Category Archives: Politics

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

no_vaping_sign_18562436519

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!

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

Nottinghamshire, Beacon of Fear

Vapers in Power are incensed by Nottinghamshire County Council’s decision to ban employees from using e-cigarettes in its buildings, land and company vehicles (1) . E-cigarettes are used by many to stop smoking and the scientific consensus is that they are at least 95% safer than combustible tobacco (2).

We regard the Council’s actions as inappropriate with regards to smoking but we are particularly concerned by the inclusion of vaping and e-cigarettes in the ban.

This ban will deter people from switching to a far safer alternative and also sends out the false  message that vaping is harmful.

We are also concerned that we have seen no justification from the Council for this ban so we can only assume that it’s lazy policy making: a knee jerk reaction to something which they don’t understand.

As Public Health England noted (2) “increasing numbers of people think e-cigarettes are equally or more harmful than smoking”. Steps like this can only compound that misconception.

Nottinghamshire County Council are part of the Smoke Free Action Coalition (3) yet the inclusion of e-cigarettes in the new Nottinghamshire County Council Smoke Free Policy is not in keeping with the advice given by this coalition on e-cigarettes and their use for harm reduction. (4)

The Smoke Free Action Coalition clearly recommends that organisations consider the following information when considering e-cigarette policy:

  • Real-world effectiveness of e-cigarettes when used to aid smoking cessation: a cross-sectional population study a paper by Robert West regarding e-cigarettes as harm reduction and their effectiveness in quitting smoking (5)
  • Ash Factsheet 891 regarding who uses e-cigarettes and why they use them (6)
  • Ash Factsheet 715 regarding the basics about e-cigarettes and their risks for users, bystanders and the ‘gateway’ effect (7)

 

The Smoke Free Policy of Nottinghamshire County Council has clearly failed to take this information into account with regards to e-cigarettes.

We should also be clear that e-cigarettes are not included in the UK Smoking at Work legislation (8)

We can only conclude that this ban is yet another example of an organisation shaping their policies on fear rather than facts.

We call on Nottinghamshire County Council to re-assess their misguided policy.

E-cigarettes save lives, bans risk them.

 

References

 

  1. http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/DMS/Document.ashx
  2. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/457102/Ecigarettes_an_evidence_update_A_report_commissioned_by_Public_Health_England_FINAL.pdf
  3. http://www.smokefreeaction.org.uk/index.html
  4. http://www.smokefreeaction.org.uk/ElectCigs.html
  5. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.12623/abstract
  6. http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_891.pdf
  7. http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_715.pdf
  8. https://www.gov.uk/smoking-at-work-the-law

 

Vapers in Power – “FREE PRIZE DRAW!”

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Vapers in Power are holding a free prize draw for all those people that make donations over £5 to the Crowdfund for our Election Campaign in Wales.

We are glad to include the following items as donated by ViP members, Welsh Vendors and those farther afield who have dug deep for us.

– WISMEC RX200, 3 x Sony VTC4, 1 x VC4 Charger (USB), 1 x Subtank Mini (Kanger) AND
120ml of VGOD Tornado 3mg (max VG)

– A bespoke DNA40 Pirate Ship mod by Dream Vaper, option of screw fix or magnetic closure, engraved with the winner’s initials

– A 6 x 10ml of e-liquid from Yorkshire based Van Dyke Vapes

– A £20 voucher for

– Aspire Mini Pegasus kit and the Cleito Tank from ECigaretteDirect

– 3 x 100ml of any e-liquid in any strength from Deluxe Vapours Llanelli

– An IPV4s and 60ml of Anarchist e-liquid in 6mg/ml from Skewen based UK Cloud Lounge

– A hoodie in your size (subject to availability) and 100ml of e-liquid in any strength from Swansea based Vape.Kitchen

– A t-shirt in your size (subject to availability) and 100ml of eliquid in any strength from Swansea based Vape.Kitchen

– A 100ml of eliquid in any strength from Swansea based Vape.Kitchen

– A full box of Loki e-liquid (5 x 30ml) from Thor Juice. Kindly donated by one of our members.

– A brand new KangerTech KBOX in Silver.

– A Vapers in Power T-shirt in your size and chosen style (subject to availability)

– A Vapers in Power badge & 4 stickers

MORE PRIZES TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON!

