Bitter Row Erupts Over Heat Not Burn Article Appearing In Vapouround Magazine

I try to stay out of the vape drama that seems to swirl around the vape scene like a fog of fury these days.

OK maybe I’ll take a playful dig every now and then but as for taking sides I tend to just report on what’s going on.

Take the whole Vandy Vape and Voopoo Gene Chip story given that affects us all people needed to know what was going on.

But nothing has split the vaping community wider than Heat Not Burn products and in particular the iQOS from Phillip Morris Inc.

For the record this piece should be treated like a review these are my thoughts and this is an ‘opinion piece’ and my views not necessarily shared by anyone else at EcigClick.

OK like all good dramas there has to be a spark that fired up those involved and brought the protagonists together.

Those sharpening their tongues and keyboards at the moment are two of the most outspoken UK vape reviewers Vaping with Vic and Chris from Empire in one corner facing off advocacy legend Dave Dorn.

More on what Mr Dorn had to say later – trust me he wasn’t toasting he was roasting

In this case the combustion came from an article that appeared in Vapouround Magazine the largest industry [B2B] vaping magazine in the UK.

Given the main thrust of the article was Phillip Morris Inc’s decision to stop the manufacture of lit cigarettes it was vaping news and indeed I covered it in my piece Marlboro Men Announce They Are Quitting Smoking.

However I took a very different angle to the ‘story’ pointing out my cynicism towards the ‘announcement’ and called it a ruse to push their new HNB products which to all intents and purposes are cigarettes that you toast rather than light.

Given we know it’s the combustion of tobacco that releases the carcinogens AND the lack of independent scientific peer reviewed evidence proving HNB products are CONSIDERABLY safer – my gut told me [and still does] these were to be avoided like the plague.

Not only that I have made numerous comments suggesting there should be clear blue water between vape products and HNB – they are NOT and never will be e-cigarettes.

Big Tobacco Muddying the Vape Scene?

Unfortunately Big Tobacco has a proven track record for shall we say ‘sleight of hand’ in that as far as they’re concerned black is white and white is black – nothing is as it seems.

By moving into the vape scene with actual vaping products such as Blu and Vive they have already succeeded in muddying the waters of what is safe and what isn’t with HNB devices now sitting alongside e-cigs in the psyche of smokers – the public and probably most vapers.

By doing that as I said in the piece Big Tobacco Tells UK MPs Short Fills Are A Health Concern – Big Tobacco is now attempting to destroy vaping from the inside and judging from the first signs of a split in both the vaping and advocacy world – they are succeeding.

I read the original Vapouround Magazine article and to be honest didn’t think much about it.

vapouround hnb

Though as a former reporter I did think it erred more towards a ‘puff piece‘ or advertorial as we called it – but not obviously so – but still more news than copywriting – just about.

However this invoked the wrath of two of the more outspoken UK vape reviewers namely Vaping With Vic

And Chris from Empire.

Following these videos Vapouround Magazine issued an apology which included:

Vaping is our passion and we strive to let that passion come through in every page of our magazine, on our social media platforms and when we meet people at trade events right across the globe.

However we don’t always get things right and in the current issue of our magazine we got it wrong.

We carried a story in our news section which highlighted how tobacco giant Philip Morris had announced that they were ‘trying to give up smoking” in the UK and were spending billions of pounds on alternative products such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products.

This story was also carried by the international media and vaping publications both in the UK and abroad so it was clearly a subject which had found its way onto the international news agenda.

Our only intention in carrying this story was to inform our readers about an issue which would be of interest to them.

Never to endorse or champion this product, simply to give the facts.

For many it may not be welcome news but it is news none the less.Our error was in the way the article was displayed.

Many people felt that this was a paid advert and we can see how the layout and design of the article could have given this impression.We can also see how some of the content may of been misinterpreted.

This was not an advert.

No money was paid for this article and we are in no way endorsing or approving heated tobacco products. We apologise to the vaping community if they feel we have let them down or strayed away from our vaping brief.

To say I was surprised by this apology is an understatement.

I’m an old school reporter and for any publication to issue an apology let alone such a lengthy one as this is unusual to say the least.

My old editor used to say to me his philosophy was ‘Publish and Be Dammed’ – in other-words we don’t make the news – we report it.

I actually lost my career over such a stance BTW – the writing was on the wall that the newspaper business wasn’t what it was.

But as always I digress.

Vapouround Stokes The Fire

So apology given – promise of a retraction type piece and everyone’s happy.


This is vaping remember and drama seems to be occur as often as SMOK brings out a ‘different’ version of a sub ohm tank…

Half way through the latest Vapouround Magazine there’s an article titled: Heated Tobacco Products – Where Do You Stand?

hnb vapouround

I’m all for debate and the piece is actually very interesting and given this is a vaping trade magazine the call for ‘conversations’ to be had around the whole issue of HNB is important and certainly something I support.


Vapouround later on in the magazine under the title Setting the Record Straight accepts the layout of the article suggested it was an advertisement and reiterate it wasn’t.

No problems there you might think – indeed it’s actually refreshing to see until you get to the nitty gritty.

Without naming who they call ‘two Youtubers’ the magazine pretty much calls into question Vic and Chris’ integrity and honesty asking the question what ‘agenda’ they could have.

setting the record straight

There’s then a bit of a tirade on the language used in their videos – whether they have blocks for viewers under 18 and calling the whole thing ‘petty drama’ on their part to pretty much get more subscribers.

