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You're welcome

I was scheduled to talk to BBC Radio Oxford this morning about e-cigarettes.

In particular they wanted me to discuss the question, "Should vaping be allowed in bars and restaurants?"

Naturally I was going to say yes but after I flagged it on Twitter one vaper who follows me replied:

"Thanks Simon but we shouldn't have to depend on forest. Can't the BBC find vaping advocates?"

I dare say they could although in my experience the vaping community has still to get its act together, media wise, and spokesmen are frequently unavailable ("I'm on a train" is a lament I've heard several times) or avoidably unobtainable ("Please leave a message ..." etc).

Also, what does he mean by "vaping advocates"? The tobacco control industry is full of them - ASH, Public Health England, Cancer Research, and so on.

Many of these bodies have spent years stigmatising smokers and exaggerating the risks of smoking ('passive' smoking in particular).

Is that what vapers want to hear - a lecture about smoking followed by the grudging admission that e-cigarettes are a useful smoking cessation tool that can help eradicate people's addiction to smoking en route to giving up nicotine completely?

Someone also needs to point out that proprietors should have the right to devise their own policies on vaping (as indeed they should on smoking) but can you imagine any of those bodies doing that? I can't.

Their entire mission is to dictate what people can and can't do in so-called 'public' places, regardless of the wishes of the proprietor, staff or regular customers.

Actually I'm not sure any of these "vaping advocates" support the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed 'public' places.

The Royal Society of Public Health, which advocates a ban on smoking outside pubs in order to force smokers to switch to e-cigarettes, clearly want nicotine 'addicts' outside, vaping instead of smoking. Outdoor vaping bans will come later.

Meanwhile I've heard other vaping advocates (ex-smokers usually) argue that it would be criminal to force vapers outside with the smokers where they would be exposed to 'secondhand' smoke, not to mention the alluring smell of tobacco.

With friends like that etc.

So if it's a choice between that type of vaping advocate and a group that believes in choice per se I will do everything I can to make sure that Forest is the voice of future generations of consumers, regardless of whether they smoke or vape.

In fact, when it comes to defending vaping in 'public' places - including pubs, clubs, beaches, parks and other spaces, indoors and out - I don't think anyone has Forest's track record, and we have the cuttings, broadcasts and parliamentary submissions to prove it.

It's also worth pointing out that Forest is a perfectly legitimate commentator on vapers' rights because an increasing number of our supporters smoke and vape.

Or, to put it another way, Forest is the voice of the dual user.

We're also the only consumer body that has consistently fought for choice on tobacco and emerging products such as e-cigarettes.

That, I think, gives us a certain credibility.

You're welcome.

PS. My BBC Radio Oxford interview has been postponed until tomorrow.

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Reader Comments (12)

As a smoker, I believe forest is our vaper cousins ' best voice and one that won't bash, abuse, ridicule or patronise smokers to promote e cigs, while fairly stating the case about both choice and harm reduction.

Monday, September 12, 2016 at 12:10 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

Good luck on your interview tomorrow Simon. Thanks for all that you do!

Monday, September 12, 2016 at 16:18 | Unregistered Commenterjredheadgirl

Too bad some (certainly not all) vapers still feel the need to throw smokers under the bus too justify their choice. As Simon rightfully noted there are few advocates for vapers -- and sadly few for smokers -- that counter the tobacco control propaganda. Remember the tobacco control assault on smoking is based largely on exaggerations and outright lies calculated it achieve prohibition and the desire end state.

Monday, September 12, 2016 at 19:02 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

"With friends like that etc"


Well said Simon!


Monday, September 12, 2016 at 21:23 | Unregistered CommenterMichael J. McFadden

I don’t know why you go on putting yourself out for vapers, Simon, other than to underscore your general feelings on freedom of choice etc in places like this blog and other articles on the Forest website etc. They never seem to be particularly pleased to have the support of anyone else apart from their own little circle of vaping chums. I’m clearly not as generous-spirited as you, because my response to the BBC would be precisely the same as the vaper’s one to you, i.e. can’t they find a vaper to speak for – err – vapers? There are lots out there who I am sure would be pleased to step up to the plate, including lots of bloggers and loads of vaping forums which are presumably run by someone. What about the New Nicotine Alliance? Aren’t they a vapers’ group?

