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Why I'm tempted to attend the 2017 E-Cigarette Summit

Dick Puddlecote has posted a damning indictment of the E-Cigarette Summit on his blog.

Echoing many of my own views about this annual event, Dick highlights the lack of consumer involvement and concludes:

Basically, the whole day will be a load of people who mostly don't vape or smoke talking about what to do to people who do. In other words, yet another public health conference, and all the more pointless for it. Still, it'll suit tobacco controllers not to have to field any awkward questions, and further prove that this sphere of policy is now controlled, dictated and owned by 'public health'.

From a promising beginning in 2013 (which I wrote about here), the E-Cigarette Summit has become yet another forum that allows public health campaigners to dictate the terms of the debate.

Two years ago, spotting the direction of travel, I wrote a post (Why I'm not attending today's E-Cigarette Summit) in which I commented:

Last year I considered going again but when I looked at the list of speakers it was pretty much the same as the year before and heaven knows there are only so many times I can listen to Deborah Arnott without jumping off a bridge.

This year I received several emails inviting me to attend at a cost of £350 (plus VAT) and I was tempted until I saw that not only were the usual anti-smoking suspects speaking (again), but they were now joined by the likes of Andrea Crossfield (Tobacco Free Futures) and Prof John Britton (UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies).

Frankly (and I don't care how good the biscuits are), the thought of spending a whole day being lectured by one anti-smoking activist after another is too much.

I added:

I also sense a slightly patronising attitude towards the vapers who are speaking. With one exception they have been put in sessions where they are sharing the platform with four or five other panellists so their contributions will be limited to say the least.

In contrast John Britton has been parachuted in and given his own session. Ditto Andrea Crossfield who will be talking about 'E-Cigarettes: Practitioners Views, Beliefs, Experiences and Concerns'.

Now I've known Andrea for several years (and I like her) but to the best of my knowledge she's not a 'practitioner'. She's a full-time, state-funded anti-tobacco campaigner. Surely that session could have been given by Lorien Jollye or Sarah Jakes of the New Nicotine Alliance?

Tobacco Free Futures no longer exists so we will be spared Andrea's no doubt insightful observations at this year's Summit. Against that is the fact that compared to 2015, when there were two consumer representatives, there is now just one on the list of 20 speakers.

Public health activists will probably argue that the event is organised by an independent third party and they have no control over who is invited to speak, but the reality is that – commercially – the E-Cigarette Summit needs the support of the public sector to fill all those seats at the Royal Society and the organisers can't risk alienating their core audience by exposing them to anything that might put them out of their comfort zone.

The result is that important stakeholders such as the tobacco companies are noticeably absent from programme and the sole consumers' representative is relegated to a bit part at the fag end of a long day.

I'm tempted to attend the 2017 E-Cigarette Summit if only to compare it with the first event in 2013 where several delegates were openly vaping and with the exception of a rather grumpy Deborah Arnott it was a surprisingly friendly and positive environment.

I'll only go though if I get a preferential rate as the representative of a non-profit smokers' rights group.

Watch this space.

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Reader Comments (7)

I think they would prefer to invite an IS jihadi than a smoker or smokers' representative. At least they are both on the same page about smokerphobia. Meanwhile, I am surprised vapers are banned too but frankly, at this point in the war and how vapers have used us to try and win favours and acceptance from public health. I can honestly say I couldn't give a toss. In fact I am relieved. Vapers would use the voice of smokers to push the ecigs saves lives crap and shaft us yet again if allowed to speak.

What an absolute shame that all vapers are not like mr puddlecote who genuinely cares about choice and not just forcing smokers to vaping as far too many vaping orgs do.

They have been warned that accepting tobacco control propaganda on smoking, and repeating it parrott fashion, will one day blow up in their faces when the propaganda is made up and turned on them.

Reap what you sow.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 11:41 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

To be fair, Pat, they haven't actually banned vapers but they have minimised their presence on the platform in favour of public health campaigners.

Anyone can attend the event if you're willing to pay £300 or more. Dick's argument was that there should be a special rate for consumers who are not attending on behalf of public health, NGOs or business.

There are no doubt commercial reasons why they won't do that but it means an important stakeholder is seriously underrepresented (although I understand one or two handpicked vapers may be present).

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 14:13 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

Face it - it’s the new face of Tobacco Control. There was a slight possibility, as I recall, that I’d have been asked to speak at the first one, but, apparently, there were folks who wouldn’t share a stage with me. Fancy that.
And there’s no way those folks would share a stage with me now, either, vaper or no vaper. I have never, ever, espoused the notion of the promotion of vaping at the cost of further demonisation of smokers. I just, sometimes, wish that folks would recognise that, and not tar us all with the same brush...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 15:07 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Dorn

Wow Pat your comment ("Vapers would use the voice of smokers to push the ecigs saves lives crap and shaft us yet again if allowed to speak.") is a bit harsh.
Most of us, vapers that is, are x-smokers and definitely don't want to shaft our many friends who continue to choose to smoke - as is their right

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 16:48 | Unregistered CommenterSue Wilson

Every opportunity to promote choice and advocate for the rights of smokers is a good thing!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 5:16 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

Sounds like a forum for the many NGOs and Corporate inspired/backed people who created a career in interfering, to network and write position papers in order to justify their funding. Sounds like a hornets nest worth stirring. You should attend, and see what happens. Could be £350 well spent.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 11:07 | Unregistered CommenterStu1

I am sorry for offence caused but I no longer see vaping as anything other than a new arm of tobacco control and I speak as I find.

Why? Because I am sick of hearing things like :save vaping or, horror of horrors, vapers will be forced back to smoking." Or "look here at all those smoker graves as the grave digger waits patiently with his shovel for the first vaper." I really don't think vapers know how offensive this stuff is because it relies on TC propaganda

I was with the vaping cause right up to the EU TPD when the vast majority of vapers were promising legislators that if they saved ecigs vapers would help them eliminate smoking forever. I had thought we were all in it together on the side of choice but vapers would not campaign to save our packs of 10 etc so why should smokers help to save their choice?

And don't even get me started on the ecigs save lives or billion lives propaganda which push both active and alleged passive harms of smoking knowing that they pushed all the right buttons for the thugs in TC.

Yes, I do know not all vapers are of this type, but sadly too many are and they have allowed tobacco control to take control of the product and the way it is presented.

I used to see vapers as friends but now I see advocates who would quite happily help tobacco control with pushing ecigs over smoking and think that's a great idea.

If anyone has to ask what is wrong with that then they clearly have no knowledge of the last 50 years of attacks on smokers and the choices they make and the attacks on their freedom to be themselves as part of their communities.

I am happy to live and let live but sadly vaping orgs seem intent on helping TC force smokers towards vaping while turning smokers from second class to third class citizens.

The issue has become nuclear and I have gone nuclear with it. It is where I have been pushed. £300 or not, tell me when are smokers ever welcomed as consumers to either vaping or TC conferences.

Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 12:08 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

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