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« Brexit and the politics of contempt | Main | Smokers thrown under the bus by ‘vaping specialists’ »

Tangerine and Blu

Let no-one say I don’t put my job first.

On Thursday night I should have been in Dundee for the first leg of the Scottish Premiership play-off between Dundee United and St Mirren.

My original plan was to spend four or five days in Scotland and go to both matches including the second leg in Paisley today.

However, tickets for visiting supporters at today’s game quickly sold out to season ticket holders and although I could have got a ticket for Thursday’s game the match clashed with a work-related event.

Therefore, instead of cheering on United’s latest promotion attempt, I found myself at a drinks reception in London celebrating the tenth anniversary of the launch of Blu, the e-cigarette brand now owned by Imperial Brands.

Hosted by Imperial CEO Alison Cooper, the event took place in the Radio Rooftop Bar at the ME London Hotel, a swanky five-star hotel just a few yards from Bush House, former home of the BBC World Service.

With panoramic views over London, it was an impressive and very modern location for this milestone event.

Hard to believe though that Blu was launched ten years ago. In 2009 I knew almost nothing about e-cigarettes. Indeed it wasn't until January 2010 that I even mentioned the device on this blog.

At that point I just wanted some feedback and I got some interesting replies – see Wanted: comments on e-cigarettes.

Since then I have frequently defended e-cigarettes in interviews and in print to the point that Forest has sometimes been alone in opposing vaping bans ('Pro-vaping' advocates silent on vaping bans).

Recently, in response to yet another study about vaping, I told the Guardian:

“The study shows there is nothing to fear from the growth of vaping. The results support our view that government should ease restrictions on e-cigarette advertising.

It’s time too for local authorities to lead by example and lift restrictions on the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace and other public areas.

Last month I responded to a request from a journalist who asked me whether vaping is a comparable substitute for smoking by saying:

"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."

On Thursday night it was noticeable that neither speaker - Imperial CEO Alison Cooper and the founder of Blu (an Australian whose name I didn’t catch) - belittled smoking or, by implication, smokers.

No-one said "The goal is for us to get [smokers] to stop" or “There is no reason for anyone to smoke any more" (Philip Morris managing director Peter Nixon on taking the smoke out of smoking). Instead they spoke of offering smokers “alternatives” which is perfectly reasonable.

Unlike Philip Morris, which is relentlessly (and offensively) anti-smoking to the point where the company’s social media campaigns are becoming a bit of a joke, Imperial, British American Tobacco and JTI seem to understand that insulting their core customers - the very people they want to switch to their alternative products - is not going to win awards for Most Intelligent Marketing Strategy.

Anyway, I was happy to be invited to mark Blu's tenth anniversary because if Forest has a future it's essential that we evolve and represent consumers of all nicotine products, not just smokers.

Our USP however is that we will never abandon those who enjoy smoking and don't want to quit or switch to alternative products. I hope that's clear!

Meanwhile, back in Dundee, Thursday's match finished 0-0 in front of United’s largest crowd for many years. The second leg awaits.

Update: The second leg finished 1-1 after extra time. St Mirren won 2-0 on penalties after United missed the FOUR penalties they took.

And while that was happening United’s Twitter account was hacked and deleted. (Later restored.)

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Reader Comments (3)

I'll take a look at Blu simply because I am not being bullied, cajoled, forced or coerced into it. I am happy to make alternative choices when those choices are mine to make. Treat smokers with respect and they will respond favourably. I will say again that smokers must stop supporting the smokerphobic anti smoker industry and that includes PMI, which is now owned by professional anti smokers, and avoid vaping companies that seek to defame, abuse, intimdate, marginalise or stigmatise us.

It is so simple and yet the anti smoker industry is blinded by sheer hatred and contempt for the people they would like to make profits from. How can anyone buy products from companies that stupid.

Sunday, May 26, 2019 at 13:10 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

The core issue is choice. It always has been. The antismokers seek to impose their preference resulting in totalitarian control. I agree PMI has been captured by antismokers just like many governments and corporate interests. That hostile takeover was fueled by lies, propaganda, and fear-mongering. The antismoking hysteria must be reversed.

A good first step would be to stop the divide and conquer tactics of pitting vapers against smokers. It's good to see that some of the tobacco companies recognize the divisive tactics being used to further marginalize smokers. After all, the same tactic was implicit in imposing smoking bans. The antismokers next logical step is attacking vaping too—indeed they have already started.

Sunday, May 26, 2019 at 19:38 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

Sadly Vinnie, the more vaping is attacked by the antismoker industry, the more vaping advocates will bash smokers and smoking to try and fight back. They do not understand that to fight for vaping means they have to fight for smoking.

We will never be able to fight a joint campaign as long vaping advocates believe all the bullshit crapped out by antismokers on both active smoking and SHS.

That suits the vaping agenda at present but it means that smokers could never fight for vaping because to do so would mean fighting for the end of smoking. Vaping orgs do not like choice if that involves smoking and not vaping.

Monday, May 27, 2019 at 12:37 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

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