 

Everyone that donates at least £5 between now and Saturday 9th of April 2016 at 12.00am (MIDNIGHT) using our Crowdfund

DONATE HERE

will be entered into the free prize draw.

 

The winners will be chosen by a randomiser. The winners will be announced after the closure of our Crowdfund via email.

THERE IS NOT FAR TO GO UNTIL OUR TARGET AND DEADLINE. DIG DEEP AND YOU MAY BE IN LUCK FOR A PRIZE!

 

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Image by Szaxe Gill
You may also enter by sending a letter containing your desire to enter and an email address by which we can contact you if you win to: Liam, 14 Cock Road, Kingswood, Bristol, BS15 9SJ. Entries submitted this way must be posted by the above closing date. Because of the risk of a letter being sent from say, Timbuktu, could you email us at info@vapersinpower.co.uk if you do send a postal entry so we know when we can hold the draw? Ta.

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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Calling all Vapers everywhere – Wales needs YOU

Calling all VAPERS, from every country and every nationality.

Help stop the ban of vaping in public places in Wales.

We all know that politicians generally prefer to receive communication from their constituents, but just once in a while we need to ignore that. This is one of those times.

Below is a list of Welsh politicians and their contact details. These are some of the politicians that are most likely to affect the outcome of stage 3 on the 8th of March, and the vote on March the 15th.

What we are asking you to do is adopt one. Send them a letter an email or a tweet (or all 3) and tell them about YOUR vaping story. If you are in the industry tell them how a ban would affect YOU in your country.

Keep it short, be polite, and tell them where you live.

Elin Jones – Ceredigion
Office Address:
32 Pier Street
Aberystwyth
Ceredigion
SY23 2LN
Email: Elin.Jones@Wales.gov.uk
https://www.facebook.com/ElinCeredigion
https://twitter.com/elinceredigion

Leanne Wood – South Wales Central
Office Address:
68 Heol Pontypridd
Porth
CF39 9PL
Email: Leanne.Wood@assembly.wales
http://www.facebook.com/leanne.wood.714
http://twitter.com/leannewood

Alun Ffred Jones – Arfon
Office Address:
8 Castle Street
Caernarfon
LL55 1SE
Email: AlunFfred.Jones@assembly.wales
http://twitter.com/AlunFfredPlaid

Rhodri Glyn Thomas – Carmarthen East and Dinefwr
Office Address:
37 Wind Street
Ammanford
SA18 3DN
Email: Rhodri.Thomas@assembly.wales
http://twitter.com/RhodriGlynPlaid

Lindsay Whittle – South Wales East
Office Address:
2 Portland Buildings
Commercial Street
Pontypool
NP4 6JS
Email: Lindsay.Whittle@assembly.wales

Rhun ap Iorwerth – Ynys Môn
Office Address:
27 Church Street
Llangefni
Ynys Môn
LL77 7DU
Email: rhun.apiorwerth@assembly.wales
http://www.facebook.com/rhunynysmon
http://twitter.com/RhunapIorwerth

Simon Thomas – Mid and West Wales
Office Address:
Ty Bres
Heol Bres
Llanelli
SA15 1UA
Email: Simon.Thomas@assembly.wales
http://www.facebook.com/SimonThomasAber
http://twitter.com/SimonThomasAC

Bethan Jenkins – South Wales West
Office Address:
75 Briton Ferry Road
Melin Cryddan
Neath
SA11 1AR
Email: Bethan.Jenkins@assembly.wales
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bethan-Jenkins-Plaid-Cymru-Assembly-Member/38277580617

Llyr Gruffydd – North Wales
Office Address:
69A Clwyd Street
Ruthin
LL15 1HN
Email: llyr.gruffydd@assembly.wales
http://twitter.com/LlyrGruffydd

Jocelyn Davies – South Wales East
Office Address:
1 Griffiths Building
Victoria Terrace
Newbridge
NP11 4ET
Email: Jocelyn.Davies@assembly.wales
http://twitter.com/parkgirl59

Edwina Hart
Office Address:
9 Pontardulais Road
Gorseinon
Swansea
SA4 4FE
Email: Edwina.Hart@assembly.wales

