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Is vaping a comparable substitute for smoking?

The Martin McKee story (see earlier post) ran in several newspapers yesterday.

Here are three headlines: Health officials turning a blind eye to teenage vaping, experts claim (Telegraph), Stop ignoring the dangers of e-cigarettes, top scientist tells Public Health England (Sun), and Dangers of ‘vaping are being ignored’ as evidence of harm mounts (Metro).

As I mentioned I was invited to discuss McKee’s comments on LBC. Afterwards a hugely influential global vaping advocate messaged me to say, ‘Heard you on LBC this morning - very good!!’

Despite this and many other media appearances in which I have consistently defended e-cigarettes and opposed vaping bans I am still waiting for an invitation to speak at a single vaping conference.

(Correction: not true. I’ve just remembered that in 2016 I was a panellist at the Next Generation Nicotine Delivery event in London.)

Next month the UKVIA Forum includes a session entitled ‘Is the UK becoming vape unfriendly?’. That would be right up my street (last month for example Forest published a report about vaping policies on NHS hospital sites that was widely reported by the media) but perhaps the fact that I also oppose smoking bans and defend the rights of adults who prefer to smoke disqualifies me from consideration.

Likewise, two and a half years after Forest funded an independent study that led to a peer-reviewed paper that explored the reasons why many committed smokers won’t switch to e-cigarettes, I still haven’t been asked to address the E-Cigarette Summit or the Global Nicotine Forum on the subject.

Perhaps that’s another message vaping advocates don’t want to hear. Fancy that!

On a related issue I was asked by a journalist last week 'whether vaping is a comparable smoking substitute'. The article hasn't been published yet but here's my reply:

"E-cigarettes have helped 1.5 million smokers quit smoking completely and for many of them vaping is a more than adequate substitute for smoking. Some actually prefer vaping to smoking.

"The problem is that for many smokers e-cigarettes may be safer but they are not as pleasurable as traditional cigarettes. That is the challenge the vaping companies have to address and to their credit they are working hard to do so.

"Ultimately it's a question of choice. It's great that less harmful products are available to smokers but if adults make an informed decision to smoke instead of vaping that choice must be respected by government and the vaping industry."

No further comment, m'lud.

Update: Bizarrely, one of the panellists at the UKVIA Forum next month represents a pro-vaping campaign that has been inactive for over a year and gave its last media interview in December 2017.

Go figure.

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Reader Comments (6)

Vapng organisations are the same as any other anti smoker organisation. They don't like dissent nor do they like to listen to anything they don't want to hear.

They want to believe that smokers won't switch because we are too stupid to see through the anti vaping propaganda. They do not want to hear it is because we enjoy smoking more and are put off vaping because of the attitude of vaping orgs who have become another enemy.

Like anti smoker organisations, they do not want to be seen cooperating with smokers or their representatives.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 12:22 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

I've introduced several work colleagues to vaping. It worked for some, but others went back to smoking. There is a (currently unknown) proportion of smokers for which vaping is not a satisfying substitute for smoking. The EU Tobacco Products Directive, which bans eliquid stronger than 2.0% nicotine and also bans most advertising of vaping products, has meant that many smokers, for which vaping would work, will never know. I was only able to give up smoking for vaping because of the very strong and immediate blast of nicotine I got from the first decent ecig I bought. Back in 2012, it was possible to purchase 3.6% liquid, which is what a 40 a day smoker initially needs. That's why the American 5.0% nicotine Joule took the market by storm and why, at less than 2.0%, it won't work in the UK.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 14:46 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Bagley

I forgot to add that I still miss smoking. If I didn't think it was damaging my health and it wasn't so expensive, I'd still do it. One very welcome aspect to vaping is that one has achieved smoker's nirvana - have the occasional cigarette whenever one feels the desire. I usually buy a packet on holiday.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 15:06 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Bagley

Can't say for sure but I think the fact that forest is funded by tobacco companies is why you don't get invited. Vaping advocates want to put clear blue sky between them and tobacco. It may be why you and not vaping advocates get the media invites. Swings and roundabouts. Not sure the tactic is working but it's one less stick for anti vaping groups to beat us with. Good answer to what is a good question. I'll keep an eye out for the article. Be interesting to see what other say.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 20:05 | Unregistered CommenterTom Gleeson

If only vaping orgs realized that tobacco companies are not the enemy. Thjs is why smokers and their representatives should have nothing to do with vaping orgs. They look down on us an inferior. They want us to be in it together but only if we fight for their cause.

You have to accept Simon that as long as you defend smokers, vaping orgs will have nothing to do with you. They are just another public health outfit and a new enemy. Sone of them are also probably in it for the money. They want to take business and profit from tobacco companies and they know public health can help with that more than tobacco companies who are the competition for trade.

They are just a bunch of hypocrites.

Thursday, April 25, 2019 at 12:43 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Vaping like smoking is personal choice. Smokers however have been long persecuted for exercising that choice--largely through false and manipulated studies and relentless propaganda designed to sow fear and division. That relentless propaganda has sadly infected many vapers who now also persecute smokers and share the self-righteous indignation nurtured by tobacco control extremists.While smokers should respect the choice made by vapers, we need to actively assert our rights and expose the tobacco control lies. FOREST can help in that regard.

Friday, April 26, 2019 at 21:02 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

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