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Tuesday
Jul262016

Campaign for vapers' rights 

Wow. Didn't see that coming.

The Freedom Association has launched a campaign, Freedom to Vape, that will make the "positive case for vaping" as well as promoting "vapers' rights".

Nothing wrong with that. Curiously however the explanation for this anti nanny state campaign could have come straight from the tobacco control handbook:

E-cigarettes have the potential to save millions of lives. Public Health England has urged employers to have separate vaping rooms to encourage staff to move away from smoking cigarettes, and along with the Royal College of Physicians, has said that they are 95% safer than smoking combustible tobacco.

There has been talk of the NHS prescribing e-cigarettes as one of their stop smoking aids. What is the point of banning people from using e-cigarettes, making them go out into the cold, and not only breathe in the cold air, but also the second hand smoke of other smokers? It makes them less likely to quit smoking. Encouraging pubs and restaurants to say that vapers are welcome in their establishment not only gives more freedom to vapers, it is better for public health and encourages more vapers to frequent those businesses.

According to a recent article in the Daily Mail, since e-cigarettes went on sale, they have reduced smoking-related deaths in the US by more than a fifth in those born after their introduction. Let’s encourage their use before either the bureaucrats regulate them into a slow death, or the nanny statists put them to the sword more quickly.

"Encourage their use"? What, by repeating the mantra that if smokers switch to vaping it will save "millions of lives"?

Or suggesting, on the basis of a single report based on "computer modelling", that e-cigarettes have already reduced smoking-related deaths in the US by a fifth?

Or implying that "second hand" smoke, even outside, is a risk to other people's health?

What other fallacies will they promote on behalf of "vapers' rights"?

I like Andrew Allison, the man behind the campaign, but I can't help feeling that The Freedom Association is jumping on the pro-vaping, anti-smoking bandwagon – and there's nothing libertarian about that.

If I'm wrong I'll hold my hands up. For now the jury is out.

PS. The campaign's Twitter account has tweeted this article, E-cigarettes are a critical tool in the war on smoking. Just saying.

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Reader Comments (14)

You're not wrong, Simon. It's just more of the 'Billion Lives' bullshit.

I've said it many times before; I support vapers and vaping, but if they continue to throw smokers under the bus in their evangelistic zeal to promote vaping, my attitude will change. I'm getting tired of refuting their wild claims.

Vaping is just another alternative to smoking. Get over it, guys. In the eyes of Tobacco Control, you are just as filthy and stinking and stupid as smokers, but for the time being you are being played like a fish on the end of a line because it suits TC to drive a wedge between smokers and vapers. When your usefulness is over, you can look forward to returning to the untermenschen class again. That's why you're not making any headway in the indoor smoking ban issue. They can't allow you too much leeway, otherwise it will be very difficult to put the genie back in the bottle.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at 20:46 | Unregistered Commenternisakiman

Their site is short and sweet and pretty uncontroversial. http://www.tfa.net/freedom-to-vape/

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at 22:22 | Unregistered CommenterDick Puddlecote

There’s a much longer one at: http://www.tfa.net/freedom-to-vape-before-the-nanny-state-takes-charge/ which does have quite a bit of anti-smoking rhetoric in it. As I read the first couple of paragraphs, I thought to myself “He sounds like an ex-smoker who’s taken up vaping.” And, lo and behold (and I swear I hadn’t seen this before I had that thought), then I read the words: “I am vaping as I write this article. I tried to quit smoking for many years and have finally stopped thanks to e-cigarettes.” Ooh, I must be psychic! Or maybe I’ve just read this kind of thing too many times elsewhere, e.g. on vapers’ forums.

So it seems that Allison has gone The Way Of All Vapers, which is essentially The Way Of All Ex-smokers, meekly into the anti-smoking camp. Apologies for those few of you who haven’t followed this path, but your numbers are small – exceedingly small – and your voices even smaller, unfortunately drowned out by your somewhat more evangelical co-vapers. I’m actually surprised that an organisation calling itself The Freedom Organisation allows him to write such an article supporting the views of a freedom-hating movement like the anti-smoking one. Perhaps they’re all smokers-turned-vapers, too, and so can’t see the irony ...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at 1:21 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

I wasn't going to comment on this, but after reading the last comment from Misty, I feel I have no option.

I have, on many occasions, as Simon knows, defended smokers' rights in the media. If the phone rang tonight asking me to do a radio or TV interview in the morning defending smokers' rights, I would. There is nothing in what I have written that has attacked smokers in any way and it certainly is not supporting the views of the freedom-hating movement. What I am trying to do with this campaign is to stop the prejudice and ignorance surrounding e-cigarettes from further influencing public policy.

I am pro smokers-rights, but accept that cigarettes are bad for you and are likely to kill you. I enjoy drinking alcohol and defend those like me against the bigots and killjoys who frown on it, but I'm not going to start saying that having a few pints at the boozer every night is good for your health. That's why I don't.

But, if you all want to read something into this new campaign that really isn't there, that's completely up to you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at 20:47 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Allison

My objection, Andrew, is that you have immediately fallen into the trap of using tobacco control arguments to defend vaping – in particular, implying that exposure to second hand (sic) smoke in the open air is somehow harmful to third parties when there is no evidence to support this argument.

Forest defends vaping and supports the concept of harm reduction. We also accept that there are serious health risks associated with smoking. What we don't do is recycle fallacious arguments in support of one cause or another.

