Category Archives: Advocacy

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.

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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.

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.

Changing how YOUR Council sees vaping

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There is only one council in the entire country with a decent attitude towards vaping.

Thanks to the work of Freedom to Vape we now know that the vast majority of councils lump vaping in with smoking, against the advice of both Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.

You can read their report here.

You can read the write-up in the Mirror here.

Something, clearly, must be done!

If you participated in the #LordsVapeVote, you’ll know how this goes:

  • There is a spreadsheet here, after you have written to your councillors, please fill in the corresponding cell so we can all see how many have been contacted and how often.
  • Open writetothem.com and enter your postcode
  • Choose “Write to all your councillors”
  • you will see this (well, unless you’re in S Glos too, the names will be different):

screenshot-from-2016-11-05-234931

  • copy and paste (if you have the option, paste as plain text) the following into the gap between Dear and Yours, please feel free to amend/edit/go completely off piste!

I use electronic cigarettes and I no longer smoke. I’m sure you know people like me.

Despite there being absolutely no evidence that they cause harm to other people, no evidence that they encourage youngsters to start smoking and clear evidence that they are much, much safer than smoking, it seems my council just lumps vaping in with smoking in its policies.

This is against clear guidance from both Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.

There are more than 1 million people in the UK who use electronic cigarettes and no longer smoke, that is amazing. That it has been achieved without spending billions of taxpayers money is more amazing still. Unfortunately, the proportion of people who wrongly think that ecigs are as harmful as cigarettes is rising. That threatens the good that ecigs can do and it isn’t helped when Councils treat vaping and smoking the same.

Consider this, doesn’t the Council have a duty of care to its employees (about a fifth of whom will smoke)? It is often said that smoking kills half of the people that do it. Shouldn’t the Council encourage those who are trying to stop smoking? Shouldn’t you be trying to make that easier?

There are hundreds of studies and documents I could ask you to read – I will focus on one. It is from Public Health England, who consulted all stakeholders widely before issuing this guidance:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/534586/PHE-advice-on-use-of-e-cigarettes-in-public-places-and-workplaces.PDF

Can you please raise at your next meeting the idea that you revisit your vaping policy? You really could help to save lives.

Yours sincerely,

 

  • It has been suggested, for Scottish vapers, that Public Health England might not be the best body to refer and link to. Instead replace both ‘Public Health England’s with Royal College of Physicians and use this link:

https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/file/3563/download?token=uV0R0Twz

  • Add your name after the Yours sincerely, fill in your details and hit Preview and send

Screenshot from 2016-11-06 00:33:36.png

  • You’ll need to open up your email, open the email from writetothem and click the green box – Send the message to my councillors.
  • Go right back to the first bullet point and do that.
  • Phew! Ace.
  • Vape on 🙂

Hopefully this is a one shot job – but we’d love to hear of any responses in the comments!

p.s. Strikes me that my bullet points could very easily be automated (apart from the postcode bit). I’ll buy the domain if any tech-savvy vaper with some server space has the time to write the website!

I’m sorry I haven’t got A Billion Lives for you anyway

Why should I reserve a ticket at one of these A Billion Lives Screenings?

A Billion Lives is a film about the “official” reaction to vaping. You can watch the trailer here:

It is currently being offered at a few cinemas in the UK through a service called Demand Film. The idea is that if enough (~60) people reserve a ticket for a specific screening, on a specific time and at a specific place, that screening goes ahead. You can even host your own screening. Info below:

https://uk.demand.film/a-billion-lives/

It’s not going well.

A few screenings have been secured. This is only because shops, individuals and us have bulk bought tickets. By and large though, only a handful of tickets are being reserved and the screenings are getting cancelled.

Various theories have been put forward: vapers are stingy, vapers don’t care, vapers would rather watch it for free on youtube.

None of those are right.

The reason tickets aren’t being reserved, in my opinion, is that vapers don’t understand why reserving a ticket is important. And why should we? I know vaping is safe enough and I know that various interests’ profit margins depend on vaping failing. It’s preaching to the converted.

That so isn’t why you should reserve a ticket.

It isn’t about us as viewers. Its about getting the film to a wider audience. So everyone will end up knowing this. Reserving a ticket isn’t so you can see the film, its so the film can demonstrate that it is in demand, and so the larger platforms will take a punt on it.

