Vapers in Power condemn doxing attacks on our party officers

Vapers in Power note with concern that our press officer, Martin Cullip, was recently the victim of a doxing attack initiated by a notorious public health activist. We find it extremely disturbing that this sort of harassment is apparently, judging by the lack of condemnation from the perpetrator’s colleagues, regarded as acceptable by many who claim to have the best interests of the public at heart.

For several years now Mr Cullip has written a very popular blog centred around libertarian and lifestyle topics; if you’re a vaper it’s very likely you’re familiar with it. However, you are probably not familiar with the name Martin Cullip. Like many bloggers he writes under a pen name to preserve a degree of privacy and anonymity, as is his right. Online, we can all use any identity we choose; if we prefer to keep our real identity private, this should be respected. Revealing someone’s personal details against their will – doxing – is rightly regarded as a form of cyber harassment and most decent people see it as unacceptable.

Sadly, many opponents of vaping can in no way be described as decent people. We regret to say that one of this disreputable crew, an Australian pensioner by the name of Simon Chapman, recently uncovered the link between Mr Cullip and his nom de plume and saw fit to broadcast it to his 9,800 Twitter followers. This was a gross, and completely unacceptable, invasion of Mr Cullip’s privacy.

ViP regret that unqualified people like Mr Chapman – a retired sociologist – are lobbying against our freedom to vape in the first place; we particularly regret that they are using such obnoxious and underhanded tactics to do so. Therefore we call on the public health industry to condemn behaviour such as that of Mr Chapman and to disassociate itself from extremists of his ilk. Public health have no right to criticise vapers and the vaping industry when they have so conspicuously failed to put their own house in order.

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Fame! Glory! Adoration!

 

Or, more prosaically – are you up for appearing on the news to try to repeal the TRPR?

See, this is the thing. There’s going to be a surprise general election in the UK. We’ve stood in elections before and good things happen, we get a ‘free’ (£500 is the cost of standing) mailshot to tens of thousands of homes, we get media coverage, we get to speak at public events. This time, we want more.

When elections happen, the media descend on a few select locations and both broadcast the result from those places live, and play them in the news programmes later – wouldn’t it be great if OUR message, repeal the TRPR, was included in those broadcasts?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could keep buying tanks bigger than 2ml and bottles bigger than a gnat’s bawbag?

We can’t predict where all the cameras will be, but we can be sure they will be at the main party leader’s constituencies:

Theresa May – Maidenhead

Jeremy Corbyn – Islington North

Tim Farron – Westmorland and Lonsdale.

We want someone to stand, for us, in one of these.

That person has to be willing to attend the count and stay to the bitter end when the returning officer announces the result.

We will handle the deposit, most of the paperwork (the candidate has to do some, but it’s easy and we will help); we’ll provide backup, guidance and support.

Liam stood in 2015, it was, to quote him: “a gas”. This will be fun, it will also help promote the vaping cause.

IF YOU LIVE IN OR NEAR ONE OF THESE AREAS PLEASE MAKE YOURSELF KNOWN IN THE COMMENTS BELOW

Most of the readers of this won’t live in or near these constituencies. Please help us get this spread. Share it like you’ve never shared anything before, share it generally and individually to anyone you know who lives in these places, or who might know anyone that does.

#vipcandidate

Time is short, we have one week to find a vaper willing to stand and be on the news. It’s the 19th April as I write this, the deadline for this stage is 26th April.

Help us to help vapers.

Vapers in Power responds to the RSPH

Yesterday the Royal Society for Public Health put out a press release and video based on an “undercover investigation” they had conducted into a sample of UK-based vape shops. To their apparent shock, RSPH found that nine in ten vape shops were “prepared” to sell products to non-smokers, and called for all retailers to adhere to a code of conduct released by the Independent British Vapour Trades Association.

