Open letter to Pembrokeshire County Council
You recently imposed a “voluntary ban” on smoking and vaping at Little Haven Beach. In your statement¹ Councillor George says: “It is vital to de-normalise smoking to reduce the rates of young people taking it up and also to reduce their exposure to smoke and e cigarette vapour in areas where they gather.” Your statement later quotes Dr Ruth Hussey too, the Chief Medical Officer for Wales: “The measures on tobacco and e-cigarettes in the Public Health (Wales) Bill look to prevent renormalisation of smoking behaviours.”
Are you aware that there is no evidence that e-cigarette vapour has any harmful effect on bystanders, whether inside or out? Also that there is no credible evidence that vaping normalises smoking: in fact the evidence points in the opposite direction. You may have seen the Public Health England expert independent review² which estimates vaping to be at least 95% safer than smoking and says ecigs have potential to help people to stop smoking. The authors regret that nearly half of the adult population don’t realise that ecigs are safer than tobacco cigarettes, a misconception which the Little Haven beach ban does nothing to dispel.
Your ban will not only stop people from vaping at the beach it will also deter them from taking up this life saving alternative.
The Public Health Bill which Dr Hussey refers to has been extremely controversial, because of the provisions which ban vaping in public places. Many experts believe that the Bill will be detrimental to public health. This BBC infographic³ depicts the controversy about the measures. The ban on vaping at Little Haven beach goes far beyond anything in the Bill.
We hope you’ve seen this tweet from ASH Wales Cymru – they do not support your ban:
There is no scientific justification for this and it will harm public health.
Our Welsh members have expressed concern that this will harm much needed tourism in the area. Many of our members also feel it’s disgraceful for smoking to be banned on a beach or open space; this measure is similarly without scientific backing.
This is taking the powers of the state (local government) too far.
We urge you to reconsider this ban.
20 thoughts on “Open letter to Pembrokeshire County Council”
Thank you SO much my sweet friends…. 😉
Federal Medical Cannabis Exemptee in Canada since 1994
Retired Law Enforcement Officer
Speaker for LEAP Since 2004
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
The PACE Radio Show on LifeStyle Radio
Speaker for LPP
Lawmen Protecting Patients
Canadian Patient Representative for the IACM
International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines
Alison Myrden is part of the marijuana majority. Are you?
NDP Candidate for Oakville, Ontario 2004
New Democratic Party of Canada
While we as a party do approve of freedom of choice, and while I personally think prohibition makes far more problems than it “solves”, we are talking about vaping meaning nicotine vapourisers, not cannabis ones. Good luck with your campaign.
I do hope you’re sending that to the council. CC it to one of ASH Wales’ two faces as well. 😉
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It has been sent to the council and passed to the beach officer, apparently. It hasn’t been sent to ASH Wales – good idea, we’ll do that….
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In addition, there is another, possibly farther reaching, consequence of applying vaping bans anywhere, especially as part of a blanket smoking policy – it greatly contributes to the message that vaping is a harmful activity, and reinforces the false message that ecigs are as, more, or nearly as, harmful as smoking – a myth Public Health England are keen to dispel.
Any regulations or “voluntary” bans that limit the situations in which people may use ecigs contribute to the public perception that they pose a risk to the user and the bystander, rather than as the public health breakthrough that they actually are. It results in lower uptake amongst smokers and bullying of vapers.
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A RESPONSE TO AN OPEN LETTER FROM VAPERS IN POWER TO PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL
This health and well-being initiative is seen as part of the holistic safeguarding of children and to help protect the well being of future generations.
The voluntary ban on smoking and nicotine inhaling devices (NIDs) at Little Haven beach in Pembrokeshire is not based on second hand smoke or vapour dangers as in the smoking in enclosed public places legislation but on helping children to see that smoking and the use of NIDs is not normal and not healthy.
This action is also trying to ensure children continue to grow up more and more in smoke-free environments.
Over 70 per cent of children believe tobacco smoking is the norm, when it is not. A classroom of children aged 11 to15 years start smoking everyday in Wales, an alarming statistic.
The use of NIDs to assist tobacco smokers reduce or quit tobacco is recognised as important, however there are many concerns that if this is not controlled the use of NIDs will be taken up by those that have never smoked, especially children.
No one is banning NIDs and they can be used by smokers where tobacco smoking is allowed – in this case just off the beach.