Gwenda Thomas
Office Address:
7 High Street
Pontardawe
Swansea
SA8 4HU
Email: Gwenda.Thomas@assembly.wales
http://twitter.com/Gwendathomas

William Graham – South Wales East
Office Address:
19A East Street
Newport
NP20 4BR
Email: William.Graham@assembly.wales
http://twitter.com/williamgrahamam

Christine Chapman – Cynon Valley
Office Address:
Bank Chambers
28a Oxford Street
Mountain Ash
CF45 3EU
Email: Christine.Chapman@assembly.wales
http://www.facebook.com/christine.chapman.397
http://twitter.com/ChrisChapmanAM

Janice Gregory – Ogmore
Office Address:
44a Penybont Road
Pencoed
CF35 5RA
Janice.Gregory@assembly.wales

Huw Lewis – Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney
Office Address:
Venture Wales Building
Pentrebach
Merthyr Tydfil
CF48 4DR
Huw.Lewis@assembly.wales
http://www.facebook.com/HuwLewisAM
http://twitter.com/huwlewis

Jeff Cuthbert – Caerphilly
Office Address:
Bargoed YMCA
Aeron Place
Gilfach
Bargoed
CF81 8JA
Email: Jeff.Cuthbert@assembly.wales
http://www.facebook.com/JeffCuthbert
http://twitter.com/JeffCuthbert

Dame Rosemary Butler – Newport West
Office Address:
72 Caerau Road
Newport
NP20 4HJ
Email: Rosemary.Butler@assembly.wales
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rosemary-Butler-politician/144061692279715
http://twitter.com/RosemaryButler

Sandy Mewies – Delyn
Office Address:
Transport House
64 Chester Street
Flint
CH6 5DH
Email: Sandy.Mewies@assembly.wales
http://twitter.com/SandyMewiesAM

Why Vapers are like Lobsters

ReaperYes it’s the harbinger of doom again …. I will say this and you may take it as you will …. I hope every optimist is right but unfortunately I don’t share their optimism.

This all reminds me of a lobster community being asked to get in a pot.

lobsters

 

The lobsters all say “Hey its not as bad as we thought …. the water is a nice temperature.”

One lobster says “Look the pot lies on a heat source. the heat can be turned up !!!!”

The lobsters all shout “Hey we have been promised this is ‘light touch’ and they won’t turn up the heat!”.

To the annoyance of the other lobsters one lobster says “If they intend it to be light touch and have no intention of turning up the heat why put the pot on a possible heat source?”

I question why the UK government is introducing broad legislation yet assuring light touch.  Why not just introduce narrow legislation that is light touch (defined) and can’t be ramped up by broader interpretation?

I believe the UK government (Britain having the most active vapers in Europe) decided we need to be brought to the boil gently, unlike nations with less active vapers who can be dropped straight into a boiling pot.

So I advise, rather than relying on assurances from governments or vaping experts, look at how the legislation could be interpreted and not how the Government presently tells you it will interpret it.

At the end of the day … only the government can decide how the legislation will eventually be enforced, and only the courts (not vaping experts) can ultimately rule on the interpretation.

Yes my fears may be wrong but the ‘expert’s’ optimism may also be wrong…

Rather than looking for assurances from the government, MHRA et al in how they will enforce this legislation we should be fighting to have the legislation written as narrowly as possible (with solid definitions for words with several different meanings) and in a way so it can’t become more draconian merely through the government using a more draconian interpretation !!!!!

The problem I have found with the proposed legislation is that it is just so broad and ambiguous (it can even refer to sex at one point) it is difficult to stay focused as there are so many possibilities for different interpretation, which wouldn’t be the case if there was just a single bad point.

I hear people arguing ‘advertisement’ and its interpretation.   

The proposed legislation defines advertisement as ‘Commercial Communication’,  so advertisement throughout the legislation has to be considered as ‘Commercial Communication’ and not ‘Advertisement’ ….. The problem is that ‘Commercial’ and ‘Communication’ are very broad terms and the legislation doesn’t define those words either separately or combined.

So why bother with interpreting ‘advertisement’?   As I said above it is not relevant in this proposed TPD legislation.  If ‘red’ is defined as blue in legislation, any time the term ‘red’ is used it means blue and not red, at least for the purposes of that act.

