Smoke shops remained open throughout the Las Vegas Valley on Thursday, despite a statement from the governor earlier in the week urging nonessential businesses to shut down.
Gov. Steve Sisolak’s directive has, however, sparked concerns from smokers about the possibility of smoke shops closing.
On Wednesday morning, six people waited outside The Smoke Shop, 1451 N. Jones Blvd., at 8 a.m., pining to buy cartons of cigarettes in case tobacco products become scarce.
“I saw on the news this morning that nonessential businesses were going to close at noon,” Las Vegas resident Amy Brown said. “I’m a smoker, so it looks like I might have to learn how to quit. Everyone at my house is going to be on eggshells as I learn how to get myself un-addicted to the cigarettes.”
By Thursday, multiple smoke shops remained open throughout Las Vegas, including the Las Vegas Paiute Tribal Smoke Shop on North Main Street in Las Vegas. The store had a message on its phone line stating, “We are currently open until further notice.”
A visit to the smoke shop Thursday showed business was brisk, with a parking lot filled with cars. The store allowed only 10 customers inside at a time, and a handful of customers waited outside to get in once others left.
“It’s kind of scary,” Las Vegas resident Katherine Gonzales said after purchasing cigarettes at the Paiute outlet.
Gonzales said she’s worried about getting cigarettes in the future, given the governor’s directive.
“I’m figuring we are going to get what we need, and stay home,” Gonzales said.
Jimmy Barfield, wearing a mask to protect himself against COVID-19, said he showed up at the Paiute shop to get the cheapest cigarettes possible. He said despite being a smoker, he didn’t think closing smoke shops was necessarily a bad idea.
“It might be a help to, you know, kill the cancer disease,” Barfield said.
Smoker Arlene Alfaro, 71, said she bought cigarettes at The Smoke Shop on Jones in case they become scarce or more expensive as time goes on.
“I’m not certain on how many cigarettes I’m going to be able to buy,” Alfaro said.
Alfaro said if smoke shops are closed, “I’ll probably be paying a very high price for them.”
The complexities of the governor’s shutdown directive also could be on display if smoke shops, with their primary product being tobacco, were closed down while convenience stores — which also sell tobacco — are allowed to stay open, smokers told the Review-Journal.
Oliver Lim is a franchisee of the 7-Eleven at Charleston Boulevard and Rancho Drive. He said the store is not experiencing any shortage of its cigarette supply and plans to have plenty in the future as the convenience store is allowed to remain open under the governor’s directive.
“Cigarettes?” Lim said. “No problem.”