But perhaps most pertinent is the fact that the BBC asked you to do it at all, thus illustrating with glaring clarity that in their minds, despite the vehement protestations of vapers, that smoking and vaping are the same thing. Which at least gives you a bit of forewarning about the stance that they will be operating from during the interview ...

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 2:04 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

"Meanwhile I've heard other vaping advocates (ex-smokers usually) argue that it would be criminal to force vapers outside with the smokers where they would be exposed to 'secondhand' smoke, not to mention the alluring smell of tobacco."

This is a point I made in my little speech at the GFN. What better way to expose the hypocrisy of TC than stating that apparently everyone has the right to a smoke free environment except those who (according to their own addiction theory) need it the most: those who are freshly quitting the habit and switch to vaping. Whenever they feel a craving for tobacco they have to go stand next to a smoker exposing themselves to that lovely penetrating smell that intensifies those cravings. Actively boycotting smokers who want to switch is exactly what the "responsible" (and I made air-quotes) side of PH is doing.

"The Royal Society of Public Health, which advocates a ban on smoking outside pubs..." This is exactly because they are aware of this travesty above. That special place outside pubs next to the garbage bin reserved for smokers has now to be cleared of smokers to make room for the vapers being banned inside. They are so entangled in their web of lies and perversion that a total prohibition on smoking is goin to be the result of indoor vaping bans. The destiny of smokers and vapers are inevitably linked. We should stop ranting at each other and join forces to fight this together.

With friends like that indeed. (check the video of my little speech at the GFN - oops, they seem to have lost the footage of that one, and I do not even wonder why)

Pro-vaping PH is being very pushy to keep vaping a one-issue thing (health) so vaping activists would join them in their endgame. But rest assure I, like many others who have been silent up till now, will not choose that side where we have to shoot ourselves in the foot.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 3:38 | Unregistered CommenterLuc Van Daele

Hi Luc, I read good things about your speech and I subsequently looked for the video online. Strange, as you say, that it's not available. Do you have a written copy or was it a PowerPoint presentation? Do get in touch ( Best wishes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 6:51 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

Simon, it was a PPP (they can hardly lose that one, I have a copy).

I ended the GFN stating that a global forum on nicotine without the major stakeholder being welcome to state his opinion as well is a bit of joke. So may I suggest Forest submits an abstract to speak at GNF2017 on behalf of that major stakeholder. Whether they accept or not, it will expose them and/or their endgame.

I always argue that if you want to punish smokers, they are indeed getting in the way in the process of inventing new ways to harm them. On the other end if you want to help them who else is better placed to answer the question "how can we help?" than the smokers themselves.

THR without interaction with the people you're dealing with is fake and make belief (submissions open end of the month). But we all know what the answer to that all imported question is going to be, answered by smokers or answered by vapers it is the same: "if you just could leave us alone, that would already be of great help". PH can not accept that this is the answer of the vast majority of people (smokers, non-smokers, vapers, non-vapers ...).

Only a small minority needs Nurse Ratched to take care of them and generalized laws are a burden to many and of (little) help to very few. "in case of doubt that you will do more harm then good, do nothing" very little PH-figures are capable to live up the Hippocratic oath.

Good luck with your interview.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 12:22 | Unregistered CommenterLuc Van Daele

Misty, better Simon speaks for vapers than the NNA who do not recognise that smokers also consume nicotine. The group is also extremely patronising to smokers and would not hesitate to screw us over to win favour for vaping.

I think Simon does well. He is honest, fair, equal in support for both vapers and smokers, he also has vast media experience. Instead of complaining, vapers should thank him.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 12:44 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

Thanks, Luc. I too find it bizarre that - to the best of my knowledge - no effort has ever been made to include a smokers' representative body on the GNF programme but they have been happy to accommodate all manner of tobacco control activists including prohibitionists such as ASH. Anyway, I'll come back to this subject when I have a moment. I appreciate the fact that you made the effort to speak out.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 20:10 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

I'm afraid there's nothing like the zeal of the convert, Simon. Just ignore these people. Most vapers suffered from the smoking ban for at least 5 years and aren't likely to forget it. I certainly won't.

Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 12:27 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Bagley

BAN ALL VAPING!! The smell of tobacco is tolerable, but not the stink of strawberry-burnt-plug/vanilla dogshit that these people use. And enough candyfloss stinking smoke to cover the whole street. If you want to smoke get cigarettes or please disappear!

Friday, September 16, 2016 at 17:37 | Unregistered CommenterGarshin

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