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Kevin and the new model army of vapers

Forest’s Twitter feed was quite active last night.

We don’t follow many Twitter accounts (146) and we don’t have a large number of followers (1,936) so it’s normally fairly quiet, bar the occasional anti-smoking troll.

Yesterday however one of our tweets was retweeted 40 times and got 158 ‘likes’, which is a lot for us.

It linked to an online report about the government’s plan to eradicate smoking by 2030 and highlighted this quote:

Simon Clark, director of smokers’ group Forest, said people have the right to light up “without being harassed to quit”.

“It’s not up to government to dictate people’s lifestyle,” he said.

Curiously, 99 per cent of the people retweeting and ‘liking’ it were not our usual followers.

One woman described herself as a ‘witch’. Another was ‘tattoo addicted and arty as hell’. Then we had the ‘dipsy blonde’, ‘alcoholic Manc’ and ‘alcoholic chain smoker’.

Back on my own Twitter feed - in response to something I had tweeted earlier - a rather strange exchange had broken out involving me, a vaper and a vaping advocate (both in America), and a UK-based smoker called, confusingly, @kevinthedrinker.

Kevin wasn’t convinced that vaping is ‘safer’ than smoking. Unfortunately he became quite abusive and accused the vaping advocate of being a ‘shill’ for ‘Big Vape’.

Some of his comments went beyond the pale and having asked him to be more respectful - a request he ignored - I blocked him, even though his comments weren’t aimed at me.

Eventually he was blocked by the vaping advocate too.

The thing is, although he expressed himself badly and was unwilling to consider any view other than his own, I sort of understood his frustration with holier than thou vaping activists, some of whom are like religious converts who won’t rest until every smoker has switched to e-cigarettes.

In one of his less offensive moments Kevin pointed out that his chief target for abuse (the vaping advocate who remained calm despite the insults and accusations that were flying around) had tweeted one pro-vaping image 49 times since the beginning of June.

And that's just this image, he's copy pasted some other ones tens of times too in just a month or so.

That is quite relentless, to be fair. Almost on a par with PMI.

Kevin is an extreme example of the disaffected smoker but vaping activists shouldn’t dismiss people like him because if they do they will continue to alienate the very people they are trying to convert.

Anyway, after I blocked Kevin for being abusive, another US-based vaper joined the ‘conversation’ and tweeted:

I've gotten a few close friends to switch to vape. More to go.

We all know the story about the person who helped the little old lady cross the road only to find she didn’t want to cross the road.

Well, that’s how I feel about this.

The idea that vapers are taking it upon themselves to actively ‘persuade’ family and friends to switch to e-cigarettes crosses a line for me.

By all means lead by example and answer any questions smokers in your family or social group might have.

Going beyond that makes me think not only of the little old lady but of the religious groups that knock on your door and try to persuade you to join them.

Frankly it’s intrusive and often, I suspect, counter-productive.

I know for a fact that I wouldn’t react well if family or friends nagged me to lose weight or drink less.

I have an aunt who, in a very well-meaning way, frequently expresses concern for my health and urges me to lose a few pounds.

My reaction? I reach for another slice of cake.

We’re all different and some people might welcome a helping hand, but human nature being what it is I suspect that most people prefer to be left alone.

If you vape let family and friends observe you and ask questions, if they’re so inclined.

But that’s as far as it should go, in my opinion. Resist those who want to enlist you as a recruiting officer for the new model army of vapers.

Today, when people join the real army, they do so voluntarily. They have a choice.

Increasingly - in the UK - it feels like smokers are being conscripted rather than invited to join the vaping revolution.

So Kevin, you’re a cretin but I have a soupcon of sympathy for your anger, even if I disagree with you on many points and the way you expressed them.

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Reader Comments (3)

Vaping is being used to bully smokers into submission and some vapers are bullying family and friends in constantly harpng on that they should switch. They are becoming as bad as smokerphobic anti smokers and born again religionists.

I don't know what Kevin might have said but I also understand his anger at getting vaping pushed down our throats all the time. Now govt wants to use ecigs as a stick to force smokers to quit or be criminalised. Who wouldn't be angry with vapers who think that's ok?

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at 13:24 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

It's the faux missionary zeal that is so off putting from certain vapers.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at 14:09 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Mallon

You need to lose weight and drink less, Simon. ;)

(agree with all the above really)

Thursday, July 11, 2019 at 22:13 | Unregistered CommenterDick Puddlecote

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