customers quality of life and saving them money, and we’re proud to have kept our customers supplied throughout the challenges the pandemic has provided.

With shops open, we are pleased that we are able to provide a face to face service with many of our customers again. Welcome back to the vaping industry!

So if you are ready to make a change and want to quit smoking - Try a SMOKO E-Cigarette for FREE!

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