Vapers in Power is shocked by the Freedom to Vape report which finds that 85% of UK councils are ignoring Public Health England’s advice on vaping.
It is high time that local councils all across the UK wake up, smell the evidence on vaping and apply it to their current “Smoke Free” policies for their own work-spaces.
We are horrified that nearly 90% of councils highlighted in the report have shoehorned vaping into their no smoking policies as if they are identical. We know that vaping is not smoking and it is not the way to go to improve the overall health of current vapers on any council staff roster and any vaping visitors to the offices.
We are concerned that councils are not acting on Public Health England’s guidance and aren’t pursuing an evidence based policy
Disturbing highlights from the source data of the report include:
“Calderdale Council supports the aim of “de-normalising” smoking. The Council supports the tobacco control professionals who consider that the acceptance of e-cigarettes will undermine the now widely accepted view that smoking is unacceptable.”
“The Council’s rationale for prohibiting the use of electronic cigarettes is that, although they do not produce smoke, electronic cigarettes produce a vapour that could provide an annoyance or health risk to other employees.[THERE IS NO HEALTH RISK!] In addition to this, some electronic cigarette models can, particularly from a distance, look like real cigarettes, making the enforcement of a smoke free environment difficult to police, and creating an impression for visitors/customers/other employees that it is acceptable to smoke within the workplace.” – Chelmsford Borough Council
“Local authority staff should not smoke e-cigarettes indoors or whilst on duty as this may give a misleading impression and it does not support the council’s aim of ‘de-normalising’ smoking.” – Stockport Met Borough Council
All current council policies need a swift evidence based update. Stockport Met last reviewed their policy in January 2015, Chelmsford in April 2014 but Pembrokeshire have not done so since November 2013! This is unacceptable! Any local council have responsibility to improve the health of the public. Many of the councils that responded to Freedom to Vape’s FOI are clearly not doing so.
The report shows that a staggering 1 in 3 local councils require their vaping members of staff or visitors to use the same area designated for smoking.. Forcing vapers into designated smoking areas completely undermines the individual vapers who have taken a choice to become smoke free.
Demonising the use of a 95% safer avenue of nicotine use, shows that the majority of these councils are clearly out of touch with modern society and do not have a harm reduction mindset.
However, Vapers in Power commends the action of the London Borough of Enfield. We are delighted to see that this local council has decided to take an evidence based approach in line with Public Health England evidence update and the Royal College of Physicians report and do not plan to include vaping in their smoking policies. This is a position we encourage all other local councils within the UK to take.