The State of the Vaping Nation – MPs Recommend E-Cigs Should Be Part of UKs Stop Smoking Campaigns Permanently
In a quite remarkable report MPs from the UK have called for a relaxing of advertising on e-cigarettes and for health bodies to promote vaping all year round and not just for Stoptober.
Politicians from the All Party Parliamentary Group on E-cigarettes released the report – The State of the Vaping Nation – ahead of today’s parliamentary debate on e-cigs [full article on that debate soon].
It calls for the UK Government to continue to promote the ‘health benefits‘ – their words! – of vaping given the success of the annual Stoptober stop smoking campaign which used e-cigarettes front and centre for the first time.
Vape companies have reported record sales on vaping starter kits throughout October with JAC Vapour reporting a massive jump of 65% of sales year on year and Vaporized the UK’s larger retail chain seeing a 40% rise and the opening of more vape shops bringing their store portfolio to 106.
JAC Vapour CEO Neil McCallum was upbeat both by the company’s sales figures and indeed the proposal by MPs adding:
JAC Vapour is delighted with the impact Stoptober has had on our sales performance. We are supportive of the IBVTA’s tremendous work in this area, and having the ability to state the benefits for harm reduction to smokers during Stoptober.
Combined with the release of two brand new, UK designed top-fill starter kits; the SERIES-S17 TF kit with its sleek design and the SERIES-S22 Kit with its all-day battery life, has led us to this great result.
We would welcome the extension of a Government backed all year-round campaign, and believe that the ability to communicate effectively the benefits of these UK designed products would assist more people in starting that journey with this technology.
The full numbers of smokers switching or trying vaping as a smoking cessation tool aren’t in yet – but based on these and other indicators it would appear Stoptober has been a real shot in the arm to the UK vaping industry.
In a press release the APPG said it was important health bodies and the UK Government didn’t miss an opportunity to help more people quit smoking via vaping:
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on E-Cigarettes has called upon the government and public health bodies to sustain and capitalize on the level of public engagement with vaping seen during Stoptober by launching a continuous programme to keep promoting and accurately communicating the positive public health evidence for vaping.
I had to rub my eyes when I read that in case I was seeing things – that’s quite remarkable to say the least and it get better!
The Public’s Perception Of Vaping Needs Work!
Chairman of the APPG on E-Cigarettes – Mark Pawsey MP said it was time the ‘mixed message’ around vaping was addressed and he was alarmed at the public’s perception that vaping was worse for your health than smoking adding:
The positive public health message regarding vaping has up to now been failing to get across to the UK’s remaining 7.6 million smokers. The Public Health England campaign was a welcome change and has had an obvious effect, but it needs to be sustained, not just a one off.
That’s why today we are calling upon the government to ensure such campaigns become the norm, not an exception, so that the UK can fully exploit the public health potential of vaping. Without these campaigns the current mixed messages surrounding vaping will continue and create a confusing picture.
A point echoed by Doug Mutter a board member of the UK Vaping Industry Association [UKIA] who was forthright in his condemnation of the current packaging rules around e-cigarettes and e-liquids adding:
…when our own esteemed health bodies already recognize vaping as being at least 95% less harmful than smoking, why are we preventing people from making the switch by banning most advertising? Why does the industry have more strict packaging guidelines than bleach?
The report also highlights a worrying trend in the public perception of vaping as an alternative to smoking, with only 20% of people correctly identifying that vaping is “a lot less harmful” than smoking, compared to 31% in 2015.
In addition, the number of adults who believe that vaping products are “as harmful”, or “more harmful” than smoking has nearly quadrupled from 2013 to 2017 from 7% to 26%.
Dirty Tricks and the EU!
The facts do indeed show that a constant barrage of bad publicity from a biased media has led to many people – wrongly – believing that vaping is just as bad or worse for your health than smoking.
The number of UK vapers has slowed somewhat under the weight of nonsensical media hype – scare stories and bad science resulting in just a 4% rise in vapers in 2016 – 2017 compared to 86% in 2013, 62% in 2014, and 24% in 2015.
It really is NO coincidence the numbers have dropped as the media swarms on the slightest ‘bad news story‘ around e-cigarettes and blows it out of proportion.
This is something I tackle every single day either here writing articles or from those apparently know it all wise old sages that read the Daily Star – Sun or Daily Fail and think they have the full picture whilst puffing on their roll-ups.
I’ve said it on here very many times the media has blood on its hands for the dreadful fake news they keep spouting – but as the numbers show the public STILL reads a headline and believes it.
OK rant over lol – but honestly it’s hard work out there trying to argue against indoctrinated tabloid readers and me being an ex hack it’s even more infuriating lol.
Pro vaper Professor Peter Hajek – who among other jobs is the Director of Tobacco Dependence Research Unit – called the current media anti-vape campaign ‘dirty tricks’ saying the way these anti-vape media headlines are made are complex however he lists some examples:
The misinformation is based on several standard and repeated ‘tricks’. Some are elaborate and cannot be explained in a few sentences, but most are simple:
- Any presence of chemicals is interpreted as posing a danger even if the levels are negligible with no possible impact on human health.
- Results achieved with exposing cells and animals to large concentrations of potential toxins are presented as if this was relevant to human vaping, while comparisons to cigarette smoke, which is invariably much more toxic under the same conditions, are avoided.
- One-off trials of e-cigarettes by youths are presented as ‘regular use’; and the fact that the same types of adolescents try both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes is presented as proof that vaping leads to smoking.
He didn’t hold back on the EU either labeling them ‘hostile to vaping’ and calling for pro-vaping advertisement with the real facts to be added to the media:
This type of ‘dirty campaigning’ has heavily influenced European regulators. The new EU Tobacco Products directive is hostile to vaping and regulates e-cigarettes much more strictly than conventional cigarettes.
Even more alarmingly, the assertions on risks are also putting smokers off the switch to vaping.
There is an urgent need to counteract the current wave of misinformation. One possible approach could be an authoritative information campaign, including adverts in tabloids that are most often read by smokers, and that are most active in misinforming them.
Fears The TPD Prevents People From Quitting Smoking!
The State of the Vaping Nation report has been welcomed by the superb Leicester Stop Smoking Service – extremely pro-vaping and the first SSS to incorporate e-cigarettes into their smoking cessation campaigns.
Service manager Louise Ross was also worried about the UK public’s perception of vaping and indeed many parts of the TPD adding:
We are concerned that aspects of the Tobacco Products Directive work against helping people to stop smoking, by making life for vapers more difficult…and by preventing positive messages being shared among those who have been frightened off vaping by a hostile propaganda war.
The State of the Vaping Nation Recommendations
The report also makes a number of recommendations including an URGENT review of the TPD / TRPR and calls for a ‘collaborative approach‘ to setting any new vaping policies:
- The Government and public health bodies should immediately start a continuous programme to accurately communicate the positive public health message of vaping to the remaining seven million
smokers in the UK.
- An urgent review by the Government of vaping regulation as per its commitment in the Tobacco Control Plan, particularly the disproportionate elements of Article 20 of the European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) that effectively puts vaping in the same bracket as smoking;
- That the Government adopts a wider collaborative approach to policy creation in this area which involves all stakeholders including regulators, the scientific community, public health and the vaping industry;
- That Trading Standards ensures that current vaping regulations, particularly relating to product standards within the TPD, are consistently and vigorously enforced as the vaping industry has invested £6m in conforming to them;
- That the Government reviews and considers steps taken by the devolved authorities in Scotland and Wales to develop the enforcement powers of regulators.
You can read the State of the Vaping Nation HERE and it includes comments from a variety of extremely knowledgeable pro-vapers.