That I’m afraid is where Vapouround Magazine lose me.

There was NO need for them to target their critics with such a personal attack.

Vapouround Magazine should have risen above the criticism – issued an apology and left it at the call for a grown up debate on HNB with them and indeed the whole of the vaping industry.

But hey the old cynic in me knows that bad news and drama is good for both views and readership – so maybe a bit of a PR play going on here particularly from the Magazine?

However I think by resorting to ‘personal’ attacks Vapouround has let themselves down badly and dare I say acted quite spitefully and certainly childishly – like I said my opinion and not anyone else’s here at EcigClick – especially as the magazine ‘won’ in our annual vape awards 😉

What Do The Advocates Say?

Unless this ‘rift’ is sorted out soon both sides are playing into Big Tobacco’s hands which brings me nicely to the ‘counter arguments’.

As vaping advocacy groups go the largest is without doubt The New Nicotine Alliance.

However they are not all about vaping – the clue is in the charity’s name.

Whilst they are massive supporters of vaping their main aim to harm reduction particularly through what’s colloquially called ‘novel nicotine products’.

On the subject of PMI pulling out of tobacco production and into ‘safer alternatives’ the NNA said in the article NNA Gives Cautious Welcome to PMI Announcement…:

So if you must fight the tobacco industry, fight them with truth.

Make sure that their customers know that a safer alternative is available and where their customers go they will have to follow.

Hold them to account.

If they say they want their business to transition to safer products make sure they continue in that direction.

But be pragmatic.

This won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen at all if you continually block them simply because of who they are.

As I said in that article I understand where they’re coming from but if you lie with dogs you get fleas and the Big Tobacco track record on ‘fighting’ anything with honesty is muddy to say the least and despite what FergusM from the website Heat Not Burn says:

I’ll be blunt here: I’m fucking sick of certain vapers getting on their high horse about the tobacco industry.

None of us whinged and moralised about the tobacco industry when we smoked, did we? Oh no; we all loved the tobacco industry back then, because they sold us things we liked.

They’re still doing that, because millions of people like iQOS and Glo.

I take your point – after all this is a debate but again the language and the personal digs and jibes move the ‘conversation’ away from what’s important here – helping to stop people from smoking by known SAFER alternatives.

At the moment we only have PMI’s scientists ‘proof’ HNB products are safer and for me that says it all.

Speaking of personal digs onto Mr Dave Dorn who has my respect for the sheer amount of work he’s done as a vaping/nicotine advocate.

dave dorn
Dave Dorn

However in his article ‘Rethink Attitudes’  Mr Dorn starts off OK suggesting deadly illnesses brought on by smoking are the real enemy – but loses me with this statement:

…we now have high profile vapers actively campaigning against the likes of IQOS and Glo (PMI and BAT respectively). On what grounds? On the grounds that they’re made by (shock, horror) tobacco companies.

One word.


I have wasted eight years of my life.

Whilst IMHO he certainly hasn’t wasted the best part of a decade advocating safer alternatives he is resorting to insults in an attempt to shut down what should be a serious debate.

OK you could argue the initial reactions were a little over the top – but surely it’s better to educate rather than insult if that is/was indeed the case?

Just a thought.

A Sensible Grown Up Debate Is Needed

As vapers should we be propping up Big Tobacco HNB and actual vape products?

I don’t think we should – not given Big Tobacco is currently ploughing billions into developing countries getting more and more people addicted to what is in effect a death sentence.

But I’m not gonna throw my dummy out of the pram if someone stops smoking on say a Blu kit.

It irks but we are all here to help people quit safely right?

However I for one – until their is sufficient peer reviewed evidence to suggest otherwise – will not be a supporter of HNB.

I don’t care what anyone says – they are cigarettes.

Professor David Harrison, Chair of the UK Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COC)
Professor David Harrison, Chair of the UK Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COC)

OK I do care what the experts say and here’s what Professor David Harrison, Chair of the UK Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COC) told UK MPs recently about HNB products:

It is exactly the same chemicals that you would find in cigarette smoke—combustion.

Some of those chemicals do not require combustion to be available, such as nitrosamines.

The combustion is about the quantity of chemical released, and they shift the balance, but the chemicals are essentially the same as other chemicals you would expect from cigarette smoking, which have the potential to cause mutations and, ultimately, cancer.

I’d rather believe him than any advocates – magazine writers and a website pushing HNB products when it’s all said and done – until of course it’s proven otherwise.

So the opening salvos have begun but this is too dammed important an issue to fall into a childish name calling drama.

The whole HNB thing needs to be brought out into the open and the vape community needs to debate it sensibly with all the facts they can get their hands on.

I for one laid out my stance on HNB a while ago – and yes I have tried them – they made me cough and tasted of stale cigarettes – something I came into vaping to avoid.

I personally don’t think they should be allowed anywhere near vape shops or vape shows as IMHO they have more to do with smoking than vaping and as soon as the two can be clearly separated as such – the better it will be.

I have simpler vape tastes these days - I never leave home without a Caliburn G, a Vaporesso Luxe 40 or Innokin EQ FLTR and a CBD vape pen or bottle of CBD drops in my rucksack...or indeed an Aspire Nautilus Prime X in my pocket... At home I'll be using various mods topped with the GeekVape Zeus X RTA or the Signature Mods Mono SQ topped with the Augvape BTFC RDA... I'm a former journalist and now a writer and sometimes author... I'm ex Army - adore dogs and never happier than hiking over the hills or with a good book on a beach.


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