John Dunne, Director of UKVIA, is an extremely busy man but has found the time for a chat with us about the organization’s work and the future of vaping in the UK and worldwide.
The UK Vaping Industry Association has now become the leading light advocating on behalf of the vape industry and vapers.
And not just here in the UK, but also globally – as you’ll see later John has just returned from a business trip to the heartland of all things vape – China.
UKVIA has a membership that covers the gamut of the vaping industry and includes both Big Tobacco and indeed Big Pharma companies.
I’ve said before that vaping advocacy can make for strange bedfellows, but to coin a phrase ‘keep your friends close but enemies closer…‘
That’s not to say the big multinational tobacco and pharmaceutical companies are vaping’s enemies per se – hopefully you can see what I mean – they are direct competitors!
Those industries of course offer all kinds of harm reduction devices, some very good and others not so.
I think rather than ignore them, it’s far better to bring them into the fold…and of course, with a watchful eye on them 😉
I’ve reported on UKVIA’s activities a few times over the years – and most recently its involvement in the excellent Vaping Matters campaign.
Vaping and Politics
John was at October’s UK Vaper Expo and after watching him taking part in the superb debate – I bumped into him as he walked the Expo floor handing UKVIA info packs out to every vendor he could find.
He kind of reminded me of a politician on a campaign – a man on a mission with an extremely vital message to give.
Vaping is bang front and centre in the political arena, both here and across the world, and it’s fantastic to see UKVIA getting to advocate directly to UK politicians.
OK, let’s find out more about John Dunne and the work of the UK Vaping Industry Association.
For those not in the know – could you tell us a little more about what the UKVIA is and the work it does.
The UKVIA is a forum for everyone who wants to support the vaping industry in the UK.
Our members are drawn from the entire supply chain; from manufacturers to retailers, from wholesalers to distributors.
We engage with parliamentarians to keep legislation proportionate, with the media to keep facts straight, and with the public to provide information.
If there is a conversation going on about UK vaping, then you can expect to see us there!
How did you get involved with the UKVIA and why?
The UKVIA is a real passion-project for me.
From humble beginnings we’ve grown to be the leading vaping association in the country and I could not be prouder of where we are today.
What’s the proudest moment for you so far as a vaping advocate?
For me, it has to be the 2019 UKVIA Forum in May.
Hundreds of industry leaders joined us for a day of discussion and debate, with panels made up of the pre-eminent thinkers in the sector.
It was a real endorsement of how seriously this great industry is now taken by academics, thought-leaders and healthcare professionals.
We look forward to being back, bigger and better, next year.
TPD2 is on the horizon – is the UK and EU safe from more red tape and anti-vape legislation?
So much of what is to come will depend on the relationship between the UK and the EU.
While the government has committed to reviewing the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations (TRPR), as outlined in its Tobacco Control Plan, it is certainly unclear as to what the time-frame for a legislative review will be.
In its Tobacco Control Plan the UK government committed to looking at opportunities to more sensibly regulate the vaping sector after Brexit.
We hope they stand by this commitment to help smokers quit and move to less harmful alternatives.
Is the UKVIA involved in the TPD2 debate? If so how?
The UKVIA hopes to see vaping legislation separated from that of combustible tobacco and we endeavour to inform legislators of the importance of this demarcation.
We feel strongly that industry must be consulted and involved in the design of a new regulatory framework to avoid policy mistakes that put smokers off switching to a less harmful alternative.
Given the current state of the vape in the USA and many other countries – what do you think the future for e-cigarettes and vaping is?
At the UKVIA we don’t just want to predict the future, we want to shape it.
That is why we are tireless in our efforts to spread the word of the vaping industry.
Of course, a significant part of that effort in the last year has revolved around the USA, but our industries are very different.
Thankfully, here in the UK we have strong safety standards to protect consumers.
I see nothing but a bright future for UK vaping!
How can people get involved and why should they advocate e-cigarettes?
Your first point of call should be UKVIA, where you can learn more about our members, discover our initiatives and keep up-to-date with all the latest news.
For us, advocacy is the organic reaction to seeing all the good that vaping has done.
Our members are passionate about harm-reduction; many have seen it in themselves or their loved ones.
When you have first-hand experience of the transformative potential of this industry, its natural to want to shout it from the rooftops.
How is UKVIA funded and how is the cash spent?
All our funds come from our members, the people working in this industry every single day.
This allows us to get behind the campaigns and initiatives which really matter to UK vapers.
We’re committed to being an association for the entire vaping sector, based on democracy and collaboration.
To that end, our full members all get equal voting rights.
When the UKVIA speaks, you can be sure it is the industry’s voice.
Do you vape and if so, can you remember your first device and what are you vaping on now?
Vaping was personally transformative for me, in that it finally gave me an effective way to end my smoking habit.
At the time I was using disposable devices, as they were the only thing readily available.
Since then I have used a range of devices and now use nicotine-free products, having reduced my intake over time.
A Massive Thanks To John and UKVIA For All the Work They’re Doing
On behalf of myself, Jonny and all the team here at EcigClick I’d like to thank John so very much for this interview.
He’s an incredibly busy man and is a bit of a jet-setter as you can see from the Tweet below!
Fantastic to see international partners leading the way in #vaping standards, as UKVIA today received a fascinating tour of new state-of-the-art product testing facility from China's E-cigarette Chamber of Commerce – one of the largest #vaping associations worldwide! ???? pic.twitter.com/S0e2F9qyR1
— UKVIA (@Vaping_Industry) December 17, 2019
John is representing the UK vaping industry not just here and in Europe – but across the world and we’re lucky to have such a passionate vape advocate on these shores.
2020 is going to be a massive year for the wider vaping industry, including here in the UK.
Guys like John from UKVIA and indeed Martin Cullip from the NNA, are the front line making sure vaping as we know it is left alone by meddling politicians.
As we’ve seen this year, vaping is always one step away from bans or extra unneeded legislation – you only have to look at the USA and India to realize that.
So, if you own a vape shop or are in the UK vaping industry, I suggest you sign up to UKVIA and get involved!
The UK vaping industry needs your support now more than ever.
Once again thanks John and a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and of course all the EcigClick visitors.