In a ridiculously biased diatribe RSPH chief executive Shirley Cramer railed against the use of e-cigarettes as a “lifestyle product” and insisted that they only be used as a quit aid for existing smokers. She then demanded that retailers interrogate their customers about their smoking behaviour, and only sell to those who Ms Cramer thinks should be using the products.

This sort of bossy, patronising attitude is wrong on so many levels that we barely know where to start. We could take a utilitarian approach, for example, and point out that it is actually a good thing if people who don’t smoke, but are tempted, take up vaping instead. We could remind Ms Cramer that more than 90% of the UK’s vape shops are not members of the IBVTA and so are under no obligation to obey its code of conduct (which, incidentally, we have serious issues with). We could approach it from a philosophical angle and question why Ms Cramer thinks she has a right to tell other people how to run their businesses. But we will not. We will simply remind Ms Cramer of the law.

The UK used to be a free country. At Vapers in Power we hope to see the day when it can be called one again. Therefore we will defend the freedom of every adult in the UK to buy vapour products if they so choose. This is what the law says, Ms Cramer. Your opinion and the IBVTA’s code of conduct are utterly irrelevant; anyone aged 18 or over is free to buy e-cigarettes because this is the law. If you don’t agree with the law then summon up the courage of your convictions, stand for election and try to have it changed. But if you’re not willing to do that, just shut up and leave us alone.

Our statement on the invocation of Article 50

Vapers in Power is a single issue party. Our only concern is to protect the freedom of vapers to buy the products they need, and to use them without undue restriction. Where we can we’ll help out anyone else who’s fighting to restore our diminishing freedoms, but we do not, and will not, take a position on most political issues.

With that said, we welcome the Prime Minister’s invocation of Article 50. Once EU law is no longer supreme we hope the government will swiftly move to repeal the Tobacco and Related Products Act 2016, the British implementation of the EU TPD, and replace it with a new law which is actually fit for purpose.

Despite being called the Tobacco Products Directive, most of the substantive legislation contained in the TPD is directed at electronic cigarettes. Sadly, this legislation is nothing short of atrocious – overbearing, authoritarian, scientifically unjustified and rammed through by inept politicians and vested interests.

A large amount of research was presented to the EU during the TPD process, much of it conducted by eminent British scientists. For reasons of its own the EU chose to ignore this research, and instead to be guided by alarmism, ignorance and falsehoods. For many vapers who followed this law’s progress through the EU’s institutions it was their first experience of how the EU worked, and we know that many of them were persuaded to vote for Brexit as a result.

In future the laws of the United Kingdom should be developed by the Government of the United Kingdom, in the interests of the British people. Today we congratulate the Prime Minister on taking the first step towards this goal, and ask her to make the repeal of the TPD an objective as we move forward.

Worrying behaviour by Action on Smoking and Health

Vapers in Power notes with concern – and disapproval – that Action on Smoking and Health continues to oppose the replacement of the EU’s inappropriate rules on electronic cigarettes with a new regulatory framework that’s actually fit for purpose. Despite repeated attempts to explain to ASH exactly why the TPD and its UK implementation are ill-advised and harmful restrictions based on misrepresented science, they persist in their support for it.

It should now be clear to everyone that ASH’s backing for the EU’s punitive approach to vaping is not merely down to a failure to understand the harm it causes. The reality is that ASH fully support this approach. They are not on our side; they simply view us as a convenient stick to beat the tobacco industry with. It goes without saying that people who do this are rarely worried about the welfare of the stick.

We note with even more concern that ASH’s chief executive, Deborah Arnott, sits at the centre of tobacco control in the UK and has a great deal of influence internationally. This is especially worrying in light of Ms Arnott’s well-known intolerance of disagreement.

Vaping advocates who have attempted to engage with ASH feel severely constrained in what they can say, out of fear that disagreeing too openly with Ms Arnott will result in their access to public health discussions being restricted. It is now clear that consumer advocates are not the only ones Arnott sees as legitimate targets for the application of pressure.

