To be or not to be.

In the years that I have been involved in this industry, we ( though fractured and disjointed ) always we,
have managed to weather tremendous storms. Barely a few months go by and we are on to the next attack
from government, media, Big Pharma, and to a lesser extent now but definitely before Big Tobacco. From
the days of answering questions daily about popcorn lung to our current mess of unfair taxation and
ridiculous media bias, the vaping industry as a whole has been more or less constantly under attack.
The current situation we face is not of a tangible nature, we can not rail against it on Facebook, start letter
writing campaigns or point to science as our savior. We are facing a global pandemic. Disease doesn’t
care about vaping, our livelihoods, our employees or even our future. Disease just is and pandemic is a
natural and normal part of the human experience.
Under tremendous strain and fear about our futures there has been heated debate about the best way to do
business during this time of troubles. I can only base this on what I have seen here in Ontario, and good
on Alberta for making the whole argument null and void by recognizing the importance of vape shops and
clearly defining the protocols to follow to be open so they can best serve their customers.
Here in Ontario the debate is much more contentious, here in our little town each vape shop has taken a
different path, one has closed for the health and safety of all Ontarian, and has publicly posted that
curbside and delivery still puts people at risk, another is offering curbside and contact-less delivery and
another is open citing 55 and has strict protocols for dealing with the public that meet or exceed both
health Canada and the Ontario governments recommendations for essential services. Each is operating in
the way that their conscious is dictating and as per the needs of their business.
If we can see through the fear, now is the perfect time to ask ourselves some really tough questions and
look to the kind of industry we want to be emerging from the rubble.
Essential or Non-Essential that is the question, for all of the models?
Possibly a more poignant question, What makes us a specialty vape shop?
Our biggest fight coming up is going to be with the convenience stores. Ontario with it’s proposed
legislation has recognized the value of specialty vape shops by limiting flavored e liquid sales and
nicotine strengths higher than 20 mg in it’s upcoming proposed legislation. The convenience stores are
fighting these restrictions tooth and nail. Our industries argument is broadly, that specialized vape shops
should be the only ones selling these products because we are the ones who have the knowledge to show
people how to use these products safely and we are the business best equipped to provide people with the
products that are right for them. Now take a moment to think about that. We claim that our specialized
knowledge is a requirement to be able to sell our products and services to the consumer so that they can
use them safely to quit smoking.
Our local public health agencies are running all out attacks on our industry with wrapped buses,
billboards, even health Canada is still running the anti vaping commercials. They haven’t stopped, should
we? The very services and specializations we offer that separate us from convenience stores we are not
able to offer at curbside and this just becomes an exercise in how best to make sure we can continue to get
product out the door and collect money. I can not think of a single time that as an industry making
concessions at any level of government has led to anything but government trying to impose more
restrictions. The protocols are in place for essential services by creating more restrictive protocols we are
yet again separating ourselves and opening ourselves up to future problems. One opinion only mine.
Please be safe everyone.

Greg Steele


Author @Publisher

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