Surveys have shown that the majority of people welcome such an approach of a smoke-free beach. This is not surprising as the vast majority of the population (80 per cent) neither smoke or use NIDs. Pembrokeshire County Council has received messages of support for this initiative.
This entire thrust is about the holistic safeguarding of children. While there are many studies being regularly published regarding NIDs, no one can be quite sure what the long-term health effects will be, from either using them or indeed breathing in vapour from the devices in enclosed public places.
One report that has received considerable attention is the California’s State Health Officer’s Report on E- Cigarettes, subtitled A Community Health Threat.
California has been seen as a leading authority on tobacco control and now it is taking a lead on E- Cigarettes or NIDs. Other countries across the world have had very successful smoke free beach initiatives.
It is hoped that such initiatives, as the Little Haven smoke free beach, will become the norm.
Pembrokeshire County Council
PCC how can you say that “NIDs are not healthy and will be taken up by those that have never smoked, especially children”. It would seem to me that you have been looking at the misinformation that is readily spouted by people who have no idea what they are talking about.
No one respects California’s position on tobacco or ecigs. They rely on the sale of tobacco through tobacco bonds for funding  and risk going bust if their residents move to ecigs. “Cigarette shipments declined by an above average 6.45% in 2010, following a 9.2% decline in 2009. MSA receipts declined by 5.6% in 2011. The revenue reductions forced California to need debt reserves to meet full interest and minimum serial bond principal repayments for 2011.” 
More worrying is that you are looking at another country for guidance when you could look at experts closer to home such as ASH that was mentioned in the letter above – or you could look just across the bridge to Bristol, who really are leading the way in harm and smoking reduction. Bristol Council are even encouraging ecigs for use while you push people away from a nearly completely safe alternative to tobacco.
PCC …. “Over 70 per cent of children believe tobacco smoking is the norm, when it is not. A classroom of children aged 11 to15 years start smoking everyday in Wales, an alarming statistic.”
That, despite public place bans and no advertising, proves Tobacco Control doesn’t work and hasn’t worked for over a decade. Vapers are now taking the lead in reducing smoking prevalence. It is the solution, not the problem! Vaping is, at worst, 95% less harmful than smoking and more likely 99%+ less harmful and of no risk to bystanders. Vaping shows children that many smokers are choosing to no longer smoke by switching to the infinitely safer option …. I would have thought you’d feel that was as important as we do. Two recent studies have proven that when ecigs are harder to obtain, smoking goes up. Nicotine is also not the monster it’s been made out to be …. that myth helps sell patches and gums. It’s quite benign in the quantities we use and there are no concerns for safety or addiction when used outside of cigarette smoke.
The other responders are right and I would go further and say that just about everything that comes out of California is a lie. The reason: The smoking economy worldwide is worth a $trillion US dollars and many people and organisations benefit from it in terms of grants. Tobacco shares are amonst the best performers and many organisations, including councils and pensions are heavily invested. Added to this, in the USA, they have the Master Settlement Agreements which are paid by the tobacco companies, linked to cigarette sales and worth $billions. It’s an agreement that the states won’t sue the tobacco companies and will use the money for smoking education. Approximately 14% is used for this.
Some states, California being one of them, securitized their bonds for little money in return and now have huge interest rates hanging over them. Added to this, thanks to ecigs, smoking prevalence is falling and so are the payments, which makes matters even worst for them. I’m sure you can see why they are lying. So are the CDC and the major health charities over there. They need people to keep smoking.
A Briefing For Stop Smoking Services http://www.ncsct.co.uk/usr/pub/Electronic%20cigarettes.%20A%20briefing%20for%20stop%20smoking%20services.pdf
E-cigarettes Around 95% Less Harmful Than Tobacco
Association Of Youth E-cigarette Bans With Increased Smoking Confirmed
Study of VOCs on smokers’, vapers’ and non users’ exhaled breath
A selection of ecig-related quotes from medical experts, law experts, ethicists, regulatory experts, and community advocates.
Is Nicotine Addictive
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‘The use of NIDs to assist tobacco smokers reduce or quit tobacco is recognised as important, however there are many concerns that if this is not controlled the use of NIDs will be taken up by those that have never smoked, especially children’
The so called ‘gateway’ theory has never been demonstrated in any jurisdiction many links could be provided http://www.pharmacymagazine.co.uk/gateway-to-addiction
‘Surveys have shown that the majority of people welcome such an approach of a smoke-free beach’
Why didn’t you link this result,can we see the full details including the questions posed I am very dubious with the above vague statement.
