Burbank, California-based online vape retailer ProVape says the vape industry is bound to feel the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak sooner than expected. With the continuing crisis, the Chinese government is torn between restarting the economy and containing the virus from spreading by announcing massive quarantine of millions of people. There seems to be no rush in putting the economy back on track. Many Chinese companies have opted not to resume normal operations despite the encouragement of local authorities.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the Coronavirus outbreak has originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province. Since the outbreak, over 2,442 have died as of this writing, while more than 78,000 people have fallen ill with the virus in China. There have been confirmed Coronavirus death-related cases outside China. Iran confirmed eight deaths, South Korea reported six deaths, and the Italian government confirmed the death of three people.
In Shenzhen, the vaping capital of the world, businesses have been allowed to resume operation if they have put stringent measures to prevent further spread of the devastating virus. Local officials have approved plans that would protect its citizens when they return to work.
Companies have been ordered to give out at least two masks a day to employees, as well as to conduct temperature checks. However, there is still a wide gap between reality and the regulations, which prevents many employees from going to work. "We started today, but the boss only gave us one mask when we all know he is supposed to give out two," said a 52-year old woman employee at one of the Shenzhen factories.
Coronavirus is creating a global problem in the vape industry as manufacturers of vaping products will not be able to produce and deliver before coils, pods, and other vape hardware dwindle to a frightening number in the U.S. and around the globe.
Chinese manufacturers are not rushing to resume regular operations, and there are few or almost no domestic alternatives. About 1,000 factories in China produce 90 percent of the world's e-cigarettes and vaping devices. If these factories remain closed and cannot resume regular operations, there could be a significant delay in the shipment of vaping supplies, if not a total outage.
In the U.S., the first wave to hit the vape industry was the Trump administration's trade war with China and a partial ban on flavored vape product. The above-mentioned have already caused the removal of many vape products from local and online stores.
Moreover, Chinese manufacturers produce almost all cannabis vaporizers, cartridges, and batteries. With the timing of the outbreak, the Coronavirus could significantly affect the vape and cannabis industry in the U.S., if supply from China fails.
There is a massive problem with the timely shipment of supplies. Wholesale vape suppliers must wait for the Coronavirus crisis to end before they can get a steady supply of vaporizer products. Thus, retailers have been told to anticipate the worst and encouraged to stock up now to ensure that they have products available for their customers. "We are constantly told that products are on backorder and are encouraged to stock up with vape hardware to avoid any issues in coming months," according to Art Harutyunyan, a senior executive of ProVape.