Yesterday Lisa McNally, a public health consultant with Bracknell Council, posted a tweet critical of the latest ASH anti-smoking campaign. Ms McNally is not an employee of ASH. She is under no obligation whatsoever to refrain from criticising a campaign run by a charity if she disagrees with that campaign. Nevertheless, this morning, she received an “angry call” from Arnott, who apparently feels entitled to harass public sector employees who displease her.

truemcnally-arnott-complaint

Given Arnott’s prominence in the tobacco control field, her extensive access to politicians and the substantial government funding she receives, this revelation of her methods should be of grave concern to every stakeholder in public health. How much opposition to harm reduction and proportionate legislation is driven, not by principle or objective study of the evidence, but by pressure applied behind the scenes by Arnott?

Vapers in Power call for a halt to all public funding of ASH, and the withdrawal of Deborah Arnott’s access to the Houses of Parliament and any parliamentary committee or working group, until proper mechanisms have been put in place to stop her harassing and bullying those who dare to disagree with her.

Vapers in Power are enraged by the updated “position statement” from Public Health Wales.

The latest statement on the use of vaping products by Public Health Wales is a grotesque bundle of idealistic wishes which remove the personal freedoms of vapers and those smokers who look to switch from smoking.

The entire document is riddled with ancient arguments revolving around “might”, “could” (and not forgetting “children”) and shows that PHW have failed to keep up-to-date with the continually published research.

We believe that PHW  are now attempting to tighten the screw in a way that the previous Welsh Government Public Health Bill would be proud of. This is unacceptable!

We cannot share any stance that PHW offers in regards to e-liquid flavouring bans. There are many tens of thousands of vapers in Wales who use a multitude of flavours to maintain a harm reduced lifestyle. Restricting “confectionery” type flavours will remove a significant choice of products that can work for smokers to switch and keep vapers vaping. This will put a massive halt on Welsh tobacco harm reduction.

Not only do Welsh vapers have to cope with the monstrosity of the Tobacco Products Directive with regards to product availability, lack of awareness-raising of a harm reduction product and reduced nicotine level but if PHW get their way, vapers and smokers will once more be shut out.

PHW want to see voluntary indoor bans (they call it “restrictions”) just like the previous Welsh Assembly Government Public Health Bill and specific outdoor bans on vaping. This is utterly preposterous! The evidence is clear that the harm of vapour from any vaping product is vastly reduced in comparison to smoking and risk of harm to bystanders is negligible.

PHW shoot themselves in the foot in this statement. They contacted one of our advocate members and said “Organisationally we are now advocating a 100% switch to e-cigarettes for committed smokers and recognising the role they could have for those on a quit journey” and this is backed up by references to the Cochrane review and the RCP report. However, the remainder of the statement is full of WHO smelling anti-vaping rubbish, the statement may as well have not bothered trying to strike balance.

It’s 1am, Saturday, I’ve had vodka.

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Vaping is being squeezed so much it is dying, I can’t help feeling that. Public Health Wales released a position statement this week so grudging you could sense the teeth being pulled. America, is, interesting. Finland is fucked. We wait. Bans continue around the world.

And here? In a couple of months DIY is dead (or underground) and tanks are so small they are irritating. Vaping will become faffy again. When innovation had made vaping pretty much faff-free, regulation restores the faff. Well done EU.

Arriva trains have agreed to amend their anti-vaping posters to say “not permitted” rather than illegal, so that’s good right?

Canada seems hopeful, France is moving in the right way (although, TPD). Malaysia? Maybe. Australia are so slowly starting to see the light. When you look around the world, it’s a pretty depressing picture – the regulators are out for us.

But.

More and more people are vaping. That is our weapon. Vapers won’t go back to smoking when the rules change. Not all of them anyway, they’ll break the rules. Vaping is here to stay.

Personally, I’m one of those soon-to-be rule-breakers. When the 20th May comes round, the next time I need to order nicotine I’ll be ordering more than the allowed 20mg/ml, making the person selling it to me a criminal. I’m guessing enough of a demand will survive that the supply will be there.