In general, the other commentators have covered the salient points very comprehensively. Your approach is seemingly as a result of very biased one sided advice from tobacco control ‘experts’ who have an agenda that is not science based whatsoever – for more information I suggest you watch this https://vimeo.com/149002815 which features Professors Munafo and Bauld . A multitude of other links are available if you desire.
Finally I encourage you to read an exceptionally persuasive blog from Director of Public Health in Hertfordshire …Jim McManus
It would appear that children are more perceptive than you give them credit for. As plausible as your claim that you are thinking about the children appears to be, the truth is that you have set yourselves up as guardians of public morals.
As for how children perceive e cigarettes a study conducted in New Zealand by Dr Marewa Glover gives us a clear indication that even the youngest children very quickly realised that e cigarettes are not tobacco cigarettes and that they must be ‘a good thing’ as they are used by people who do not want to continue smoking.
It would also seem that a group of five / six year olds have more common sense than Pembrokeshire County Council.
There are two purposes for the use of the plea, ‘think about, or, what about the children.’ One is legitimate for use in reasoned debate – the other is not. It is legitimate to use the question to draw attention to the plight of children: It is not legitimate to use it to detract from logical argument and where it becomes an appeal to emotion. So when Anti-Smoking organisations and health bodies take up the cry, “Think about the children.” How exactly is it being used? Is it part of a reasoned debate on the topic of e cigarettes, or is it an appeal to emotion – a logical fallacy?
The history of the appeal goes back, back before the popularity of e cigarettes had been established, in fact, before the opponents of e cigarettes had even heard of them, and, ironically, to a time where they were wishing that they did exist. That is correct: The very same people who object to vaporisers now, when they were dreaming as if they were something out of science fiction, had once placed them at the top of their wish lists.[i]
Lovejoys Law… https://brainyfurball.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/lovejoys-law-2/
Beyond Smoking Kills …
If you look at the list of signatories you will see quite a number to whom Pembrokeshire subscribe…..
You should consider the damage vaping bans will do to the tourism industry. Pembroke isn’t exactly the Makarska Rivijera to begin with. It needs all the help it can get.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to our open letter. We hope have been able to read the other comments below your reply to us.
Erm, Pembrokeshire CC, why did you scour the world and choose the renowned cranks of California to cite for your ban when British authorities on the matter are almost unanimous that e-cig use should be encouraged? Agenda, perhaps?
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cause they’re the only ones who matched their point of view. anyone whos actually done any “proper” research know that California are as bent as a 9 bob note
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Pembrokeshire CC. Why look abroad when we have perfectly good experts researching the facts in our own country. Listen to Professor Linda Bauld from Stirling University, or Professor Robert West, Director of Tobacco Studies at the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, University College London.
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I find the Pembrokeshire CC response worrying and above all highly discriminatory. They state “Surveys have shown that the majority of people welcome such an approach of a smoke-free beach. This is not surprising as the vast majority of the population (80 per cent) neither smoke or use NIDs. Pembrokeshire County Council has received messages of support for this initiative.” However the vast majority of the population also aren’t gay but that is no reason to ask the public their views on allowing gays on the beach! Added to which the population surveys they allude to ask questions regarding smoking and not specifically vaping which legitimately and scientifically is not the same as smoking and more importantly poses no risk to bystanders. Children shouldn’t necessarily see drunk adults, but that doesn’t lead to banning alcohol on beaches? Pembrokeshire CC are simply being discriminatory without reason or any legitimacy and the zealous bigotry against vaping is simply borne out of fear. The fear that unless vaping is continually attacked that tobacco smoking – the real enemy – will disappear. Shame on them!
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So, PCCs ban is because they consider smokers and e-cigarette users abnormal and don’t wish children to see them, believing that just seeing someone doing something is is enough to induce that behaviour in others. You don’t think that premise has a few holes do you? Have you any idea how demeaning and insulting your declaration of abnormality is to the people concerned? A tyranny of the majority is still a tyranny and this is exactly what this outdoor ban is. A minority group who pose no health risks to anyone and who are doing something entirely legal are being branded as abnormal and are to be banished from sight. It is quite frankly outrageous. Your so called evidence is nothing of the sort, it’s junk produced by notorious fanatics from California. You have entirely ignored the evidence from the UK , probably because it does not in any way support your position.
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oh and the vapers can go in the smoking areas to use their devices? Do you hold AA meets in a pub? drug dependence meeting in a nightclub toilet?