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It’s 1am, Saturday, I’ve had vodka.

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Vaping is being squeezed so much it is dying, I can’t help feeling that. Public Health Wales released a position statement this week so grudging you could sense the teeth being pulled. America, is, interesting. Finland is fucked. We wait. Bans continue around the world.

And here? In a couple of months DIY is dead (or underground) and tanks are so small they are irritating. Vaping will become faffy again. When innovation had made vaping pretty much faff-free, regulation restores the faff. Well done EU.

Arriva trains have agreed to amend their anti-vaping posters to say “not permitted” rather than illegal, so that’s good right?

Canada seems hopeful, France is moving in the right way (although, TPD). Malaysia? Maybe. Australia are so slowly starting to see the light. When you look around the world, it’s a pretty depressing picture – the regulators are out for us.

But.

More and more people are vaping. That is our weapon. Vapers won’t go back to smoking when the rules change. Not all of them anyway, they’ll break the rules. Vaping is here to stay.

Personally, I’m one of those soon-to-be rule-breakers. When the 20th May comes round, the next time I need to order nicotine I’ll be ordering more than the allowed 20mg/ml, making the person selling it to me a criminal. I’m guessing enough of a demand will survive that the supply will be there.

Tbh, I’ve yet to see an ecig rule I could throw my weight behind, even though there’s a few I would be happy with: don’t sell a battery without a safety leaflet and a case for one.

Vaping will, survive, of that I’ve no doubt. But will it be available to new users, acceptably? No. Or at least, much less so.

Will some vapers go back to cigarettes? Yes

By the way, if you haven’t already told the EU to shove their ecig tax, you can do it here.

nn 🙂

It’s not taxing

Respond to this consultation, it’s important. The wrong decision will shut shops and deter new ecig users.

The European Union wants to tax ecigs. As they have to – to pretend they are democratic somehow – they have a consultation on their suggestion, closing date 16th Feb. Replying to this consultation is about the best thing you can do for ecigs right now – and I’ve tried to make it simple!

If you don’t want simple, here is the link to find the consultation, here is Clive Bates on it, and here is the NNA’s take.

For the rest of us morons, here is the easy way to tell them how they can stuff it:

  1. Click this

  2. You get some background info, don’t even bother to read it, just click Next.
  3. You get some personal Q’s, answer as you will screenshot-from-2017-01-14-00-09-35
  4. After clicking Next, you get a no-brainer!screenshot-from-2017-01-14-00-14-46
  5. The next two Q’s are similar:screenshot-from-2017-01-14-00-24-54
  6. Ignore the scary lime-green text, you are more of an expert than these people will ever meet, next Q …screenshot-from-2017-01-14-00-28-12I’m not entirely sure I’ve read this the right way but that is my guess, you can guess yourself! Next!
  7. Easy – computer (i.e. me) says no:Screenshot from 2017-01-14 00-31-47.png
  8. With the next two Q’s, the last option is the most important.screenshot-from-2017-01-14-00-35-17
  9. Heat-not-Burn, I’m in favour, however, up to you, answer as you will, next!
  10. Next page, the cigarillos one, seems safe. Answer if you want, or just click next like I did.
  11. ditto
  12. Raw tobacco – now I’ve never had any interest in this before, but are the EU saying I can’t grow a plant? At least do this:screenshot-from-2017-01-14-00-44-47
  13. Click Next! We’re doing well…
  14. Waterpipe, say what you want, next!
  15. I’d leave this one out, I don’t know the relevant codes, non-ecig anyway:screenshot-from-2017-01-20-00-20-31

Next Q – whatever you want, then Next leads us on to the final page …Screenshot from 2017-01-14 00-56-23.png

Bonus points here (shedloads of them) for adding extra arguments as to why taxing ecigs (over and above VAT) is a monumentally bad idea via a document upload. Like most consultations, this one doesn’t really give us a chance to address what is really important. You can take cues, should you need any, from the NNA and/or Clive Bates. If you have any questions, or suggestions for improvements to this walkthrough, please comment.

Phew! Well bloody done, you now get an advocacy medal. Tiaras are available but you have to convince someone else to do this to get one of those …

New Leader

UPDATE!

We had one candidate, so no need for an election.

Fergus Mason is the new Party Leader.

Watch this space to see if it’s a changing of the guard or something quite different …

 

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UPDATE!

The deadline for nominations is midnight on 7th December 2016.

Vapers in Power will publish the list of candidates on 8th December 2016, on this page.

People who sign up as members between Dec 8th and Dec 21st 2016 will not be eligible to vote in the election.

Voting opens at midnight on Dec 14th and closes at midnight on Dec 21st.

