Category Archives: Press Release

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.

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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.

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UK Local Councils Need To Wake Up!

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.



 

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 – 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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