Tbh, I’ve yet to see an ecig rule I could throw my weight behind, even though there’s a few I would be happy with: don’t sell a battery without a safety leaflet and a case for one.

Vaping will, survive, of that I’ve no doubt. But will it be available to new users, acceptably? No. Or at least, much less so.

Will some vapers go back to cigarettes? Yes

By the way, if you haven’t already told the EU to shove their ecig tax, you can do it here.

nn 🙂

It’s not taxing

Respond to this consultation, it’s important. The wrong decision will shut shops and deter new ecig users.

The European Union wants to tax ecigs. As they have to – to pretend they are democratic somehow – they have a consultation on their suggestion, closing date 16th Feb. Replying to this consultation is about the best thing you can do for ecigs right now – and I’ve tried to make it simple!

If you don’t want simple, here is the link to find the consultation, here is Clive Bates on it, and here is the NNA’s take.

For the rest of us morons, here is the easy way to tell them how they can stuff it:

  1. Click this

  2. You get some background info, don’t even bother to read it, just click Next.
  3. You get some personal Q’s, answer as you will screenshot-from-2017-01-14-00-09-35
  4. After clicking Next, you get a no-brainer!screenshot-from-2017-01-14-00-14-46
  5. The next two Q’s are similar:screenshot-from-2017-01-14-00-24-54
  6. Ignore the scary lime-green text, you are more of an expert than these people will ever meet, next Q …screenshot-from-2017-01-14-00-28-12I’m not entirely sure I’ve read this the right way but that is my guess, you can guess yourself! Next!
  7. Easy – computer (i.e. me) says no:Screenshot from 2017-01-14 00-31-47.png
  8. With the next two Q’s, the last option is the most important.screenshot-from-2017-01-14-00-35-17
  9. Heat-not-Burn, I’m in favour, however, up to you, answer as you will, next!
  10. Next page, the cigarillos one, seems safe. Answer if you want, or just click next like I did.
  11. ditto
  12. Raw tobacco – now I’ve never had any interest in this before, but are the EU saying I can’t grow a plant? At least do this:screenshot-from-2017-01-14-00-44-47
  13. Click Next! We’re doing well…
  14. Waterpipe, say what you want, next!
  15. I’d leave this one out, I don’t know the relevant codes, non-ecig anyway:screenshot-from-2017-01-20-00-20-31

Next Q – whatever you want, then Next leads us on to the final page …Screenshot from 2017-01-14 00-56-23.png

Bonus points here (shedloads of them) for adding extra arguments as to why taxing ecigs (over and above VAT) is a monumentally bad idea via a document upload. Like most consultations, this one doesn’t really give us a chance to address what is really important. You can take cues, should you need any, from the NNA and/or Clive Bates. If you have any questions, or suggestions for improvements to this walkthrough, please comment.

Phew! Well bloody done, you now get an advocacy medal. Tiaras are available but you have to convince someone else to do this to get one of those …

Please allow me to introduce myself…

…I’m a man of wealth and taste.

All right, most of you know me too well to believe that, but never mind. What I am is a dedicated vaper who wants to see the technology made as widely available as possible. I firmly believe that vaping saved my own life – it’s the only thing that could have stopped me smoking after a heart attack nearly killed me at the age of 42. By now it’s undeniable that vapour products offer something that no NRT or smoking cessation method can provide – enthusiasm.

People smoke for the nicotine and die from the tar. That’s the basic truth that so often gets overlooked.  If you can give smokers a way of using nicotine that’s at least as enjoyable as smoking – and yes, most smokers do enjoy it, whatever they tell researchers – then they’ll embrace it enthusiastically. If you tell them they’re ill, and need to be cured by dull or unpleasant medical methods? Perhaps not so much.