Reserving a ticket is a leap of faith, its a financial, temporal and personal cost that I think you should swallow because if the message of the film becomes accepted truth, then this whole mess goes away.

Sometimes, documentaries work. An Inconvenient Truth is perhaps the best example of this. They change how things are seen.
I’ve seen A Billion Lives, and I can promise you that it is capable of delivering the kind of change that An Inconvenient Truth made happen.

But the only way that will happen is if it gets a wider audience.

And the only way that will happen is if the distributors believe there is demand for it.

And the only way that will happen is if tickets get reserved.

You have a chance to significantly affect how vaping is regarded, by everyone.

Just a few hundred brave souls reserving tickets will convince the distributors that this film is worth taking a punt on. The awards from the festivals its been shown at should reassure you of its worth. It is worth it, a certain baby/river comment in it has changed the way I think (when you see it you will get it).

Please, reserve some tickets for A Billion Lives in a cinema near you today.

By Liam Bryan – Vapers in Power Campaign Manager

TPD TWITTER BOMB

Below you will find a timetable for Friday May 20th with the names, Twitter addresses and (in some cases) Facebook pages of people relevant to vaping and with influence on the subject.

Some are pro vaping, some are not so pro, and some are downright anti.

The concept of the Twitter bomb is that everyone tweets to the the same individual at approximately the same time: this can help produce ‘trends’ which receive media attention.

For those of you not familiar with software such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Twuffer, I would suggest having a look if you are wondering how to get all the tweets out on time. Vapers in Power have been using Hootsuite for a couple of years with a great deal of success. It takes a lot of the hard work out as all you have to do is think up the tweets.

For those that are blocked by some of the people on the list, please don’t miss them out. Just add #ImBlocked to your tweet. Whilst your tweet will not be seen by the recipient, it will still be seen by journalists searching.

Also PLEASE remember to add:

#RIPVape

8AM: Linda McAvan MEP – Facebook: Linda McAvan MEP , Twitter: @LindaMcAvanMEP
As rapporteur for the TPD Linda played a crucial role in getting the TPD through.   Referred to by many vapers as the angel of death.

9AM: Will Self – Twitter: @wself
Well known vaper and author/ journalist who sometimes writes about e-cigs.

10AM: David Cameron – Facebook: David Cameron , Twitter: @David_Cameron
British Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party. Has been making the right noises but we have yet to see anything concrete.

11AM: Nigel Farage – Facebook: Nigel Farage , Twitter: @Nigel_Farage
Leader of UKIP and a smoker who has tried vaping and is in favour of it. Against the TPD as a piece of EU bureaucracy but could be more vocal.

12PM: Martin Schulz MEP – Facebook: Martin Schulz , Twitter: @MartinSchulz
President of the European Parliament and responsible for the shennanigans which prevented Article 20 (then Article 18)  being scrutinised properly by MEP’s.

1PM: Viscount Matt Ridley – Twitter: @mattwridley
Member of the House of Lords who has spoken out in favour of vaping, including on the floor of the House.

2PM: Jeremy Corbyn – Facebook: Jeremy Corbyn , Twitter: @jeremycorbyn
Leader of the Labour Party. Has in the past signed a EDM supporting vaping but hasn’t made any noises in favour since.   His party is the least in favour of vaping

3PM: Charlie Sloth – Twitter: @CharlieSloth
Radio One DJ with  his own juice line from Totally Wicked. Does he know about the regulations?  On air from 4pm today.  

4PM: Mark Drakeford – Twitter: @MarkDrakeford
Welsh Health Minister responsible for proposing a vaping ban in Wales and continues to support this idea even in the face of scientific evidence presented in committee.

5PM: Dr Christian Jessen – Facebook: Doctor Christian , Twitter: @DoctorChristian
A Dr and TV presenter who vocally supports vaping both on social media and on television.

6PM: Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) – Twitter: @ASH_LDN
Leading anti-smoking charity which professes to support vaping but does not speak out against vaping bans and supports the TPD.  

7PM: Nick Clegg – Facebook: Nick Clegg , Twitter: @nick_clegg
Former leader of the liberal democrats and a self confessed vaper. Whilst he used an e-cig to help him stop smoking and is in favour of them he hasn’t been vocally supporting vapers against the TPD.

Please try to keep your tweets polite, even to those you don’t feel deserve it. The aim is for  these tweets to be seen by the media and venting your spleen may not help the cause.

twitterbomb

We need more Power!