Some have raised the fact that ‘Commercial Communication’ has been defined in other legislation,  but that legislation defines those terms only for the purposes of that specific act..

There was the possibility for the proposed TPD legislation to refer to another act that defined ‘Commercial Communication’, BUT IT DIDN’T   …. The law doesn’t expect interested parties to search through all other previous legislation and all relevant case law to understand a definition in new legislation.  So, however unlikely it may appear, a broad term (undefined) can be interpreted in anyway that it can be interpreted:   any of those interpretations are valid and can only be disputed by a court of law.

Although I have stated ‘Commercial Communication’ was defined  in previous legislation and that that definition only applies for the purposes of that act, it is interesting to look at that definition as it is at least one way ‘Commercial Communication’ could be defined in the new TPD legislation by the Government.

A point: the fact that previous legislation considers it important/necessary to define ‘Commercial Communication’ is a strong indicator that it should be defined and is another question mark over the fact that the proposed TPD legislation doesn’t define ‘Commercial Communication’ !!!!

The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002

Interpretation
2.—(1) In these Regulations and in the Schedule—
“commercial communication” means a communication, in any form, designed to
promote, directly or indirectly, the goods, services or image of any person pursuing a
commercial, industrial or craft activity or exercising a regulated profession, other
than a communication—” (continued below)

As with the legislation above I also consider that ‘Commercial Communication’ could refer to any communication that directly or indirectly refers to someone’s commercial product, such as an electronic cigarette, if that communication promotes/recommends that product.

What emphasizes that ‘commercial communication’, as seen within ‘The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002’, includes persons unrelated to the product and/or those with no financial interest, is the fact that they are particularly  excluded. (The proposed TPD legislation has no such exclusions). If there was no danger for such persons to be captured within the term ‘commercial communication’, then why the need for the exclusions?

The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 (exclusions continued directly from the definition above)

other than a communication—
(a) consisting only of information allowing direct access to the activity of that
person including a geographic address, a domain name or an electronic mail
address; or
(b) relating to the goods, services or image of that person provided that the
communication has been prepared independently of the person making it (and
for this purpose, a communication prepared without financial consideration is to
be taken to have been prepared independently unless the contrary is shown);”

I repeat the fact that these inclusions and in particular (b) is deemed necessary shows that without that exclusion persons independent of the product and without financial interest could be caught in the definition for “Commercial Communication” !!!

NO SUCH EXCLUSION is included in the proposed TPD legislation!!!

A lawyer can write a 1000 page draft and a single word can make it to your advantage or against …… I really lose the will to live trying to point out the dangers contained in the “Advertising” section of the UK’s proposed legislation …. Control information and you control everything in this modern world ……

 I can’t foresee the future but just one of many dangers, for an undefined ‘Commercial Communication’ defining ‘electronic cigarette advertisement’ is that any verbal or written communication that discusses a commercial product will breach the proposed legislation if the Government so wishes …… As I said, I don’t know the future, but when this Government uses such  broad undefined words to replace “Advertising” I become very suspicious.

It amazes me that some vapers consider that the Government is softening with their initial ‘light touch’ approach.  Ask yourself one question:  had they came in immediately with a ‘hard touch’ would vapers have fought harder as the implementation of the legislation loomed?  Will some vapers now relax until the end of the 6/12 months grace period looms?

The difference is that prior to the enactment of the legislation the proposed legislation can be challenged but just prior to the 6/12 month grace period the legislation will be LEGISLATION.

The ‘light touch’ on ‘advertising/Commercial Communication’ is pretty obvious …. introducing censorship when people have a voice is difficult (if civil liberties groups got wind, regardless of who the censorship was aimed, at there would be uproar).  But once the legislation has been enacted it is too late …. and if they do go on to act as draconian as the legislation permits, without communication, who do you tell?  Or, more importantly, HOW do you tell them????

I have a big mistrust of governments and with good cause. It has been nurtured from many years dealing with two governments,the UK and the Netherlands, through the European Commission of Human Rights.
This is why I notice these tricks – but hey, everyone enjoy the party for now
.

A final and important note …. Now is the wrong time to be considering positive aspects of this bad legislation.

The time to look for loopholes and positive spins is after the legislation has been enacted.