So vaping makes perfect sense to me, which is why I’ve been advocating for it almost since I switched in early 2013. Unfortunately, despite a little progress in a few quarters, the tide is still firmly against us – the US Surgeon General’s Report, released a few hours after I became ViP’s new leader, is the perfect illustration of what we’re up against.

So why Vapers in Power? Here’s why. Vapers, in the UK and globally, face a wide spectrum of enemies. Between ill-informed politicians, rent-seeking public health groups, puritan zealots and rogue medics, we’re under attack from every direction. To hang on to our freedoms we need to fight back in every direction, too. So the New Nicotine Alliance tries to talk sense into health organisations; consumer groups, under the umbrella of INNCO, advocate on behalf of ordinary vapers; and ViP is our way to remind politicians that we live in a democracy and vapers get to vote.

We are fighting a war on many fronts. Vapers in Power defends one of those fronts, but it can only do so as part of a coordinated strategy. Under my leadership I hope we can build on the great work done by Jessica, and work closely with any group who believes our right to use nicotine safely trumps anyone else’s fake concerns.

Obviously, to do that effectively we’re going to need people and resources. If you want to help, please sign up – it’s only a fiver a year – and join our online communities. To stay updated you can follow the official ViP Twitter feed @vapers and my own  @FergusForVapers.

I don’t expect this to be the start of my personal journey to 10 Downing Street. I don’t even expect to see a Vapers in Power MP elected. But this is a democracy, and each of you has a vote. So in a very real way we’re in power already. Let’s use it.

New Leader

UPDATE!

We had one candidate, so no need for an election.

Fergus Mason is the new Party Leader.

Watch this space to see if it’s a changing of the guard or something quite different …

 

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UPDATE!

The deadline for nominations is midnight on 7th December 2016.

Vapers in Power will publish the list of candidates on 8th December 2016, on this page.

People who sign up as members between Dec 8th and Dec 21st 2016 will not be eligible to vote in the election.

Voting opens at midnight on Dec 14th and closes at midnight on Dec 21st.

Members can vote by emailing info@vapersinpower.co.uk . If not emailing from the email they originally signed up with then they should include their membership number (if known, it’s on your membership card) or postal address, so that we can check their identity against our records.

Please note that only current members can vote, so please renew your membership if necessary via http://vapersinpower.co.uk/join

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Vapers in Power is a single issue party which aims to give a voice to vapers.  We don’t expect to win many votes or any seats but we do strive to effect change by raising awareness of the issues amongst vapers and legislators.  Our manifesto is here. Our constitution is here.

We need a new leader. Could it be you?

Jessica, our current party leader, is no longer able to dedicate the time needed for the role of party leader. She will be continuing as Treasurer (thank goodness) but her commitments mean we need a new party leader.

What it takes:

You need to be available and sane. Maybe an hour a day, or equivalent? You need to want to make vaping more available to more people. You need to be able to sometimes pour oil on troubled waters.

Patience is a key skill – you don’t need to be an expert in herding cats, but if you can actually do that it would be AMAZEBALLS.

What we do:

We think of things to do to help vaping. Then we do them. That’s it. We are often wrong, we are ever so occasionally right. Can you think of stuff? Can you do it?

What you get:

The prestige of being the leader of the world’s first political party for vapers. A committed and supportive team backing you up 100%. OK maybe 99% lol, see “herding cats”.

What you would need to do:

  • Liaise with the Electoral Commission, ensure we comply (actually a lot easier than it sounds-the EC are very helpful and do answer the phone),
  • Keep an eye on what’s happening across all of the Vapers in Power actions, making sure it’s “joined up”.
  • Work to ensure that Vapers in Power adheres to its core values, as outlined in the Constitution and Manifesto.  

All nominations are welcome, the result will be decided by a simple, first past the post vote among members. We need you, vapers need you. Don’t hesitate.

To put yourself forward as leader please send an email to info@vapersinpower.co.uk with the subject line LEADER. The closing date for the nominations is midnight 7th December 2016. We’ll do a virtual hustings thing, then the paid-up members will decide.

Good luck!