Welcome to the Vapers in Power End of Year Newsletter
Why do you need Vapers in Power?
When we formed ViP we were asked: Why have a political party for vapers? What’s the point when there’s no chance of getting a ViP candidate elected? Why not have a non-political mass membership organisation instead?
Here’s why we need Vapers in Power: the Tobacco Products Directive forbids the promotion of vaping (Article 20 section 5). There has always been discussion about what this will actually involve but it’s now becoming apparent that this clause can be applied in a very draconian way; not only to ban advertising but also to shut down any public discussion of vaping. For example, the draft law in Spain forbids vaping Facebook groups, forums, meets or any other form of private or public promotion of electronic cigarettes. The wording of Article 20 (section 5) allows member states to take the ban on promotion this far. The UK apparently might not plan to enforce section 5 as strictly, but the door is open to harsher interpretation later on.
Political parties are (in the EU) guaranteed “freedom of association and its inter-dependent rights of freedom of expression and opinion and assembly”. (Venice Commission 2010)
Being a registered political party is the best defence against Section 5’s encroachments on these fundamental freedoms. Vapers in Power will be able to promote e-cigs when vendors can’t and could provide the only legal channels for publicly discussing e-cigs. Oh, apart from your local Stop Smoking Service, of course!
Vapers in Power – Leadership
Vapers in Power is managed by volunteers from all walks of life. As you might expect the amount of time individuals can commit is very variable. Since our last Newsletter Russell VR Ord has stepped down as Treasurer; that role has been taken up by Jessica, Party Leader. Russell will be continuing with the ViP team driving our policy on freedom of choice and personal liberty. Peter Gill is our Webmaster. We also welcome three new members: Robert Jenkins and Brian Coe form our new social media team and Rhydian Mann joins us to help with our Welsh campaign in the run up to the 2016 Welsh Elections.
Vapers in Power Membership
In the summer we launched our Vapers in Power membership scheme. We are very pleased to report that 100 people have since joined us as members. It’s £5 for a year and all new members receive a badge and membership card. You can sign up here: http://vapersinpower.co.uk/join
We are delighted to announce that Vapers in Power will be fielding at least one candidate in the Welsh Elections in 2016. We are very lucky to have two very strong prospective candidates for Mark Drakeford’s West Cardiff seat.
We would like to field candidates in as many constituencies as possible so you can expect to see a crowdfunding campaign in the not too distant future. We would like to hear from any Welsh residents who might be interested in campaigning or standing in their local area.
Write to Vape Campaign
Vapers in Power has set up a new dedicated website to help vapers contact their local MP’s, AM’s and MSP’s. This can be found at: http://writetovape.co.uk/
writetovape.co.uk has helpful suggestions to give you an idea of what you might want to write and all it takes is your postcode to direct your letter to the right person. At the bottom of the page is a heat map which shows progress, we need every area of the map to glow red, from top to bottom. The TPD may be coming but there’s still time to be heard.
There is a separate page for Write to Vape Wales. All Welsh vapers need to write to their AMs to ask them to support amendments calling for vaping to be removed from the Welsh Governments Public Health bill.
Vapers in Power has attended several events this year. Vapefest was a highlight of the calendar. We had our own advocacy tent where we hosted workshops, launched our membership scheme and sold ViP merchandise. We also handed out advocacy packs for vendors, packs which included our much shared and imitated Nothing Poster. You can download the latest version HERE (front page) and HERE (back page).
In October we attended the handover of the Totally Wicked Petition outside the Department of Health in London, and were really pleased to put faces to the names of some of vaping’s most ardent campaigners there. We headed to Speakers Corner in Hyde Park afterwards. You can see some of the speeches on our YouTube channel HERE
We were delighted to be invited to the E-Cig Summit at the Royal Society in London in November. ViP was represented by Jessica Harding and Paul Barnes. It was a fascinating and very intense day. Presentations have been uploaded by the E-cig summit.
Following consultation with our members we’ve made two recent changes to our manifesto.
We added this:
“We call for an amendment to the The Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015 to allow for the proxy purchase of e-cigarettes on behalf of persons under 18 by their guardians.
We believe the parents/guardians of under 18’s who smoke should have the right to provide their child with e-cigarettes as part of a cessation attempt or as harm reduction.”
And extended our opposition to outside vaping bans to include opposition to outside smoking bans too:
“Vapers in Power opposes bans on vaping and/or smoking in outside public spaces. We believe that laws limiting individual behaviour should be based on scientific evidence of harm to bystanders. Neither the proposed regulations on vaping nor the proposed regulations regarding smoking in outdoor spaces meet this benchmark. We stand against such arbitrary rules.”
Calls to Action
Every Friday,between February and October, we issued a Call to Action. These outlined two or three actions which vapers could take to help keep vaping free from excessive regulations. After a while the format got tired so we reluctantly paused them.
We’d really like to start them up again but to issue them as videos this time. We are looking for reviewers to record them. We hope that this will enable our CtA – and vaping advocacy – reach a much wider audience. Please email at email@example.com or tweet to @vapers if you can help.
You are reading this on our blog site which has had over 5000 views since being launched. THANK YOU! We have had a tidy up of it recently, so it should be easy to find the type of post you are after, be it party policy,copies of press releases or guest blogs.
We’ve published some very interesting pieces on here recently, including
Envy for the Enlightened Isles by Norbert Zillatron. This highlights the current state of vaping & politics in Germany and has had over 934 views so far. Give Us Strength from Ian Green, on manufacturers prematurely withdrawing higher nicotine eliquids, over 400 views!
If you want to keep up to keep on top of all things ViP please subscribe to be instantly notified when we publish something new.
If you find any of our blog posts worthy of sharing with your friends then PLEASE DO! You will be helping to spread the word of ViP and vaping advocacy.
If you have a blog post you’d like us to publish then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian has set up VAPERSINPOWER, please follow us. We have some very special festive images coming up.
Most of our activity is on Facebook, simply because it’s the easiest method. If you are on Facebook then please request to join our Vapers in Power Think Tank group. You can also sign up to be kept informed via our website vapersinpower.co.uk And – please follow the ViP @vapers Twitter account if you are on there.
Finally (and this has been a bit of a long one!) we at ViP would like to wish you a very happy Christmas and New Year.
Party Leader Vapers in Power