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.