Coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, was officially deemed a pandemic on Wednesday by the World Health Organization. The international outbreak of coronavirus has already claimed the lives of sixty Americans and more than 6,000 individuals around the world.
The spread of COVID-19 has unduly affected some regions and high-risk demographics, but even lower-risk individuals have taken serious steps to reduce their odds of infection. Schools and workplaces across America have shut down indefinitely to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and individuals across the nation have begun self-quarantining, resulting in national shortages of high-demand supplies like water, soap, and toilet paper.
The scientific community is still striving to fully understand coronavirus, but researchers have offered some consistent and well-backed tips to reduce its spread and keep ourselves as safe as possible. Smoke shop lovers should abide by the following guidelines to help protect themselves and their loved ones from the spread of coronavirus.
WASH! YOUR! HANDS!
The most salient advice from health officials everywhere is simple – wash your hands thoroughly and frequently to reduce your likelihood of contracting (or spreading) the virus. Be sure to always wash your hands for at least twenty seconds, especially prior to meals or smoking sessions. Don’t have a clock handy? Gauge the minimum length of an effective handwashing session with the help of well-known songs – like “Happy Birthday” or the chorus to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.”
You Can Puff – But Don’t Pass
While sharing your stash with friends is usually a kindness, it’s essential to err on the side of caution until the risk of contracting coronavirus subsides. Health experts have recommended avoiding handshakes: instead, opt for elbow bumps with those you’d like to greet. The same logic applies to smoking – passing around a smart rig or hand pipe after it’s touched the mouth of everyone in the room is an activity you’d be better off avoiding until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. The next time you’re taking hits from your favorite pipe, do your friends a favor and keep it to yourself.
Don’t Believe Everything You Hear
In periods of widespread media panic and confusion, it’s only natural that misconceptions would permeate the airwaves along with credible content. If you’re met with an alleged remedy for the virus that seems too good to be true – it probably is. Sadly, CBD and cannabis can’t cure COVID-19 (though we won’t stop you from experimenting solo). Don’t automatically believe claims that any substance can increase your immunity to COVID-19 without sufficient and credible scientific sources.
Kick Back and Stay Away
A popular method for risk-reduction in the face of the recent outbreak has been the process of self-quarantining. Many of us have retreated to our homes, arms full of apocalyptic rations, ready to wait out the proverbial storm. Fellow introverts, this is truly our time to shine. While some of us may have taken this plan to unnecessary extremes, it’s a good idea to minimize your contact with the outside world as extensively as you’re reasonably able to.
How can you limit your outside exposure? Here are a few ideas:
- If you’re able to work from home, do so.
- Stay away from crowded public venues like cafes, bars, and clubs.
- Push back or cancel any events that you’re able to. Getting married? Hold off on the vows (they’ll understand). Birthday coming up? Save your celebration for the end of the outbreak.
- If you need to shop, choose off-peak times to visit the store to minimize your close contact with passerbys. Shopping just before closing, or right as your day begins, could make all the difference in reducing your virus exposure.
- If you’re a low-risk, healthy adult, consider those in your life who may not be so fortunate. The elderly, immunocompromised, and parents of infants may face higher risks from coronavirus exposure than the rest of us. Offering to pick up a few essentials for higher-risk loved ones might make you a lifesaver – literally.
Save Face Masks for the Sick People
While you may be tempted to load up on face masks, the Center for Disease Control has urged unafflicted Americans to steer clear of these, and save them for those who’ve already contracted COVID-19. Given the present scarcity of masks and similar prevention measures, it’s significantly safer to save masks for afflicted individuals than for healthy individuals to deplete the stock.
Know Your Symptoms
The Center for Disease Control recently released a list of COVID-19 symptoms to watch for. These include:
- Shortness of breath
- Dry cough
- Close contact with any individuals with COVID-19, or who have recently traveled to high-risk areas.
There’s no need to needlessly panic from common allergy and flu symptoms that don’t align with the above criteria. It’s also not necessary to flock to emergency rooms without a reasonable cause for concern. In fact, doing so may needlessly expose you to individuals who do have the virus or other contagious illnesses – and unnecessary emergency room crowds may delay the imminent care of those who need it most.
Will COVID-19 Affect Cannabis Supply?
All legal cannabis products are currently grown and sold without crossing state lines. For this reason, cannabis industry experts aren’t anticipating a lack of cannabis supply; most supplier delays are attributed to long-distance imports through higher-risk locations. However, vape batteries and cartridges are frequently manufactured in China, so there may be some shortages of these products given quarantine-related interruptions in the manufacturing and shipping processes.
Each year, the United States imports roughly thirty million vaporizer products from China. Vape imports had already ceased in mid-January with the celebration of Chinese New Year, and they’ve yet to fully resume at their scheduled rates given the ongoing pandemic. Research and development efforts on new vape shop products have similarly slowed until it’s safe for Chinese workers to resume their prior production and development practices.
Stay Safe Out There, Smoke Shop Lovers!
We hope that these tips help you to stay safe and reduce your risk of spreading COVID-19. In the meantime, if you’re still in the market for head shop products, 710 Pipes is here for that, too. We carry a huge variety of popular products and accessories, like JUULs and other vaporizers, rolling papers, smoking accessories and so much more! Stop by our Northglenn head shop between 8AM-10PM, seven days a week. We have two Denver pipe shops open daily from 12-8PM (11AM-9PM Thursdays through Saturdays) – on Colfax and on Evans near DU. Denver University students get 10% off with a valid student ID!
We’ll see you soon!