Members can vote by emailing info@vapersinpower.co.uk . If not emailing from the email they originally signed up with then they should include their membership number (if known, it’s on your membership card) or postal address, so that we can check their identity against our records.

Please note that only current members can vote, so please renew your membership if necessary via http://vapersinpower.co.uk/join

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Vapers in Power is a single issue party which aims to give a voice to vapers.  We don’t expect to win many votes or any seats but we do strive to effect change by raising awareness of the issues amongst vapers and legislators.  Our manifesto is here. Our constitution is here.

We need a new leader. Could it be you?

Jessica, our current party leader, is no longer able to dedicate the time needed for the role of party leader. She will be continuing as Treasurer (thank goodness) but her commitments mean we need a new party leader.

What it takes:

You need to be available and sane. Maybe an hour a day, or equivalent? You need to want to make vaping more available to more people. You need to be able to sometimes pour oil on troubled waters.

Patience is a key skill – you don’t need to be an expert in herding cats, but if you can actually do that it would be AMAZEBALLS.

What we do:

We think of things to do to help vaping. Then we do them. That’s it. We are often wrong, we are ever so occasionally right. Can you think of stuff? Can you do it?

What you get:

The prestige of being the leader of the world’s first political party for vapers. A committed and supportive team backing you up 100%. OK maybe 99% lol, see “herding cats”.

What you would need to do:

  • Liaise with the Electoral Commission, ensure we comply (actually a lot easier than it sounds-the EC are very helpful and do answer the phone),
  • Keep an eye on what’s happening across all of the Vapers in Power actions, making sure it’s “joined up”.
  • Work to ensure that Vapers in Power adheres to its core values, as outlined in the Constitution and Manifesto.  

All nominations are welcome, the result will be decided by a simple, first past the post vote among members. We need you, vapers need you. Don’t hesitate.

To put yourself forward as leader please send an email to info@vapersinpower.co.uk with the subject line LEADER. The closing date for the nominations is midnight 7th December 2016. We’ll do a virtual hustings thing, then the paid-up members will decide.

Good luck!

Open Letter to Heidi Alexander MP

Dear Ms Alexander

Thank you for your reply regarding your thoughts on Lord Callanan’s motion.

We agree that switching to vaping can be a safe and effective way to give up smoking, and that the Government should be doing more to promote e-cigarettes as a potentially useful aid to help people quit smoking.

However, the “incredibly important changes” you refer to that were threatened by Lord Callanan’s motion, are dwarfed by the actual health improvements that a properly regulated vaping market could produce.

Are you aware that the European Commission has estimated that the Tobacco Products Directive will only “lead to a 2% drop in consumption of tobacco over a period of 5 years.”? (1) That represents 183 000 current smokers in the UK. Compare that figure to the 11.5% fall in tobacco prevalence over the last five years directly attributable to vaping: that’s 1.3M current vaping ex-smokers (2).  Electronic cigarettes, under the current regulatory regime, massively outperform all other tobacco control measures, both present and proposed, combined. Why on earth would anyone want to threaten this?

Are you also aware that whilst only 9% of current vapers (252 000 people) use strengths over 20mg/ml (3), for a new switcher that proportion is much higher (4)?

These results from a survey of 2700 experienced vapers might give you some indication of this:

Vaping Truth Survey
Vaping Truth Survey 2015 (Kevin Crowley)

As you can see, although experienced vapers can be happy on lower nicotine concentrations, for new switchers a much higher concentration is need for the switch to be successful (5). We know this because we are vapers and have lived through it. Other organisations you may hear from have a more “academic” understanding of the issues and often miss relevant points.

The 10ml bottle limit and 2ml tank size limit are of course simply pointless and ungrounded inconveniences – in fact both scientists whose research the EU used to come up with these limits complained bitterly that their results had been misunderstood and misused (6). The limits will cause some damage (as does anything that reduces the value proposition of ecigs versus cigarettes), but the real harms of the TPD lie elsewhere:

  • A less vibrant ecig market will halt the recent reductions in young adults taking up smoking (7) – this is the main and most disastrous unintended consequence of the TPD. Two thirds of smokers start when they are teenagers. At present they have a non-addictive (8) (9) and safe (10)  way to experiment. Make ecigs vastly less attractive (as the TPD will do) and they’re back to experimenting with cigarettes, which leads to smoking for many years. We all know this because we all did it.
  • It has created a piecemeal market across the EU, with some countries allowing but most banning cross border sales. This is already affecting previously thriving UK businesses.
  • It imposes absurd levels of testing on e-liquids – testing not required for cigarettes – which will massively reduce the variety of e-liquids sold, and hence the chance that a smoker will find something which they prefer to cigarettes.
  • The testing costs will be far beyond the reach of most of the UK’s hundreds of e-liquid manufacturers, shutting down promising small businesses, with the associated misery that entails.
  • The advertising restrictions shut down opportunities for smokers to find out about ecigs.
  • It adds a warning: “This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance. It is not recommended for use by non-smokers”. This is not only scientifically illiterate (nicotine has only ever been found to be addictive when delivered via lit tobacco) but not required for other nicotine containing products on the market.
  • It promotes the false impression that ecigs are as harmful as cigarettes, preventing switching.

