Something Stinks Down South And Not Just The Overflowing Ashtrays
The ‘Health Police’ raiding vape shops in Malaysia – Australian vapers threatened with jail sentences -Thailand locking up tourists caught vaping and India looking to ban e-cigarettes countrywide…
And of course as of today it is illegal to vape in Singapore – this of course includes tourists…
It’s pretty much a health war down there and pretty much like something straight out of a dystopian novel – Orwell’s 1984 anyone?
So what the hell is going on in the southern hemisphere and in particular Asia?
And why is vaping now pretty much a crime in those countries?
There doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer to that question so you can only surmise – and no this is not a post from me written whilst wearing my tin foil hat!
I’ve been watching the developments in Asia and Australia for some time and the three main culprits for the state of the vape down there appears to be Big Tobacco – the World Health Organization [WHO] and of course ignorant Governments.
I say ignorant and I’m kind of using that correctly – according to the Oxford English dictionary ‘ignorant’ means:
Lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about a particular thing.
Obviously the ‘particular thing’ here is vaping – and the lack of knowledge – information and awareness on the healthier option offered by e-cigarettes compared to smoking shows just how ignorant those Governments are.
I mean it’s not as if information about the benefits of vaping isn’t out there!
Is It All About The Money?
So these governments are either being willfully ignorant – lazy or there’s something else.
And what could that something else be?
It has to be money surely?
I mean come on – given all the new and peer reviewed scientific based evidence out there proving vaping is up to 95% safer than smoking – what else could it be?
In my recent article and interview I mentioned the biggest killers over the centuries has been governments – so forgive me if I don’t link the banning and criminalizing of e-cigarettes to a Government literally sentencing its smokers to long lingering deaths.
And given the amount of smokers in the west is slowly but surely falling to an all-time low – then Asia and the southern hemisphere are fertile sales areas for Big Tobacco.
According to EuroMonitor International the global tobacco market is worth in excess of $683billion per year.
So with the west largely turning its back on smoking that leaves Asia in particular as the main market for Big Tobacco with the home of all things vape China showing the largest growth in smokers with around 270million and growing.
Put into context some figures suggest the Asia Pacific region is home to a whopping 60% of the world’s smokers.
China is the world’s largest cigarette manufacturer and between 2006 and 2011 saw a staggering ten times growth in volume with no sign of it slowing!
And yes in many parts of China and in some provinces vaping is banned – even in the slightly more relaxed Hong Kong – though our Jonny was blissfully unaware of this when he visited recently!
There’s pretty much no limits on tobacco advertising or warning labels in many countries outside the west – indeed to coin a phrase it really is a bit like the Wild West where when it comes to tobacco anything goes.
Simply put there’s money to be made in the proven market of tobacco in all areas from manufacture – sales to yes even so called anti-smoking health organizations.
The World Health Organization Are Anti E-cigarettes
So whilst all this Big Tobacco free-for-all is going on where is the supposed guardian of the world’s health WHO?
To be honest they lost touch with reality decades ago – and proved they hadn’t changed when they tried to appoint despot dictator Robert Mugabe as a ‘Goodwill Ambassador!’
I know I couldn’t believe that either lol – the good news was the uproar that decision caused actually made the normally incalcitrant WHO reconsider.
As to their stance on e-cigarettes and vaping WHO has been vehemently anti-vape since day one and last year they announced there:
…wasn’t enough evidence to suggest e-cigarettes help people quit smoking.
They’ve also famously decided that ‘passive vaping’ is a thing and called for it to be banned in ‘public spaces and places’ even though the very latest evidence shows passive vaping is a myth.
It will be interesting to see if those positions change any time soon – but somehow I doubt it.
So why are WHO pulling the strings particularly in Asian countries including fast developing ones such as India?
It’s simple – and yes once again it involves Big Tobacco and money.
WHO is behind the global Framework Convention on Tobacco Control [FCTC] and to date 180 governments have signed up to or ‘ratified’ the agreement.
And as you might expect there’s huge sums of money involved.
On paper it sounds great with the bold aim to:
…protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.
However these un-elected health mandarins can’t get it out of their thick skulls that E-CIGARETTES DO NOT CONTAIN TOBACCO!
Tobacco Control – A Switch and Bait Scam?
The last meeting of the Conference of the Parties [COP] that oversees the management of the Framework was held in November 2016 in India…
India has a huge number of smokers and shows upwards of a staggering 900,000 deaths per year from tobacco related illnesses.
And yes they are slowly but surely bringing in a country wide ban order of e-cigarettes and vaping whilst I guess turning a blind eye to the real lit tobacco epidemic going on under their noses.
I’ve been to India a few times and trust me smoking is prevalent – cheap to say the least and dare I say even classed as ‘cool’.
So forgive me if I’m being thick here but with those sort of figures why on earth aren’t more Governments backing e-cigarettes as a viable healthier option rather than demonizing them?
In my humble opinion it’s down to the WHO’s constant screaming to increase the tax on lit tobacco products.
It’s a clever switch and bait operation if you think about it.
WHO tells Governments signed up to the FCTC to increase tax – the Government’s coffers are filled – WHO gets a cut and BIG Tobacco knowing full well they’ve got smokers hooked lower their prices or offer crazy cut price deals.