We only have months to try to do something about this bad legislation, we have forever to live with it.

By Szaxe Gill

 

Overwhelmed Underdog: Thoughts from the All Party Parliamentary Group on E-cigs

A guest blog post from Ian Green ( @ECigologist )

A tipple and vape in London (photo Ian Green)

It wasn’t my intention to blog about my day in London on Monday the 7th of December. I had however intended to provide a quick update via a continuing thread on a vaping Facebook group that provoked many thoughts on the impact of the TPD last weekend.

I’d been invited to attend a couple of events. First was a presentation by Ian Jones PhD, Corporate, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs Vice President, Emerging Markets- JTI.

The presentation looked at how the industry would manage as the TPD deadlines move ever closer.
It was a very interesting couple of hours that focussed on the need for due diligence, product stewardship, supplier cooperation and other practical issues that need to be addressed.  It wasn’t an all “doom and gloom” affair. Far from it. It did however emphasise the need for anyone seriously contemplating their future within the vaping industry to take a deep breath and prepare for a somewhat frustrating and uncertain few years. There were many helpful suggestions made to help overcome some of the more complex hurdles and an open debate followed due to several of us interpreting sections of the TPD documents very differently!  I’ll touch on that again soon.

At this venue, Church House on Great Smith Street at the rear of the Houses of Parliament,  I met some familiar faces from within the vaping industry and became acquainted with many more.

 photo Westminister Mod_zps3aneba8g.png
Houses of Parliament, London (image by Abigail Cottrill)

We then moved into the Houses of Parliament itself for a drinks reception held in the Strangers Dining Room. The reception was hosted by the APPG, The All Party Parliamentary Group on E-Cigarettes. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after a high level security check-in, just like airport customs, we met with MPs, Lords, vaping advocates and other industry colleagues. Mark Pawsey, MP for Rugby, addressed the attendees, confirmed his support for vaping and acknowledged the need for change in the way vapers are treated.

Now I’m not sure where all this is going but I’m prepared to get involved as I’ve been invited to attend and contribute at futute meetings.  I’ll provide updates via FB and or Twitter.

Now all this sounds very cordial and informative I’m sure. But what was confirmed to me throughout the day, is why there’s so much confusion on the subject of the TPD.

It’s because EVERYONE’S confused!!!!

Should I use the word confused? Surely being confused is when there are too many clear options available?  Perhaps, simply dazzled by the complexity of the TPD.   Every document I’ve ever seen  is as clear as mud.

So I’m not sure!

On a serious note and, despite many things still requiring clarification (hence the lack of understanding), there was a lot of optimism on display.

Now I’m optimistic; I’m optimistic that one day soon I too will understand the full implications of the TPD without giving a toss what anyone else thinks. By that I mean:  not needing to ask for a second,third or fourth opinion.  I can already hear the laughter.

Because it’s all so ambiguous:  a grand reception room in the Houses Of Parliament containing some of the most clued up people with an interest in the whole Vaping saga,  they couldn’t clearly interpret it!

However, they agree to disagree.
It all appeared most agreeable!

For the record, I understand the frustrations kicking about; the sense of anger & the probable impact of this bureaucratic EU lunacy. However, we have to keep positive and work with what we have at the moment. It’s a long game being played. That’s a given.

Do I really think it’s all over? No I don’t. Do the people I met on Monday think it’s all over. No THEY don’t! Are the next 18 months going to be easy? No they’re not.

I’m in favour of “rallying the troops” not “retiring with a bloody nose”.

The Advocates that have been setting the example over the past four or so years (and there are too many to name here) deserve better than that. And so do the smokers yet to discover the benefits and joys of Vaping.

Negatives and Positives; they need each other. Most vapers understand that logic surely? So I’m happy to read and hear opposing opinions. That’s how we learn and develop our understanding.

At the moment there are more questions than answers and I for one appreciate the commentaries being transmitted that attempt to unravel the mysteries of how this world works.

Never in a million years did I see myself caught up in political cross-fire, and it’s obvious to most that it goes beyond just the moral injustices that vaping endures.

Finally, I’ve openly admitted before that I find this arena completely overwhelming and I’ve also taken onboard the observations that this is an uphill struggle. It won’t be any suprise that I take a great deal of comfort knowing that we’re all part of an underdog community taking on the might of bureaucracy and powerful industries that normally crush everything beneath them!