It is a shame the EU was seen as more important than the people who make up the EU. Politicians, by ignoring vapers, have just killed 105 000 of their constituents, across the EU, every year.(11) Thanks for that.

The Vapers in Power Team

 

1 – http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-14-134_en.htm

2 – http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_93.pdf

3 – http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_891.pdf

4 – http://www.nature.com/articles/srep04133

5 – http://www.tobaccopreventioncessation.com/Satisfactory-throat-hit-is-a-need-to-switch-from-tobacco-to-e-cigarette-lesson-for-an-e-liquid-blind-test,62918,0,2.html#.V07cWpzqPS0.twitter

6 – http://www.theelectroniccigarette.co.uk/blog/1729/the-eu-has-misrepresented-scientific-evidence-and-the-scientists-fight-back/

7 – http://ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_108.pdf

8 – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25561385

9 – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3466669/

10 – http://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-14-18

11 – http://londoneconomics.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/High_nicotine_e-cigs_ban-Feb14.pdf

 

#RIPVape

 

Effective vaping as we know it died on 20th May 2016. The fact that the government put  vaping on life support for another year doesn’t change that.  

 

Yes you can still buy tanks which are over 2ml and juice which is over 20mg/ml, but in a few months time you won’t be able to. Yes, even then we will be ok (some of us have been stockpiling nicotine and we will continue to buy direct from China) but what about the people who are smoking and who might want to stop at some point in the future? New vapers do need higher nicotine strengths and are often using less efficient devices (not sub ohming, in other words). It’s easy to forget that most of the 2.8m vapers in the UK are using cigalikes or egos and CE4s. The TPD of course, pretty much destroys DIY  and ruins small boutique eliquid businesses, so yes, #RIPVape. And yes,  adverts are banned – some EU countries are even trying to ban promotion on social media, so yes, #RIPVape.

 

We knew that there would be a range of sentiments and feelings the day the TPD came in:  some people would be sad but many would be angry.  #RIPVape was a tag that could be used in a number of ways. Importantly it also made it clear to the target audience what topic was being discussed. Vapers and the vaping community were not the target audience. The media was.

 

It now is #RIPVape in most of the EU member states. Vaping has taken off in the UK and there’s a sheer force of numbers: it is a tsunami and that makes it much much harder to shut it down. That isn’t the case in much of the EU and the TPD will wipe out vaping in many countries. Vapers in Power is a UK registered political party but we have members from many countries and we are very aware that this is a global fight.

No surrender!

Did anyone else try to mark the passing of the TPD into law?

We planned to use #RIPVape before the news broke that Lord Callanan had proposed a motion which could overturn the TPD in the UK. We ran with #RIPVape and added #LordsVapeVote into our social media postings too. #RIPVape was adopted by many people and trended on Twitter. It evolved too into #RIPVaping. That trended as well – because enough people used the hashtag – it spoke to those people. Trending hashtags are investigated by the media, so the campaign achieved its aim.

 

RIGHT NOW is what we have to do to save vaping: https://vapersinpower.wordpress.com/lordsvapevote-writing-campaign/  

 

Now is the time for action

Vapers in Power #Wales2016 results

Vapers in Power candidates Lee Woolls (Cardiff West) and Bernice Evans (Central South Wales) received 96 and 470 votes respectively. We applaud them both for standing up for the Freedom to Choose a much less harmful alternative to smoking.

“It was a vote by vapers against an abhorrent policy-maker and a vote for Vapers in Power. Thanks to all that worked so hard and to those that voted against Drakeford.”  Lee Woolls

“The increase in voters is evidence of the fact that Welsh people are unhappy with the way Wales is controlled. Mark Drakeford no longer has the comfort of a large majority after this result.” Bernice Evans

Mark Drakeford’s much reduced majority is a vindication of the ‪#‎VoteVaperNotLabour‬ campaign and sends a strong message that those who make policy without regard to credible evidence will be held to account. We congratulate Neil McEvoy, a supporter of e-cigs, for fighting such an effective campaign against the Welsh Health Minister and for winning a regional seat.
We would also like to congratulate Kirsty Williams of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and Darren Millar of the Welsh Conservatives for getting re-elected and thank them for their continued support for vaping.   We are very confident that the new Assembly will take a sensible approach to vaping and we propose the setting up of a cross party group to hammer out science based policies.