Smokers and vapers should stick together in the name of choice. As I said in my post however your article could have come straight from a tobacco control manual, and given that The Freedom Association has never launched a "smokers' rights" campaign (and never will) you'll forgive me for being a little quizzical.

Thursday, July 28, 2016 at 10:10 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

Simon, Andrew never said, or implied, that SHS is harmful to anyone, you're seeing things he didn't say. If anything he is saying the polar opposite, that the smell of smoke is alluring and so might tempt vapers back to smoking.

Friday, July 29, 2016 at 0:56 | Unregistered CommenterDick Puddlecote

Dick, if that's what Andrew meant I'd like to hear it from the horse's mouth. He hasn't challenged my interpretation of his comment so until I hear otherwise I believe mine is the correct one. If it's not I'm very happy for him to put the record straight.

That said, the argument that "the smell of smoke is alluring and so might tempt vapers back to smoking" is pretty feeble too. It suggests ex-smokers must be protected from smokers. This in turn plays into the idea that smokers should be segregated and kept away from other people.

It also plays into the hands of those who would extend the smoking ban (prohibiting it outside pubs, for example) in order to further denormalise smoking and adults who smoke.

All in all, they are both pretty rubbish arguments.

PS. From a vaping standpoint it would be unwise to push the "smell of smoke is alluring" argument because I can see a day when the "alluring" smell of some e-cigarette vapour will be given as reason to ban their use around children and even adults.

As I wrote last year following my visit to VapeFest (which was an outdoor event), there were times when it felt like I was standing inside a sweet factory. Very alluring. I almost succumbed. Fortunately I'm made of sterner stuff.

Friday, July 29, 2016 at 7:43 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

Simon: I never said what you accused me of. That annoyed me, but if you repeat a false accusation often enough, everyone starts believing it. I don't see why you need to hear it from this particular horse's mouth before you believe it, but, for what it's worth, Dick is correct. But it was all in your head to start off with.

Friday, July 29, 2016 at 15:39 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Allison

Thanks, Andrew. I appreciate you clearing that up. Let's just agree that the following passage was at best ambiguous and open to (mis)interpretation:

"What is the point of banning people from using e-cigarettes, making them go out into the cold, and not only breathe in the cold air, but also the second hand smoke of other smokers?"

Credit to Dick for knowing what was in YOUR head – he must be psychic! – but I stand by my criticism of what Dick says you meant (and what you say you meant) for the reasons I explained in my previous comment.

In short, we must agree to disagree but I wish you well with your campaign. I'm sure we will have more healthy exchanges ...

Kind regards.

Friday, July 29, 2016 at 16:42 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

I am sick to death of people too weak to make or stick to their decision not to smoke blaming smokers for possibly leading them back to smoking. If vaping is so great then what's the problem?

If it takes just the alluring scent of cigarette smoke to tempt a vaper or ex smoker back to the fags then that is their problem.

The truth is vapers have to bash smoking and support the tripe on active and secondary smoking to gain favour. We smokers are fed up of it.

Dose makes poison so smoking is not necessarily bad for anyone. How much one smokes is the problem not smoking itself. When I am back from my holiday, have more time, and a better WiFi signal, perhaps you will allow me to write a post giving a greater explanation.

Friday, July 29, 2016 at 21:00 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

Be my guest, Pat. In the meantime, enjoy your holiday!

Friday, July 29, 2016 at 21:20 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

The idea that all ex-smokers live out the rest of their lives in some sort of "recovery" mode, wherein they are constantly tempted to "relapse" and fall off the proverbial wagon, is in itself an extension of the nonsensical tobacco control worldview. Specifically, it requires an acceptance of the "addiction" model, in which smokers are nothing but weak-willed, morally deficient drug junkies with little or no agency over their own behavior. Under this model (which has been prevalent in tobacco control for around 30 years now), no one smokes because they want to or because they enjoy it, and no smoker can take it or leave it whenever they like. As those of us know who inhabit a real world filled with actual people, everything about this model is spectacularly incorrect.

Saturday, July 30, 2016 at 16:52 | Unregistered CommenterNate

Smoking and 'Vaping' are the same, in that they are enjoyable pastimes that a significant minority of the population gain pleasure from and they both include the inhalation, and more importantly, the exhalation of a visible 'cloud of fumes'.

Having a campaign for the 'Freedom to Vape' is the equivalent of FOREST in my eyes and ANY differences between the two should be ironed out and a common ground and common voice should be employed.

We are fighting against those who use the 'visible exhalation of fumes' as a reason to marginalise all that do so and impose restrictions on our freedom to do so. Spurious epidemiological science is then used to demonise us all, restrict the use in public places, impose unjustified taxes etc. etc..

Big business, public health groups and the press all want restrictions (for various reasons), we do not. We should be fighting together for OUR Freedom to do what we choose to do.

Saturday, July 30, 2016 at 22:09 | Unregistered CommenterRussell VR Ord

Except cheers go up when vapers are accepted and welcomed inside while their smoker "friends" have to go out. If we fight together we stand outside together and fight for us both to sit at the same table enjoying each other's company inside.

Let's face it, vapers won't. If they get what they want they couldn't give a damn if smokers are stigmatised and marginalised. In fact, sadly, some welcome it as a means to brag about how much better, and how much more socially acceptable they are. The chance to fight together has long gone. We smokers have been thrown under the bus enough times by vapers.

Vapers have their fight and we have ours and they relish weakening our cause to strengthen their own. Tobacco control and vaping orgs are no different in my view.

Sunday, July 31, 2016 at 14:41 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

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