You're welcome
Monday, September 12, 2016 at 11:00
Simon Clark

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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