The most recent announcement from Vapers in Power “Write to Vape – Wales” has caused me to question how proud I am of being Welsh. Pretty surprising that really, isn’t it! 😛
Ever since I started vaping and being involved in advocacy for vaping I felt really proud that Wales hosts many vaping related businesses. Particularly the area in which I live, Swansea. Swansea is a bit of a hot bed vaping wise with lots of vapers in social media etc. But my feelings have changed.
The change in the level of pride took a massive battering thanks to Mark Drakeford AM, the Health Minister. Ever since he announced that the act of vaping will be restricted in the same way as smoking (as you should all be aware by now) I felt less proud. Less proud for having a country governed by politicians who ignored: the public, the scientific experts and the advocates. The “health” minister has single handedly made me change my outlook of the future of the country where I live.
Wales has always been governed by Welsh Labour. Ever since devolution in 1999 Labour has either governed on their own, as now, or in coalition. I think that 2016 can have a positive outcome. 2016 is the year of the Welsh Assembly elections. (I’m sure I have mentioned that before in one way or another!) This is the single opportunity for those who have lost faith in the Welsh Government, to become proud once more.
“How can that be done?” I thought to myself. Firstly, you have to make use of the vote you have. It is very important. ViP have already shared posts about registering to vote for next year, I don’t need to do it again. Sadly there is a massive wrench in the system. This wrench is that the WG want to push through the Public Health (Wales) Bill before the election.
Currently, the Health & Social Care Committee are scrutinising the PH Bill and have just finished Stage 1. The HSCC report is due to be published and I for one will go through it with a fine-tooth comb.
As you see above, the report is going to be debated by the whole Assembly on Tues 8th Dec. That doesn’t give much time at all! Welsh vapers and advocates are under a lot of pressure to get all opposing parties on side. Well the opposing parties are pretty much on our side but there is always a need to get that confirmation. So the daunting task now is to change the minds of any Welsh Labour AMs. Welsh Labour are 50% of the Assembly so any Welsh Labour AMs that jump ship will work in our favour. Please visit our Write to Vape page for help with writing to elected representatives.
ViP are a voice for vapers but your voice needs to be directed by yourselves to the AMs for your constituency. You must tell them your feelings regarding vaping and why the PH Bill for you is completely unhelpful.
A recent poll has estimated that there are 242,000 vapers in Wales. So 242,000 voices can not be ignored. Those 242,000 can come together and overthrow the current government by voting for vaping in the elections next year.
242,000 vapers in Wales, acting together to prove that Mark Drakeford was wrong about vaping. You know what that would make me feel? That would certainly make me feel proud.
Go on, make yourself feel proud to be a Welsh vaper!
By Rhydian Mann
PS Vapers in Power are looking for pro vaping candidates to stand in the elections next year, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @vapers if you can help (especially if you live in the Cardiff West constituency!)