I’d also like fellow vapers to consider this too: being an underdog goes hand in hand with being underestimated. That’s one fact that doesn’t confuse me!

Vapefest 2015 (Ian Green)
Vapefest 2015 (photo Ian Green)

Vapemail from Germany

Envy for the Enlightened Isles

A guest post from Norbert Zillatron

German vapers — at least those few that care about it — envy the UK for the open acknowledgement of PHE et al. Sure, we know that it’s far from perfect and a lot of the lot still can’t see vaping as anything but an improved kind of NRT. But that’s much better than what we have in Germany.

Vapers and Politics

It’s pretty much like everywhere else. The vast majority don’t care at all. They just found something they like and they buy it. They don’t bother with forums or additional information. As long as they’ll get their usual products.
Then there is the minuscule percentage who visit forums and social network groups or watch vaping videos on youtube. To most of them politics is far away and of no concern. They just want to enjoy their hobby.

Comments on the political development are usually along the lines “They can’t do that!”, “Just relax, it won’t be so bad!”, “Then I’ll buy in China.”, “My stockpile will last for years”.

Just a few vapers bother to really read what the bansturbators concoct and are often ridiculed as worrywarts. Including all those who only occasionally bother we are just a few dozens. We’re gonna see who’s right. I hope we worrywarts are wrong. But I’m afraid we’re still too optimistic.

Mass Media, Politicians, and Experts

 This is where we German vapers are mired up to our necks in bovine excrement. There is one and only one ultimate “Expert” all mass media and politicians refer to: The Oracle of Heidelberg, Martina Pötschke-Langer. She’s the head of the WHO collaborators that have infested the German Center for Cancer Research (DKFZ). Dick Puddlecote has some strong words about her in “Meet Mendacious Martina

Oracle of Heidelberg
Credit: hope from the German Vapers Forum – ERF

When German mass media couldn’t simply ignore the Public Health England revolution, all articles about it were also brimming with her dire warnings about unknown hypothetical dangers that PHE might have failed to take into consideration. Her choice of words implies that all scientists supporting this report were clueless idiots. But she always is very careful to avoid any direct insult. It’s all in the mind of the reader.

Of course she pounced on the nutty letter in the Lancet and regurgitated it in many words, suggesting that the PHE report was corrupted by a BigTobacco and BigVapor conspiracy and thus is totally useless. That was the last headlines we heard about it. Chapter closed, evidence dismissed.

Even worse than this constant one-sided public propaganda is the way politicians of all parties keep bowing and scraping to her supposed wisdom. Any facts and arguments are countered with links to her dogmatic pamphlets. And–for the illusion of multiple sources–to the BfR, The Federal Institute for Risk assessment. Two birds of a feather. They often refer to each other’s opinion in argumentative incest.

Don’t let her innocent looks and displayed motherly concern fool you! She knows exactly what she’s doing and her propagandistic skills may even be sharper than those of the undisputed master from Germany’s darkest history. She studiously avoids telling any outright lie. She’s very apt at presenting the most absurd “theories” and visions of doom so that they sound like scientifically proven facts and real concerns. And of course she never forgets to rhetorically abuse “The Chiiiiildren”.

Professor Bernd Mayer from Austria commented on one of her pamphlets: “New Madness in Electronic Cigarette Policy …”. That was a year ago. Now she regurgitated the same “ideas” in a comment on the planned German implementation of the Tobacco tax Protection Directive.

She’s so successful in distorting reality that recently the German Minister for Youth, Family, etc. (Manuela Schwesig) said as one part of the justification for the proposed restrictive amendment of the youth protection laws: “Electronic cigarettes are just as harmful as smoking.”

That is exactly the impression this propaganda is supposed to generate. And it obviously works.

You can’t find any politician or prominent figure in the health business who dares contradict her. Behind this deceiving image mix of Mother Teresa and Buddha hides a nuclear-powered sledge hammer. Ready to vanquish any opposition. When the German vapers organisation (IG-ED) satirically presented her with an honor membership for all her help in getting vaping into the media, her immediate and only reaction was a very nasty letter from her shysters.

