Vaper-friendly conference restricts and even prohibits vaping to appease "non-vaping delegates"
Sunday, May 8, 2016 at 14:14
Simon Clark

I like a challenge so I'm tempted to accept Dick Puddlecote's suggestion that I attend the Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw next month.

Read his full post here.

As things stand it's probably the only opportunity I'll have to see A Billion Lives before it goes to DVD (see previous post).

Anyway I've just been on the GFN website and my eye was immediately drawn - I don't know why - to the vaping policy.

I must have a sixth sense for the absurd because this is what I found:

GFN is a vaper friendly conference, actively encouraging participation by consumers and advocates. For various reasons this year we have had to introduce a vaping policy, which we hope will accommodate everyone's needs. The main reasons for this are:

- that some non-vaping delegates last year felt that they were 'trapped' with the vapour, which they found unpleasant and distracting, particularly in the plenary and parallel sessions where there are a lot of people packed into a relatively small space;

- that the Polish government are pushing for indoor usage restrictions - there may be regulators present and we would like them to leave with a positive view of vaping and vapers, and indeed of the conference;

- that since last year the majority of experienced vapers have switched to high powered devices and sub-ohming, which is fine for vape meets but not so good in the conference venue where it tends to create a rather disconcerting fog bank for those who are not used to it.

So who were the "non-vaping delegates" who felt "trapped" by "unpleasant and distracting" vapour?

I'm guessing it was some of those "pro-vaping" public health campaigners. You know, the ones vapers are so keen to join forces with.

Well, they're so "pro-vaping" vaping is now banned in all "plenary and parallel sessions". Furthermore:

You are free to vape in the networking and public areas, but please be discreet and considerate.

Use low powered devices as it helps to keep the amount of vapour created to a minimum.

If you want to blow clouds there will be a terrace available on the same floor as the conference takes place, or please go outside the venue.

In other words, if you must vape please try very very hard not to draw attention to it, ask before you vape near "non-vaping delegates" (they might not like it), and if you insist on using a high powered device – sorry, that's now prohibited indoors but, don't worry, you can use it outside with the smokers.

Some might argue (with some justification) that the organisers are merely using their common sense. But I can't help thinking this is yet another example of how public health campaigners are dictating the agenda on e-cigarettes.

It's clear the hotel hasn't got a policy on vaping otherwise the organisers would have said so and used that as an excuse. Instead, and in order to placate those "non-smoking delegates", the organisers have imposed their own vaping ban.

The hope is that by prohibiting the use of even low powered devices during formal sessions – while driving the use of high powered devices outside – it will give regulators a "positive view of vaping and vapers".

It may work. The problem is they are effectively conceding that in order to achieve that goal vaping has to be banned or severely restricted in enclosed public spaces, while the use of "high-powered" devices must be policed in exactly the same way as smoking.

How on earth are vapers going to argue that vaping should be allowed in pubs and other indoor public places when a conference organised and attended by advocates of e-cigarettes voluntarily imposes its own prohibitive policies because of the "rather disconcerting fog bank for those who are not used to it"?

I'm sure the organisers are doing their best to be socially responsible but by imposing this policy on delegates the implication is that vapers cannot be trusted to be discreet and considerate without a formal "policy".

Meanwhile what happens if someone chooses to ignore the policy? I can think of several delegates who will view it as a challenge but perhaps the fear of being exposed by "some non-vaping delegates" will force them to comply.

Either way it should be interesting.

Article originally appeared on Simon Clark (
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