It’s a win win win – literally for those three and as I’ve said before ‘sod the smokers’ diseases and deaths.
Hopefully you’ll see the craziness of this situation and not just because you wont be able to puff on your vape pen in Phuket – blow clouds in Bombay or suck on your SMOK in Sydney now and in the near future.
One more time…
Vaping isn’t smoking and neither does it contain tobacco!
And breathe and step down from my soapbox lol.
It’s A War On Vaping Down There
OK just to show the sheer madness some of these governments are adopting towards vaping let’s take a quick look at the latest craziness from down south.
‘Health Police’ Raid Malaysian Vape Shops
Late last week in a countrywide coordinated set of ‘raids’ Police and officials from the country’s Pharmaceutical Services hit vape shops confiscating e-liquids and recording names of vaping distributors.
The raids were reported live on Twitter by and official from the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organizations – INNCO – Judy Gibson after she got wind of the police action from MOVE – the Malaysian Organization Of Vape Entity – the country’s largest advocacy group.
This is something out of a dystopian nightmare for goodness sake and yes I know Malaysia is a Muslim country where smoking among other things is classed as bad or ‘haram’ but latest figures show 50% of the male population smokes!
Another Government for reasons best known to itself literally turning a blind eye to the virtues of vaping and instead criminalizing it – crazy doesn’t cover it.
More Tourists Arrested In Thailand For Vaping
Two elderly Israeli vapers were arrested latest week and their crime was vaping in the country.
They were fined the equivalent of over £800 around $1200 – is that crazy enough for you???
This led to the Israeli Foreign Ministry to issue an urgent travel alert:
Enjoy your Thailand holiday, but please leave the electronic cigarettes at home. They’re illegal here,” the article reads. “Anyone found breaking this law by using an electronic cigarette – or vaping – in Thailand could be arrested and face jail time, or a fine several times the value of the illegal item(s). This applies both to foreigners and Thais. There have been recent incidents of foreign travelers who were unaware of the ban facing an on-the-spot fine or being arrested.
Incidentally Israel appears to have accepted e-cigs and vaping.
Taiwan To Ban E-Cigarettes
As I reported in the article Asia Thai’d Up In Knots Over Vaping and Big Tobacco the Taiwanese Government is literally condemning its 5 million smokers [over a quarter of the population] to long lingering lit tobacco caused deaths by considering a vape ban.
Singapore To Ban Vaping
As I reported in the weekly Vaping News Singapore is all set to ban and criminalize vaping.
‘Offenders’ will face stiff punishment with heavy fines and even jail sentences for so called ‘repeat offenders’.
India Continues The Vape Ban
I’ve written a few times on the current battle over vaping in India – it’s a country dear to my heart.
You can read the interview I did with The Association of Vapers India to get some idea of what’s going on down there.
However slowly but surely more and more states have moved to ban e-cigarettes with 8 of them operating a ban:
Punjab- Maharashtra – Keral – Karnataka – Mizoram – Jammu & Kashmir – Uttar Pradesh and the latest being Bihar.
India is home to 12% of the world’s smokers – yes the world’s smokers let that sink in!
The country reports that over 900,000 people die each year from lit tobacco related products – yet STILL continue to ban a life saving alternative.
I could go on but I think you’ve got the message now.
New Zealand The Shining Beacon Of Sense Around Vaping
Something stinks in Asia and the southern hemisphere and it’s not just all those plumes of tobacco smoke or the stench from overflowing ashtrays.
It’s idiotic governments and their knee-jerk reactions criminalizing and banning vaping whilst kowtowing to monolithic organizations like WHO and literally pandering to Big Tobacco as they fill their coffers with tobacco taxes.
And yes that includes Australia who you might think given their ‘adventurous spirit’ as a nation might have a bit more common sense.
But as we saw in the interview with the superb Legalise Vaping in Australia advocacy group – that particular government are as ignorant as the rest of them.
You have to pinch yourself when it hits you that you can be jailed for vaping on nicotine based e-liquid in Australia – craziness personified!
Which brings me to the shining example of HOW to allow e-cigarettes to be sold in that part of the world.
I am of course talking about New Zealand that after carefully sifting through all the evidence around the benefits of vaping as a harm reduction tool – realized their mistake and promptly and with the minimum of fuss allowed vaping to become legal.
Here’s what the New Zealand Government has to say:
The Ministry of Health has established a Technical Expert Advisory Group on Electronic Cigarette Product Safety to support the introduction of an electronic regulatory scheme.
This group will provide advice on the technical aspects of the development of the regulatory scheme, such as appropriate minimum quality and safety standards in the New Zealand context.
These standards include manufacturing, ingredients, labeling and packaging.
Now why the hell can’t the rest of the southern hemisphere take such a sensible approach?
If you have a clue then please leave a comment below.
Until then double and triple check the vape laws in whatever country you’re heading to this year – especially long haul – but remember as it stands now the laws are fluid to say the least.
If in any doubt contact you Foreign Office or equivalent for up to date information.
And as always we’ll keep you informed of any updates to the current situation.