***************UPDATE*****************

Vapers in Power are delighted to say that a kind member of the community has come forward with a donation so we can purchase the goods required. We would like to send our warmest regards to Andrew Scotchmere.

***************UPDATE*****************

Vapers in Power will be attending several events this year and we want to make our presence as effective as we can. We have determined that the best way we can improve our service at events is to get some more POWER! i.e. electricity lol

This would allow us to run a laptop and internet connection to enable people to write to their politician (or sign petitions) on the day. With someone on hand to give them guidance if they haven’t done it before.

IF YOU ARE ABLE TO LEND (OR DONATE) ANY OF THESE PRODUCTS FOR VIP USE WE WOULD BE VERY GRATEFUL.

Ideally we need:
A Leisure battery like this one http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Banner-Energy-Bull-Leisure-Battery-95601-12V-80Ah-/361551903205?hash=item542e2c39e5:g:9BkAAOSwSclXLcdN
Though a fairly high aH car battery might do the trick like one from a diesel vehicle.

An inverter of at least 300w like this sort of thing https://www.amazon.co.uk/Inverter-inverter-notebook-emergency-MRI3013BU-UK/dp/B00INW611Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1462833823&sr=8-1&keywords=inverter

And some sort of trickle charger or automatic charger, a bit like this http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/6AMP-12V-HEAVY-DUTY-VEHICLE-BATTERY-CHARGER-CAR-VAN-TRUCK-ELECTRICAL-CHARGING-/321820321967?hash=item4aedfc68af%3Ag%3A7m4AAOSwHnFVu4ei

Our immediate need is for Vape Collective which we will be attending at the end of May. We have people able to collect in North London area, Cardiff area, Lincoln area, West Yorkshire and Glasgow and the surrounding area, if you have any equipment you would like to pass along.

Please contact us at info@vapersinpower.co.uk if you can help

 

Welsh Election 2016 Campaign Diary – Sat 23.04.2016

I write this entry on the afternoon after the campaign day before. My feet are recovering and enthusiasm stores are getting replenished.

Before I get on with how my own day went I’d like to fill you all in on some rather important behind the scenes work that was occurring on the same day (Saturday) and even today (Sunday). This important work revolves around out election communication leaflets. You know, those things that end up in your letter box when you least expect it, telling you about the candidates and what they will do if they win their seat in an election?

All the leaflets arrived on 2 massive pallets at a secret location in Cardiff on Friday, where our dedicated team including our candidates received them. The total of 195,000 leaflets. You may recall our very own Liam Bryan sorting the leaflets for Kingswood in the General Election 2015, that amount was about 80% smaller in quantity.

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MAMMOTH TASK AHEAD! – Taken by me.

The picture above is how they were received. That is just one of the pallets. Throughout Saturday, the dedicated team started bundling them together for where they are heading off to and ready for delivery to the main Cardiff Royal Mail sorting centre. Despite the arduous task ahead the team filled with caffeine, vaping and purpose kept bundling the leaflets until night came in and managed to sort the Regional leaflets for Bernice. Today is the day for Lee’s Cardiff West leaflets. These leaflets will be delivered to Royal Mail Cardiff at 7am and the leaflets will be then sent out to various houses in South Wales Central and Cardiff West soon. A massive task and my thanks goes out to all involved.

Now, to my day on the streets of Cardiff. I left my home in Swansea at 7am and arrived in Cardiff on the train around 8.15am to be greeted by sunshine. THANKFULLY! There is absolutely nothing worse than campaigning in the rain on your own. I then headed to the secret location above to check the leaflets. I helped load the boxes into the dedicated transport vehicles (cars) before they were taken for sorting and bundling. I then head to my first load of vape shops in Canton, Cardiff West. (That is where Mark Drakeford is trying to get re-elected and our Lee Woolls is trying to stop him.)

So the 1st vape shop was very accepting to the campaign posters and leaflets for Lee. Straight away the A4 posters were put up in the window and leaflets put on the work-tops.

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Campaign material on display – Taken by me

I waited around and managed to have a chat with a customer who was very much on the pulse of our campaign and media coverage so far thanks to vapers.org .uk . The customer left enlightened about some specific points of our Welsh Manifesto.

The 2nd shop, took the posters but didn’t put them up straight away. I spent about 30 mins in the shop and no customer came in. I found this rather odd for 11am on a Saturday morning in Cardiff. As I needed to crack on with my campaign trail, I have no idea if the campaign material was put on display. It wasnt by the time I left and I did politely remind them to do so.