We (the IG-ED) were invited twice to speak at the Tobacco Control Conference she hosts. I think the first time she thought we would be the comical element on the panel. Besides the alibi “enemy” from the vendors association. That we would be like puppies overwhelmed by all the greatness. Tough luck. A lot of the audience had questions our speaker could answer far more competently than she or any of her cronies. The second time we were apparently invited as a tame enemy. Only we weren’t tame. We had tried long enough to reason with her. So it wasn’t quite unexpected that we didn’t get another invitation this year. But we were a bit surprised when an official representative of the IG-ED tried to register as regular audience and got a rejection notice signed by her personally. Telling us, that she doesn’t want to see the “ecigs lobby” there. Yes, truth can be painful. Avoidance is an easy way out. And it’s also a way to prevent exposure of her flimsy house of cards to a torrent of scientifically solid facts. In front of an impressionable audience who came looking for real information.

German Laws on ecigs
Credit: hope from the German Vapers Forum – ERF

Recently she tried to prohibit a vape shop from using a quote made years ago. When she still did concede that “vaping of course is much, much less harmful than smoking”, she sued them for abuse of the trademark “DKFZ”. Fortunately she lost.

She will demolish any institution or person who gets in her way. By insinuating incompetence and possible corruption from the tobacco lobby. Never crossing the line of liability. If that isn’t enough deterrent, she also can rely on the power of the WHO to threaten even with UN sanctions.

And her pals from the BfR are just as bad. Professor Mayer wrote them an open letter criticising the junk science they published. They responded with a letter to his University suggesting his dismissal.

Implementation of the Tobacco tax Protection Directive

Lately we were able to have a peek at the plans of the German ministry. They don’t just want to do the TPD, dog’s breakfast that it already is. First they also want to skip any distinction between nicotine containing and nicotine free devices and liquids. And then they have a rather long list of prohibited flavours. Most most of their bans they simply copied from the ban list for tobacco products. And this list contains — besides a lot of chemicals of which I have no idea what flavours would be affected by their prohibition — all forms of menthol and one wholly outrageous category: “Substances which might create the impression they might be healthy”. Among those already in the list: Peppermint and woodruff. And they also include the right to expand this list without consulting the parliament (like in the infamous EU “delegated acts”).

But that’s just the first draft. Now it will have to pass through both “houses”. They probably will enter some modifications. But not necessarily for the better.

When MPs are asked about their position on ecigs their answers — if any — invariably refer to the pamphlets of the Oracle and her buddies in the BfR. And she keeps on lobbying massively for banning any flavours except tobacco. And also to make them as unappealing as possible by banning coloured devices. To “Save The Chiiildren!” of course. Those who are already “protected” from buying them anyway.

Petitions in Limbo

Similar to the petition to the UK government to refuse article 20, or to the US government to put the FDA in their place, we also have petitions to our government. My first attempt to get a petition published was rejected after 2 weeks. About six weeks ago I submitted a reworked version, where I eliminated all the causes given for the rejection. Its aim is to get a voice in as many parliamentary consultations as possible. At about the same time another vaper submitted his petition, similar to the UK petition it suggests that the german parliament refuses to implement article 20.

Both petitions are still in limbo. Neither publication nor rejection. Nothing.

Should they be published we would have 4 weeks to collect 50.000 signatures. Lucky for us, German petitions are more like the US petitions and unlike the UK version anybody all over the world may sign it. If we reach the goal we would have the chance to present our case personally.

But as time passes the suspicion is growing that somebody wants to delay us, so that even a successful petition would be essentially useless.

Expectations

Some people still have confidence in the competence of the MPs. That they would listen and apply common sense. But I’m afraid this is just wishful thinking. I think the only ones motivated to change anything will be those devoted to prohibitionism. And the greedy ones. There are bound to be some that would like to follow the Finnish proposal. The vast majority of MPs just won’t care and sign anything their “experts” suggest. And those “experts” faithfully repeat the dogmata from Heidelberg.

I would love to be proven too pessimistic.

Maybe I’ll move to the UK.

To the Enlightened Isles,

where science still can prevail.

By Norbert Zillatron

Note –  All images are; created by, copyrighted to and used by permission of Hope. German Vapers Forum. 2015. http://www.e-rauchen-forum.de/thread-67084.html