How to Vote Vaper Not Labour in Wales Tomorrow

The attitudes of the major Welsh parties towards vaping

 

Welsh voters go to the polls on Thursday to elect Welsh Assembly members.  Vapers in Power, along with the other parties, has released a manifesto (1).

The Vapers in Power candidates’ details are here:  

Bernice Evans 

Lee Woolls.


Please remember  to #votevapernotlabour

Wales found itself at the centre of a vaping storm when the Labour Welsh Health Minister, Mark Drakeford, put forward the Public Health Bill with controversial proposals to ban vaping in some public places.  The Bill was narrowly defeated but it seems safe to assume that Welsh Labour will try to force it through a second time if they are re-elected.

So, if you want to give your vote to vaping who should you vote for?

The short answer:   #votevapernotlabour

The longer answer:

1.  Cardiff West and South Wales Central

Vapers in Power is putting up two candidates forward under the Freedom to Choose description on the ballot paper:  Lee Woolls is standing against Mark Drakeford in Cardiff West and Bernice Evans is standing in South Wales Central. Voting for Vapers in Power in Cardiff and South Wales Central will show the main parties that vapers are a force to be reckoned with.

You have two votes for the region so if you do vote for Bernice you could consider using your second vote for either of the next most pro-vaping parties after Vapers in Power:  the Liberal Democrats or the Conservatives.

 

2.  Everywhere else in Wales – #VOTEVAPERNOTLABOUR

Here’s a summary of the main parties’ attitudes to vaping:.

Welsh Liberal Democrats:

Kirsty Williams, the Lib Dem leader, championed the opposition to the vaping proposals in the Health Bill.  The Lib Dem manifesto (2) pledges to:   “Protect an individual’s free right to use electronic cigarettes where they like by opposing Labour’s ban on e-cigs in public places.”   

Welsh Conservatives:

The Welsh Conservative manifesto (3)  promises to: “Support vaping in public and pilot the use of e-cigarettes in NHS smoking cessation services”. The Welsh Conservatives did not support the Health Bill and put forward amendments to remove vaping from the bill.    

Plaid Cymru:

Plaid Cymru’s manifesto can be read here: (4), there are no references to vaping in it and it supports outside smoking bans;  something which Vapers in Power is opposed to.  Plaid Cymru were partly responsible for the Health Bill getting so close to the statute books as they didn’t adopt a party line and allowed their assembly members a free vote.  We have to conclude that they are the least vaping friendly party out of the first three.  

UKIP:

UKIP’s Welsh manifesto can be read here (5) It doesn’t mention vaping, but the position of the party as a whole in the UK is quite vape friendly.   

Welsh Labour:

This is the party you should most avoid if you are trying to use your vote in a vape friendly manner. Their manifesto (6) does not specifically mention vaping but there is widespread evidence that should they come back to power they intend to reintroduce the bill which would have banned vaping in both indoor and outdoor public spaces. (7)

 

(1) http://vapersinpower.co.uk/welshmanifesto
(2) http://www.welshlibdems.wales/full_manifesto
(3) http://www.welshconservatives.com/news/launch-welsh-manifesto
(4) https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/plaid2016/pages/328/attachments/original/1459864681/2016_Plaid_Cymru_Manifesto.pdf?1459864681
(5) http://ukip.wales/2016-manifesto/#1460812410673-72fde7f6-fb99
(6) http://www.togetherfor.wales/read_manifesto
(7) http://www.ehn-online.com/news/article.aspx?id=15448

Vaping changed my life. Vaping saved my life. Vaping is my life.

Lee Woolls, Vapers in Power candidate for Cardiff West on 5 May 2016

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2010 was a year of incredible transformation for both myself and my wife. We both turned 40 and we both turned our back on cigarettes. Between us we were consuming almost 100 cigarettes a day. I used to struggle to smoke 10 a day and I ended up on           60-a-day. How did that happen?
I tried many times to quit. Patches, gums and Zyban. They all worked for while but the hunger, the unscratchable itch, and the need to deal with other things other than the smoking meant that I relapsed into smoking.
In 2010 I tried an electronic cigarette and, although it wasn’t the same as smoking, I kept going and never smoked a cigarette again. My wife, the same.

13123029_478212939045055_3395077145902502971_o
We started a business and opened our first retail store in 2012. We were nervous about taking on the rates and rent and unsure whether we’d be successful or not. My wife reminded me that we were doing it to help people to move away from tobacco and ‘as long as we cover the costs, we can continue’. She was right. It was never about the money, it was always about showing people the alternatives to smoking tobacco.
4 years on we have 11 stores across Wales and 1 in Scotland. We are bad business people because it was never about the money, it was always about the helping hand and giving confidence to those that wished to stop and had failed using conventional methods, like me.
The attempt to remove freedom of choice for Vapers, tobacco users and business owners is something we need to stand together on. We are the people and the politicians are there to serve us.
Vaping changed my life. Vaping saved my life. Vaping is my life.

 

13112843_478213205711695_1321117551682794496_o

 

 

 

My name is Bernice Evans and I am an ex-smoker…

13047968_1065886556787690_1538618681319103104_oBernice Evans, Vapers in Power Welsh Assembly Candidate for South Wales Central

 

“My name is Bernice Evans and I’m an ex smoker”.  Sounds like a confession, doesn’t it? Do I feel like an ex-smoker? No, is the honest answer as I found a way to enjoy nicotine without the dangers of smoking and just don’t think of smoking any more to be honest. After five years, I have to actually remember what I was like as a smoker. I watched my mother slowly die over ten years and after two massive heart attacks, no quality of life and breathing difficulties from years from smoking. I told her on her death bed I’d be fine (even though I smoked) but I hoped I’d stop one day…

As a typical smoker for over 30 years, I really tried to stop. I used; patches, inhalers, chewing gum, abstinence, a book on how to stop (it worked for a while but I relapsed) plus hypnotherapy and even smoking cessation classes. My children asked me on many occasions to stop smoking too, I just couldn’t seem to give up. My blood pressure went sky high, I often cleared my throat prior to speaking, silly things I no longer need to do. I found a way out using vaping, I was lucky and I know so many other people that have stopped too.

In fact, after having several jobs and the most recent were working at both Probation and on Department of Pension’s contracts, I decided on a change of career a few years ago, ending up as a Human Resources Manager in a vaping business! That is how much I believe in vaping as a safer alternative to smoking. Hearing people’s stories about how they stopped smoking truly makes my day. It is now my hobby, I use social media to listen to other vapers, see what they use, tips and advice.

Science has progressed and the devices I used initially to stop, compared to what I use now are completely different. But that is what I think is great, the freedom of the market to advance. No control by politicians. Labour tried to add vaping into the Welsh Health Bill to practically kill it, luckily it failed but only by the skin of their teeth.

Their pension is invested in tobacco, did you know? I will let you draw your own conclusions from that point. I just want to ensure other smokers can find a way out as and when they are ready. If smoking is banned in outside places as well as public places, where will the control end?

Let’s leave the door open…

Vote anyone except Labour!

Lee Ballot

Lee Woolls, Vapers in Power
Welsh Assembly Candidate for Cardiff West

These career politicians need a kick in the backsides but that in itself would be forgivable if they delivered on their promises.

Even if you’re not a vaper or a smoker, you will know someone that is. These elected idiots do not care what you think. They do not care about disruptive technology (e-cigs). They do not care about you.
The only time you will ever hear their sympathy is when they’re giving an opposing view, suddenly considered, against an elected party.


Mark Drakeford (Welsh Labour) has failed to help each and every one of us with his failing NHS, one of the worst in the UK. He has sought celebrity through introducing a public-use ban on vaping on the 10-year anniversary of the tobacco-ban. Has deliberately misrepresented facts or deliberately omitted the counter-facts regarding vaping, in order to further his career.


Prior to running for election, I tried to get a meeting with Mr Drakeford but have regularly been refused with statements such as ‘He’s too busy.’ or ‘ He has no comment.’


How can a person serve his public if he is NOT AVAILABLE to them?


We, in Vapers in Power, have only one goal. To force the parties to choose a side. Are you in favour of helping tobacco-users away from their early deaths without using public funds or are you only interested in smokers not paying their tobacco-taxes when they use prescription based Nicotine Replacement Therapies such as patches? Are your pension funds or shares, by-chance, invested in pharmaceutical companies?


Regardless, your disregard for this technology will be your undoing and the people will see you for what you are. The millions of peoples lives that are being prolonged and the cost that that imposes on our welfare state may be the problem for government, but this is a challenge that we should face and discuss together, openly.


This is not a decision that should be taken into secret discussion, nor away from voters, nor should it be a decision taken away from business owners that may see value in attracting vapers to their premises.


Vaping is the issue that I stand on. Freedom to choose is a broad spectrum of issues that we should all have the right to decide, outside of government.