Moving onto the larger of the 3 Canton based vape shops. As I have not been to this shop before I was surprised by the size of it. So I went up to the nearest free employee and asked if the campaign material could be put on display. To my shock, the reply was “No. I need permission of the manager.” Fair enough so I asked if I could speak to him/her. Yet again “No, he isn’t here.” I proceeded to ask for a contact number or email and the reply was “No, use our Facebook page” So I left the store with a bit higher blood pressure than usual. I have since messaged the facebook page but with no reply. I shall now be contacting the franchise HQ.

The above applies to 2 other vape shops but on the eastern side of Cardiff City centre on Albany Road. One senior member of a shop said “It’s company policy not to display anything on the windows” which I found remarkable as a massive vertical banner with shop branding was on 2 of the windows. I did manage to get contact information for the head office and I am proceeding to email them after this entry. Yet there was some really good discussion about the TPD among the staff and myself at one shop. They all knew the major points of TPD which was a bit of a silver lining to the annoyance of not allowing my material in the shop.

There were a few very good highlights of the day including;

  • I spent about 2hrs in one vape shop just chatting with the staff and customers about all things Vapers in Power. The look on their faces when they realised that there is a party for them was both pleasing and comical at the same time.
  • Another vape shop took the remaining  leaflets I had and scattered them over the work-tops. They even asked for more so they could put them in the paper carrier bags for customers. FANTASTIC! The shop staff and the 2 main owners said they will certainly vote for Vapers in Power.
  • While I was discussing some points, I noticed a customer reading a leaflet then proceeded to take a photo. Below is the said photo, shared on our Facebook page by Jim Clift.
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“Got my vote…” – With permission from Jim Clift

That links me to a final point about what people said about voting for ViP. I managed to speak to a student from Germany who was exceedingly surprised to hear that vaping could have been banned in public spaces in Wales. I explained the reasons and he was indeed shocked. I passed him a leaflet, he read it and he said “I would definitely vote for you guys if I could.” If a non-resident of Wales wanted to vote ViP, that has got to be a good sign surely!!

Just like any campaign, there were ups and downs. Hopefully there will be more ups in the final 2 weeks where ViP will reach out to vapers beyond Cardiff in person to the best of our abilities. We shall be posting where we plan to be heading soon. If you are a vaper in those areas, please come on the campaign trail with us.

By

Rhydian Mann

Vapers in Power – Election Campaign Crowdfunding

Elections are shortly to be upon us again with the Welsh Government going to the polls on the 5th of May. Vapers in Power intends to be there, bringing vaping into the political spotlight.
To do that we need your help.
We have two candidates willing to stand in the Cardiff area where the Health Minister Mark Drakeford is based. We want to make sure that every time he stands at a hustings there is a vaper standing next to him, and every time he is mentioned in the papers there is a vaping candidate available to stand against his ridiculous attitude of the precautionary principle being used without considering the collateral damage.
Please donate if you can, share if you can’t and generally help make sure vapers are heard at the ballot box in Wales this May.

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An URGENT Call to Action from Vapers in Power

LAST CHANCE for action to stop the Welsh Labour MADNESS!

On 8th March 2016 Welsh AMs (Assembly Members) vote on whether to ban ecigs in (broadly) enclosed public spaces; this will probably include some outside locations too (playgrounds etc). This is obviously not based on science, its predicated on a vague worry about re-normalisation of smoking and a putative gateway effect from ecigs to smoking.

YES IT IS RIDICULOUS!!

We need to do all we can to get the AMs to see that that banning vaping in public spaces would be a public health disaster. See this link to the Public Health Bill (Wales) for details on what they will be voting on:

 

For full details on the latest amendments in favour of vaping and vapers please watch the video below.

 

Actions:

1. If you live in Wales then please please write (soon!) to your AM to urge them to support any amendment which drops vaping from the Public Heath Bill (Wales). Write to Vape Wales is a website which has been set up to make it really easy to do this:

2. If you use Twitter then please tweet AMs with “I vape and I vote” and use the hash tag
#PublicHealthBill Here’s a list of contact details for the AMs :
@vapers will be tweeting this – please follow and retweet us and we will retweet you
If you’d like some tips for using Twitter then please take a look at this: