Category Archives: Wales

Vapers in Power are enraged by the updated “position statement” from Public Health Wales.

The latest statement on the use of vaping products by Public Health Wales is a grotesque bundle of idealistic wishes which remove the personal freedoms of vapers and those smokers who look to switch from smoking.

The entire document is riddled with ancient arguments revolving around “might”, “could” (and not forgetting “children”) and shows that PHW have failed to keep up-to-date with the continually published research.

We believe that PHW  are now attempting to tighten the screw in a way that the previous Welsh Government Public Health Bill would be proud of. This is unacceptable!

We cannot share any stance that PHW offers in regards to e-liquid flavouring bans. There are many tens of thousands of vapers in Wales who use a multitude of flavours to maintain a harm reduced lifestyle. Restricting “confectionery” type flavours will remove a significant choice of products that can work for smokers to switch and keep vapers vaping. This will put a massive halt on Welsh tobacco harm reduction.

Not only do Welsh vapers have to cope with the monstrosity of the Tobacco Products Directive with regards to product availability, lack of awareness-raising of a harm reduction product and reduced nicotine level but if PHW get their way, vapers and smokers will once more be shut out.

PHW want to see voluntary indoor bans (they call it “restrictions”) just like the previous Welsh Assembly Government Public Health Bill and specific outdoor bans on vaping. This is utterly preposterous! The evidence is clear that the harm of vapour from any vaping product is vastly reduced in comparison to smoking and risk of harm to bystanders is negligible.

PHW shoot themselves in the foot in this statement. They contacted one of our advocate members and said “Organisationally we are now advocating a 100% switch to e-cigarettes for committed smokers and recognising the role they could have for those on a quit journey” and this is backed up by references to the Cochrane review and the RCP report. However, the remainder of the statement is full of WHO smelling anti-vaping rubbish, the statement may as well have not bothered trying to strike balance.

Advertisements

Dick Puddlecote joins ViP at Vapefest

Vapers in Power had a blast at Vapefest and really enjoyed meeting everyone who made it to our marquee, before it blew away!  As with Vapefest 2015 the ViP tent hosted speakers and we were delighted that Dick Puddlecote could make it this year too.  For those who missed his epic talk, here are his notes- and it’s almost as entertaining to read as it was to watch. 

CpMtCo7WAAALaB3

Dick Puddlecote at Vapefest 2016 (Taken by Richard Hyslop)

Last year I came here and spoke on way to a family holiday. Stayed for a couple of hours then went and did interesting things like eating tons of chocolate at Cadbury World and nearly castrating myself jumping in a harness off a high wire adventure course.

I thought I’d do a review of the year since then (or more accurately, I suppose, a review of what I have written about in vaping this year), so to start with, what did others do for their holiday last summer?

SEPTEMBER

14141938_757892344348846_6003963613967462618_n

Chapman vaper-spotting:
“My wife and I spent many hours every day walking around Paris (six days), Lyon (two), the Corsican towns of Bonifacio, Ajaccio and Calvi (eight days), Nice (one), Barcelona (two) and Madrid (four). We agreed to compete in spotting the highest number of people vaping, with the incentive for the daily winner being to pick where we’d eat that night. We also looked out for shops selling e-cigarettes. All sightings had to be called as they occurred, not just a winning number announced at the end of the day.
Over the 23 days, we saw just 20 people vaping: 15 in Paris, one in Lyon, one in Calvi, one in Barcelona and two in Madrid. By contrast, we saw many people smoking almost everywhere we looked at any time of day. Far too many to count. At a guess, the ratio would have been at very least many hundreds of smokers to one vaper.”
Boy doesn’t he relax like a boss! Bet his wife had a fantastic time.
Erm, aren’t anecdotes meant to be useless Simon, you decrepit piece of fossilised dinosaur crap?

McKee/Capewell wrote to the Lancet about the positive PHE report on e-cigs. Apparently it was fatally flawed because in one of the 185 studies they reviewed, a couple of ‘experts’ had once been paid for research by BAT in around 1946 or something. Riccardo Polosa was particularly criticised for IIRC having dared to do work for pharma companies. Erm … words fail. But more on that later.

OCTOBER

A quiet month. But Matt Ridley wrote to the Times to slam the TPD. Hazel Cheeseminge of ASH replied haughtily that …
“EU regulations will provide a safe framework through which electronic cigarettes can be sold, giving their users confidence in these products. This is likely to save many thousands of lives.”
Well only if they can find out about them love, considering many forms of advertising has been banned, thousands of flavours will disappear as a result, and the most useful strength for smokers wishing to switch is illegal.

NOVEMBER

14141767_757892907682123_2589095677086447335_n
Report of the Health Committee in Wales on the Public Health Bill was published.
Debate centred on the proposals on vaping in workplaces that are also homes. Especially Article 8 of Human Rights Act on right to private and family home life. The committee was of the opinion that they were entitled to ignore Art 8 for passive smoking (based on nonsense junk science) but not for vaping cos it’s not dangerous. However that … “need to protect against the risk of re-normalisation, the gateway effect and enforcement difficulties”
Because some guy vaping in his front room watching WWE will renormalize smoking, magically make kids run to the shop for a pack of Marlboro and cause a headache for enforcement officials cos he has his curtains drawn, THE BASTARD! (scenario)

On my blog I wrote about A Billion Lives. I criticised Biebert’s stupid use of the umpteen thousand kids die of passive smoke bollocks, but defended the use of other PH propaganda as a great tool to embarrass them. Smokers were absolutely livid! How dare I suggest that smoking might be risky … as I have always done? By contrast, vapers were incredibly supportive … I was only called ‘disgusting’, ‘slime’, and a ‘worm’ for daring to say anything negative about the film.
In short, smokers attacked vapers, vapers attacked smokers, it crawled all over the internet … and when it all calmed down, everyone thought I was a wanker.

 

MPs were given a new vaping area outside Westminster … and promptly completely ignored it.

DECEMBER

To the surprise of no-one, an EU court threw out TW’s objection to Article 20. The reasoning given was that they didn’t have the first clue what the devices are and why they are being regulated. Or something.

article-20-girl1
Said that it was reasonable to regulate to stop the gateway theory, yet nothing in TPD would counteract that. May as well have said we think the TPD is fine because it helps old ladies cross the road.

JANUARY

Big month for DP. After just under a year, finally got FOI answered properly on McKee/Davies emails.
This revealed that he lied in the BMJ about writing the Lancet criticism, it was shown he referred “with interest” to something he had anonymously written with fellow gobshite Capewell. And was trying hard to undermine his own profession by pillow talk with Silly Sally.
I published a few articles and he went quiet for a while. Must have worried a lot cos when he came back he was a shadow of the man he once was, his weight had plummeted to only around 20 stone!
The FOI also highlighted McKee complaining that …

“Blogs and tweets having a field day, photoshopping my face onto all sorts of things”

Yes, that’s what Twitter tends to do with an oozy lather of obesity who thinks howling at the moon is science, Martin.

FEBRUARY

EU rumoured to tax e-cigs, but that was OK because the UK govt had a veto! You know, the UK govt who loves the EU so much … except for one thing, the UK was one of 3 nations to suggest the idea!

NCSCT released guidance on e-cigs. It led to an epidemic of ‘public health’ bedwetting!

  1. Store safely
  2. Be positive … just imagine that!
  3. Don’t be alarmed about recreation!
  4. Dual use is not a bad thing … heresy!
  5. And worst of all, TALK TO VAPERS, they’re the experts!

Just imagine that! Actually listen to vapers? Calls to the Samaritans from middle-aged women in stop smoking services must have seen a spike at the very thought!

NCSCT

MARCH

Very busy month.
A small beach in Wales called Little Haven was subject to the first ever outdoor vaping ban not on NHS (as in, our) property. Faggot-lipped fuckwits at ASH Wales declared that they “fully welcomed” it. They later replied to tweets saying they tried to convince the council that it was a bad idea, but their logo is still on a no vaping sign there. In order to defend a beach visited by one man and his three-legged dog with just an ice cream trolley and a shop selling £1 nets and inflatables in the shape of a duck.

31FE6C1000000578-3483439-image-a-61_1457505426874
In other news, Drakeford hilariously lost his Public Health Bill by one vote then proceeded to blame everyone else. (Side note, but have you noticed how many “health” officials who hate vaping are fat fucks?). No, Mark, the reason you lost is because you stunningly clung onto a ridiculous ban on vaping, if you want to blame anyone look in your mirror (which presumably takes up an entire wall so he can see himself in full).

Jack Le Beau wrote a steaming pile of shit I’m not allowed to talk about and I cheered something Clive Bates said which led to just about everyone calling me a wanker … again.

APRIL

As the football season ended, a guy was banned from Leicester’s celebrations for vaping. Rightfully vapers went mad and there is an event in Sept to discuss the issue at Leicester’s ground. I’d urge anyone who is free to go along. http://www.kachange.eu/activities/dialogues 

April also saw the Royal College of Physicians report launch and what I call the “Big Scream” followed! From Dublin to Sydney via Manchester, every pretend health professional who despises e-cigs whined like fucking babies that science was trumping their deeply-held bigotry … err, sorry, beliefs!

It was by far the highlight of the year for me.

On RCP “Big Scream” I wrote: “Who knew that such a benign activity as vaping could flush out so many vile anti-social and intolerant arseholes in one fell swoop”

In other news, huge anti-vaper Simon Chapman was appointed to review Australia’s policies on e-cigs, talk about the fox guarding the hen house, and Aberdeen council proposed a ban on vaping in car parks. When asked for comment, ASH Scotland avoided comment and said “ooh is that the time, I think we have an appointment, erm, somewhere else!”

MAY

This month I wrote about the extraordinary lobbying undertaken by ASH. This was cos I was passed a FOI from Guido Fawkes with ASH emails to DoH. I STILL HAVEN’T FINISHED READING IT!

There was also the IEA debate following the TPD being officially implemented. Ian Green spoke about effect on the free market it introduced as an owner of a vape shop, Ian Barber of the advertising association spoke about effect on the free market it introduced to advertising, Lorien Jollye spoke about effect on the free market it introduced to consumers, Fraser Cropper spoke about effect on the free market it introduced to independent businesses, Mark Pawsey MP turned up late and said … look at me, isn’t Brexit shit?

maxresdefault
Callanan’s motion! A great initiative, brilliantly supported by vapers, most espesh ViP whose work ensured that all 800+ Lords received at least 3 letters from the public! (applause). If politicians didn’t know of the vaping vote before that, they certainly did after.

JUNE

BREXIT! Vapers arguably won it! Vote Leave campaign manager Matthew Elliott used it as a campaigning tool, his deputy Matt Sinclair tweeted about it and Leave.EU used article 20 as an example of EU overreach and intransigence. Meant to be free market. The Freedom Association is now here at Vapefest talking about Freedom to Vape as a campaign on its own. This is progress.

Capture

ASH Wales, who fully welcomed the beach ban in March, also absolutely loved a red button at Hywel Dda (Thanks to Rhydian for pronouncing it) which allows hideous cheesedicks to press it and “anonymously harangue smokers for doing so outdoors”. We now learn it cost £9000 thanks to Rhydian’s FOI.

Callanan came back for a last hurrah at his motion which was relegated to one of regret instead of fatal. He took the opportunity to rip into those who have been shockingly apathetic or worse about e-cigs.
On Soubry: “Cringe-making performance”
On Silly sally “Incompetence would be funny if not so serious”
On MHRA “Signally failed” the public and politicians should be “extremely cautious about listening to its lobbying”
Followed criticism of DoH earlier in the year “to its deep shame [DoH] tried to block e-cigs”
My second best moment of the year.

JULY

Royal Society of Medicine debate: I attended this which was about all types of drugs but included e-cigs. Quite stunning Q from a medical type in the post-panel Q&A.
“Could you elaborate on the benefits of drugs?”
I kid you not. Erm, how about that for millions of years humans have enjoyed getting shitfaced on them. From the first time Neanderthal man ate a berry which gave him a buzz our kind have enjoyed mood-altering substances. Any ‘public health’ type who still doesn’t get this and insists on abstinence over harm reduction is more backward than cavemen themselves.

13732003_736235996514481_4099340200479205004_o
PHE guidance on vaping in work and public was released. Instantly taken by media as being “vapers should be given more breaks”. All coverage relied on the false assumption that e-cigs are already banned or should be. Stronger message please PHE, it’s like a fucking whisper at the moment.

AUGUST

Full circle to August.

Most absurd proposal of the last 12 months. Smoking and Vaping banned on public streets! Outside a hospital. With cars, vans, buses, and two – count ‘em – TWO huge packed car parks in the same road. The public think this is a great idea! Which just goes to show how incredibly stupid PH has guided the public to be.

So what can we expect or hope to expect in the coming year? Well, the Pleasure Principle is something vapers already know about from the NNA, but also “Pleasure Economy” which was my fave phrase of the year. It was a term mentioned by European drug harm expert Axel Klein at the RSM event in July. The market for e-cigs and associated supplies is predicted to top £1bn this year. We are now a force not just as vapers but also as a market. Prohibition failed, prohibition by regulation failed, it is now not just a movement but an entire business category on its own. That carries clout and should be impossible to stop.

I once said the same about vapers. That the more there are the harder it is to silence. There are now over 1,600 vape shops in this country, 2.8m vapers and growing. It can’t be stopped so next 12 months we should seek to point that out.

Vapers mean business, vapers mean that you can earn money (public and private), vapers mean votes (Brexit proves that) and you’d better get used to it cos they’re part of the economy.

peoples_administration_direct_democracy_people_power-14B371F32D34983D8CA

You can read Dick’s blogposts at http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.co.uk/  and follow him on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/Dick_Puddlecote

 

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.

13094168_10153484724621669_7259769808268265637_n
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.

13054931_10153484099741669_88505152_o.jpg
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.
13043213_10154801643344942_4501128879035924878_n
“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 – “FREE PRIZE DRAW!”

v0x7o61pg5ogm19ekxci

 

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!

 

[​IMG]
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.

g5fvyls5z5bho8lrpono

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:

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

Open Letter to all members of the Welsh Assembly HSCC

This is an open letter sent to all members of the Welsh Assembly Health and Social Care Committee. This letter was sent electronically on Tuesday 26th January 2016.

Dear HSCC Members

I am writing as the Welsh Campaign Manager for Vapers in Power, a registered political party established to provide a voice for e-cigarette users. I call upon you to do the right thing for the health of Welsh citizens by supporting any amendments to the Public Health (Wales) Bill which require that e-cigarettes are entirely removed from the Bill.

You may have seen reports[1] of the Minister’s intention to propose amendments to ban use of e-cigarettes in places “where potential risk to children is greatest”.

prick

Now that the Minister’s amendments have been tabled it is apparent that the list of places where e-cigs are banned would not form part of the main bill  but would be subject to separate regulation. It is my understanding that this will make it much easier to change in the future.  I  am very concerned that whilst this removes the major barrier to getting the bill passed it will allow the democratic process to be circumvented and enable tighter restrictions to be arbitrarily applied at a later date.

You will be aware of Kirsty Williams’ amendments (supported by Darren Millar) to effectively remove electronic cigarettes from the Bill altogether. I strongly urge you to support these amendments because:

  • These proposals have been fraught with controversy from the outset and have had little public support; as evidenced by two recent newspaper polls Wales Online[2] (79% oppose) and the Daily Post[3] (79% oppose).
  • There are now an estimated 242,000[4] vapers in Wales whose lives could be adversely affected by this bill. For a proportion of them (and their family and friends) this will be a key issue in the May elections.
  • The Minister’s proposals would have dire economic consequences. Wales entered the e-cig market at its inception. The industry has provided employment in manufacturing and marketing:  Jobs that should not be jeopardised by intervention based on a “gateway” theory that has no credible evidence to support it and much evidence suggesting it doesn’t exist[5].   Jobs in the e-cig industry are well-founded on a sustainable and expanding (at the moment) base and not dependant upon the vagaries of foreign or incoming firms. They have also cost nothing in subsidies from the Welsh Assembly. Many S.M.E.s will be forced to close if smokers return to tobacco use, which would be the logical outcome of the proposed bans.

 

E-cig vapour has been shown time and again to have no demonstrable effect on others and minimal (if any) harmful effect on the user[7]. Banning the use of these devices in indoor (and potentially some outside) spaces would damage public health. The potential unintended consequences include:

  • Sending out the erroneous message that using electronic cigarettes is as harmful as smoking and thus deterring cigarettes smokers from switching.
  • Putting those that have stopped smoking at risk by forcing them to occupy the same spaces as smokers. It is an appalling law that proposes to send someone addicted to a combination of chemicals which they are trying to quit out to stand with the users of the thing they are trying to quit from.
  • Deterring cigarette smokers from taking up vaping (many people start vaping because it’s permitted in more areas than smoking).

Could this bill jeopardise the most popular method of quitting smoking?

Trends in ecigarette use in England Dec 2015_v2

This graph is taken from the Smoking in England ‘latest trends’ published
on 11th January 2016 and clearly shows the popularity of electronic
cigarettes against other quit methods.

I note that discussions with stakeholders have excluded the key group from the process:  vapers. I urge every AM prior to voting at the next plenary stage to meet with some of their vaping constituents. I  also (in the interests of good governance and transparency) call for a meeting to be organised by HSCC at the Senedd with vapers to redress this anomaly.  Vapers in Power would be happy to facilitate this.

Wales took a great deal of pride in being the first of the Home Nations to ban smoking in public places and received the plaudits for doing so. Surely you do not wish for Wales to be seen as taking retrograde steps in harm reduction by not supporting the safer alternative to smoking?

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you further, you can contact me by using the following email rhydian@vapersinpower.co.uk or leave a message on my phone [phone number omitted for privacy reasons]

Yours sincerely,

Rhydian Mann

Welsh Campaign Manager

Vapers In Power

 

[1] http://www.itv.com/news/wales/2015-12-08/mark-drakeford-says-hes-going-to-amend-the-public-health-bill-to-define-areas-where-e-cigarettes-should-be-banned/

[2] http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/news-opinion/great-vape-debate-should-e-10711554#comments-section

[3] http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/nigel-farage-slates-welsh-government-10721151

[4] http://100thousand.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/E-Opinion-Poll-Results.pdf (page 11, Table 4)

[5] http://gov.wales/docs/statistics/2015/151007-welsh-health-survey-assessing-impact-change-physical-activity-questions-introduction-questions-e-cigarette-use-2015-en.pdf

[6] http://www.ecita.org.uk/ecita-blog/assessing-potential-impact-unintended-consequences-vaping-ban-wales

[7] http://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-14-18

[8] http://www.smokinginengland.info/downloadfile/?type=sts-documents&src=25 (slide 14)

 

I am the knight who says “N.I.D!”

Since my guest blog about the proposed bill which contained the proposals to ban vaping in pretty much every enclosed public space in November, the Heath & Social Care Committee have been busy, as well as the Welsh Assembly as a whole.

Some of you followers of Vapers in Power may have seen the video summary of recent events in Welsh vaping politics on VapourTrails TV. If you have yet to see it, please watch it HERE!

Since that video was shared, a further twist to the tale has come to light. On January 19th 2016, the Health Minister, Mark Drakeford AM, has his amendments published on the Welsh Assembly website. You can see the entire 44 page document HERE, if you dare. Is there anything strange that you notice? No prizes for those who figure it out.

One opinion of the Health Minister
One opinion of the Health Minister

Yes that’s it. The entire 44 page document is dedicated to the control of vaping, or as the Health Minister calls them “Nicotine Inhaling Devices (NIDs)”. This clearly suggest that he is on a one-man crusade to eradicate smoking and nicotine use in Wales. This is no way to go about it. When there is an avenue for nicotine use for those addicted, in a much safer form, banning its use is no way to improve public health.

After the Stage 1 vote, the Health Minister posted these tweets himself.

prick
From the horses mouth…via Twitter (Dec 7th 2015)

Well, yet again the “Think of the children” avenue of pushing legislation through is being used. However, you may begin to think that he’s dropped the workplaces part of the original draft. Even at point of writing, a few of us are still struggling to find anything explicit relating to workplaces. You must remember that workplaces and public places cross over with vape shops. This is still a concern that there is no exemption for vape shops under “NID-free” premises.

Speaking of “NID-free” premises, there is  a massive addition to the PH Bill describing different types specifically in his Amendment 221. He is also looking to extend the most recent smoking related legislation on smoking in private vehicles with children under 18, by wanting to include vaping in Amendments 156 and 157. You can obviously realise the lack of thought which has been applied. Currently, the police have enough issues enforcing the current smoking in cars legislation by confusing vaping, which is exempt, with smoking. If this sneaky way of banning vaping in cars with children, Welsh vapers can be lumped with many fines. THAT IS GROSSLY UNFAIR!!

To carry on logically and in amendment sequence, in terms negativity that is. As I mentioned above, Amendment 221 is a big list of “NID-free” premises comprising of 4 Parts which cover; premises providing childcare, schools and public transport.

Amendment 221 by Mark Drakeford (19/1/2016)
Amendment 221 by Mark Drakeford (19/1/2016)

Above is a particular highlight. This section of Amendment 221 essentially overrides the current status quo regarding bars and restaurants. Now, the landlord of the establishment serving food can make their own policies regarding vaping. A well-known example is a site wide ban in Wetherspoons locations across the UK which occurred in early June 2013. This section, if included and approved by the entire Welsh Assembly, will put a blanket ban on vaping in pubs. This will also include beer gardens, despite being outside, when food is served. This is one of the most extreme examples of Wales becoming a nanny-state and Mark Drakeford being the Babysitter-in-Chief!

Babysitting, a particularly smooth segue into another ridiculous section of what Mark Drakeford wants to see in regards to vaping around children. See the excerpt below.

Amendment 221 - Mark Drakeford (19/1/2016)
Amendment 221 – Mark Drakeford (19/1/2016)

If you are a person, who has a child at home and vapes, you as a parent are perfectly permitted to vape around your child. However, if you invite a babysitter whom you pay into your own home, your home becomes vaping or “NID-free” as soon as said babysitter enters your home. Talk about invasion of personal property! Conversely, if a babysitter is a duel user, as in vapes and smokes, the babysitter will not be permitted to vape under the ideology of Mark Drakeford. If said babysitter, needs a nicotine fix, the only option available is to go outside and smoke. This means there could be a moment when the child is unsupervised. This is a severe lack of application of logic and tobacco harm reduction.

With all this doom and gloom, there is a pseudo silver lining. This teeny glimpse of hope comes in Amendment 155. This amendment suggests that a landlord, shop owner and possible owner of a workplace can designate any room or area in the premises where vaping is permitted, as in “not being NID-free” BUT there is a requirement to specify the conditions met before it can be described as exempt, records to be kept and detail when the exemption no longer applies. This can be the most important positive part of the schedule for vape shops. If a Welsh vape shop can use this clause and apply it to the ENTIRE SHOP, the you can completely carry on your taste testing and device demonstrations as you currently do. This is something vaping advocates asked for from the start as a compromise to reduce the impact on the vaping industry. Yes, its not an out right, black and white, in text but it is something to bear in mind. Not only can this apply to vape shops but also pubs. Well, regarding pubs, it could revert the pubs etc. to a picture from the past of separate areas in the venue. However, some pub landlords and customers do miss the “good old days” of a packed venue with smokers and non-smokers or in this case vapers in the venue.

Well, well, there as some saving graces amongst tightening of the screws of liberties to create policies and freedom to vape. The ground must be tread carefully indeed. The best amendments were initially made by Kirsty Williams and Darren Millar on December 9th 2015. On the other hand, Darren Millar has again put in an amendment of his own on January 20th 2016  which essentially is jargon heavy but relies on proposing a resolution to unravel all inclusions of “Nicotine Inhaling Devices” in Amendment 226.

So from an overall advocacy point of view, there is much to think about when it comes to shaping the Public Health (Wales) Bill at the end of Stage 2 of the HSCC process. You have clearly seen for yourselves that there is nannying, ideology and tripe from the Health Minister but teasers that he may actually have a heart [of sorts] that wants vapers to keep vaping.

Never take what is in this blog at face value. The HSCC will be discussing all the amendments and voting on them on January 28th and February 3rd 2016. The amendments regarding NIDs is highly likely to occur in the first session as NIDs appear in the start of the Bill. The method of voting is too complicated to write about but an email received from the HSCC Clerk can summarize it. One interesting point is what happens in the event of a tied vote. IN A TIED VOTE, THE CHAIR MUST VOTE AGAINST THE AMENDMENT!! 

This can severely scupper the efforts of vapers and pro-vaping politicians such as Kirsty and Darren. If the HSCC have a tied vote on their amendment to remove NIDs from the Bill, such as Labour Against 50% v Others In Favour 50%, then the amendment will not be agreed and wont have any affect on the Bill in anyway. This is a very scary thought! After this, it’s put before the whole Welsh Assembly to vote on AGAIN! The earliest day for the Plenary vote is Tuesday 1st March 2016. The confirmed date will be published HERE.

So if you find particular amendments insulting, over the top or actually quite positive from the Health Minister [not that you would] or from other HSCC members, please contact your local AM’s, ALL 5 OF THEM, with your views and which way they should vote on the PH Bill. You can do this via  Write to Vape-Wales which we have created.

We will endeavour to keep on the pulse with all goings-on in Wales. If you want a picture of what a blanket ban on vaping in enclosed public spaces can be like, check out our most recent guest blog from Minnesota by Alex Carlson.

Rhydian Mann

Welsh Campaign Manager

Vapers in Power

Proud to be Welsh? Are you sure?

The most recent announcement from Vapers in Power “Write to Vape – Wales”  has caused me to question how proud I am of being Welsh. Pretty surprising that really, isn’t it! 😛

Ever since I started vaping and being involved in advocacy for vaping I felt really proud that Wales hosts many vaping related businesses. Particularly the area in which I live, Swansea. Swansea is a bit of a hot bed vaping wise with lots of vapers in social media etc. But my feelings have changed.

The change in the level of pride took a massive battering thanks to Mark Drakeford AM, the Health Minister. Ever since he announced that the act of vaping will be restricted in the same way as smoking (as you should all be aware by now) I felt less proud. Less proud for having a country governed by politicians who ignored: the public, the scientific experts and the advocates. The “health”  minister has single handedly made me change my outlook of the future of the country where I live.

Wales has always been governed by Welsh Labour.  Ever since devolution in 1999 Labour has either governed on their own, as now, or in coalition. I think that 2016 can have a positive outcome.  2016 is the year of the Welsh Assembly elections. (I’m sure I have mentioned that before in one way or another!)   This is the single opportunity for those who have lost faith in the Welsh Government, to become proud once more.

“How can that be done?” I thought to myself. Firstly, you have to make use of the vote you have. It is very important. ViP have already shared posts about registering to vote for next year, I don’t need to do it again. Sadly there is a massive wrench in the system. This wrench is that the WG want to push through the Public Health (Wales) Bill before the election.

Currently, the Health & Social Care Committee are scrutinising the PH Bill and have just finished Stage 1. The HSCC report is due to be published and I for one will go through it with a fine-tooth comb.

HSCC Eng

As you see above, the report is going to be debated by the whole Assembly on Tues 8th Dec. That doesn’t give much time at all! Welsh vapers and advocates are under a lot of pressure to get all opposing parties on side. Well the opposing parties are pretty much on our side but there is always a need to get that confirmation. So the daunting task  now is to change the minds of any Welsh Labour AMs. Welsh Labour are 50% of the Assembly so any Welsh Labour AMs that jump ship will work in our favour.  Please visit our Write to Vape page for help with writing to elected representatives.

ViP are a voice for vapers but your voice needs to be directed by yourselves to the AMs for your constituency. You must tell them your feelings regarding vaping and why the PH Bill for you is completely unhelpful.

A recent poll has estimated that there are 242,000 vapers in Wales. So 242,000 voices can not be ignored. Those 242,000 can come together and overthrow the current government by voting for vaping in the elections next year.

242,000 vapers in Wales, acting together to prove that Mark Drakeford was wrong about vaping. You know what that would make me feel? That would certainly make me feel proud.

Go on, make yourself feel proud to be a Welsh vaper!

By Rhydian Mann

PS  Vapers in Power are looking for pro vaping candidates to stand in the elections next year, email info@vapersinpower.co.uk or tweet @vapers if you can help  (especially if you live in the Cardiff West constituency!)